Are you a fan of warm, freshly baked sourdough bread? If so, you may have found yourself wondering how long to let sourdough cool before slicing into it. As it turns out, letting your sourdough cool is just as important as baking it properly.

In this article, we’ll explore the science behind letting bread cool and why it’s so crucial to the overall quality of your bread. We’ll also give you a brief overview of the sourdough bread-making process, so you can better understand how cooling fits into the equation.

Finally, we’ll provide you with some useful tips on how to determine the ideal cooling time for your sourdough bread and avoid the common mistakes that many home bakers make. So whether you’re a seasoned sourdough baker or just starting out, keep reading to learn how to let your sourdough cool like a pro! 


Why It’s Important to Let Sourdough Cool

Why is it so important to let your sourdough cool before slicing into it? The answer lies in the science of bread-making. When bread is baked, the high temperature causes the moisture inside the bread to turn into steam, which creates air pockets that give bread its signature light and fluffy texture. If you cut into bread too soon, these air pockets will collapse, resulting in a denser and chewier texture. In the case of sourdough bread, which is known for its complex flavor and texture, cutting into it too soon can also affect the flavor and aroma. Additionally, cutting into hot bread can also result in a messier and uneven slice, making it difficult to achieve the perfect slice for your sandwich or toast. 

But the negative effects of cutting into bread too soon go beyond just texture and flavor. Sourdough bread, like any bread, continues to bake and undergo chemical reactions even after it’s removed from the oven. During this time, the bread is still “cooking” and setting up its final structure. If you cut into the bread too soon, you’re disrupting this process and may end up with undercooked or gummy bread. This can also increase the risk of foodborne illness if the bread is not fully cooked. 

On the other hand, if you let your sourdough cool properly, you’ll be rewarded with a perfectly textured and flavored bread. Letting the bread cool allows the moisture to redistribute evenly throughout the bread, resulting in a more consistent texture. It also allows the flavors to fully develop, resulting in a more complex and satisfying taste. Finally, letting your sourdough cool completely before slicing it also makes it easier to handle and slice, allowing you to fully appreciate the beauty of your homemade bread. So the next time you’re tempted to cut into your freshly baked sourdough, remember the science behind cooling and the benefits of waiting. 


How Long to Let Sourdough Cool

Now that we’ve discussed the importance of letting your sourdough cool, you might be wondering how long you should wait before slicing into it. The truth is, the ideal cooling time can vary depending on a few factors. 

Firstly, the size of your loaf can affect the cooling time. Larger loaves will take longer to cool than smaller ones, so keep that in mind when determining your cooling time. 

 Secondly, the temperature and humidity of your environment can also affect how quickly your sourdough cools. A cooler and less humid environment will result in a faster cooling time, while a warmer and more humid environment will slow down the cooling process. 

As a general rule, it’s best to let your sourdough cool for at least an hour before slicing into it. However, for larger loaves, you may need to wait up to 2 hours to ensure that the bread has fully cooled. It’s also a good idea to use a wire cooling rack to allow for proper air circulation and faster cooling. 

 So how can you tell when your sourdough is cool enough to slice? A good rule of thumb is to wait until the bread is at room temperature before slicing into it. You can test the temperature by feeling the bottom of the bread or using a thermometer to check the internal temperature, which should be around 68-71°F (20-22°C). If the bread is still warm to the touch, it’s best to wait a bit longer to avoid the negative effects of cutting into hot bread. 

 By taking the time to properly cool your sourdough, you’ll be able to enjoy all of the benefits of this delicious and satisfying bread. So be patient, let your bread cool, and savor the delicious flavors and textures that come with a perfectly baked sourdough. 


Tips for Cooling Sourdough Bread

Now that you know the importance of letting your sourdough cool and how long to wait before slicing into it, let’s talk about some best practices for cooling your sourdough bread. 

Firstly, as mentioned earlier, it’s important to use a wire cooling rack to allow for proper air circulation and faster cooling. Placing your bread on a flat surface can trap moisture and heat, resulting in a longer cooling time and a less desirable texture. 

Secondly, you should make sure that your bread is properly covered during the cooling process to prevent it from drying out. However, it’s important to allow some air to circulate around the bread to prevent condensation from forming, which can also affect the texture. 

When it comes to avoiding common mistakes, one of the biggest ones is cutting into your bread too soon. As we’ve discussed, this can result in a dense, chewy texture and can also increase the risk of foodborne illness if the bread is not fully cooked. So be patient and resist the urge to cut into your bread too soon! 

Another common mistake is storing your bread before it has fully cooled. If you store your bread while it’s still warm, you risk trapping moisture and heat, which can result in a soggy texture and mold growth. So make sure your bread has fully cooled before storing it in an airtight container or bread box. 

Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that the ideal cooling time can vary depending on your specific recipe and environment. So don’t be afraid to experiment with different cooling times and methods to find what works best for you and your sourdough. 

By following these best practices and avoiding common mistakes, you can ensure that your sourdough bread is perfectly textured, flavorful, and safe to eat. So take your time, savor the process, and enjoy the delicious results of your homemade sourdough! 



In conclusion, letting your sourdough cool is a crucial step in the bread-making process that should not be overlooked. By allowing your bread to cool properly, you’ll be rewarded with a perfectly textured, flavorful, and safe-to-eat sourdough. Remember to keep in mind the factors that can affect cooling time, use a wire cooling rack for proper air circulation, and avoid common mistakes like cutting into your bread too soon or storing it before it has fully cooled. By following these tips and best practices, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a sourdough master and impressing your friends and family with your delicious homemade bread. So be patient, enjoy the process, and savor every slice of your perfectly cooled sourdough!