Sourdough bread ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and snacks in between meals, include everything from the obvious, smashed avocado on sourdough, to the overlooked, pâté with pickles or tuna melts, to the sublime, French onion soup with sourdough croûte au fromage. Here’s what to eat with sourdough for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
These sourdough bread ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and those snacks in between meals, are for those of you who have been keeping yourselves busy baking sourdough bread while you’ve been staying at home and social distancing, and are running out of ideas for things to do with your sourdough.
I have to confess that during my first year of sourdough baking, Lara and I were quite content to eat a whole boule sliced with lashings of salted butter. We just took so much pleasure in the crunchy crust, tangy taste and wonderful texture of the bread. There are few things more delicious than a slice of freshly baked sourdough, smothered in butter.
Now that I’ve been making sourdough for over two years, and since the world went into lockdown I’ve been baking every two to three days – because no matter what the sourdough cynics say, baking your own sourdough is cheaper than buying it from a bakery, it’s easy once you get the hang of it, and it’s deeply satisfying – we’re using our sourdough for everything from breakfast toast and sandwiches for lunch to bruschetta, tapas and pinchos, and sourdough croutons and crumbs for salads and soups.
So if you’re not sure what to do with sourdough bread now that you’ve perfected your sourdough starter and sourdough loaves and are consistently making crusty, chewy, airy boules, then these are our favourite ways to eat sourdough bread, where loaves always get finished. Here are our best sourdough bread ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and snacks in between meal.
And if you haven’t tried your hand at sourdough yet, see my simple sourdough starter recipe, my beginner’s guide to baking sourdough, and my no-knead sourdough pizza recipe and more of our sourdough starter discard recipe ideas.
Sourdough Bread Ideas – What to Eat with Sourdough for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Sourdough Bread Breakfast Ideas
Sourdough Bread With Butter – But Not Straight From the Oven
Slow down there. We know it’s exciting, pulling your sourdough bread straight from the oven. The thought of cutting into a piping-hot boule and slathering butter on warm slices is very tempting. But once you remove your loaf from the oven, you actually need to let sourdough get down to room temperature before slicing into this amazing bread. Because if you listen to your sourdough bread after taking it out of the Dutch oven, it’s still crackling. This is because moisture is still moving from the loaf and this helps dry the bread. If you speed up the drying process by cutting into the bread, it will result in a drier loaf.
The joy of cutting into a loaf that’s still a little warm can still be had by just cutting a small slice from a side of the bread to test – not cutting the loaf in half for that Instagram shot. After look at the ‘crumb’ (the bread’s texture), do spread some butter on it if you wish, and check how sour the loaf tastes. If you’re happy with the tanginess of the bread, write down everything you did to make that particular loaf – the hydration, the proofing times, and so on, so that you can replicate it next time. But most of all, enjoy that first taste of this beautiful bread.
Bacon and Egg Breakfast Sandwich
Once the loaf has cooled, one of the best sourdough bread ideas for breakfast is a bacon and egg sandwich. Who said you can’t have sandwiches for breakfast? It’s hard to go past two thick slices of sourdough generously spread with butter and filled with a couple of rashers of bacon and a runny fried egg. You could also replace the butter with olive oil, or grill some cheese on the top slice, or perhaps sprinkle on some finely sliced spring onions or chives, or chilli flakes, or tomato sauce. You could also toast the bread, but who wants to do that to just-out-of-the-oven sourdough? Or you could wait until lunch and make the best salad sandwich ever. See below.
Sourdough Bread with Pâté and Pickles
There are few sourdough bread ideas so simple and no words to describe how sublime is the combination of fresh baked sourdough bread spread with rustic French pâté. We could have this for breakfast, lunch or a pre-dinner snack. For breakfast, I’d present it with a plate of gherkins or cornichons, pickled radishes, vine-ripened tomatoes, and boiled eggs. But we had it tonight as an early evening nibble. Chunky slices of the sourdough I baked today spread with lashings of a good French pâté from the Pyrenees that’s popular here in Cambodia that was left over from Lara’s num pang pâté recipe. I tell you, French pâté on fresh sourdough bread is such a treat. For dinner, you could serve it as a starter to a traditional French meal. Follow it with a French onion soup and a Bœuf à la Bourguignonne (we still love Julia Child’s recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking) or a Côte de Bœuf and you’re in a great place on a cold night.
