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Soft and Sweet Sourdough Rich Dough

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If you are looking for a traditionally leavened, super soft, lightly sweet, rich dough recipe then this is your lucky day!

I’ve been messing around with this recipe for a few months and even before it was perfect it was sooooo good. The dough is easy to handle, ferments beautifully, and tastes incredible.

A collage of sourdough rich dough loaves with text overlay.

I chose the classic braided presentation for my photos but any shape will work well. This rich dough makes wonderful dinner rolls, sweet buns, filled pastries, and brioche.

Perfectly soft and tender sourdough cut into slices to show the crumb.

What Is a Rich Dough?

Rich dough is short for a dough that has been enriched. Enrichment is typically done by adding fats and sweeteners. Most often enriched dough or rich dough has whole eggs or egg yolks, butter, milk, and sugar added into the dough to make it soft and sweet. The addition of fats in rich dough also shortens gluten strands, making the crumb more tender. Rich doughs are delicious and in this case made even better with healthy real-food fats and unrefined sugar.

Try this bread sliced thin, brushed with butter, and baked for the most delectable toast points you’ve ever had. Serve your toast points with a classic Chicken Liver Pâté or my famous Cranberry Apple Duck Liver Pâté.

Perfectly toasted toast points made from this rich dough sourdough bread.

Of course my favorite way to eat this bread is sliced and slathered with pastured butter!

A braided sourdough challah sliced and slathered with butter.

Perfectly soft and tender sourdough with the right balance of sweetness. #starter #bread #sourdough #fermented #realfood #nourishing #wisetraditions #challah #braidedbread #sweetbuns #dinnerrolls #sweetbread #richdough #brioche

Soft and Sweet Sourdough Rich Dough

Yield: 12 Servings
Prep Time: 1 day
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 day 40 minutes

The perfect multipurpose rich dough for challah, rolls, buns, pastry, brioche, and more!


Egg Wash


The Night Before

  1. Whisk the starter, cooled melted butter, egg yolks, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
  2. Add the milk and whisk again.
  3. Using a dough whisk, stir the flour into the liquid in two additions until fully combined.
  4. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes before doing a series of three to five stretch and folds with wet hands or a dough whisk.
  5. Repeat the resting and stretch and fold process up to five more times.
  6. Cover the bowl and leave it in a cool place overnight. If your house is very warm, let it double before refrigerating it for the remainder of the time.

The Next Morning

  1. Do a stretch and fold of the dough in the bowl to deflate it.
  2. Lightly flour your work surface and turn the dough out on it.
  3. Divide the dough and shape it into your desired shape.
  4. Move your dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Let the dough double.
  6. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  7. Mix the egg yolk and water to make an egg wash. Brush it lightly over the dough covering all exposed areas.
  8. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes depending on the loaf size.
A rich sourdough challah loaf with text overlay.

April R

Thursday 18th of April 2024

Waiting to bake our challah loaves. But I wanted to ask how long should you wait between the stretch and folds? I waited between 20-30 min and that seems to have worked...we'll see more after baking. I'm excited!

Butter For All

Thursday 18th of April 2024

Hi April!

I'm excited for you too! It sounds like your timing was perfect. It really depends on the dough. If the dough has relaxed after the last stretch to the point where you can stretch it again and it's not ripping, then you have waited long enough. Usually, it can be anywhere from 5-30m between stretching. Let us know how it turned out!



Friday 7th of April 2023

Hi! I’m wondering if I could sub avocado oil for the butter? And then a milk alternative for the milk to make it dairy free?

Butter For All

Tuesday 18th of April 2023

Hi Marilee!

Yes, you can sub both. Hope you enjoy it!


Sunday 2nd of April 2023

What is your reasoning behind only using the egg yolks? Eggs are so expensive now it seems like such a waste to use only the yolks.

Butter For All

Tuesday 25th of April 2023

Hi Amy,

This is a really good point. I have a plethora of eggs from my hens and this was written a few years ago so I guess that point wasn't on my radar. I like to use the yolks only because the texture is so much more delicate that way but if you'd like to use whole eggs, just use one or two less eggs and adjust the other liquids to compensate. I'm sure it will work well either way!

Best to you!



Sunday 5th of March 2023

Do you have a video anywhere of you making this bread? I’m new to bread making and sourdough and I’ve found it’s so much easier for me to following along if I can see what my bread is supposed to look like at each phase.

Butter For All

Sunday 5th of March 2023

Hi Miranda!

I do not. But next time I make it, maybe I can film it. You can follow my YouTube channel or get on my mailing list to be informed of future videos when they come out.

Happy baking!


Saturday 7th of January 2023

Thank you for this recipe. It was very soft and delicious. Mine had a very strong sour flavor which is fine. I braided mine and made one giant loaf. Next time I will form 2 loaves and cook in a loaf pan.

Butter For All

Wednesday 18th of January 2023

Sounds great, Tina! Let me know how the loaves work out!

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