The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread too sour when going to 100% whole wheat

jbrawlings's picture

Bread too sour when going to 100% whole wheat

I continue to have problems with my starter when trying 100% whole wheat.  My regular recipe calls for about 25% whole wheat, which gives a marvelous bread with just a hint of sourness and a wonderful wheaty flavor.  Every time I've tried to go to 100% whole grain the bread goes soooooo sour that it is inedible!  Any ideas?  Has anybody else experienced this?

eddmortimer's picture

If your resulting bread is to sour then you should probably use less of the starter. Sometimes the starter can become a little too concentrate, so just use less of it and see what happens. You should end up with a very acceptable bread.


Good luck 

jbrawlings's picture

Less doesn't work.  It's still as sour as a lemon.  If I go to 25% whole wheat the bread has only the slightest touch of sourness.


JMonkey's picture

Hmmm. I've not had this problem, but here's a few things you can try:
1) Let your starter ferment just until it doubles, so that it doesn't get sour.2) Use more starter. This sounds counterintuitive, but generally, the longer your bread ferments, the more sour it will be. More starter will speed up fermentation in the bulk rise.3) Let the bread rise in a relatively warm environment. Again, this should speed up fermentation, and, since the yeast is more active than the bacteria, the bacteria will have less time to produce lactic acid. 
Let us know what happens. Good luck!

Breadwhiner's picture

I have experienced the same problem.  Option 2 worked but I think option 1 would work as well.  The idea is that either more frequent refreshment or a lower hydration rate will favor wild yeasts and lactobacilli over the acetogens (the ones that make the very sour acetic acid-- vinegar).

1.  Increase the refreshment rate (i.e. try two refreshments per day if you are currently using one) 


2.  Decrease the hydration rate