I am so proud of my baby Donatello.
If you’re new here, Donatello is my pet sourdough starter. I first ‘made’ him a little over a year ago at the beginning of 2022 with a little flour, a little water, a whispered prayer and a lot of patience.
Fast forward to a whole lot more flour, water and patience and we’ve finally reached a milestone in his ‘growth’.
The goal of every sourdough parent is for their starter pet to get active/full of enough healthy bacteria and gas to be able to support itself in a loaf of bread, without needing the help of any additional leavening like active or quick yeast to help the bread rise and give it structure.
I waited a really long time to test out whether or not Donatello was ‘ready’ to stand up on his own in baking. For most of this year, I’ve been keeping him fed and active in other sourdough recipes that get a little ‘boost’ from active dry yeast and still turn out really well.
What can I say you guys, I’m a Libra. We don’t handle disappoint well.
But this week I finally decided to kick him out of the nest, let him spread his wings and see what happens. I’m glad I did. Turns out, he was more than ready.
The ingredients for this dough are really simple, but provided your sourdough starter is aged/active enough, it will more than deliver on providing enough flavor. The nuttiness of the whole wheat flour really works well with the tang of the starter as well.
I made these as a sourdough riff on another sandwich buns recipe I made for the blog several years ago. They’re the perfect size for a ‘jumbo’ slider, or a breakfast sandwich. Or you could just eat them on their own, toasted and slathered in butter.
I can personally verify that they’re delicious that way too.
Sourdough Sandwich Buns
- 2 cups (454 grams) ripe sourdough starter, stirred down
- 5 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
- 2 1/2 teaspoons water
- 1 tablespoon of your favorite/preferred mixed seed/spice blend (Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel seasoning works great for this)
In a large bowl, combine the sourdough starter with the water and stir a few times with a spoon.
Add the flours. Use the dough hook on a handheld mixer (or a fork) to combine and mix well, until all of the flour has been absorbed, and the dough has formed a cohesive mass. Add extra flour or water if you need to form a soft, tacky dough.
Cover the dough with a piece of plastic wrap and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
After therest, add the salt and knead the dough with your hands until it’s smooth and supple, though still somewhat soft and tacky. When fully kneaded in, place dough back in the bowl and let rise for 1 hour.
Give the dough a fold: Turn it out onto a floured surface and using a bench scraper, or bench knife, fold like a business letter. Turn the dough 90 degrees. Gently flatten it, and repeat the letter fold. (You should see bubbles/air pockets forming in the dough as you fold) Return the dough tot he bowl, and let rise for another hour.
Place two sheets of parchment paper onto two sheet pans.
At the end of the rise, Place two sheets of parchment paper onto two sheet pans. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently pat it into a large rectangle, about 1/2 inch. Use a 2 1/2 inch cutter (square or circle, doesn’t matter) to cut out individual rolls. Place the rolls on the lined sheet pans. Repeat until you’ve used up all the dough.
Cover both sheet pans of rolls with plastic wrap and damp kitchen towels. Allow to rest and rise until puffy and grown (they may not be doubled in size, but they should’ve grown at least a little), about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Preheat oven to 435 degrees Fahrenheit.
When finished rising, Lightly spray the tops of the rolls with cooking spray and sprinkle the tops with the seed/spice blend. Use a lame or a very sharp knife to draw a slash into the tops of each bun (this help air/gas to escape and aids with the rise)
Bake bread for 20-25 minutes until buns are crusty and golden. (check them early, mine baked quickly).
Remove to a wire rack to let cool completely.
*Thump the bottoms of the rolls with your thumb and forefinger; a hollow sound means they’re done. Bread in general is finished at an inner temp of 200 degrees Fahrenheit.*
Sharing at Fiesta Friday #473.