Sourdough Pullman Loaf

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We love baking bread, and there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of pulling a warm, freshly baked loaf out of the oven. One of our favorite types of bread to bake is the sourdough pullman loaf. This bread is soft and fluffy with a slightly tangy flavor, and it’s perfect for sandwiches, toast, or just enjoying with a spread of butter.

To make a sourdough pullman loaf, you’ll need a few key ingredients and some patience. The process starts with making a sourdough starter, which is a mixture of flour and water that’s left to ferment for several days.

Once the starter is ready, you’ll mix it with more flour, water, salt, and a little sugar to create the dough. After kneading and shaping the dough, it’s left to rise before being baked in a pullman loaf pan. The pan is unique because it has a lid, which helps the bread bake evenly and gives it a square shape. Overall, making a sourdough pullman loaf is a fun and rewarding experience that’s well worth the effort.

What is a Sourdough Pullman Loaf?

If you’ve ever tasted a slice of freshly baked bread with a crispy crust and a soft, fluffy interior, you already know what makes a sourdough Pullman loaf so irresistible. This type of bread is made using a sourdough starter, which is a mixture of flour and water that has been fermented over time. The sourdough adds a tangy flavor to the bread and also helps to create a chewy texture.

A Pullman loaf is a type of bread that is baked in a special pan called a Pullman pan. This pan has a lid that helps to create a square-shaped loaf with a uniformly dense texture. The sourdough pullman loaf is a popular variation of this bread that is made using a sourdough starter instead of commercial yeast. This gives the bread a unique flavor and texture that is hard to replicate with other types of bread.

To make a sourdough Pullman loaf, you will need to start by creating a sourdough starter. This can take several days, as the mixture needs time to ferment and develop the necessary bacteria and yeast. Once you have a healthy sourdough starter, you can mix it with flour, salt, and water to create the dough for your bread. After the dough has risen, you will shape it to fit into your Pullman pan and let it rise again before baking. The result is a beautiful, square-shaped loaf with a delicious sourdough flavor and a soft, fluffy interior.

Sourdough Pullman Loaf 

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Additional Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 55 minutes


  • 400 Grams Bread Flour
  • 100 Grams Water
  • 125 Grams Whole Milk
  • 200 Grams Sourdough Starter
  • 50 Grams Butter (Melted)
  • 25 Grams Sugar
  • 10 Grams Salt


Feeding the Starter

  • Take 25 grams of your leftover sourdough starter (whether it's at room temperature or stored in the fridge) and add 100 grams of bread flour along with 100 grams of water.
  • Combine all the ingredients thoroughly in a jar, ensuring there are no dry flour remnants.
  • Use a rubber band to mark the level of the starter and allow it to rest at room temperature or in a warm spot within your home for a duration of 4-8 hours, or until it doubles in size.
  • Once the starter has reached approximately double its original volume, proceed with the recipe by incorporating it into the dough.
  • Note: My personal preference is to prepare the starter in the evening before bedtime, allowing it to double in size overnight for use in the morning.

Mixing the Dough

  • In a mixing bowl, measure out the water, milk, risen sourdough starter, melted butter, sugar, and salt.
  • Stir these components together until they are thoroughly combined, and the starter has dissolved.
  • Next, introduce the bread flour to the mixing bowl along with all the other ingredients.
  • Stir the mixture until the flour is fully hydrated, forming a rough dough, and don't forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough rest for 10-15 minutes. This brief resting period facilitates proper hydration of the flour and improves the dough's cohesion, making it easier to knead.


  • Following the short rest, knead the dough by hand for a duration of 6-8 minutes, either on the kitchen counter or inside the mixing bowl. The dough should become relatively smooth during this process.
  • Note: If you prefer a shorter kneading time, you can knead the dough for three minutes in the bowl, let it rest for five minutes, and then knead it again for another three minutes.
  • Once adequately kneaded, shape the dough into a ball, place it back into the mixing bowl, and cover it with a kitchen towel.

