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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!

Ingredients

Egg Wash

Instructions

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.

Joni Boyce

Friday 21st of January 2022

I absolutely love this recipe! It turned out perfectly the very first time, although it took a long time to proof (I keep my home on the cooler side). My loaf finally fully proofed by closing it a cold oven and turning the light on. I adapted my last batch by adding currants, orange peel, pecans, honey and cardamom to the last stretch and fold. Makes a delicious and decadent breakfast loaf. Thanks so much for sharing. I’ll be using this recipe as a base for who knows what type of mad scientist/baker shenanigans!

Butter For All

Tuesday 25th of January 2022

Hi Joni!

Your adaptations sound heavenly! I'm thrilled you had such great success! Thank you for posting a review :)

Courtney

Jane

Monday 20th of December 2021

Will this recipe work for brown and serve type rolls?

Butter For All

Monday 20th of December 2021

Hi Jane!

Absolutely, this recipe makes incredible rolls! Just warm them in the oven prior to serving!

Help you have a great holiday!

Courtney

Sarah

Saturday 13th of November 2021

This is my favorite sourdough roll recipe, I love it. Have made it more times than I can count. Question: To make ahead and reheat would you bake completely, partially or not at all before freezing? Thanks!

Butter For All

Monday 22nd of November 2021

Hi Sarah!

THANK YOU! I needed some good vibes today!

I would bake completely, defrost, wrap, and then reheat at 300 degrees until hot through.

Bridgette

Thursday 8th of April 2021

Do you suggest letting the dough rise in the refrigerator? How long would it be ok to let it stay on the counter, due to the eggs? Thanks for your help!

Butter For All

Friday 21st of May 2021

Hi Bridgette,

The dough will be just fine overnight. Sourdough has lactic acid that acts like a preservative. I've never encountered a problem with a long slow ferment at room temperature!

Butter For All

Sunday 11th of April 2021

Hi Bridgette,

I actually get asked this a lot. The dough is perfectly fine to stay out at room temperature and I've never had a problem fermenting dough with eggs or milk for as long as between 8-16 hours. The acids in sourdough act as a kind of preservative that is further increased by the fermentation process. If you are worried about it, you can let it double at room temp and then shape it and let the second rise happen slowly in the fridge, but I wouldn't worry personally!

I hope you love the recipe!

Courtney

Carly

Monday 3rd of August 2020

Hi,

Another question. If you make this into two loaves, how long do you think they should cook for?

Thank you!

Carly

Friday 16th of October 2020

@Butter For All,

I did make them and actually a couple different ways (braided, in loaf pans). I’m finding that it usually take about 35 or so minutes in my oven but I usually test with an internal thermometer. Love the recipe! It’s my kids go to for sandwich bread or even a snack!

Butter For All

Thursday 15th of October 2020

Hey Carly!

I'm so sorry I missed these comments. Once I've approved comments from someone they can post again and it don't get notified. Trying to figure out why now.

Anyway, I would go for 30 min for two loaves. If you've already made them, let me know how it went!

Courtney

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