Our Milk and Honey Sourdough Sandwich Bread recipe makes a lovely loaf of sliceable bread with a soft tender crumb. Perfect for sandwiches, paninis and toast this recipe is formed in loaf pans for a dense crumb that will hold together.
If you prefer the traditional sourdough boule with an open crumb and crunchy crust, we have instructions for both in this post. This is a beautiful bread that can be enjoyed any way you prefer. With the addition of good quality honey, warm milk, eggs and warm butter this sourdough loaf has a sweeter flavor profile that everyone raves about.
Sourdough baking can be an intimidating feat for many, but in this post we walk you through all of the steps in a clear and concise way so that you are successful in baking your own sourdough bread.
Beginner Artisan Sourdough Bread Recipe
We made this Video (see sidebar) To help you see the entire process with all the steps involved. This video is our Homemade Food Junkie sourdough tutorial on the Beginner Artisan Sourdough Bread Recipe .
It will show you how to make sourdough bread in this recipe too. The long cold rise method and no knead stretch and fold sourdough bread recipes are all similar techniques. Once you master one of these sourdough recipes the others will be a snap.
This Milk and Honey Sourdough Sandwich bread recipe is Sasha Hunter’s creation. She has worked in bread many years (Sourdough for the last three years) and is an amazing bread baker. Follow Sasha on Instagram and Facebook to see her work and read her bio further on in our post.
What does adding milk and honey do to Sourdough Bread?
All sourdough bakers know that traditional sourdough is a very basic recipe consisting of your active starter, water, flour and salt. So what happens when you add additional ingredients such as honey or milk?
When you add milk to a sourdough bread recipe it will give the the loaf a softer crust that is perfect for sandwich style slices. It will also cause the crust to darken more than usual due to the caramelizing lactose sugars. Milk introduces fat to the recipe, as well as more sugars.
When honey is added to a sourdough loaf the most noticeable difference will be in the flavor. Honey will of course reduce the sour flavor that is prominent in sourdough breads, as well as adding a slightly sweet profile. Honey will also reduce the bulk ferment time that is needed, as well as aiding in a softer crumb.
Is Sourdough Bread really good for your digestion?
Studies have been done that show sourdough bread acts as a prebiotic, this means that the bread helps feed good bacteria in your guts. We all need good bacteria for a healthy and stable digestive system and sourdough bread can help with that. The natural yeast is beneficial and the no fuss recipes keep it simple and straightforward with good clean ingredients.
This recipe makes a beautiful hot sandwich, a classic PB&J, or a scrumptious slice of avocado toast.
Helpful tips For the Milk and Honey Sourdough Sandwich Bread
- Keep the recipe proportions correct and follow all the processes in order every time. Yes you can fudge the rising times a bit but do this as a matter of experiment once you learn the recipe as it is written.
- Make sure your starter is active and ready to bake bread. I’m using this 100 percent hydration sourdough bread starter.
- Hot temps will easily over proof a loaf. Learn to watch the dough and be careful of overproofing.
- This recipe freezes well at least two weeks. The loaves defrost beautifully and make great toast and sandwich bread.
Testing your starter
Is your starter doubling every five to 12 hours after feeding? If not, even if it looks active and passes the float test it may lose strength before your bread is baked.
The Float test. Drop a teaspoonful of starter into a cup of water and see if it floats. It should pop up to the top of the water in a nice solid mass with good spring and life.
For best results for any sourdough bread baking recipe keep feeding your starter until it is very active (it should bubble and talk to you a bit). If it floats up on top of the water you drop it into in a bouncy solid mass and stays there a while (several minutes) without dissolving you are ready to bake.
If it sort of barely lifts off the bottom and spreads out or is not all together at the surface… keep feeding it. Your starter is still too hungry and weak to work well.
What flour is best for Sourdough?
A high protein flour like Montana Wheat Flour, King Arthur Flour or Central Milling Flours. Organic and non GMO contribute greatly to good bread! The important thing is that your flour protein content should be around 12% less than that and you may not yield a strong load with good structure. The protein content is also critical for feeding your starter, if your flour does not give your starter enough protein to eat, it will essentially starve and die.
The addition of enzyme boosters such as rye flour are very helpful to feed your starter as a little treat every now and then. You will see a noticeable boost in the life of your starter.
Creating the crumb structure
- You actually have complete control over this aspect. By completely degassing the dough before shaping you can achieve a very even, and closed structured crumb making it the perfect sandwich bread.
- On the flip side, you can create an open and lofty structure by handling the dough very gently when shaping and only degassing what’s absolutely necessary.
- Hydration (total liquid content) and protein content (which affects gluten development and elasticity, i.e. the bread’s ability to hold its gas bubbles) will greatly affect your results as well.
- Don’t expect to obtain equal results with all purpose flour if a recipe calls for bread flour. It’s all about protein content. By paying attention to these aspects you can easily manipulate your loaves without changing your recipe.
- This recipe also makes a beautiful pan loaf, which I fully de-gass (with a rolling pin) before shaping. Rise time will increase, but that always varies. Learning to judge your doughs in the fermentation process as well as final rise period comes with practice.
In short, bread can be a wonderful stand alone food but it needs to serve as a vehicle for whatever deliciousness we are placing upon it!
Why is my Milk and Honey Sourdough Loaf so dark?
This recipe is heavily enriched with honey, milk, & butter. These three items all have sugars that will caramelize beautifully and create a soft texture, but have great potential to go past the point of appealing, and may very well burn if you don’t keep an eye on it.
Leave the sheet pan below, remove the lid of your Dutch oven and let the loaf bake until you achieve the desired exterior color.
If you find your loaf is browning too quickly, place a piece of tin foil over the loaf loosely. This will act as a shield and allow your loaf to finish baking without scorching.
Keep in mind that contact with the bottom of the dutch oven for longer than 30 minutes will increase bottom scorching risk. So be careful if your bake time exceeds this time frame too much.
NOTE: My oven is hot and does tend to darken the crust a bit no matter what I do to compensate for that. I made this latest loaf with all of Sasha’s instructions but it did darken more than hers does. But it is a soft crust and very delicious in sandwiches.
SCORING TIP: slash your loaf assertively down the center and end to end. Optionally, slash the “leaf” pattern on either side of the center slash. This will give the loaf room to expand in a controlled and beautiful way so as to avoid it exploding or rising over the edges of the pans too much.
Milk & Honey Sourdough Sandwich Bread
-By Sasha Hunter
Yield: 2 large loaves (reduce by 50% for 1)
Complete nutritional information and sourdough bread calories are included in our printable recipe card below.
Your Printable Recipe Card:
Milk & Honey Sourdough Sandwich Bread
A reliable, flexible recipe for a lovely sourdough sandwich bread using the dutch oven, stretch and fold and long cold rise methods. This bread slices well, makes excellent toast, paninis and sandwiches.
- 300 grams Starter (2 Cups)
- 250 grams water (1 Cup)
- 380 grams Whole Milk-warmed (1 1/2 Cups)
- 180 grams Eggs (4 large eggs)
- 60 grams or Butter-melted (1/4 Cup)
- 100 grams Honey (1/3 Cup)
- 1100 grams bread Flour (8 Cups)
- 20 grams natural sea salt (1 1/2 Tablespoon)
- Weigh out starter into a large bowl.
- Add water and mix until it turns into cloudy murky water.
- Add Milk, Eggs, Butter, and Honey and mix. (I mix them together and warm them all to about 80 degrees in my microwave)
- Add flour and mix with your hands(or a dough spatula) until the dough comes together.
- Rest the dough without stretching for 30 to 60 minutes:
- Add salt, work in with wet hands using a pinching action. Drive the salt into the dough with your fingers rather than try to mix it in or roll it.
- Cover. Rest 30 minutes.
STRETCH AND FOLDS:
- Pull the dough gently but firmly from the back of the bowl up and over to the front. Turn the bowl 1/4 Turn and repeat. Do this until you have stretched the dough and folded it over on all four sides.
- Rest the dough covered, 30 minutes at room temperature(about 70 degrees). (I set a timer)
- Repeat the stretch and fold process four times 30 minutes apart. You are building the gluten in the dough in this stage. As you repeat the stretch and folds the dough will change from a gloppy mess to an elastic resilient dough.
RAISING THE DOUGH:
- Let the dough sit and bulk ferment (raise) for 1 hour at room temperature.
- Put the bowl into A plastic(grocery) bag and set in the refrigerator to finish cold fermentation for 24 hours. ***see notes at page bottom
- Remove Dough from the refrigerator and turn out onto a floured board.
- Divide (by weight for even size) into two dough balls. Gently shape into two rounds, cover and let rest until dough comes to room temperature and is pliable. 30 to 60 minutes.
- Shape and gently place into bannetons or pans (seam side up) to rise at room temperature until raised 20 to 30 percent.
- Chill in refrigerator before baking two hours to cold proof in the plastic bag again. (this helps get a higher oven spring).
Baking Instructions for Boules in Dutch Oven:
- Preheat oven with Dutch oven inside to 450˚F for at least 30 minutes.
