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Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

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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

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Proofing: 2 days
Total Time: 2 days 1 hour

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

Instructions

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.

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. 

 

 

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Ryan Price

Sunday 14th of June 2020

I'm currently getting ready to bake the loaf, however it has never actually taken shape. It doubles nicely, however when I go to fold it, it's a stick mess. I couldn't even fold it in the loaf pan..seams? what seams? it's a goop. Not even sure what to do at this point.

Butter For All

Monday 15th of June 2020

Hi Ryan,

I'm so sorry to hear that. Maybe I can do a demo of this recipe on my YouTube Channel! I definitely want your bakes to be successful. It could be that your flour needs less water, over-proofed, over-worked, or the flour quality itself. It's hard for me to know without seeing the dough. You can send photos to courtney@butterforall.com if you have any. I'm happy to help you figure it out!

Hopefully it was edible!

Courtney

Susie

Saturday 30th of May 2020

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 Susie

Butter For All

Saturday 30th of May 2020

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!

Courtney

Zilpha

Sunday 3rd of May 2020

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*.

Butter For All

Sunday 3rd of May 2020

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,

Courtney

Helaine

Sunday 26th of April 2020

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?

Helaine

Sent from my iPad

Butter For All

Monday 27th of April 2020

Hi Helaine,

I will try to help. Are you using organic flour? Also you are right, the hootch on the top means the starter is hungry and needs to be fed more often to balance the yeast and bacteria. Keep going twice a day. Switch to organic flour if possible even a whole wheat or rye can help introduce more yeast! Read this guideDemystifying Sourdough – Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About Sourdough Starter – Why It’s Better For You – And How To Start One if you haven't and let me know how it goes!

Courtney

Kira A Fuchs

Sunday 12th of April 2020

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.

-Kira

Butter For All

Monday 13th of April 2020

Hi Kira,

What a nice note. I'm so hoppy for you! Congratulations!

It is truly my pleasure,

Courtney

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