The First Rise

  • Allow the dough to rise for 3-6 hours at room temperature or in a warm area of your home until it approximately doubles in size.
  • No folding or kneading is necessary during this rising period; simply let the dough relax as the sourdough starter works its magic.

Preparing the Pullman Pan

  • When the dough is nearly doubled in size, grease a 2 lb Pullman-style loaf pan with either butter or vegetable oil.
  • Although the Pullman pan I prefer is highly non-stick and technically doesn't require greasing, I choose to grease it with butter for the lightly caramelized flavor it imparts.
  • Ensure that you grease the bottom, sides, corners, and the inside of the lid of the pan.


  • Once the dough has risen to about twice its original size and feels somewhat puffy and filled with air, it's time to shape it for the pan.
  • Lightly dust your kitchen counter with flour, then turn the dough out onto it, ensuring the seam side faces up and the smooth side rests against the counter.
  • Flatten the dough into a disc, stretching it into a rectangle slightly shorter than the length of your bread pan.
  • As this style of sourdough bread doesn't require airy bubbles, it's acceptable to expel most of the air.
  • Roll the rectangular dough into a cylinder and transfer it into your bread pan with the seam side facing down. The dough is now shaped and ready for proofing.


  • Cover the dough by attaching the Pullman pan lid on top.
  • Allow the dough to proof or rise for 3-6 hours, or until it nearly reaches the top of the pan. Once it's almost there, it's ready for baking.


  • Preheat your oven to 400°F for a minimum of 30 minutes to ensure it reaches the correct temperature.
  • Place the dough on the middle rack of the oven with the lid securely in place on the pan. The lid traps steam around the dough, resulting in a lightly crisp and thin crust.
  • Bake the sourdough Pullman loaf for 45 minutes with the lid on.
  • After 45 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and take off the lid. Transfer the bread onto a wire rack.
  • If the bread is golden brown and reaches an internal temperature of 190°F when probed with a thermometer, it's fully baked and can be left to cool on the wire rack.
  • If the bread appears slightly pale or hasn't reached the desired internal temperature, place it on a sheet pan and return it to the oven. Continue baking for an additional 5-10 minutes and check again. After this additional baking time, your loaf should be golden brown and ready to cool.


  • Carefully remove the loaf from the oven and place it on a wire rack.
  • Let the bread cool on the wire rack for at least one hour before slicing into it.
  • Even without a high-quality bread knife, this sourdough Pullman loaf is easy to slice. Due to the square pan's ability to trap steam while baking, the loaf develops a delicate, thin crust that's easy to cut.
  • Enjoy the subtly sweet and complex flavors of this sourdough sandwich bread, perfect for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or a delicious slice of buttered toast.


  • Personally, I prefer to prepare my starter in the evening before bedtime. By the following morning, the starter has doubled in size and is ready for incorporation into the bread dough.
  • If you'd like to minimize the kneading time, a quicker approach is to knead the dough for three minutes in the bowl, then allow it to rest for five minutes before kneading it again for an additional three minutes.
  • While this recipe specifies whole milk, you have the flexibility to substitute it with your choice of dairy or non-dairy milk.
  • If you don't have bread flour on hand, you can easily use all-purpose flour or a combination of bread flour and all-purpose flour to achieve a similar result.
  • Instead of sugar, honey can be a suitable substitute in this recipe, lending a different flavor profile to the bread.
  • For those looking for a dairy-free option, you can replace butter with a neutral vegetable oil.
  • Keep in mind that while substitutions are possible, altering too many ingredients may impact the flavor and texture of the dough. For optimal results, try to stay as faithful to the original recipe as possible.
Course: Breakfast

Benefits of Using a Pullman Loaf Pan

Using a pan with a sliding lid allows you to create perfectly square slices with a soft and fluffy interior. This is because the lid ensures that the dough rises evenly, creating a uniform shape. Pullman loaf pans are especially useful for making sourdough bread, as the dough needs to be shaped and handled carefully to avoid overworking the gluten. The Pullman pan provides a perfect environment for the dough to rise, resulting in a tender crumb and a crispy crust.