Toasted Sourdough Bread with Salted Butter and Spreads
The day after you’ve pulled your sourdough from the oven (if there’s any left!), you’re probably going to want to toast the bread, which is when – to me – sourdough really stands out. Simply toasted – noting that sourdough bread takes longer to toast than commercial ‘sandwich’ bread – you’ll probably want to just slather your sourdough with quality New Zealand butter and homemade jam and pair it with a pot of tea or heady cups of coffee. It reminds you of the reason why you made sourdough bread in the first place. I love lashings of berry jams – and Lara likes her mango jam – spread on top of a good semi-salted butter. A tangy sourdough is also well-matched with our old Aussie friend, the divisive Vegemite.
Sourdough Bread Brunch Ideas
Toasted Sourdough Bread with Eggs – Scrambled, Poached or Fried
Some of the best sourdough bread ideas for brunch or weekend breakfasts have to involve eggs; whether they’re fried, poached or scrambled, you can’t go wrong. But there’s something about sourdough that it matches perfectly with creamy scrambled eggs. Slice a thick piece of sourdough, toast it, butter it, generously spoon your scrambled eggs on top, and sprinkle on plenty of coarse salt and pepper, and you have crunch, creaminess, and savouriness in each mouthful. The thing with sourdough bread is that it doesn’t go soggy under the weight of the scrambled eggs. Also try our scrambled eggs with Arabic sausage and za’atar toast or scrambled eggs with smoked, salmon caviar and dill. With every sourdough boule, we recommend you make at least one brunch or breakfast eggs dish. For ideas, see our post on weekend eggs from around the world.
Avocado on Sourdough Toast
For Lara, the best sourdough bread ideas for brunch involve avocado. She’s been eating sliced or mashed avocado on toast since she was a kid growing up in Sydney in the 1970s when avocados were fashionable. Being the culinary historian and avocado toast enthusiast she is, Lara says that contrary to popular belief, Bill Granger was not the first person to served smashed avocado on toast at Bill’s in Sydney in the early 1990s. Lara worked at far less-famous inner-city Sydney cafés during her first years at university in the mid-Eighties, where avocado toast was a weekend brunch staple. She used to take avocados and crunchy Ryvita to work and mash the avo onto the crispbreads in her office, but she said nothing beats avocado on sourdough toast with salt and pepper. Australians also love to sprinkle on some dukkah or chilli flakes.
Sourdough Bread Lunch Ideas
Good Old Fashioned Salad Sandwich
One of the best sourdough bread ideas for lunch has to be a good old-fashioned salad sandwich. I personally love to keep it simple to let the sourdough shine: cheese, tomato and lettuce, with lettuce on both the bottom slice and beneath the top slice of the sourdough bread so that the cheese and tomato are sandwiched between the lettuce so the tomato doesn’t make the bread soggy. Add anything you want: grated carrot, sliced Spanish onions, julienned cucumber, crunchy slices of radish, bean sprouts, a handful of your favourite fragrant herbs, a dollop of homemade hummus, leftover roast chicken… although I have to say that my favourite sandwich combination is simple: cheddar cheese and beetroot, using the lettuce to stop the beet juice from making the bread soggy. This is best done as soon as the bread is cooled.
Tuna Melt with Toasted Sourdough Bread
I have always been suspicious of the tuna melt as cheese and seafood on the one plate offended my sensibilities. Dishes such as lobster mornay and oysters mornay make me sad and sorry for the waste of beautiful seafood. I first made a tuna melt with normal sandwich bread and thought it was, well, edible. Then I made a tuna melt as an open sandwich on sourdough toast and my world changed. A tuna melt seriously is one of the best sourdough bread ideas for lunch there is. Tuna melt essentials include tinned tuna, mayonnaise, diced onion, pickles, Dijon mustard, tomatoes, and salt and pepper combined in a bowl. Lay down some tomato slices, scoop the tuna mix on top, cover with cheddar cheese, grill, and let me know if you agree.
