The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Vermont Sourdough With Wholewheat

Mebake's picture

Vermont Sourdough With Wholewheat

This is baked from Hamelman's "BREAD", in levain section. It is naturally leavened, with 10% wholewheat or so. I increased the hydration from 68% to 78%, as i like a softer dough. everything went as scheduled, but i ended up in bed at 1:00 am! a chronic symptom of my late sourdough baking...!

Therefore, i thought of an idea, which is reducing the prefermented flour to 10% to allow 21 hours retarded bulk fermentation, and consequently allows me to continue baking next day without having to sleep late.

I have not turned the oven down from 500F once i loaded the loaf in, and this is the crust i got:

The cavern at the loaf's top is a result of ignoring the significance of patting the dough even during preshaping.

The flavor is not bad, considering that it recieved no retardation. As dull as it may seem, the flavor will awaken once a slice is toasted!



fancy4baking's picture

I'm quite sure that this bread is as delight to the tasting buds as much as it is a beauty for the eye.

Well done Khalid,


isand66's picture

Nice looking loaf....even with your slight imperfection on the top, your crumb and crust look excellent.

varda's picture

Khalid,   I think your cavern is not so cavernous.   Curious what you mean by "ignoring the significance of patting the dough."    Do you mean pressing out prior to shaping?   Lately I have attributed large holes in my bread to lack of proper dough development, and have made adjustments, perhaps at the expense of open crumb.   How do you develop your dough?   Your bread looks delicious.   -Varda

ananda's picture

Hi Khalid,

Well it looks a lovely tasty loaf alright.

But you know, Varda is right, and you know why?

Moving hydration from 68 to 78% takes you into the realms of "super-hydration" where dough development takes longer to achieve.

Take the hydration back nearer 70% for such a lowly level of wholegrain flour and you'll be less likely to have the dough burst like that.

Your loaf is still crying out to be eaten, and enjoyed!

Best wishes


dabrownman's picture

properly spanking dough, gently of course, takes bread in a new direction.  No telling what improper spanking would do :-)  I'm guessing the large holes at the top were only found in the middle of the loaf - right?  I call it wayward bubbles.  Your bread looks very good Mebake -the crust is great.

Mebake's picture

Thank you Izzat!

Mebake's picture

Thanks, isand66!

Mebake's picture

Thanks, Varda!

Yes, that is what i meant by patting the dough even. I barely mixed the dough to combine the ingredients, and after autolyze, stretched and folded the dough in the bowl three times every 20 minutes, then once after 45 minutes.  The dough was developed nicely by then, and only during preshaping, i failed to remember to slightly patt the dough softly with the surface of my floured palm. This step is crucial to even out the fermentation bubbles across the dough, so when preshaping is done, bubbles won't merge and form large cavities as you preshpae into a boule. again, this is soft, gentle patting, evenly across the dough piece.


Mebake's picture

Thank you Andy! True, but i was aiming for an attractively open crumb, and a low profile, as it results in a better half slices for sandwiches.

Mebake's picture

Thank you dabrownman!

No spanking! Patting :P

Syd's picture

That's a fine looking loaf Khalid and a nice high profile for a 78% hydration dough.  What is the protein level of the flour you used?  If I used my regular bread flour for that loaf, I would get a flatter profile.  

All the best,


Mebake's picture

Umm... forgive me for not being may not be 78% hydration afterall, i just added water to arrive at the soft consistency i aimed for. It may have been 72-74% hydration only. My bread flour's protein is 12.5%.