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Sourdough Lemon Loaf – Light and tender!

This sourdough lemon loaf is light and tender and a delicious use of sourdough discard starter. It can be made and baked in under 2 hours, or there is the option to cold-ferment the batter overnight.

sliced lemon loaf.

Cold fermenting allows the flour to absorb more moisture from the batter, which can lead to a more moist crumb. Additionally, slow fermentation helps break down the proteins in the flour.

The sourdough starter that’s ideal to use is one that hasn’t been recently fed – this will make it acidic and it creates a more tender bread.

The prominent lemon flavour in this loaf comes from lemon zest, rubbed into the sugar until it releases all those lovely lemon oils. Then the baked loaf is topped with a simple but tasty lemon glaze. It’s a beautifully simple recipe, that tastes amazing.

There is a mixture of butter and oil in this sourdough lemon loaf. The butter brings the flavour, but the oil ensures the bread stays moist for days.

sourdough lemon cake

Here’s how to make it!

  1. I bake this in an 8.5×4.5 inch loaf pan. It makes the loaf a bit higher than a 9×5 inch pan. I start by lining my pan.
lemon peel in sugar.
  1. Then take your time rubbing lemon zest into sugar. This step smells uh-mazing!
whisking eggs.
  1. Next it’s time to whisk in the wet ingredients, including sourdough starter.
spatula stirring batter.
  1. Then add in the dry ingredients. Fold it all together gently so it doesn’t get over-mixed.
a pan of batter.
  1. Then, you can add the batter to the pan and bake right away. Alternatively, cover the pan tightly and cold-proof overnight.
  1. Once the sourdough discard lemon loaf has been baked, let it cool and then drizzle with lemon glaze.
sourdough lemon cake side view.
  1. Time to serve!


Store any leftover sourdough lemon loaf at room temperature for up to 3 days, in an airtight container. Alternatively, refrigerate for up to a week.

sliced lemon cake.
sliced lemon loaf.

Sourdough Lemon Loaf

Elien Lewis
This sourdough lemon loaf is light and tender and a delicious use of sourdough discard starter. It can be made and baked in 2 under hours, or there is the option to cold-ferment the batter overnight.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Snack
Cuisine American, New Zealand
Servings 8
Calories 339 kcal


  • 250 g all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon zest finely grated
  • 115 g butter melted and cooled
  • 15 g olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 30 g fresh lemon juice
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 100 g sourdough discard room temperature
  • 180 g milk room temperature


  • 140 g powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Splash of milk


  • Line an 8.5×4.5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang so the loaf can be easily lifted out once baked.
  • If baking right away, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Whisk the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add granulated sugar and the grated lemon zest. Use your fingertips to gently rub the zest into the sugar to release the lemon oils.
  • Add in the melted butter, oil, eggs, lemon juice, sourdough discard, vanilla extract, and milk. Whisk until well combined.
  • Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and fold with a rubber spatula until combined. At this point, the batter can be baked right away or cold fermented.
  • Cold-fermenting (optional) – Cover the bowl tightly and place it in the refrigerator for up to 16 hours.
  • Scoop the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the loaf in the oven for around 55-60 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • After baking, let the loaf sit in the pan for 20 minutes before removing. Let it cool down to room temperature on a wire rack.
  • Mix together the glaze ingredients once cooled, then drizzle it over.


Cup conversions – Use the toggle to see US-customary cup conversions. Note that these are smaller than metric cups and this recipe is best made using grams for consistency.


Calories: 339kcalCarbohydrates: 69gProtein: 6gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 328mgPotassium: 115mgFiber: 1gSugar: 44gVitamin A: 128IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 117mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Lemon, Sourdough, Sourdough Discard
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5 from 1 vote

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