The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Almost given up...ww sourdough

airam88's picture

Almost given up...ww sourdough


I'm new here and to sourdough baking. In the last month, I've tried to make a starter twice and failed. I think part was due to the type of flour I used (it doesn't say whether it's bleached or not) and that I don't have a I said, I'm new to all this. 

Going through this forum is overwhelming with all the new terminology and opinions. I still can't find unbleached flour but I did manage to find whole wheat. So this is what I have.

My questions;

1. Is there a simple newbie friendly 100% whole wheat recipe I can use. I don't care if it's not soft like white bread...just something that can be used (for spreads) and eaten.

This one looks like a dream, but I don't have a scale and won't get one for another month or so. 

2. Can I use bleached flour when prepping for baking? Or is it a complete no no? If yes, then I will try a white bread recipe. 


airam88's picture

By the way, I don't mind using commercial yeast if it's needed for the rise or to make it extra fluffy. 

Does anyone think I can just use a regular ww bread recipe and add in the starter?

I'm open to no-knead options as well since they seem easier.....<-need an encouraging successful bake to push on.

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

...when not following a particular recipe. First i'll give it in percentages then i'll give an example. Once you have the percentages memorised the rest is a doddle.


Flour 100%

Hydration 66%

Salt 2%

Sourdough Starter 10%


When baking bread always use the amount of flour you use as 100%. So take, for example, 500g of flour:

Flour = 500g

Hydration = 330mls (or 330g : 1ml water = 1g)

Salt = 10g

Active Sourdough Starter (which means fed the night before and risen) = 50g


Method is quite simple...


In bowl pour water and stir in starter till it turns milky white and evenly (as possible) mixed. Then slowly add in flour with salt already mixed in. Knead into a loose dough, cover with towel or clingfilm and autolyse for about 30min - 45min).

Then in 30min intervals do the stretch and fold three times.

After 3rd stretch and fold shape and do final bulk proofing in banneton (about 2hrs give or take depending on room temp and your sourdough starter).

Bake in pre-heated oven.

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

To give your Starter a boost you can add a tablespoon of honey to the water. Mix in till fully dissolved (forgot to say "warm" water, will help for dissolving honey and will make your starter more active).

Then add in starter and mix.

followed by flour with salt mixed in.

aroma's picture

probably a bit much for a beginner.  The recipe above looks much more realistic.  If you want a bit more volume to the finished loaf then I'd suggest adding a bit of dried yeast as well - success (almost) guaranteed.  The natural culture adds the taste and texture whilst a small amount of dried yeast (~2g in this case) would give it a boost.

Give it a go - you only learn by failure - and we've all been there!!

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified) fail then try again. And again. And again.

Yes, we've all been there. I've eaten my way through many flops. But I think the above recipe is good beginners. It's my fall back recipe. Works very well with Wheat/Spelt flour. simple and effective. My first success.

airam88's picture

That looks really simple! I'm going to get started with a new starter today and try this. I will use cups/tablespoons/teaspoons instead, though. We'll see how it goes....I'm hopeful!

Thanks for all the tips!

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

However I can't help you with cups. I'm afraid I only work in grams. More accurate. Best of luck! and hope to see your breads being featured here.

airam88's picture

Should I just use the whole wheat flour or add in some (probably bleached) flour?

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

...100% rye @ 100% hydration. If I am baking spelt sourdough i'll take off some starter and feed it spelt but keep my original as 100% rye. So for example...

I have about 30g of rye starter and I need 60g for my spelt bread I'll take off 20g rye starter and feed it 20g spelt flour and 20g water. And use that in my recipe.

Then i'll feed my rye starter with 10g rye and 10g water to bring that back to 30g.

Don't use bleached. The wild yeasts live on the flour but I don't think there's any, if at all, left after its been bleached.


doughooker's picture

The O.P. says (s)he doesn't have a scale, so gram measurements aren't very useful.

This works for me: 1/3 C flour and 1/4 C water. That's it. Mix well, stir once per day and wait a week and a couple of days. No honey needed.

If you're going to use baker's yeast there is no point in bothering with starter. Simply make yeasted French bread and save yourself the bother of trying to make starter.

To the O.P.: try looking at bread flour. It is usually unbleached. It is helpful if malted barley flour has been added.

airam88's picture

Thanks for your input. Yes, I don't and was just going to find the equivilents in cups. 

I think I'm going to follow this method since it seems doable and shows me the results I should be getting.

I want to use a starter for the benefits but I don't mind using yeast to give the loaf a lift since I'm using 100% ww flour (it says 'atta' on the bag) and I don't want the bread to become a brick. I can't find any other kind of flour.