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100% whole wheat with sourdough

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aguats's picture
aguats

100% whole wheat with sourdough

I've been trying to bake with 100% whole grains and with only sourdough starters--no commercial yeast and no white flour.

I've spent a lot of time on rye breads and am satisfied with my ability to produce them and some rye/spelt mixes. I'm now moving on to wheat and trying to learn to make some whole grain breads that would be more appreciated by an American audience.

In this early attempt, the loaf developed big holes that were unappealing in the final result. The crumb in between the holes was still fairly dense. I'd love to know what went wrong!

Mirko's picture
Mirko

tell as more how did you prepared your starter.

You have 100% flour

70% water

and ? % starter

How long was fermentation  (Sourdough) 12h, 14h....

Mirko

 

 

aguats's picture
aguats

Thanks for the reply. My starter was at 70% hydration (100g whole wheat flour and 70 g water) and it fermented for about 12 hours.

linder's picture
linder

When you say starter, do you mean to say you mix whole wheat flour with water only or do you add some sourdough starter to the whole wheat flour and water ?  Generally, when I mix up a batch of sourdough starter for a loaf of bread, I begin with 40-70 grams of my mother starter (a 100% whole wheat starter that I keep in the fridge at about 70% hydration) to that I add about 100g of water and 100g of whole wheat flour. I let this sit out at room temp for at least 4-6 hours and refrigerate overnight.  The next day I mix the actual bread dough. 

Generally, I will mix the remaining flour for the bread along with the water and let that autolyse for 40-60 minutes, then add the starter and salt.  These are mixed either by hand or by mixer for about 4 minutes.  I then do 4-5 stretch and folds over a 40 minute time frame to ensure good gluten development.  The overall hydration of my dough is more in the range of 85%+ as whole grain flours absorb more water than typical white flours.  Then bulk ferment for 3-4 hours or until the dough doubles in size.  I then preshape into boules, rest for 10 minutes, final shape, place in bannetons, and then place the whole banneton in a plastic bag and seal with a twist tie.  I allow the bread to rise for another 2 hours, then overnight proof/retard.  In the morning, remove from the fridge, allow to come to room temp (can take 2-3 hours) and bake.

As you can see this process takes a lot more time using sourdough as opposed to commercial yeast. I'm no expert by any means but this is a short outline of how the process seems to work best for me.  Hope this helps. 

You may also want to consult Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads book, or other formulas on TFL for whole grain sourdough loaves.  TXFarmer has some great whole grain bread formulas that work really well, for example http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/22831/sd-100-ww-sandwich-loaf-bulgur-cracked-wheat-my-sourdough-starter-declare-defeat

Hope this helps. Happy Baking.

Linda

aguats's picture
aguats

Yes, I use a mother starter as well. To be exact, I take 100g flour + 70g water + 15ish g mother. I let that ferment for about 12 hours and then remove 15g for the next batch and use the 170g of remaining, ripe starter for the bread.

And thanks for the great ideas. I especially like the idea of trying an 85% hydration loaf.

Also, I want to be sure I understand the method you described above. Are you saying you take the mixed final dough and do 4-5 folds over a single 40-minute period (i.e., fold every 8-10 minutes) or that you fold 4-5 times with 40-minutes between folds (i.e., 160-200 minutes)?

Also, does the overnight retard lead to a very sour loaf?

linder's picture
linder

Hi,

4 to 5 Stretch and folds over a single 40 minute period - about 10 minutes between folds. 

I don't find that the overnight retard leads to a very sour loaf, but then again you're talking to a lover of San Francisco sourdough bread.  I believe it's more a matter of how sour your starter is to begin with and how often you refresh it before making the loaf, that seems to have more of a bearing on how sour the resulting loaf will be.   I've read some processes for panettone for example where the initial sourdough is refreshed 4 times a day for 3-4 days BEFORE making the bread in order to diminish the sour flavor of the starter.

Linda

Grenage's picture
Grenage

My starter is slower with wholegrain than with plain white flour (I only keep a white starter), so anything over 50% WG can take a bit longer; I just wait that bit longer.  I say a bit longer, my ferment and proof times are closer to 6 and 3 hours. As stated above, increasing the hydration will help in WG.

I normally use my starter as part of the autolyze.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Linda's post.  I also like to autolyse whole grains for at least 4 hours while the levain is doubling itself getting ready to bake.  I too like to refrigerate my built levains  when I can to increase their sour and when I do this I just start the autolyse 2 hours before removing the levain from the fridge and while it warms up for 2 hours the autolyse has been going for 4 hours.  Janet likes to autolyse much longer for her whole grain breads 8 hours or more.  Perhaps she will make a comment here.  I was amazed at how much difference a long autolyse makes when it comes to the rise, spring and crumb of WW breads.

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

Schnipf, just feeding the starter once and waiting 12 hours, then using it to build your bread will mean (in my experience) that the starter is not very active, and not healthy and vigorous enough. The fact that your loaf did not double before shaping is also a problem IMO. Try this:

Two days before baking, taste your starter to have an idea of its sourness. Feed the starter once. Discard half and feed it again the next morning, noon (if possible) and evening (discard half each time). Feed it again the morning before baking, then use it at noon (3-5 hours later). You should now have a more vigorous and non-sour starter (you can taste it to check if you like). Use a whole cup of starter, not just 15 grams. Now you have enough oomph to get the dough doubling. Let the dough double before shaping (don't worry about sourness, as your often-fed starter will now not be sour, and your larger amount of added starter will get the loaf up before sourness can set in) . Then let it proof to somewhere between, say, a 75% increase in size, not quite doubled, and fully doubled. Bake.

That's the technique I use every week, with 100% whole-wheat flour, and a sticky dough (my starter is high gluten flour btw). It works very well, and I don't get the density your picture shows. If I want a little sour twang, I feed the starter only once or twice before baking, instead of 3-4 times.