Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread


If you are looking for a whole wheat sourdough bread recipe that is soft and lofty then this is your ratio.

Getting a whole grain loaf to cooperate can be tricky. They are often dense, and sometimes they even feel undercooked. I have come up with a great formula that produces a very soft and springy loaf with all the great flavor of real whole grain. The secret lies in the flour.



The Right Flour Is Essential

I like to use an ultra fine sifted whole wheat flour for this recipe. It is similar to whole wheat pastry flour. The wheat is ground very fine and then passed through a sieve to remove any large pieces of bran.

Straight grind whole wheat will also work but it might not be quite as light and airy. It will still have a wonderful flavor and texture. Play around with different grinds until you find your own personal favorite!



Want To Learn Everything I Know About Sourdough?

Sourdough is a complex system, but I have written down everything I’ve learned since my sourdough journey began in 2002! So start by reading through my sourdough guide:

Demystifying Sourdough – Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About Sourdough Starter – Why It’s Better For You – And How To Start One

0 from 0 votes
Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
2 d

The perfect formula to make a soft and light loaf of honey sweetened whole wheat sourdough bread.

Course: Baking, Bread
Cuisine: American, Traditional
Keyword: Honey, Sourdough, Starter, Whole Wheat
Servings: 12
Author: Butter For All
For Dusting
The Night Before
  1. In a large bowl mix all ingredients into a shaggy dough.

  2. Use wet hands to knead the dough in the bowl, just until it comes together.

  3. Let the dough rest for 5-10 minutes.

  4. Do a series of stretch and folds in the bowl as shown in this video. Repeat the stretch and fold process 4-5 times, waiting about 5 minutes between each turn.

  5. Cover the bowl and let the dough ferment overnight at room temperature.

The Next Morning
  1. Do one stretch and fold in the bowl to deflate the dough.

  2. Lightly flour your work surface (I like to use sprouted whole wheat flour for this step) and turn the dough out onto the flour.

  3. Shape the dough into a loaf by patting it into a thick rectangle. Pull the top towards the middle and use your fingertips to seal the seam. Flip the dough around and pull what was the bottom third down over the seam, again sealing it with your fingertips. Crimp the ends of the loaf and pul them toward the center just a little bit. This should give you a thick log shape. Let the loaf rest seam side down on the flour surface for 5 minutes.

  4. Place the dough upside down in a generously floured (again sprouted flour works best) brotform banneton. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place the dough in the refrigerator for 6 hours to 48 hours or let it rise at room temperature until doubled.

  5. Preheat your oven to 400° with a baking stone inside. Alternatively you can bake the loaf in a clay baker at 450° by following the manufacturer's instructions.

  6. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the loaf and turn the proofed dough out onto the parchment.

  7. Score the top of the loaf with a lame, razor blade, or sharp knife.

  8. Move the loaf to the oven or clay baker using the parchment as a sling.

  9. The bread will benefit from a heavy spray of water on the raw dough at this step. Alternatively you can place a pan of steaming water on a lower rack in the oven.

  10. Bake the bread for 35-40 minutes, spraying it with water one or two more times 5 -10 minutes into baking. If you have added honey to the recipe the bread will darken quickly. If the bread is getting too dark place a sheet of parchment over the top of the loaf. If you are using a covered baker, bake with the lid on for 25m, and off for 15m.

  11. Remove the bread from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack completely before slicing.

Recipe Notes

This recipe makes a large loaf. You can split it between two small loaf pans if you want a smaller sandwich size loaf! Bake smaller loaves at 400º for 30 minutes. 




  1. Susie

    Hi. I have stoneground organic red wheat flour…it does not seem super fine as you suggest/for this;recipe. Could I use the food processor to make it more the consistency you recommend.
    Thank you

    • Hi Susie,

      You shouldn’t need to, the recipe will work well with stoneground wheat. It might just be a little more dense. You could certainly try grinding it further, but you don’t want the flour to get hot in the food processor. I would personally just bake with what you have! Add a little bread flour to get a better loft!

      Hope that helps!


  2. Zilpha

    This is a great and simple recipe! I’ve only been making sourdough for the last 5 or so months, so I’m still a newby, and this was my first go at a whole wheat loaf. I was a little worried because my dough was fairly wet but after letting it rest, doing stretch and folds, and the overnight ferment it dried up enough. My second ferment took about 8ish hours in the fridge.

    I was thankful you listed the option of baking it in a lidded clay baker so I used my dutch oven for the allotted 25 minutes (covered) and 15 minutes (uncovered) in a 450 F oven. Came out beautiful! The only adjustment I made was I added only 80g of honey because I wasn’t sure how sweet I wanted it. I think I’ll add the full amount next time..

    Thank you for all of your wonderful recipes. I’ve been making your cinnamon rolls for the past month or so and they’re a household favorite *staple*.

    • Hi Zilpha!

      I’m so happy to hear this recipe worked for you! It sounds like you are an exceptional SD baker already! Following your instincts and watching your dough are such important factors to getting a good bake. You got it!

      Thanks for the nice feedback,


  3. Helaine

    Hello Courtney

    I have never baked bread. However during this time of isolation thought that trying my hand at sourdough starter would be fun.
    It’s not going well.

    April 14 – 1c rye flour/1c tap water

    April 15 – discard 1/2
    Add 1 c AP flour /1c tap water

    April 16 – same as above

    April 17 – same as above

    April 18 – same as above

    April 19 -same as above

    April 20 -same as above

    April 21 – same as above

    Each day I have liquid buildup on the starter and then I read that my starter is hungry.
    I also read I’m adding too much flour and water. And I read that tap water has chlorine, so I switched to Perrier.

    April 22 – reduce starter to 50 grams
    Add 25 grams of AP flour and 25 grams of Perrier

    April 23 AM – 50 grams of starter
    Add 25 grams of AP flour and Perrier
    April 23 PM – same as above

    April 24 -same as above 2x (am and pm)

    April 25 – AM only – no evidence of bubbles or growth or rising

    Something is not going well. What do you think?


    Sent from my iPad

  4. Kira A Fuchs

    Hello Courtney,

    Thanks to your crystal-clear directions, my first sourdough loaf ever was a success — I am so pleased and proud! I am so grateful for the way you demystify this delicious baking tradition.


  5. Liz

    Wow, this is amazing!! I have made whole wheat sourdough, without any sweetener, but the honey puts this one over the top! Made as written, except I attempted an autolyse period of close to 2 hours. Thank you for another yummy recipe!

  6. I was surprised about your bread being ready after two hours because mine looked ready too. And I thought it needed more time and was rising too fast so I put it in the fridge. Then I got your note.🙃….so I pulled it out of the fridge and it was all cold and hard. So now it is sitting on the open oven door, hopefully to rise again. If not I will chalk this up to a learning experience and keep trying…

  7. Hi again Courtney!
    The risen dough looks amazing. I am now putting it in the banneton…well a makeshift banneton because I dont’ have one yet. When you place the dough in the floured banneton is it seam side up? It seemed the logical thing to do because it is going to be flipped into a baker, right? Also, I don’t have room in my fridge to do the 6 to 48-hour rise but our garage is cool. Would that work? Thanks for the link.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *