Lightly sweetened, maple oat sourdough sandwich bread features whole rolled oats and whole wheat flour. It has a soft tender crumb and earthy flavor, ideal for sammies and toast! This recipe is vegetarian and vegan friendly.
There are many sourdough variations and while I adore a crusty classic or multigrain sourdough, I can never pass up a softer loaf for toast, sandwiches and of course, French toast.
So I set out to create a softer loaf with earthy flavors and in the shape of traditional sandwich bread. After tweaking the ingredients and testing to see if it holds up to the sandwich test, this loaf is my favorite of all.
Maple oat sourdough is tender, soft, light and with the earthiest of notes. Lightly sweetened, featuring rolled oats and whole wheat flour, its rustic flavors shine.
RELATED: Need a sourdough starter? Follow my DIY Sourdough Starter recipe.
How to Make Maple Oat Sourdough Sandwich Bread
If you’re in to making sourdough, you know it’s a process. Thing is, most of it is hands off time waiting for the dough to develop, waiting for it to rest, then waiting for it to come out of the oven. I tend to think about it longer than it takes the hands on time necessary to actually make it!
In summary, here’s how to make this sourdough:
- First, pour water over the soaker (in this case, rolled oats) then mix the dough.
- Second, cover and rest the dough for 30 minutes.
- Third, mix in the soaker.
- Fourth, cover and rest the dough for 30 minutes.
- Fifth, fold the dough.
- Sixth, cover and rest the dough for 30 minutes, and then fold one last time OR continue resting right into bulk fermentation at room temperature for about 8-12 hours (at 70F). It will be doubled in size before moving on to the next step.
- Continuing, pull the dough from the bowl and fold the dough, rest for 20 minutes, then shape and pan.
- Next, proof the dough for between 1-2 hours or until the dough rises from 3/4″- 1″ above the lip of the pan at center.
- Last, spritz the dough with water, sprinkle with oats and bake for 45-55 minutes.
Allow the dough to cool for at least an hour before slicing into it as the crust and crumb development continues as the sourdough cools. A practice in patience.
Fitting Sourdough into Your Schedule
When it comes to sourdough, fitting it into your schedule can be achieved through a little strategic planning and, if needed, using a technique I keep in my back pocket for when something comes up and I need to extend the time between mixing and proofing…
…because things come up, right?
Retarding the dough is optional, but is a tool for bread bakers. Retardation is simply the process of placing the dough in the refrigerator to slow down fermentation, so the rise takes longer. This is handy for flavor development, but also, as a time management tool.
When to Retard the Dough
There are several times in which the dough can be retarded:
- during bulk fermentation – first rise
- during proof – second rise
During Bulk: retard during bulk to slow down the rise allowing flexibility for when the dough will be shaped, proofed and baked. The dough still needs to double in size during bulk fermentation (first rise), so after refrigeration I pull it to room temperature, and let it finish rising, until it doubles in size. I’ve not tested the limits of this, but up to about 10 hours in the refrigerator generally fits my schedule.
I like to do this when I mix in the morning. I just pop it in the fridge For the day, then pull it to room temperature before I go to bed. It’s doubled in size by morning!
During Proof: It’s possible, but I’ve not yet mastered retarding proofing dough (proof/second rise). I tend to overproof it because I’ve waited too long. This is a skill I continue to work on. Some bakers say a cold proofed dough is easier to score and produces better oven spring.
Either way longer fermentation produces more complex flavors in the bread. After all, time = flavor in the sourdough world. And I notice this too. Sometimes it’s subtle, but sometimes the sour flavor is more apparent.
When is the First Rise (bulk) Done?
Knowing when bulk is complete takes a little practice and a watchful eye. Bulk fermented dough is ready for shaping when:
- it no longer looks or feels dense
- is jiggly when the bowl is shaken
- has about doubled in size
- you may see a few large bubbles on the surface of the dough
When is the Second Rise (proof) Done?
When the dough has risen in the loaf pan to about 3/4″ – 1″ (2cm – 2.54cm) above the lip of the pan at the center. Have a ruler ready for this part! The amount of time it takes to proof will vary depending on ambient temperature. At 70F (21C) proofing takes about an hour. It can take up to twoish hours in a chilly kitchen (raises hand!).
If you’d like to speed this process along, you can put the loaf in a turned off oven with the light on. Just be sure to remove the loaf before preheating your oven for baking!
A Few Recipe Notes
- Looking for a starter? Check out how to make a sourdough starter!
- This maple oat sourdough sandwich bread calls for whole wheat bread flour which can be challenging to find. If unavailable, use regular whole wheat flour. The difference is subtle but whole wheat bread flour yields a little bit stretchier dough, and is easier to work with.
- Shaping a sandwich loaf seems more challenging than shaping a boule, but this dough is pretty forgiving. With practice, it’ll become easier.
- The whole rolled oats are a nice surprise in this dough. They soften as the dough ferments, so they’re barely noticeable yet they add a lovely, earthy flavor and whole grain nourishment.
- Freezer friendly? Yes please! Store baked bread in a freezer bag either whole or sliced for up to two weeks. Thaw at room temperature. If using for toast, toast directly from freezer to oven.
My Sourdough Toolkit (affiliate links):
- Loaf Pan – similar to the one I use
- Bench Scraper
- Food Thermometer
- Digital Scale
- Bowl Bonnets – so handy and durable!