- Cut a piece of parchment paper large enough to accommodate your loaf. You'll use the paper as handles to lower your proofed loaf down into the very hot Dutch oven.
- Take the risen dough out of the refrigerator .
- Place the parchment round over the basket and carefully flip the whole thing over and un-mold the dough.
- Using a pastry brush, dust the loaf to remove excess flour.
- Spritz liberally with water (for a blistered, flour free crust) or omit the spritz for a rustic looking loaf
- Carefully lower your loaf into the preheated Dutch oven and place the lid on and set into the oven.
- Slide a sheet pan one rack below the Dutch oven to deflect excess heat from the bottom crust.
- Bake covered for 30 minutes at 450˚F. *(MY oven is so hot I bake the bread completely covered for 40 minutes on convection heat at 450 degrees and it comes out as pictured. Adjust these directions to your own oven)
- After 30 minutes, remove the Dutch oven from the oven. Carefully remove the par-baked loaf from the Dutch oven using the parchment paper as handles.
- Slide loaf back into the oven directly on the center rack.
- Spritz oven with water bottle.
- Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until an internal temperature of 200˚F-205˚F is achieved.
- Remove from oven to a cooling rack.
- Let cool completely. To keep the soft crust store the loaf in a plastic bag at room temperature.
- Let the Dutch oven heat back up for a few minutes and start the process over again for the second loaf. Enjoy!
To Make bread Loaves:
- Instead of forming for boules after bench rest roll the dough out and degass it.
- Now form the dough into loaves for two 9 x 4.5 x 5 bread pans.
- OIL your bread pans and lay the dough in so it just touches the sides of the pan and the ends.
- Allow to rise covered in the bread pans two to four hours until the dough is level with the top of your bread pans.
- Set the loaves covered in the fridge.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- Set a pan of water on the bottom shelf of your oven. (I use a broiler pan half full of water).
- When the pan is steaming and the oven is preheated SCORE the loaves and set the loaf pans on a baking stone (or baking sheet) in the middle of your oven.
- Bake 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 375 degrees F and bake an additional 35 minutes.
- Check for doneness. Use a digital thermometer and push it into the end of your loaves to the center. It should read 210.
- Remove the loaves and let cool in the pans 5 to 10 minutes.
- Cut around the sides of your pan carefully to release the bread from the pan as needed.
- Cool on racks an hour until room temperature before cutting.
***Note: Seasonal temperatures greatly affect the speed at which dough ferments. Keep a watchful eye on its progress. Make sure not to over proof. Your dough may need to be shaped sooner than 24 hours depending upon activity.
The nutritional information on this recipe is going to change according to the flour and other ingredients you choose to use. If made as directed the slices size will also somewhat affect serving size. We usually eat one half of a slice of these large loaves and cut it down the middle for a sandwich. That means we are getting twice the servings noted in this recipe.
Serving Size1 Slice of bread
Amount Per Serving Calories 216Total Fat 4gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 35mgSodium 358mgCarbohydrates 37gNet Carbohydrates 0gFiber 1gSugar 4gSugar Alcohols 0gProtein 7g
“I live in Central Washington state with my husband Nate, our 4 dogs, and 5 horses.
I’m a passionate baker and cook. I lean heavily toward the natural / organic lifestyle with balance for life’s pleasures of course! I enjoy sharing my creations with friends and bartering for farm fresh eggs, grass-fed meat, raw honey, ect.
I worked as a baker’s apprentice while going to school. Learned production baking and made everything from scratch donuts to wedding cakes. Worked as a cake decorator for a bit in local grocery stores.
My husband and I have a custom cabinetry and fine furniture business. I worked with him building our business for several years while producing numerous custom cakes for a range of clients (including one celebrity!…who I do not have permission to name, darn).
I have baked yeasted breads for years but I began my journey with sourdough in the summer of 2016. Bread was an area I was looking to “grow” in as well as improving what we were eating on a daily basis. The health benefits of sourdough were very intriguing to me, so I embarked on a hiatus from my cake business. I made my first sourdough starter following the King Arthur Flour instructions on their website. I began to create my first loaves of sourdough and was overjoyed with my results.
In the fall of 2016 I created another (APPLE JACK) starter by using the peels of apples grown on our farm. I created a yeast water with the apple peels and used that yeast water as the liquid component in my starter. This starter (I named him Apple Jack) has been very successful and is my preferred culture today. I use it in all of my sourdough creations, both sweet and savory.
You can purchase my Apple Jack Starter through my Facebook Marketplace page or message me for more information.
I am no longer making custom cakes (except occasionally for friends/family). Currently I work in property management and baking sourdough bread on the side.
