The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

50% Whole wheat Bread

Mebake's picture

50% Whole wheat Bread

This is my first take on Peter Reinhart's Levain based bigas in (Wholegrain breads). Instant yeast was added to the final dough, though. The flavor is clean, with no sourness at all! pleasent flavor, with soft crumb, and crackly thin crust.  I have baked an identical bread from this recipe previously with yeasted biga Here.

Ingredients: (Makes 1 medium loaf)

Soaker:       223g    Bran + coarse whole Wheat flour

                   4g (1/2 tsp)    Salt

                   173g              water


Total:          400 grams


Biga:      227g               Bread flour                                    50 % wholewheat

                10g (1 Tb)  stiff white starter                           50% Prefermented Flour

                167g                     water                                      Total Hydration: 75%

------------------------------------------                                  Bulk Fermentation: 45 min.

Total:        404 grams                                                  Final Fermentation: 45 min  

Final Dough:

                 400g                     All Soaker

                404g                     All Biga

                 9g  (2 ¼ tsp)          Instant Dry Yeast    

                8g  (1 tsp)              Salt


Total:       821 grams

For this loaf , i doubled the recipe, as i had no bread left in my freezer

In my opinion, the differences in flavor imparted by the stiff wild yeast biga, and the yeasted biga's are very subtle.

Very nice bread. i have lots of coarse whole wheat flour left over from my experiments with siftings, and this is the perfect recipe (with wild yeast or the instant yeast) for consuming the coarse whole wheat flour. 



dmsnyder's picture


Syd's picture

Beautiful russet brown crust, Khalid.  That promises lots of flavour.

In my opinion, the differences in flavor imparted by the stiff wild yeast biga, and the yeasted biga's are very subtle. 

I wonder if the wild yeast biga would have a more pronounced flavour as the loaf matures. 



gary.turner's picture

Is there a particular reason for using 2% yeast? To boost a natural starter I don't use but 0.5% and have to watch like a hawk to not over ferment, even with a refrigerated bulk ferment.

There was certainly no apparent harm doing so; I'm just curious.



lumos's picture

Don't  invite me for dinner. If I see a gorgeous looking crumb like that, I'll finish up the other loaf you've just baked to store in the freezer!

Lovely looking bread, Khalid, as usual. :)


varda's picture

for 50% whole wheat.   And wonderful crumb.   I have not tried starter plus commercial yeast for whole wheat (just for rye) but it looks like it really worked.  -Varda

Mebake's picture

Thank you, David :)

Thank you, Syd. I noticed that the color of the crumb darkens in less than 12 hours of loaf maturing. Flavor is only slightly changed. Stiff wild yeast Biga was very active, and lactic bacteria's activities was very much subsided, which explains the neutral flavor. liquid preferment, however, would have improved the sourness of the flavor.

Well, Gary, if you read PR's wholegrain book, you'd understand the rationale behind the amount of commericla yeast. The Book essentially revolves around envoking flavors by means of soaking, and prefermenting. By the time you mix the soaker and the biga (which happen to be 50% each by weight), you already have achieved the flavors, and all left is rising the loaf quickly and baking it. When you deal with 50% preferment and a soaker on the border of becoming under enzymatic attack, you'd want to rush it for baking, as you have all the flavors you want.

Thanks fo the compliment, Lumos :)

Mebake's picture

Thank you , varda :)

wally's picture

Really nice, especially the crumb.  I'd say it's a perfect sandwich bread you've created.

Nice bake,


Mebake's picture

Thanks, Larry! Glad to hear from you again.

davidg618's picture

Especially, well crafted crumb. 50% WW sourdough is one of my favorite breads. Wish you lived next door :-)

David G

wassisname's picture

I always admire how well thought-out your methods are, making the most of every variable.  It's no wonder at that you end up with loaves this nice!  Great to see.


Mebake's picture

Thank you David :) its not a true sourdough, infact, it isn't sour at all! Stiff wld yeast biga doesn't contribute much sourness, if any. You'd have to use a liquid levain inorder to have a pronounced sourness. That being said, this bread has a mild tasting wheaty flavor.

Thank you Marcus..! I have learned much from this wonderful community, and i love to share the inspiration i had with you all.

breadsong's picture

Hello Khalid,
I noticed that you soaked the bran separately. I tried this once for a miche I was trying to make with a coarse whole wheat flour. Sifting out the bran and soaking it separately before adding it to the final mix helped a great deal in how the dough handled through the process.
Such a nice loaf you have here, and a really good use of the by-product of your home milling!
:^) from breadsong

Mebake's picture

Thank you breadsong! don't you love that? making use of all part of the grain, even the ones you can't mill any further.