The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole Wheat - Sourdough

charbono's picture
charbono

Whole Wheat - Sourdough

 


In my area of northern California, I can choose from plenty of whole wheat breads and plenty of sourdough breads, but virtually no combinations thereof.  Any ideas why not?


 

SulaBlue's picture
SulaBlue

I've always thought of California as very 'granola' - you'd think if anyone would have it, it'd be CA. Then again, maybe they're just too hung up on their world-famous SanFran whitebread sourdough?


There's plenty of whole grain sourdough recipes here on TFL, that's for sure. Granted, they take even more time (though not necessarily more work) than a white bread sourdough. Maybe that's why they're not common in bakeries?

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

But Dave Miller does it well. How close are you to Chico?


Click here: Miller's Bake House - Bread Products :: Butte County Bakery and Bread



Just to make it difficult, the nutrition oriented baker will want to use only the freshest whole grain flour and as the leading baker in the country at the moment (in my opinion that is, Dave Miller of the Millers Bakery, Chico CA), says, he wants his mill to drop the flour directly into the mixing bowl, not only fresh but still wriggling with life forces! This cuts against the grain of everything that industry has been researching and doing for the past century, but I have never had better bread.   -Alan Scott



Brick Oven Listserver: Re: Whole Grain vs.

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

As a sourdough newbie, I have to say I have more difficulty using whole wheat flour with my sourdough starter than using unbleached flour.  Just a few days ago, I made a small loaf of cottage cheese dill bread using 50/50 flour blend.  It turned out great.  Today, I decided to venture with 75% whole wheat but the dough was not as forgiving as the previous loaf.  I thought with 25% of unbleached flour I didn't need any vital wheat gluten but my new loaf turned out much smaller and with uneven tension on the surface.  The bread smells good and I am sure it tastes good too (still hot) but I know the volume and appearance can be improved.  Maybe I should use vital wheat gluten in a loaf that contains 50% or more wheat flour. 


The thought of freshly ground wheat flour is interesting.  I have a grain mill so I will try using freshly ground wheat flour next time to see if that will make any difference.





charbono's picture
charbono

 


Making whole wheat sourdough bread involves a certain problem.  The microbes in sourdough favor a long fermentation, whereas the enzymes in whole wheat favor a short one.  There are resolutions to the problem, but they are beyond the scope of this thread.


 


Whole wheat and sourdough are both "natural", with a lot of fans.  One would think there would be demand for the combination, but mass demand doesn't seem to be there.


 


I've noticed that some of the most successful whole wheat breads have added sweetener or have very, very fresh flour.  Sourdough would tend to obscure both sweetness and freshness.  Could it be that the WW/sourdough combo simply ends up highlighting bran, which doesn't taste very good?


 


cb

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

it tastes very good :-)

SulaBlue's picture
SulaBlue

Has a couple of whole-grain sourdoughs, though I haven't as of yet located one that's strictly whole wheat.


Whole Grain Sourdough


http://www.breadtopia.com/whole-grain-sourdough/


Whole Spelt Sourdough


http://www.breadtopia.com/2009/04/02/spelt-bread-recipe/

Brian B's picture
Brian B

Whole wheat sourdough is something I've been trying to get good at for a few years now.  About a year ago I was fortunate enough to attend a class taught by Dave Miller in San Francisco.  I second the motion that you should try his bread if you are in his area.  He really knows what he is doing - he makes outstanding bread.  Some of the helpful things I learned from his class are:


Use freshly ground flour.


Time: everything happens faster with whole grains.  Fermentation and proofing times are shorter than for white flour.  If I overferment I find the bread too sour for my taste.


Hydration: In the class, Dave used an insanely high hydration level for his recipe - something like 100%.  To compensate for my lesser shaping skills, when I make it I cut back by 10% or so to have any chance of getting a hearth loaf with good shape.  High hydration results in a nice open crumb.


One recipe I highly recommend is Suas' Honey Wheat Pan Bread (Advanced Bread and Pastry).  It is also high hydration (>80%) but uses bread pans resulting in good shape.  In addition to sourdough levain, it uses a small amount of instant yeast but I suspect you can get good results omitting this and extending the fermentation time a bit.  Anyway, this is a great sandwich bread, and because of the sourdough it has a long shelf life.


 

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog

I also have been making whole wheat sourdough from fresh stone ground flour for about two months now.  I agree with the high hydration and currently am at 92% hydration.  The dough feels a lot less that a Ciabatta at 80% so I do believe I could go to even a higher hydration if I wanted to.  I don't know if I ever made a 100% whole wheat sourdough but I know I made a 90% whole wheat and a 10% rye.  My fermentations are done at room temperature and during winter were about 24 hours but now with spring it is down to 18 hours.  I don't get an overly sour loaf and it is full of wonderful flavor.  Here is a crumb shot of a loaf I just did that is 85% whole wheat.


Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

As I look at the picture of the crumb I am wondering what the white creamy colored spots are and also what the darker spots are?


Jeff

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog

I have some pumpkin seeds and pinenuts in that loaf.