Mini Sourdough Bread Loaves

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Sourdough Mini Loaves are a fun twist on my Artisan Sourdough Bread recipe using mini loaf pans! With this method, you can try out multiple add-in flavor combinations, or bake mini loaves to give as gifts. 

Mini sourdough loaves on a wire rack with brown and white tea towel

Why make mini loaves

Not only are mini loafs cute and fun to make, but they also are a great way to get creative! Mini sourdough loaves allow you to try different flavors and add-ins without having to make multiple loaves. Want to share your sourdough love with your friends and family? Make mini loaves to share or to give as gifts! They are also the perfect solution for someone who lives alone or who doesn’t eat as much bread to eat a loaf now and freeze the rest for later. 

mini sourdough bread loaves in the pans and then on a cooling rack

Do you make mini loaves the same way as regular sourdough?

To make the mini loaves you will use the same base recipe as regular sourdough bread, we will be using my Artisan Sourdough Bread recipe.  It only changes when we go to shape the dough and bake it! 

Sourdough add-ins to try

For sourdough add-ins, you can go savory or sweet, and there are so many different possibilities to try! My favorite combinations are jalapeno and cheddar, and everything but the bagel seasoning and cheese, but feel free to get creative! Making mini loaves is a great opportunity to do some sweet and some savory. Or, try a flavor combination that you want to experiment with on just one mini loaf. 

Here are 21 Unique Sourdough Add-ins for you to try in your mini loaves! 

cinnamon swirl sourdough bread in a mini loaf

Helpful tools

Kitchen scaleUsing a scale to measure is much more accurate than using cups plus it is easier to feed your sourdough starter!

Large Mixing bowl – I recommend using at least a 4 qt mixing bowl, and I like to use glass so I can see the dough as it rises, but plastic or stainless steel also works. 

Bread Lame This tool is used to score the top of the mini loaf. You can also use a really sharp knife, but the bread lame gives a cleaner cut. 

Danish dough whisk (use code CountryRoadsSourdough for 10% off) This specially shaped whisk is designed to easily mix the dough. You can also use your hands or spoon but I prefer to use this tool. 

Mini loaf pans to make your mini loaves in! 

Sheet pan + Ice – 10-12 ice cubes – used in the baking process for mini loaves. 

Bread KnifeTo easily slice your sourdough bread with clean slices. 

Three mini sourdough loaves with slices

Why do you need to use ice?

To make the mini sourdough loaves, you will place a sheet pan with ice on the rack underneath the bread in the oven for the first part of the baking. This is done because the ice adds steam, which helps the crust stay soft at the high heat and allows the loaf to fully rise. So be sure to not skip this step! 

If you have a gas stove you will have to experiment a little as gas stoves vent the steam quicker than electric ovens. If you have a gas stove and it doesn’t work baking these, you can place 1 or 2 mini loaf pans at a time, depending on the size, in your Dutch oven instead. 

Ingredients 

Sourdough Starter – You’ll need an active starter that has doubled in size and is bubbly.

Bread Flour- Bread flour has a higher protein content and is preferred for sourdough bread. 

Water- You can use filtered or tap water, either works fine for me!

Salt- Any type of salt you prefer. 

Your choice of add-ins – Get creative! Or see this list of 21 Unique Sourdough Add-ins

three mini sourdough loaves with an overhead view

Take My Online Class

Ready to start making sourdough bread? My online class will teach you everything you need to know to make delicious artisan bread from home on any schedule and at any skill level. Set yourself up for success with clear, concise explanations, easy to follow recipes, and a few extra bonuses. Plus, get access to my private mentoring group, my eBook All Roads Lead to Sourdough, and some of my 100+ year old dehydrated sourdough starter (if you live in the USA).

Enroll in the class ->

How to make Mini Sourdough Loaves

The first steps to making the mini loaves are exactly the same as making a regular loaf, you’ll notice the differences when it comes to shaping and baking the dough. 

Step 1: Feed your sourdough starter

There are a few factors that can affect how your sourdough starter will rise, including the temperature of your house, how much you feed it, and how active it already is. Here are a few different feeding options you can do based on the timing in which you’d like to make your mini loaves. 

