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Buttermilk Sourdough Bread With Honey and Oats

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This is the kind of bread that makes a sandwich exceptional. 

Pinterest collage image showing slices of buttermilk sourdough with text.

When I set out to develop this recipe I spent a lot of time testing different shaping techniques. I finally settled on a beautiful and functional sandwich loaf. Baking this rich bread in a loaf pan really supports the hearty oat-filled dough. 

The texture is chewy with rolled oats and has a semi-open soft crumb. It slices like a dream for making sandwiches and toast!

A sliced loaf of buttermilk sourdough showing the open and textured inner crumb.

Buttermilk: The Special Ingredient 

I really only started making this bread because I was churning so much cultured raw butter that I needed a use for my very tangy and delicious raw buttermilk. Buttermilk is the only hydrator in this recipe, besides the sourdough starter, and it adds a richness, more protein, and a lot more tang to this dough.

The tangy buttermilk flavor is balanced perfectly by the soft mild oats and earthy sweetness of the honey.

Because your buttermilk will undoubtedly be a different consistency than mine, I am including a range of measurements. Start slowly with 75% of the buttermilk, then if needed add in more a little at a time until all the dry ingredients are moistened sufficiently. 

A thinly sliced loaf of buttermilk sourdough bread with real raw butter and a second loaf in the background.

Two Loaves of Buttermilk Sourdough Are Better Than One

This recipe yields two standard sandwich-sized bread loaves. Perfect for the big and busy family who makes a lot of sandwiches, breakfast toast, and French toast. This bread also freezes really well so you can have one prepared in advance, or one for you now and one to give away!

Top view of a loaf of sliced buttermilk sourdough showing the semi-open crumb.

A sliced loaf of Buttermilk Sourdough showing the open and textured inner crumb.

Buttermilk Sourdough Bread With Honey and Oats

Yield: 2 Sandwich Loaves
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Additional Time: 14 hours
Total Time: 15 hours 35 minutes

Sweet and tangy buttermilk sourdough with honey and oats is the sliceable sandwich loaf you've been dreaming about!


  • 250 grams (1 cup stirred down) active sourdough starter, 100% hydration
  • 640 grams (3 cups) buttermilk
  • 120 grams (6 tablespoons) honey  
  • 18 grams (2 1/2 teaspoons) salt
  • 600 grams (4 cups) sifted whole wheat flour
  • 200 grams (1 2/3 cups) organic rolled oats


The Night Before

  1. In a large mixing bowl add the starter, 75% of the buttermilk, honey, and salt. Stir this mixture together well with a dough whisk or wooden spoon.
  2. Add the flour and oats and stir them in until they are fully incorporated.
  3. Add a little more buttermilk if the dough is too dry. Remember that the oats will absorb some moisture, so it is best to have it on the moist side.
  4. Let the dough rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Do a series of stretch-and-fold kneading in the bowl.
  5. Let the dough rest again and repeat this process two to five more times. Follow the video instructions for stretch and fold found here.
  6. Cover the dough and let it ferment at room temperature (65 to 70℉) overnight.

The Next Morning

  1. Do a series of stretch and folds in the bowl to deflate the dough. This is the punch down.
  2. Coat two loaf pans with butter.
  3. Flour your work surface and turn the dough out onto it.
  4. Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a loaf. My technique follows:
  5. Working one at a time, pat the dough into a rectangle about as wide as the loaf pan. Fold the top third of the rectangle down toward the middle and gently press it down. Then roll the two top thirds over the bottom third. Let the dough rest with the seam side down.
  6. Once both loaves are shaped and rested for a few minutes, carefully transfer them to the prepared loaf pans for the final rise.
  7. Spray the top of each loaf with water and sprinkle them with oats if desired!
  8. Cover the loaves and let them double at room temperature.
  9. Preheat your oven to 400℉. Place the loaves side by side in the oven on the center rack.
  10. Bake the loaves for 35 to 40 minutes.
  11. When done, remove them from the oven, and remove them from the loaf pans to a wire cooling rack.
  12. Let them cool completely before slicing.


300 grams of bread flour and 300 grams of whole wheat flour can be substituted for the sifted whole wheat.

A sliced loaf of buttermilk sourdough with text overlay.


Sunday 22nd of August 2021

Hi Courtney, This bread sounds delicious. Wondering what one can substitute for buttermilk if needed.


Butter For All

Monday 23rd of August 2021

Hi Heidi!

You can use regular milk, or if you want a tart flavor like buttermilk then use 50/50 milk and plain yogurt. Even a little sour cream mixed with milk would be nice!

Hope that helps!



Sunday 20th of December 2020

Hi Courtney,

Can I mix all ingredients, knead the dough with mixer (skip the stretch and fold steps) and let it rise? Deflate, shape and let it rise again for the 2nd time before I bake?

Thank you


Sunday 20th of December 2020

@Butter For All,

hahaha thank you, so very sweet of you. I am not a pro, just started my sourdough journey few months ago during lock down haha. But hope I can be a pro like you one day ๐Ÿ˜†

Lots of love from Singapore ๐Ÿ’•

Butter For All

Sunday 20th of December 2020

Hi Astrid!

Yes, that should work beautifully! You sound like a pro! ;)



Saturday 19th of December 2020

Hi, can I leave this to ferment on the counter from the afternoon until the next morning, or should I put it in the fridge? My starter will be ready to use before this evening, and I'm afraid 18 hours is too long to leave it out on the counter.


Sunday 20th of December 2020

@Butter For All,

Well, by the time I finished stretching and folding and resting a few times, it was 7:30 pm so I just left it inside my microwave (it's warmer in there than on my kitchen counter) to rise overnight. This is my first time making sandwich bread, I made your sourdough loaf day before yesterday (a frisbee, it was my first attempt at a sourdough, lots of room to improve!). I found the dough to be easily tearing, maybe because of the whole wheat so I 'wet' my hands with a little more buttermilk to pinch in during the stretch and fold. Nothing like jumping in to the deep end your first day of learning to swim! They are now in the loaf pans, for their final rise and I will bake them this morning. Fingers crossed!

Butter For All

Sunday 20th of December 2020

Hi Aimee,

I would just wait until right before bed to make the dough. Your starter will be fine, even if it's past prime. Otherwise, If you did make the dough in the afternoon, then yes, you want it to just about double before putting it in the fridge. Then take it out in the morning, shape it and let it have it's second rise at room temp!

Hope this helps and isn't too late!



Thursday 3rd of December 2020

So just wondered if the dough doesnโ€™t double over night is there anything else to be done to get it to double?

Butter For All

Saturday 5th of December 2020

Hi Amber,

If the dough doesn't double, the most common issue is with starter strength. Starter strength is especially important with dough that has extra weight like oats and protein and fat from buttermilk. I would suggest feeding you starter every 12 hours, until the starter is doubling or tripling in volume in 6-8 hours. Once that happens then you should be good to go.

You could try a little warmer environment (oven with light on), if it's chilly in your house, but typically and overnight ferment is more than enough to get the dough to double. If it goes much longer than that it will be really sour!

I hope this helps, please let me know!



Tuesday 29th of September 2020

This looks delicious! Can't wait to try it. We often have a little (soaked overnight before cooking) oatmeal left after breakfast. Could I sub that for the uncooked oats? Would I just add it after the initial proof?

Butter For All

Sunday 4th of October 2020

Hi Rebekah!

Thank you! You can absolutely sub cooked oats. I would mix them in at the beginning when you are combining all ingredients. You might want to adjust the hydration just a bit since the oat will already be hydrated. Start slowly with the buttermilk, only adding as much as you need to make a nice dough. Let me know how it goes!


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