Sourdough Sandwich Bread

Texture is important to me as I’m sure it is to you.  I’ll disappoint some of you by saying this, but making bread takes practice.  There are so many variables that go into making a truly delicious loaf of bread. I rarely make bread when it’s raining.  The rain changes the way my bread turns out and not for the better.
Sourdough Sandwich Bread

Sourdough Sandwich Bread

As a rule of thumb the dough should be soft, smooth, pull away from the bowl but should stick to the bottom of the mixing bowl.  Let’s get started.  You’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup lukewarm Water
  • 2-1/4 tsp rapid-rise/instant Yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 cups sourdough starter
  • 3-1/2 – 4-1/2 cups Bread Flour (white unbleached)
  • 1 tbsp Real Salt
  • 1 cup (110 degrees F.) organic/raw Milk
  • 2 tbsp unsalted Butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp raw Honey
  • 2 tbsp Coconut oil

Start by testing your yeast. Add water, yeast and sugar to your mixing bowl, let sit for about 10 min., if it foams up, your good to go. Add sourdough starter, cover the bowl and leave it sit for while to allow the sourdough to work.  I forgot it this afternoon for several hours, it got a little crusty on top, I just mixed it back in.

While your waiting heat the milk, add butter, you can add the honey at this time to the milk but I normally just add it to my yeast mixture, even if it’s hardened.  When the milk mixture has cooled add it to your yeast bowl.  Add honey if you haven’t already.

Mix on medium for about two minutes or until everything is combined. Continue added flour, mixing on 2 until a dough ball starts to form. This recipe calls for 3 1/2 cups of flour, I think I actually used 4 1/2 cups.  It doesn’t matter what matters is the texture and feel of your dough.  You don’t want to add too much flour, the dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl but should stick to the bottom.

Prepare 2- 9×5 loaf pans, I like to line them with parchment paper and just grease the ends with coconut oil.

Knead for at least a total of ten minutes. While the bread is kneading, grease a large bowl with coconut oil, drop the dough and rotate until all sides are coated with oil. Set in a warm, not hot place for about 60 minutes, doubling in size.

Cut the dough in half. Shape, let rise again until double in size.  This loaf grows very little in the oven (at least at 4,000 feet).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a pan of hot water on the shelve below to put moisture in the oven. I use a square baking pan with an inch of hot water.

When ready, put bread in oven, turn down to 350 degrees after five minutes (if you are baking at 4,000 feet). Bake for about 40 to 50 minutes. It is done when you tap the bottom of the loaf and it sounds hollow.

This is the recipe that inspired mine, but it’s really not the same bread anymore.

American (White) Sandwich Bread

Here is another recipe you may want to try.  Looks yummy.

Sourdough Sandwich Bread




Fluffy Dinner Rolls

These dinner rolls are tender and buttery; they simply melt in your mouth. I use this recipe all the time and share it with my friends.  Fluffy Dinner Rolls are just the beginning. This dough makes the best hot dog buns, onion rolls, garlic rolls, herb rolls, meat pockets, even cinnamon rolls.  The list is endless.

The trick to making these rolls is adding the last bit of flour a tablespoon at a time, to the mixer. (I use a Kitchenaid for all my bread dough.) As the dough firms up, watch it pull away from the sides, until all that sticks is the bottom. Be sure to mix it until the dough forms a ball. The dough will turn into a ball, and as you mix the dough the dough will try to settle on the bottom, add a tablespoon more flour mix in then stop.

You control just how light and fluffy they are. The more flour you add the more dense they will be, after a point.

For a change of pace, add some sourdough starter, after the yeast proofs, just remember to reduce the flour accordingly.  The more you make this recipe, the more comfortable you’ll become at making changes.


Substitute one cup wheat flour.

Wheat Sandwich Rolls*

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105-115)
1/3 cup sugar + 1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons RealSalt
1 cup scalded milk
1 egg, room temperature, lightly beaten
4 1/2 cups 
bread flour (or all-purpose flour)
2 tablespoons melted butter, for brushing rolls
2 tablespoons coconut oil, for the bowl

*Substitute one cup of bread flour for wheat flour.


Step 1:  Add yeast and one teaspoon of sugar to your mixing bowl,  add a 1/4 cup of warm water to your mixing bowl. (Water should feel comfortably warm when dropped on wrist.)  Let sit 10 minutes.  Add remaining sugar, 2 cups of flour and RealSalt to mixing bowl.

Step 2:  Scald milk (warm milk just until a film develops on the top) then add butter directly from the refrigerator to the pan with the milk.  The butter will cool the milk until just about right.  Cool mixture to 100 to 115 degrees F.

Step 3:  Add milk mixture to yeast, then beat in egg. Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed.

Step 4:  Add one cup of flour, knead until all the flour is mixed in, continue adding flour a little at a time. Knead the dough lightly for 5 minutes, working in the remaining flour. Place dough in a bowl, greased with coconut oil; turn the dough until all the dough in coated. Cover and let rise in a warm (not hot) place until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

Fluffy Dinner Rolls

Fluffy Dinner Rolls

Step 5:  Punch dough down and lightly knead dough on a lightly floured pastry cloth. (I have a large plastic map that works well for this.) Dough will be slightly sticky, but use as little flour as possible for flouring your hands and the pastry cloth, otherwise the rolls will not be as feathery light as they should be. Pinch off small chunks of dough and shape into round rolls about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches in diameter. (I use a scale and for the rolls I weigh them out between 2 oz. and 3 oz.) Place in neat rows, not quite touching, in a coconut oiled 13- by 9- by 2-inch pan. Cover rolls and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 30 to 40 minutes.

