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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Soaked whole wheat sourdough sandwich bread

So, you know how much I love my sourdough sandwich bread, but it doesn't allow for soaking the flour to properly break down the phytates, and I've always had to add plain bread flour to make it soft enough to make a good sandwich. So, I decided to do some tweaking to see if I could make it qualify for my whole grain challenge.

I figured it would take some trial and error, and I didn't think I'd find anything as good as my original recipe. Well, it only took one try and I'm hooked on this new method!

I'm learning from soaking my whole grains and cooking through my Nourishing Traditions cookbook that  flour soaked 12-24 hours in kefir bakes up much lighter than unsoaked flour, so I thought I'd simply try replacing the water in the recipe with kefir, and let the flour mixed with the kefir soak overnight before I add the rest of the ingredients and bake the next day.

What's that you say? You don't have any kefir? Well, you should hop on over here and enter my kefir grain giveaway so you can make your own endless supply of this great beverage/flour soaking liquid for cheap!

So, here you have it, my new and improved sourdough sandwich bread recipe!

Here's what you need:
4 cups whole wheat flour (I prefer white wheat)
1 cup kefir or buttermilk
1 cup sourdough starter
3 Tablespoons of some type of sugar (honey, maple syrup, rapadura, plain white, doesn't matter)
2 teaspoons of active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt

Here's what you do:
The night before you plan to bake bread, mix the flour and kefir in a large bowl. Stir, or don't, the flour will soak up the kefir either way. Let sit covered for 12-24 hours. (The amount of kefir is not enough to completely wet all of the flour, so it will be really crumbly.)

When you are ready to make your bread the next day, follow the instructions the same as you would for the regular sourdough sandwich bread, but instead just add 1 cup sourdough starter and no water.

*Tip: I recently discovered that the best thing to grease your pan with in order for the loaf to not stick is butter. I know, I'm always talking about butter, but it really does work better than anything else for this!

When you're done, be sure to have a slice right out of the oven with some honey and butter on top! Yum!

This post was shared at Simple Lives Thursday, homestead barn hop,


  1. I am so inspired by your blog, I did challenge myself to learn a new soaked recipe, I make soaked baked Oatmeal "cake"...I do the Artsian Bread in 5 min/day master dough, I am sure you have heard of it, I was wondering if I could soak my flour prior to making the master dough?

  2. I'm not sure, I have heard of the Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day, but I haven't tried it myself. I'm sure you could play around with it and figure it out!

  3. I have very healthy kefir grains. Too healthy actually. So when I saw that your recipe called for kefir I pulled out the whole wheat flour to let the soaking begin. While I'm new at making sourdough bread I was very skeptical of the process and kept checking the directions making sure I was following them as written. After about 13 minutes of aerobic kneading, I put the heavy mass of dough into my buttered pan, stuck in in the oven with the light on, and thought it would never rise. An hour later I was amazed. On went the oven and 35 minutes later the bread looked picture perfect. A minute later my husband and I were smearing butter and local honey over thick slices. The crust was crunchy and the insides soft. All I can say is WOW and thank you.

  4. I'm so glad you enjoyed the bread, Kathi!

  5. how can one cup of Kefir work on 4 cups of flour? I soaked things up 4 hours ago and still half of the flour appears to be untouched even after I tried to mix things up. Hopefully, some invisible magic is going on :)

    1. I don't think one cup of kefir is enough to completely break down the phytates in all 4 cups of flour, so it's kind of a compromise. As an alternative, you could replace the sourdough starter with kefir or kefir whey, then you would have 2 cups of kefir/whey. The 2 teaspoons of yeast is plenty for your bread to still rise.

      I had forgotten about this recipe! I'm glad you commented, I'm going to give it another try this week!

  6. I'm wondering... is the yeast absolutely necessary? Isn't the sourdough starter supposed to do the rising?

  7. Definitely not, you can eliminate the added yeast and allow the bread to rise with just the sourdough. Your rise time will be much, much longer though. More like 8 to 12 hours, and maybe even up to 24. Also, a 100% sourdough bread is going to have a chewier texture and a harder crust. I like it that way, but the rest of my family prefers something a little milder.