Another benefit of using a Pullman loaf pan is that it saves space in your kitchen. The square shape of the loaf means that you can fit more slices in a smaller area than you would with a round loaf. This makes it ideal for sandwiches or toast, as you can get more use out of each slice. Additionally, the pan is easy to clean and store, as it can be stacked neatly with other pans.

Finally, using a Pullman loaf pan gives you more control over the baking process. The sliding lid allows you to adjust the amount of steam in the pan, which can affect the crust and crumb of the bread. You can also experiment with different types of flour or add-ins, knowing that the pan will help you achieve consistent results. Overall, a Pullman loaf pan is a great investment for any baker who wants to make beautiful, delicious bread at home.

Making the Sourdough Starter

Ready to elevate your homemade bread game? Let’s dive into making a starter that will take your loaves to the next level. Sourdough bread gets its distinctive flavor and texture from a sourdough starter, which is essentially a mixture of flour and water that has been left to ferment for several days. Making your own sourdough starter is easy and only requires a few ingredients: flour, water, and time.

To make a sourdough starter, you’ll need to combine equal parts flour and water in a large mixing bowl. Mix the ingredients together until everything is fully incorporated, cover the bowl with a clean towel, and let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours. After 24 hours, discard half of the mixture and feed the remaining mixture with another equal part of flour and water. Repeat this process every day for about a week until the mixture becomes bubbly and active.

Once your sourdough starter is active and bubbly, you can use it to make all sorts of delicious bread. To make a sourdough pullman loaf, simply mix your starter with flour, water, and salt, knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic, and let it rise before baking it in a pullman loaf pan. The result is a delicious, tangy loaf of bread that’s perfect for sandwiches, toast, or just enjoying on its own. So go ahead and give it a try – your taste buds will thank you!

Mixing and Kneading the Dough

When it comes to making sourdough bread, choosing the right flour is essential for achieving the perfect texture and flavor. We recommend using high-quality bread flour or a mixture of bread flour and whole wheat flour. Kneading and shaping the dough also play a crucial role in creating a successful loaf. Follow our tips for kneading and shaping to ensure your bread turns out perfectly every time.

Choosing the Right Flour

You’ll feel confident in your flour selection after considering the factors that affect the texture and flavor of your bread. The type of flour you use will play a crucial role in the overall quality of your sourdough pullman loaf. Gluten content, protein levels, and milling technique are just a few factors to consider when choosing the perfect flour for your recipe.

First, gluten content will determine the chewiness and elasticity of your bread. Bread flour typically has a higher gluten content than all-purpose flour, making it perfect for bread baking. However, if you prefer a softer texture for your sourdough pullman loaf, consider using all-purpose flour instead.

Additionally, protein levels are important to consider, as they affect the amount of gluten that will be formed. Higher protein levels will result in more gluten development, while lower protein levels will yield a softer, less chewy texture. Lastly, the milling technique will also affect the texture and flavor of your bread. Consider using stone-ground flour for a nuttier flavor and coarser texture, or opt for a more finely milled flour for a smoother, lighter loaf.

Tips for Kneading and Shaping

Now it’s time to get our hands dirty and perfect our kneading and shaping techniques for a deliciously fluffy and aesthetically pleasing sourdough pullman loaf. Kneading is an important step in bread making as it develops the gluten in the flour, which gives the bread its structure. It’s essential to knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic.

We can do this by hand or with a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. If kneading by hand, we should use a surface that won’t stick to the dough and sprinkle some flour on it. We should also lightly flour our hands. We can then use the heel of our hand to push the dough away from us, fold it over, and rotate it. We should repeat this process until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Shaping is also an important step in bread making as it affects the final appearance of the bread. We can shape the dough into different shapes such as a boule, batard, or pullman loaf. To shape a pullman loaf, we should first roll out the dough into a rectangle and then fold it into thirds like a letter.

We should then place the folded dough into a greased pullman loaf pan, seam side down. We should let the dough rise until it reaches the top of the pan and then bake it in a preheated oven. With these tips in mind, we can now confidently knead and shape our sourdough pullman loaf to perfection.

