The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole Wheat Sourdough

holds99's picture

This week I tried Michel Suas' whole wheat sourdough bread for the second time.  I made four pounds of dough and divided it into 2 loaves (2 lbs each).  The leavening is an overnight levain.  After reading Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads I decided to take a little different approach and prior to mixing the levain into the final dough I mixed the whole wheat and bread flour (for the final dough) together and mixed in the water and let it stand for 5 hours.  It became very soft and creamy.  Then I when the levain was ready I mixed it into the final dough mixture and let it stand for about 20 minutes.  Then added the salt and gave it a good 8-10 minute hand mixing using Richard Bertinet's "slap and fold" method.  During bulk fermentation I did three stretch and folds at 20 minute intervals.  Then divided the dough into 2 equal sizes, shaped it and placed them into heavily floured (50% rice flour/50% AP flour) unlined willow brotforms.  I belief soaking the combined final dough flour with the water really made a difference.

You might be interested to know that I used a different knife to score each loaf, which are sitting in front of their respective loaf.  The left loaf (right photo, top) was scored with a PureKomachi 5" high carbon stainless steel serated tomato knife.  The loaf on the right was scored with a standard serated 5" kitchen knife.  I think the PureKomachi does a hugely superior job. I also have the PureKomachi bread knife, which is also a great knife.  Hey, I sound like Ron Popeil selling Vegamatics :>).

Anyway, if you like whole wheat bread, well, it doesn't get any better than this.  It has great taste, nice mouth feel with a tinge of sourness after swallowing---and terrific flavor. 


2 nd try at Michel Suas Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread - Advanced Bread and Pastry

Michel Suas Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread - Advanced Bread and Pastry

holds99's picture

Using Mike Avery's refreshment method (every 8 hours), after a 2 day refreshment I placed my starter in my jar (slightly less than half filled) clamped on the lid (with rubber gasket) to seal it and placed it in the refrigerator.  Next day I had a very active starter.  So, instead of tossing 2/3 and refreshing it again before storing it back in the fridge, I decided to hold out the 2/3 "discard" and make some whole wheat sourdough bread.  Incidentally, this is a 10 year old Nancy Silverton starter.  I'm not suggesting that Ms. Silverton's starter is better than other starters but it's what I made when I first started my sourdough journey and, as is evident, it still works quite well.  I'm Just thankful that I checked it when I did.  This is the same "bad boy" starter that lifted the lid off my dutch oven a while back during the baking of  a 3 pound boule.  

 Refreshed Sourdough Starter

Sourdough Starter and Container: Refreshed Sourdough Starter

Anyway, I made a couple of whole wheat boules, mixed by hand.  I did two "stretch and folds" during a 2 hour bulk frementation, then placed the container of dough in the fridge for a 14 hour retardation.  The following day I took the dough out of the fridge (it had risen during retardation, which is unusual), divided it, shaped it, placed the 2 shaped boules into 2 heavily floured (half rice flour mixed with half KA AP) linen lined bannetons and let it do it's final fermentation for about three and a half hours at room temp, as it was still cold from being in the fridge.  Then turned the boules onto parchment lined pans, scored them, placed them in the oven and baked them at 450 deg for about 40 minutes, using a heavy dose of stream at the onset of the baking cycle---and turning them half way through the baking cycle.   

 Whole Wheat Sourdough Boules

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

They may have slightly overproofed because they dropped a bit after scoring, but overall I was pleased with the results. They tasted very good, had a good crust and very nice, rather complex, flavor and good texture.

 Whole Wheat Sourdough No. 2

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

dmsnyder's picture

Janedo's basic bread

Janedo's basic bread

Janedo's basic bread - Crumb

Janedo's basic bread - Crumb

This is the second time I have baked Janedo's Pain au Levain (Sourdough) recipe for what she calls her "basic bread." Since I cannot truly duplicate the flours she uses in France, I am liberated to experiement using different combinations and proportions of American flours.

 The first time, I used a combination of King Arthur First Clear Flour and Guisto's White Spelt flour. This time, I fed my starter with KA Organic Whole Wheat Flour and used KA Bread Flour in the dough. The Ingredients were:

160 gms Starter
307 gms water
540 gms KA Bread Flour
10 gms Salt 

 The dough seems just very slightly less hydrated than my last attempt. As you can see, the crumb was denser, as expected. It was very chewy. The crust was a bit crunchier and less chewy than the First Clear/Spelt version.

 Overall, the taste was less sour this time, and the whole wheat flavor was less apparent than I expected. This was a bread that would be an excellent sandwich foundation, but it was not my "target" bread. I think the combination of flours was too strong.

 So, what flour combination should I try next? KA Artisan Flour with a little spelt? Or a little whole wheat? Or Golden Buffalo and spelt? Hmmmm....


taygirl's picture

Trying for a Success! Need help!

December 10, 2007 - 1:26pm -- taygirl

Hello!  I am new here, and I am trying to make a successful loaf of whole wheat sourdough.  I have tried twice now, with decent flavor, but very little rise.  In fact, the second time, the loaf actually fell some in the oven (did I overproof?).  I have read many posts on here, and it seems many people use a gram scale to measure ingredients, a special basket for proofing, and a dutch oven type of container for baking in.  I do not have any of these items yet!  I am feeling quite overwhelmed, because it seems like there are so many ways of going about making sourdough bread, and I am n


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