Maple Oat Sourdough Sandwich Bread
For the Soaker:
- 1 C (100g) Whole Rolled Oats plus 2 Tbs for the top
- 1/2 C (105g) Water room temperature
For the Dough:
- 3/4 C (150g) Sourdough Starter 100% hydration, previously feed and bubbly
- 1 C (230g) Milk (nut milk or whole dairy milk) I use 1/2 diluted unsweetened cashew milk - 80F (26C)
- 1/4 C (80g) Maple Syrup
- 1 Tbs (14g) Olive Oil + more for oiling the pan
- 1/2 C + 1 Tbs (100g) Whole Wheat Bread Flour (see note**) or whole wheat flour
- 2 C + 3 1/2 Tbs (300g) Bread Flour
- 1 1/2 tsp (10g) Fine Sea Salt
For the Soaker:
- Add the oats to a small bowl and pour the water over them. The water wont fully cover the oats - that's okay. Set aside.
For the Dough:
- Mix the Dough: In the evening, whisk the starter, milk, maple syrup and oil together in a large bowl with a fork. Add the flours and salt. First, mix with a fork, the dough will be shaggy. Then mix by hand, mixing, folding and pushing the dough until the flour is fully incorporated and no dry bits are present. It will seem dry at first, but the more you work the dough, the more hydrated it will become. The dough will feel stiff and it will stick to your fingers as you go. Do this for about 3-4 minutes. Use the fork to scrape off the dough on your fingers as much as you can. Cover bowl with a damp tea towel. Set a timer for for 30 minutes and allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes. Now is a good time to feed/refresh your starter.
- Incorporate the Soaker: After the dough has rested, mix in the soaker. To do this, dump the soaker on top of the dough and begin kneading and folding the dough over and on top of itself, incorporating the ingredients of the soaker. Do this for about 2-3 minutes or until the soaker is evenly distributed in the dough. It will seem like a lot of added bits, but as you work the dough and as the dough develops through fermentation, the soaker will incorporate. The dough will be stiff, wet and sticky. Cover bowl with a damp tea towel, set a timer for 30 minutes and allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.
- Fold the Dough: After the dough has rested, fold the dough. To do this, grab a portion of the dough while it remains in the bowl, stretch it up and fold it over, pressing your fingertips into the center of the dough. You'll notice the dough is a little less stiff and more workable at this point. Repeat, until you've worked your way around the dough. This is the first fold, and you can stop here and begin bulk fermentation, but If time permits, and optimally, you'll want to repeat this fold two more times as it improves the final dough's structure and crumb. Allow for about 30 between the second and third fold.
- Bulk Fermentation (first rise): After the last fold, cover the bowl with a damp towel and allow to rise overnight at room temperature (see note* on optionally retarding the dough). This will take about 8-10 hours at 70F (21C), but in a cooler kitchen the dough can take up to 12-14 hours to rise - this is the norm in my chilly kitchen 66F (18C). Use the time as a guide and not a determining factor. The dough is ready when it no longer looks dense, is jiggly when the bowl is shaken, and has about doubled in size.
- Shape the Dough: In the morning, and with damp fingertips, coax the dough into a floured work-surface. With moist fingers, take a portion of the dough, gently stretch it towards you and fold it over towards the center, pressing it down gently. Repeat this process until you work the dough all the way around the dough. Using a bench scraper flip the dough over, cover with a tea towel rest the dough for 15-20 minutes. While the dough rests, throughly coat the inside of a 9x5" (23cm X 12cm) loaf pan with olive or coconut oil. Set aside.Flour the work surface and using a bench scraper flip the dough back over. Use the photos in the blog post to help guide shaping. Gently shape the dough into a rough rectangle (sort of a football/oblong shape if you can) by dimpling the dough (think focaccia), to roughly 6" wide and 8-10" long. Fold the dough lengthwise 2/3 over onto itself and crease it firmly using the pinky side of your hand. Fold the 1/3 piece left towards the crease and pinch the seam closed. Fold in the ends, coming in about an 3/4" - 1" and pinch the seam closed. Flip the bread over and rock it back and fourth a bit and gently fluff the ends in. Cover with a tea towel and allow the dough to rest for about 5-10 minutes. Scrape your work surface area of any excess flour and very lightly spritz it with water. Place the dough on the spritz of water (seam side down) and using lightly floured hands, cup the back of the dough and gently pull the it towards you until the surface is taught. Gently "fluff" the ends in again if needed to fit into the loaf pan.Once the surface is taut and with one swift move, use the bench scraper to scoop the dough up and, place the dough into the prepared loaf pan. If there's any misshapen edges that need tucking in, use a moist rubber spatula to gently finesse and shape the edges of the dough down into the pan.
- Proof the Dough (second rise): Cover the pan with a damp tea towel and allow the dough to rise until the dough rises to about 3/4" - 1" (2cm - 2.54cm) above the lip of the pan at the center of the dough. The amount of time will vary depending on ambient temperature. At 70F (21C) proofing takes about an hour. In my chilly kitchen, about two hours.Set an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat your oven to 450F (232C).
- Bake the Dough: Lightly spritz the top of your loaf with water and sprinkle 1-2 Tbs of Rolled oats over the top. Place the loaf into the oven and then, reduce the oven temperature to 400F (204C). Bake for 45-55 minutes, rotating and tenting the loaf at about 25-30 minutes so it doesn't get too dark. The bread is ready when the internal temperature of the loaf is between 190F - 205F (87C - 96C). When done, transfer to a wire rack. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack. Cool 1 hour before slicing.
- Storage Notes: Sourdough is best consumed on the same day it's baked, but it lasts for 3-4 days stored at room temperature. Store at room temperature cut side down.This bread freezes beautifully. Store baked bread in a freezer bag either whole or sliced for up to two weeks. Thaw at room temperature. This bread can go straight from freezer to toaster to make the most delicious toast!