Sourdough Snack Ideas
Bruschetta, Tapas and Pinchos
Some of the best sourdough bread ideas for pre-dinner snacking include classic Italian bruschetta made with ripe tomatoes, olive oil and basil, and an amazing array of Spanish tapas and pinchos, as they are called in the beautiful Basque region. Sourdough is not usually used for these snacks, but we think it works better because of the crunchy crust and the texture and structure of the bread which makes for a stronger vehicle for your toppings – if your sourdough slice can bend, you’ve done something wrong. Our favourite tapas and pincho toppings tend to be classic combinations, such as cream cheese with anchovies and Spanish tortilla with mayonnaise. We also love the luxuriant combination of smoked salmon with salmon roe, the Middle Eastern influenced hummus with grilled red peppers, grilled eggplant and coriander, and I’m also partial to tuna salad with anchovies. But you don’t have to stick with the classics. You can get creative as the Catalan and Basque chefs and invent your own combinations.
Sourdough Bread Dinner Ideas
French Onion Soup with Sourdough Croûte au Fromage
We love a hearty French onion soup, however, I’m highly unlikely to make this comforting soup here in Cambodia when the outdoor temperature is hovering around 40˚C right now. We’ll wait for winter when I’ll make a pot of soup and croûte au Fromage which seriously is one of the best sourdough bread ideas for dinner. Given how much time it takes to nurse those onions to a beautiful caramelised state, it would be a shame to ruin the dish with toasted sandwich bread. Sourdough bread is the best for making croûtes (toasted bread with cheese) because they still retain a little crunch if you make it in the oven. It’s the same process as making croutons (below) and gives you a drier bread that can handle the Swiss cheese and parmesan cheese topping.
Sourdough Bread Croutons
Sourdough bread makes the best croutons ever, perfect for soups and salads, such as a Caesar salad or a classic salad Lyonnaise. If you’re in a hurry you can just toast slices of the bread and then chop them up into smaller pieces, but if you have a little time, it’s better to put the sourdough pieces on a tray and toast them in the oven. You simply preheat the oven to 230˚C. Combine butter and olive oil in a large bowl and brush it over the slices of bread on an oven tray and baking sheet, and sprinkle with salt, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Bake until the bread is golden, remove, and then cut it into croutons. Any little crumbs can be thrown into the bowl for your salad. Lara recently sprinkled these over her grilled corn salad with lime, chilli, lemongrass mayonnaise and sourdough croutons.
Sourdough bread makes amazing toasted breadcrumbs, too. You can make your sourdough breadcrumbs using the method above, but leave out the butter and olive oil. To make rustic breadcrumbs, put the toasted sourdough pieces in a plastic or cotton bag and hammer it with a rolling pin. To make fine sourdough breadcrumbs, put them in a food processor. Because they are already toasted they’re not really suitable for dishes where breadcrumbs are used to coat or bind meat, but they’re great sprinkled over pasta, such as carbonara and puttanesca, or used to add texture to a salad, such as that grilled corn salad I mentioned above, or to sprinkle over grilled corn on the cobs with lime butter and lemongrass mayo. The breadcrumbs keep quite well in a jar as they’re pretty dry, but you can put them in a freezer bag and freeze them for up to six months.
When You Really Can’t Eat Anymore Sourdough – Freezing Your Sourdough Bread
And speaking of freezers, I was shocked when I first heard Patrick Ryan, the baker whose videos on YouTube got me started on making sourdough, suggest popping sourdough bread in the freezer and said that it comes back great from the freezer. In pre-pandemic times, the only things in our freezer were ice cubes, chicken stock, frozen peas, and puff pastry. But he’s right. I do pop any uneaten sourdough loaves in the freezer from time to time and when I need to make croutons, I defrost the bread and it’s fantastic. I wouldn’t make a sandwich with it, but I’d certainly toast it with no problem at all. Sourdough is quite an amazing bread.
If you’re still staying at home and self isolating, do check out our posts on quarantine cooking with ideas for stretching out meals to prolong the period between shopping trips and engaging cooking projects to keep you focused and calm.