1:1:1 ratio (1 part starter, 1 part flour, 1 part flour): This ratio will rise in about 4-6 hours

1:5:5 ratio (1 part starter, 5 parts flour, 5 parts water): This ratio will rise in about 12 hours 

The starter is ready to use when it doubles or exceeds its size and becomes bubbly. If you can’t use the starter right away, you can store it in the fridge until you are ready. 

Step 2: Mix ingredients 

Add the flour, water, salt, and active starter into your large bowl and mix with a Danish dough whisk, spoon, or your hand until it is incorporated and shaggy. Cover the bowl with a dinner plate (not a tea towel!) and let it sit for 30 minutes. 

Step 3: Stretch and fold

This step helps aerate and build strength in the dough. Ideally, you’ll do two or more sets of stretch and folds.

How to stretch and fold:

  1. After you let the dough rest for the initial 30 minutes, grab one side of the dough with a damp hand and shimmy the dough up, and then fold it on itself. Rotate the bowl 90 degrees and then repeat 3 more times 
  2. Re-cover and let sit for 20-30 minutes to let the dough relax
  3. Repeat the stretch and fold one more time (a total of two times) 
  4. If you have additional time, you can do 3-4 sets of stretch and folds (but no worries if you are in a time crunch!) 

Step 4: First rise 

Let the dough sit covered on the counter overnight for about 10-14 hours or until the dough is about 75% risen but not completely doubled. You’ll know it is ready when the dough is aerated with bubbles showing on the sides and the bottom of the dough, and it jiggles when you shake the bowl. If the dough isn’t ready, let it sit in a warm spot and wait until you see these signs before moving on to the next step. 

Step 5: Shape the dough

This is the step where you will divide the dough into mini loaves, and incorporate your add-ins. Shaping the dough is important to create a taut outer skin to create tension and help the dough hold its shape while baking. 

Three sourdough dough balls ready for shaping

 How to shape the mini loaves:

  1. Dump the dough onto an unfloured surface and cut it into three equal parts. 
  2. Take one-third of the dough and gently spread it into a chubby rectangle. If you are adding mix-ins you can add them at this point to the dough. 
  3. Gently pull the bottom of the dough up on top of itself, about ⅓ of the way, and then pull the other side of the dough up on top of both layers (folding it like a letter for an envelope).
  4. Add an additional layer of your add-ins on top of the folded dough. Then starting from one side roll the dough on top of itself into an oblong shape. 
  5. With your hands cupped pull the rolled up dough towards your body to smooth out the surface.
  6. Using a bench scraper or your hands, gently lift the dough and add to the lightly greased mini loaf pan. 
  7. Repeat steps 2-6 for all three parts of the dough to create three mini loaves. 
mini sourdough loaves in three mini pans

Step 6: Second proof:

Cover the mini loaf pans and add to the fridge for the final proof. Let the dough sit ideally for at least 8 hours up to 48 hours. The fridge slows down fermentation which allows the dough to sit for a longer time. The longer the dough sits, the more sour it will taste. 

Step 7: Baking

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 450F. Remove the pans from the fridge and score the top of the dough with your bread lame or sharp knife. 

When the oven is preheated, add the pans to the oven and on the rack below, add a sheet pan with about 10-12 ice cubes on it. After 15 minutes, remove the baking sheet and ice, reduce the heat to 425F, and then bake for an additional 15 minutes. Once baked, remove the bread from the pan immediately and let cool on a cooling rack. I like to use my lanon heat protective gloves (use code countryroads15 for 15% off) to get the bread out of the pans easily. 

When cooled, cut with a bread knife and enjoy! 

overhead view of three mini sourdough loaves

Sample Baking Schedule

This schedule is based on rough estimates but can help you get an idea of what your sourdough schedule will look like. The temperature of your dough, kitchen, humidity, and strength of the starter will all impact the times so while this will give you an estimate it is best to look at the signs the dough is ready to move on. There is flexibility with the schedule, so do what works best for you!

StepsTime
Feed sourdough starter 1:4:4 ratio (i.e. 10 g starter: 40 g flour: 40 g water)8 am
Mix dough7:00 pm
Stretch & folds7:30 pm-8 pm
Shape~7 am
Final proofing in fridge8 am-4 pm
Bake4 pm

How to store and freeze sourdough mini loaves 

You can store a whole mini loaf on the counter with a tea towel over it for up to 2 days. If the inside of the loaf is exposed, you can store it cut side down and cover with a tea towel, or store it in a bread box or ziplock bag. 

The great thing about Mini Sourdough Loaves is that you can freeze them to save for later! Add a whole, or half loaf to a freezer-safe bag and store for later.

To thaw, remove the bag from the freezer and let defrost on the counter for several hours, or if you are in a pinch you can use the defrost setting on your microwave. Once thawed, you can revive the sourdough by popping it in the oven to get the signature sourdough crispy crust again. Run the loaf quickly under running water and then place it in a 450-degree oven until the crust is crispy, about 8-10 minutes.  

More sourdough loaf pan recipes

Loaf pan sourdough bread

Sourdough sandwich bread

Pin for Later

Mini sourdough loaves on a wire rack with brown and white tea towel

Mini Sourdough Bread Loaves

Yield: 3 loaves
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Proofing Time: 12 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 12 hours 40 minutes

Learn how to make mini sourdough bread loaves to try out multiple add-in flavor combinations or bake these mini loaves to give as a gift!

Ingredients

  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) sourdough starter, doubled in size and bubbly
  • 500 (3 1/4 cups) grams bread flour
  • 350 grams (1 1/2 cups) water
  • 10 grams (1/2 Tbsp) salt
  • Optional: add-in ingredients

Instructions

    1. Mix together active starter, water, flour, and salt until a shaggy dough is formed.
    2. After 30 minutes get your hand damp and then perform a set of stretch and folds. Cover and let rest. You now have 2 options: if you will be home and have time, add in 1 or 2 more sets of stretch & folds every 30 minutes or leave the dough to sit on the counter for the remainder of the time. Adding additional stretch & folds does help the loaf to rise more in the oven but both options make delicious bread.
    3. Let the dough sit covered on the counter overnight for about 10-14 hours or until the dough is about 75% risen but not completely doubled. You’ll know it is ready when the dough is aerated with bubbles showing on the sides and the bottom of the dough, and it jiggles when you shake the bowl. If the dough isn’t ready, let it sit in a warm spot and wait until you see these signs before moving on to the next step. 
    4. To shape the dough: dump the dough onto an unfloured surface and cut it into three equal parts. 
    5. Take one-third of the dough and gently spread it into a chubby rectangle. If you are adding mix-ins you can add them at this point to the dough. Gently pull the bottom of the dough up on top of itself, about ⅓ of the way, and then pull the other side of the dough up on top of both layers (folding it like a letter for an envelope). Add an additional layer of your add-ins on top of the folded dough. Then starting from one side roll the dough on top of itself into an oblong shape. With your hands cupped pull the rolled up dough towards your body to smooth out the surface. Using a bench scraper or your hands, gently lift the dough and add to the lightly greased mini loaf pan. 
    6. Repeat step 5 for all three parts of the dough to create three mini loaves. 
    7. Cover the mini loaf pans and add to the fridge for the final proof. Let the dough sit ideally for at least 8 hours up to 48 hours. The fridge slows down fermentation which allows the dough to sit for a longer time. The longer the dough sits, the more sour it will taste. 
    8. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 450F. Remove the pans from the fridge and score the top of the dough with your bread lame or sharp knife. When the oven is preheated, add the pans to the oven and on the rack below, add a sheet pan with about 10-12 ice cubes on it. After 15 minutes, remove the baking sheet and ice, reduce the heat to 425F, and then bake for an additional 15 minutes.
    9. Once baked, remove the bread from the pan immediately and let cool on a cooling rack. To ensure the loaf is fully baked through wait at least 2 hours before cutting. Or if you are like me slice it warm and enjoy warm bread!

Notes

For best results I recommend using the gram measurements instead of cups, as it will be much more accurate.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 118Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 244mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 4g

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