I’m constantly developing new recipes, and keep a sourdough journal to log all of my bakes. We are expecting our first child in June (just in time for our 10th wedding anniversary!)
It delights me to know that I have the ability to provide my family with wholesome food and self sustaining skills. I hope to build an outdoor wood-fired oven in my next adventures (for pizza and breads) and maybe even start my own blog.
I’m working toward my dream of authoring baking books one day.
Education-BFA in Fine Art: Concentration Painting & Drawing from Central Washington University Graduated 2010
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Saturday 11th of February 2023
Have you ever tried making this with a stand mixer? I’m trying to do this more and more as I get older and was interested if you think this is possible/
Sunday 12th of February 2023
@Diane, thank you so much. I went ahead and made it without stand mixer. I did find the initial stirring of all the flour, etc to get into rough ball was a bit of a workout for my shoulder. I may try to use hook for that next time—in other recipes it has taken just a few minutes to combine all so I will surely watch that. The rest of the care of the dough was a breezed as it is so silky smooth! It’s all resting in refrigerator now and I’m very excited to bake tomorrow. I do have another question. I’m thinking of cutting dough into thirds as some have mentioned. If I do this, I will plan on 2 smaller boule and loaf—using a smaller loaf pan (I think it is a little over 8 inches.) I don’t know how to judge this for loaf but will let you know results! Thank you for your info on other recipes. I’m enjoying trying new recipes and I feel this one will be amazing!
Saturday 11th of February 2023
Hi Sally, As a matter of fact I have never made this particular sourdough bread in a mixer. Since it is a sandwich bread that is degassed anyway, I think it will work fine in a mixer.
I DID make the whole wheat Sourdough Bread in my new Bosch Universal plus (which I LOVE BTW). It turned out fine. Just be careful if you want the aeration (holes) in the loaves like an artisan bread. A mixer will tend to beat the air out of the dough if you over do it. Our Rosemary Garlic Sourdough bread is made for the stand mixer so give that one a try too.
With no knead breads, a mixer is actually more work than you need to do simply because you have to clean it. Many of our sourdough breads are not kneaded in the classic sense but only stretched. Let me know if I can be of any more help. Happy Baking!
Friday 2nd of September 2022
Love this recipe! Beautiful fluffy texture and flavor. I use it for sandwich bread. However this definitely makes enough for 3 loaves. The first 2 times my bread was busting out of the pans and just making huge bread. I divided it by 3 and my loaves are perfect size! We have a family of 6 so this works nicely for us. But if you won’t use up that much bread you should half this recipe. Enjoy!
Sunday 13th of March 2022
I've made this twice now and I always follow your recipes with great success. This recipe is delicious but it always take almost an hour or longer to cook to temp. I can't figure our why. I'm mostly wondering if anyone else has this issue. Thank you for all the delicious recipes and video instructions!
Sunday 13th of March 2022
Hi lesa, This is a heavy rich dough. I'm not sure why it is not baking the same for you as it does for me. However,here are a few possibilities: -You can look at your flour and make sure it has strong protein of 5 grams or better. Without a high protein content the flour will be heavier and take longer to bake. -Also the starter needs to be strong and balanced. Be sure it is well fed and balanced for baking. Even strong starters can get unbalanced. If this happens, they may float since they are strong enough, but not ferment the dough properly and again cause the dough to be denser and not bake as well. -Lastly, (and most likely) It could be just our ovens are very different. I bake in a leaky (heat and steam escapes) convection oven. Convect baking does tend to get the bread done a bit faster than conventional baking. If you oven really hold the steam well it may also just be steaming your loaves really well and the dough needs longer to bake. So you may just need to plan for the extra time for this reason. Hope this helps! Happy Baking!
Wednesday 24th of November 2021
Made this yesterday and soooooooo delish!!! Thank you for this recipe!!!
Wednesday 24th of November 2021
Hi Angela, I'm so glad you enjoyed this bread. Thanks for the great review. Happy Thanksgiving!
Monday 24th of May 2021
Hi there just love this recipe ,just wondering I took my grad out of fridge and let it sit on counter for about 50 mins then I degassed it and put it into bread pans then now I put it back into the fridge and will bake it in the morning,do you think it will turn out ,I never let it sit on counter for 2-4 hrs just put it in pans and back into fridge till the morning then I’ll bake it up
Monday 24th of May 2021
@Diane, thanks for your quick reply
Monday 24th of May 2021
Hi Val, That should work ok. It will rise a small bit in the fridge overnight but it should still bake fine. Might just get a bit loftier. Glad you enjoy this recipe. :)