Proofing and Baking the Loaf

When it comes to making a perfect sourdough pullman loaf, proofing and baking are two crucial steps that mustn’t be overlooked. Proofing the dough is important because it allows the dough to rise and develop flavor, and it’s the step that transforms the dough into a light and airy loaf. Baking in a pullman loaf pan is also essential for creating the perfect texture and shape, and there are a few key steps to follow for success.

Importance of Proofing

Proofing your bread is crucial to achieving the perfect texture and flavor that you crave in your homemade bread. It is during this stage that the yeast in your dough becomes active and begins to produce carbon dioxide, which causes the dough to rise.

This is what gives your bread its airy and light texture, and allows it to develop those desirable sourdough flavors. The amount of time you proof your dough will depend on a number of factors, such as the temperature of your kitchen and the hydration level of your dough. As a general rule, bread should be proofed until it has doubled in size.

But proofing isn’t just about doubling in size. It also allows the gluten in your dough to relax and develop, which gives your bread its chewy texture and helps it to maintain its shape during baking. If your bread is underproofed, it may collapse during baking, resulting in a dense and unappetizing loaf.

On the other hand, if your bread is overproofed, it may become too airy and develop large holes, which can also affect the texture and shape of your loaf. So, while proofing may seem like a tedious step in the bread-making process, it is absolutely essential to achieving a delicious and beautiful loaf of bread.

Steps for Baking in a Pullman Loaf Pan

If you’re looking to achieve a perfectly-shaped, even-textured loaf of bread, you’ll want to follow these simple steps for baking in a rectangular pan. First, make sure your dough has been properly proofed. This means allowing it to rise at least twice, so that it has enough time to develop the necessary gluten structure. Once your dough has been proofed to perfection, you can begin the process of shaping it to fit your pullman loaf pan.

To do this, lightly flour a clean surface and gently press your dough into a rectangular shape. Roll it up tightly, keeping the seams on the bottom, and place it into the greased loaf pan.

Cover with a damp towel and allow it to rise again for another hour or so, until it reaches the top of the pan. Finally, preheat your oven and bake your loaf for about 45-50 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches around 200°F. This will ensure that your bread is fully cooked and has the perfect texture for slicing and serving.

By following these simple steps, you can create a beautiful, evenly-textured sourdough pullman loaf that’s perfect for sandwiches, toast, or simply enjoying on its own. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different flours, seasonings, or toppings to make your bread truly unique and delicious!

Serving and Storing the Sourdough Pullman Loaf

Now that we’ve baked our sourdough pullman loaf to perfection, let’s talk about how to best enjoy it! As sourdough is a versatile bread, there are many ways to serve and pair it. From a simple slice with butter to using it as a base for bruschetta, the possibilities are endless.

However, proper storage is also crucial in maintaining the bread’s freshness and flavor. We’ll go over some tips on how to store the loaf properly and its expected shelf life.

Tips for Serving and Pairing

As you consider serving and pairing options for this delicious sourdough pullman loaf, think about the different flavor profiles and textures that could complement its unique characteristics. This bread has a slightly tangy flavor and a dense, chewy texture, which pairs well with a variety of toppings and spreads.

To enhance its flavor, try serving it with some homemade butter or a drizzle of olive oil. You can also add some sweetness to the bread by spreading a layer of honey or jam on top.

If you’re looking for something more savory, try pairing the sourdough pullman loaf with some cured meats or cheeses. The bread’s tangy flavor helps to cut through the richness of the meat and cheese, creating a well-balanced flavor profile. Some other great options include roasted vegetables, soup, or even a hearty stew.

The dense texture of the bread makes it perfect for dipping and soaking up the flavors of whatever dish it’s paired with. With so many delicious options to choose from, the sourdough pullman loaf is a versatile bread that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.

Proper Storage and Shelf Life

Don’t let your bread go stale! Learn how to properly store and extend the shelf life of your delicious, chewy creation. Sourdough pullman loaves are best stored at room temperature for up to 4-5 days.

