My first experiences baking home-made sourdough bread with starter and white flour were such a success it was time to switch to whole wheat flour. There were a few subtle differences but the results were superior to earlier loaves made with white flour. Perhaps it is simply experience and refining the process. Here is a short note to add to the previous How to Make Your Own Sourdough Bread article published recently.
Following are the same directions for the basic sourdough bread but substituted whole wheat flour:
How To Bake Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread
- Take the starter out of the refrigerator the night before you wish to bake bread, and add 100 ml white unbleached flour and 100 gram of filtered water
- It is important not to use all the starter but store in fridge for next baking
- Mix well and cover the starter with a light clean cloth and leave on a counter overnight to become active and grow
Next day add the following:
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups of Sourdough Starter
- 3 cups of Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 – 1 1/2 cups filtered water
- Table Salt – a little less than One Tablespoon
Continue to make bread dough:
- Mix the sourdough starter, flour, water. Dissolve the salt in the water before adding
- Knead dough for 5 – 10 minutes before trying the “stretch test” /membrane test or windowpane test. Simply take about 4 tablespoons of dough and work it by stretching like making a pizza dough. The Windowpane Test is the best way to know if the bread dough has been kneaded enough. If it breaks or pulls apart, add back to the dough and knead another 4 – 5 minutes and try again.
- When finished place the dough on the board and shape into a round loaf or divide to make two smaller loaves
- I place the dough into the pan or tray it will be baked on and leave to rise (or proof) for 4 to 12 hours (see Note 1 below)
- Score / cut the top of the loaf to allow expansion
- Cover the dough with a light clean cotton cloth during this time
- The dough usually doubles in the shorter period especially when using an active starter
Baking the Dough:
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F before placing dough in oven
- Bake for 30 to 60 minutes depending on size of bread
- My first sourdough loaf made with whole wheat flour was thick and baked in 40 minutes. The finished loaf weighed 2 lb
- The second whole wheat loaf which was half the size baked in less time. The finished loaf weighed 1 lb
- If you can smell the fragrance of the baking bread that is a good indicator it may be finished
- I usually leave the dough to rise overnight and bake in the morning. When using whole wheat flour the dough consistency was slightly different. In the morning the dough had not risen as much as previous loaves made with white flour so I simply punched down the dough and kneaded for another 5 minutes. This second kneading was not required with the white flour
- The dough was then reshaped and left to rise for 4 hours and then baked
- The whole wheat flour used was a Hard Red wheat, stone ground baking flour
- In later bread baking I have mixed half each whole wheat / white flour with success. Fun to experiment!
- Heavily flour your cloth to prevent the dough from sticking to it.
- I had extra starter and made a smaller 1 lb whole wheat sourdough loaf
- The small loaf (1 lb) was proofed in the pie dish and simply baked in the oven when it had risen
- The pizza clay is perfect for the large round loaves (2 lb)
- Store your baked bread in a sealed brown bag or sew your own 100% cotton or natural hemp drawstring bread bags
- During rising of the dough for the large round sourdough loaves I use a hard plastic cake lid with the top cut off. This is then covered with a tea towel or cloth and works just fine.
This whole process has been so simple and a lot of fun. Perhaps time to retire the bread making machine. Nothing compares to enjoying a slice of freshly baked sourdough bread. If you are having concerns – persevere – it’s well worth it! The whole wheat sourdough bread received rave reviews all round!