Hamburger Buns

Hamburger Buns

Step 6:  Brush tops of rolls with melted butter, then pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Place rolls in oven, turn the heat down to 375 degrees F, bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until nicely browned. Serve warm with plenty of butter.

You can make hamburger and hot dog buns out the dough too.

Tips for Baking @ 4k

Welcome to Baking at 4,000 ft. Here you will find tips to help you turn out a perfect loaf of bread every time. I use only organic flour, butter, farm fresh eggs and raw milk.  We do our best in the Hall family, to avoid pesticides, genetically modified organisms and other health affecting toxins.

The first thing you need to remember the darker the pan, the better. Light colored aluminum pans don’t bake well in the mountains, if that’s all you have, just remember things can burn and still appear undercooked. Use a thermometer.

Sourdough Croissants

Sourdough Croissants with Ham, eggs and cheese.

You will notice the last thing to be added to each recipe is the flour.  That is where we will make most of the recipe adjustments.  After doing this for awhile you will be able to judge the dough from sight and touch.  You can really feel a good dough when you begin to roll it out.

I always add about two tablespoons of liquid. So, if the recipe calls for 1 cup of water, use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons.  The same goes for milk. When it’s raining in the mountains, I don’t even attempt to make bread because it’s just not right.  The bread is always dry.

We are attempting to develop a really good sourdough croissant, I’ll let you know when I’ve finished.


English Muffin Recipe

English MuffinsRecipe: English Muffins
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Weather: Cloudy, rainy, intermittent rain
Temperature: Indoors 70 °F, Outside 58.7 F
Humidity: Indoors 39%, Outside 58%
Barometric Pressure: 26.15 inHg
Baking Time: 0
Baking Temperature: °F
Customization:  I added about a tablespoon extra of water, 1/2 teaspoon more Real Salt. I also dropped the temperature down from 325 to 300.  They took a little longer but they felt better.

Cook half of the dough as English muffins and the other half as English-muffin bread!


  • English Muffins2 (1/4-oz.) pkgs, active dry yeast (2 Tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (110F)
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 butter, melted
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 5-1-2 to 6 cups all purpose or bread flour
  • cornmeal

In large bowl of electric mixer, dissolve yeast and sugar in water.  Let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.  Add milk, honey, butter, salt and 2 cups flour.  Beat at medium speed with electric mixer 2 minutes or, beat 200 vigorous strokes by hand.

Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.  Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Clean and grease bowl;  set aside.  Knead dough 6-8 minutes or until smooth and elastic.  Place dough in greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover with a slightly damp towel.  Let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until slightly more than doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.  Generously sprinkle cornmeal over 2 greased baking sheets; set aside.

Do not punch down dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough until 1/2 inch thick.  Use a 3-inch cutter to cut dough into rounds.  Place on prepared baking over tops of rounds.  Place on prepared baking sheets. Gather up remaining dough; reroll and cut into rounds.

Generously sprinkle cornmeal over tops of rounds.  Lightly press cornmeal into surface of each round. Cover rounds with waxed paper.  Let rise until doubled in bulk, 30 to 45 minutes.  Preheat a griddle or large heavy skillet over medium-high heat or, preheat electric griddle or skillet to 325 F.  Sprinkle cornmeal over griddle.  Do not grease. Bake muffins on hot griddle or skillet.  Use 2 forks to split muffins.  Toast before serving.  Makes about 20 English muffins.


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Tricky Sourdough Bread

I’ve had quite the time trying to come up with just the right texture and taste combination for sourdough bread.  You might think, “Hey, what’s the big deal?”, but it’s really tricky getting any bread to turn out consistently at this elevation and the precipitation plays a big part in that.

Whenever it rains, my oven takes longer to heat up, and bread may or may not turn out at all.  I’ll give you an example. [Here’s the recipe]

Once you have a healthy, refreshed starter (see recipe for “Sourdough Starter Refreshment”), the bread will take about 24 hours (over the course of two days) before it is ready for baking. It is best to start the recipe in the morning, no more than 12 hours after the last feeding of the starter.

I started baking Thursday evening about 9 p.m. or so.  I was supposed to mix some flour and some water into my starter and let it rise until doubled, “two or three hours”.

MAKE THE SPONGE: In bowl or container with at least 1-quart capacity, use rubber spatula to stir together starter and water until fully combined. Stir in flour until combined; mixture should resemble thick pancake batter. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature (about 72 degrees) until doubled in bulk, 2 to 3 hours.

Now, mind you, there’s no commercial yeast in the mixture.  It’s just sourdough starter, flour and water.  I left it on the table to rise. It took all night and half the next day to double in bulk.

LET THE DOUGH RISE: Lightly spray container or bowl with at least 4-quart capacity with nonstick cooking spray; place dough in container and lightly spray surface of dough. Take internal temperature of dough; then cover tightly with plastic wrap. If temperature registered below 78 degrees, set container at room temperature (about 70 degrees) in draft-free spot; if warmer than 78 degrees, set container at cool room temperature (about 65 degrees) in draft-free spot. Let stand until dough doubles in bulk, 3 to 5 hours.

Then it got tricky.  I took my dough’s temperature. It was 68 F. I sat the dough on the counter until the next day before it had doubled in bulk.  It took me four days to make two loaves a bread!  I must be crazy.  The bread was good, but I don’t always have 4 days to wait.

I’ve got three recipes for sandwich sourdough bread, which is what I really want.  I love the taste of it, and it’s great as toast, which I love with eggs.  Just a few more months and I should have eggs from my very own chickens.

The bread is good.  Try the recipe. If you aren’t at 4,000 feet it should work fine.  🙂