Moist 100% Whole wheat sourdough Bread

MOIST 100% WHOLE WHEAT SOURDOUGH BREAD

Sourdough bread is absolutely delicious! Unfortunately most whole wheat recipes we have tried in the past turn resembling bricks rather than bread. Thankfully we have developed this recipe, which is a modified version of the bread recipe given out by Micheal Pollan in his book Cooked. The result is really moist and yummy sourdough bread!

Note: This recipe is meant for whole wheat, unbleached, flour. We grind our own from wheat berries. Results will vary with different flour types.

Warning: This recipe takes almost 24 hours to make (there is lots of wait time) so plan ahead and don’t attempt it as a last-minute loaf of bread.

100% Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread Recipe

This recipe yields 4 loaves of bread.

Ingredients:

For the leaven:

  • 400 grams of whole wheat flour
  • 400 grams of warm water
  • 75-100 grams of sourdough starter

For the dough:

  • 2000 grams of whole wheat flour
  • 1900 grams of warm water
  • 50 grams of salt
  • 1 cup honey (optional, it makes the bread sweater)
  • 1 tsp. yeast (optional)

Note: If you are serious about baking you should get a kitchen scale if you don’t have one. However, for those of you who do not want to budget on in 3 cups of red wheat berries yields about 4 cups of flour and weighs ~ 500 grams. However, weight does depend on wheat variety so you may have to adjust your proportions as you go. Also, 1 cup of water is about 237 grams, 50 grams of salt is just under 9 teaspoons, and 75 grams of starter is about 2-3 tablespoons.

Directions:

The night before:

The night before you want to bake your bread you should make your leaven and start soaking your flour. To make the leaven, mix the flour, water, and starter into a bowl. Once they are well-mixed set cover the bowl with a towel, or other breathable material, and place it in a warm draft-free location to ferment overnight.

The mixed leaven
The leaven.

Next mix together the 2000 grams of flour and 1800 grams of water (you will not need the other 100 grams of water until morning). Once they are well-mixed cover the bowl with plastic wrap, or any other material that will not allow airflow, and place it in a warm draft-free location. Let the dough soak overnight.

The water and flour mixed.
Water and flour mixed together for the dough.

The next morning:

In the morning you will need to test your leaven to see how strong your yeast culture is. Fill a bowl with warm water then scoop a spoon full of leaven into the bowl. If the leaven floats you are good to go, if it sinks like a rock then you may want to add some yeast to your bread. To do so just soak the 1 tsp. of yeast in 50 grams of water until it is bubbly. Now mix the leaven and the soaked flour together (mix in the yeast if you are using it as well).

The dough will need to rest for 20-40 minutes before the salt can be added. While it is resting soak the salt in the last 100 grams of warm water and welt your 1 cup of honey, if necessary.

The dough with the salt water and honey.
Dough, honey, and salt water ready to be mixed.

Once the rest period is over mix the honey, if you are using it, and saltwater into the dough. Take your time to make sure you get the dough thoroughly mixed! Don’t be alarmed if the dough seems wetter than you are used to, it should be. Then cover the bowl with your towel and place in a warm draft-free location for bulk-fermentation.

Warning: It is not uncommon to have the dough double in volume while bulk-fermenting. Make sure your bowl is big enough.

Sourdough bulk-fermentation:

Bulk-fermentation will take 4-5 hours depending on how sour you want your bread to be. The longer it ferments the sourer the bread will be. The bread will also need to be turned once every hour.

To turn the bread get your hand wet with warm water. Then slide your hand down the side of your bowl till you reach the bottom. Now grab the dough, pull it upward, then fold it over on top of itself. Now rotate the bowl about 90 degrees and repeat, keep repeating until you’ve gone all the way around the bowl.

Stretching the dough.
Stretching the dough while turning it every hour.

Dividing and shaping:

Once the bulk-fermentation has finished the dough needs to be divided and shaped.

Dump the dough out onto a flour-covered surface then divide it into 4 roughly equal pieces. Work each dough piece in the flour until it starts to have some surface tension and holds its shape. Don’t overwork the dough trying to get it to hold its shape! If you do it will result in a drier loaf, in the end, the dough will only just barely hold its shape for a few seconds before starting to flatten back out.

Once the dough pieces have the right consistency shape it into a ball and let the pieces rest for 20 minutes.

After the dough has rested again it needs to be shaped. Take each dough blob and flip it over onto another floured surface. Then starting with the side opposite you grab the dough, stretch it outward, and then fold it in on top of itself. Repeat this pulling with the side closest to you, then the left side of the dough, then the right. Next, do the same for the corners starting with the top right, then bottom left, then top left, then the bottom right. The exact order can be somewhat flexible, the important thing is to try to do the opposite side of the side you previously pulled on.

Shaped dough resting.
Shaped dough resting.

Now pick the dough up and place it in a parchment paper-lined bowl with the folds facing downward. Once all 4 loaves are in a bowl they are ready for proofing.

Proofing and baking:

Proof the bread by letting the shaped dough rest for 2-3 hours in a warm draft-free location. Alternatively, you can let them proof overnight in a fridge (it results in a more caramelized looking color of bread and has a slightly different flavor). If you do proof overnight then pull them out of the fridge to warm up about 1 hour before baking them.

To bake preheat the oven to 500° F with your baking pans inside it! You want the pans to be good and hot before you place the dough in them.

Once the pans have baked for a few minutes at 500 degrees F pull them out and set the temperature for 450 degrees F. Now transfer your loaves, parchment paper and all, to the baking pans. Using a sharp knife score the top of each loaf before placing them in the oven.

Now bake for 40 minutes, rotating the loaves that are on the top rack to the bottom about halfway through.

Finished loaves.
Finished loaves.

Taste your Sourdough creation:

Once the baking is done remove the bread from the oven and place it on a cooling rack. After a few minutes, the bread should be cool enough to let you peel the parchment paper off.

Once the bread has cooled sufficiently slice it open and enjoy your homemade 100% whole wheat sourdough bread!

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