However, if you want to store it for a longer period, it’s best to freeze it. Cut it into slices first, wrap each slice in plastic wrap, and place them in a freezer-safe bag. This way, you can easily grab a slice whenever you want to make a quick sandwich or toast.

When you’re ready to use your frozen sourdough pullman loaf, simply take out the slices you need and thaw them at room temperature. You can also toast them straight from the freezer. Be sure to consume the bread within 2-3 months for optimal taste. Proper storage and good handling practices will help you enjoy your sourdough pullman loaf to the fullest.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to make a sourdough pullman loaf from start to finish?

When it comes to making bread from scratch, there are a lot of variables that can impact the time it takes to go from start to finish. Factors like the type of bread, the ingredients used, and the temperature in your kitchen can all play a role. However, as experienced bakers, we can confidently say that most bread recipes take anywhere from 4-8 hours to complete.

This is because most bread recipes require a few hours of rising time, as well as time for shaping and final proofing. Of course, some breads may require longer or shorter rising times, but as a general rule of thumb, you should expect to spend at least a few hours on any given bread recipe.

Can a pullman loaf pan be used for other types of bread?

We love using our pullman loaf pan for all sorts of breads. It’s a versatile tool that can be used to make sandwich loaves, banana bread, even pound cake! The pan creates a perfectly rectangular shape that’s perfect for slicing and stacking. We love how the lid helps the bread bake evenly and gives it a nice crust.

Plus, the pan is easy to clean and makes for a great presentation when serving. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or just starting out, a pullman loaf pan is definitely a tool worth adding to your collection.

What is the difference between a sourdough pullman loaf and a regular sourdough bread?

When it comes to different types of sourdough bread, there are a few key differences that set them apart. For starters, the type of flour used can greatly impact the flavor and texture of the bread. Additionally, the length and method of fermentation can also play a role.

Some sourdough breads may have a more tangy flavor, while others may be more mild and nutty. Ultimately, the key to a great sourdough bread is a well-developed starter and a patient approach to the baking process. With the right ingredients and techniques, a sourdough loaf can be a delicious addition to any meal.

Can a sourdough pullman loaf be made gluten-free?

When it comes to baking gluten-free bread, there are a few key factors to consider. First and foremost, you’ll need to choose the right type of gluten-free flour blend that will produce a texture and flavor similar to traditional wheat-based bread. Additionally, you may need to adjust the hydration levels and baking time to ensure that your loaf cooks evenly and has a nice crust.

While making a gluten-free sourdough pullman loaf may be challenging, it is certainly possible with the right ingredients and techniques. With a bit of experimentation and patience, you can create a delicious gluten-free loaf that is perfect for sandwiches or toast.

Can different types of flour be used in a sourdough pullman loaf recipe?

When experimenting with different types of flour in a bread recipe, it’s important to keep in mind the varying protein content and gluten development potential of each type. For example, all-purpose flour typically has a protein content of around 10-12%, while bread flour can range from 12-14%. Whole wheat flour tends to have a higher protein content than all-purpose flour, but also contains more bran and germ which can interfere with gluten development.

Rye flour, on the other hand, contains very little gluten and is often used in combination with wheat flour to add flavor and texture to bread. When making a sourdough pullman loaf, it’s possible to experiment with different types of flour to achieve the desired texture and flavor, but it’s important to keep in mind the impact on gluten development and adjust the recipe accordingly.


Overall, making a sourdough pullman loaf is a satisfying and rewarding experience. The unique taste and texture of the bread, combined with the satisfaction of creating something from scratch, make for a truly enjoyable baking project.

Using a pullman loaf pan adds an additional layer of benefits to the process, allowing for a tightly shaped loaf with a perfectly square shape. Plus, the convenience of being able to slice uniform pieces makes this bread ideal for sandwiches or toast. With a little practice and patience, anyone can create a delicious and impressive sourdough pullman loaf to enjoy at home. So why not give it a try and experience the satisfaction of baking your own bread?

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