The Fresh Loaf

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Really proud of the rise and crumb on this one - I had been on a quest for a light, springy whole wheat loaf as I remained stubbornly opposed to the fact that 100% whole wheat meant necessarily dense and heavy crumbs. 

Pleased to say this recipe worked out well (adapted from Full Proof Baking's wonderful blog) - she recommended doing a cold, overnight bulk fermentation and I think that really did the trick here. Very minimally handled overall. 

Recipe as follows:

50% Red Fife

50% Whole Wheat White Flour

8% Whole Wheat Levain (fed at a 1:5:4 ratio so a bit stiffer than usual) 

2.2% sea salt

95% hydration


Mixed levain 4 hours ahead of autolyse, which sat for another 2 hours until levain was peaked and flour was fully hydrated. I used cool water here as recommended to slow the dough down. Added levain to dough along with salt, and then did a quick stretch and fold on the counter top to form a ball and transferred to bulking dish. 

I don't have a proofing box, so I used a cooler box with a freezer pack or two to make a cooler environment than my kitchen. She recommended 68F but I couldn't get it quite there so mine sat at ~54F overnight for about 12 hours. 

In the morning the dough was fluffy and airy and very soft, but had seemed to rise well. I let it sit for an hour longer at ~68F (cooler warmed up) since it was colder overnight, then did 1 coil fold to pre-shape. Waited another hour then final shaped into batard and popped it into the fridge for another 5 hours. 

Baked 20 min covered at 450 then 25 min uncovered at 425.

riverbread's picture

Beginning to get more comfortable baking! Decided to experiment with Figs and Walnuts (figs freshly dehydrated)

Started with 50% Red Fife, 10% Rye, 10% Spelt, 30% All Purpose, with a 2 hour autolyse and then a 5.5 hour bulk fermentation. Laminated once 45 minutes after adding leaven and salt to get the mix-ins incorporated (maybe should’ve chopped the walnuts a bit smaller) and then did 3 coils folds separated by about 45 minutes each. Retarded overnight for ~12 hours and then baked 20 minutes at 450, then uncovered at 425 for 25 more minutes. 

Produced a lovely oven spring, but think the crumb got a little wonky maybe from the nuts? Flavor was delicious though, and next time would probably add way more figs and reduce the walnuts. 

riverbread's picture

Hi All - wanted to share a recent loaf in my quest for a open crumb but whole wheat loaf with decent rise... which so far is still eluding me. I’m new overall to sourdough (a classic quarantine baker if you will) but have been working with WW for health and flavor benefits mostly. 

Still struggling with a few areas, namely judging bulk fermentation, and handling during shaping though. Any feedback is always appreciated!


240g Red Fife Whole Wheat Flour (Anson Mills) - 68%

40g Whole Wheat Spelt Flour - 11%

45g All Purpose - 13%

25g Rye - 7%

70g Mature Levain - 20%

7g Salt - 2%

288g H2O - ~82% Hydration


  1. Autolyse for 3 hours (flour and 278g of water)
  2. Mixed Levain and Salt, then kneaded using Rubaud method for about 5 minutes
  3. After 30 minutes rest, did 4 sets of coil folds every 30 minutes for first 2.5 hours of bulk fermentation, then let rest approximately 3 hours (final dough temp was around 75F) 
  4. Pre shape then bench rest for 15 minutes 
  5. 12 hour cold proof, baked from fridge (covered @ 450F for 20 minutes, uncovered @ 425F for 25 minutes) 

  Results were okay as you can see, not quite as good of a bloom as I’d hope and also one big hole tunneling through, but may keep trying with this formula... 


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