The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

First Time Sourdough-er

Bread-Head's picture

First Time Sourdough-er

Hello! This is the first time I’ve made sourdough after taking a class nearly 2.5 years ago! So forgive me if my questions sound a bit basic. I need some help trouble shooting what I can improve..


Outside was was beautiful however the crumb didn’t have any holes like I’ve had in sourdough. It was soft and chewy inside but it needs to be more airy? I used a sprouted whole wheat, could this be why? With the sprouted I wonder if there’s not enough sugars for it to ferment?

I used a basic recipe (below) and a starter from a local bakery, any thoughts? I can’t figure out how to post a pic



David R's picture
David R


Very often, the thing you're describing happens because the dough was not left to rise long enough - or was left to rise for too long! It really is difficult to tell this without a photo; someone who often posts them will tell you how it's done.

It can sometimes also come from badly mis-handling the dough, but since you do have some classroom experience being shown how, that seems less likely.

And whole wheat is definitely trickier to get it to rise properly; using ordinary white flour will give you easier success to start with, proving to yourself that you can do this - then move on to more challenging types later. The process for both is the same, but the white flour forgives beginners' mistakes much more easily.

BreadLee's picture

Alex has a very simple recipe on youtube.  I'd also use bread flour to ensure success.

Good luck! 

albacore's picture

Sprouted flour and grains are in a whole class of their own - many love them for their flavour, but because they are full of enzymes they can be problematic to use.

Start with standard flours and not too much wholegrain, say 80/20 and try the 123 recipe to be found on TFL for starters.

Once you're making great bread with that recipe, you can start to look at introducing some sprouted grain.


SeasideJess's picture

Hi, I just wanted to chime in that the problem may be the flour you're using.

  • Whole wheat is harder to work with than white flour, but for me it seems to behave somewhat similarly (if the hydration is adjusted and I really develop the gluten well.)


  • Sprouted flour is a completely different product: my impression is that you need to develop the gluten rapidly, proof it rapidly (may need more leavening) and you get it in the oven right away, or it just turns to mush and won't hold any bubbles, leaving you with a completely solid loaf. The increased enzyme activity that breaks down carbohydrates into sugars and makes the flour sweet also breaks down protein (gluten). This process accelerates over time: the longer the dough sits, the faster the gluten breaks down. People that sell sprouted flour all seem to say that it can be substituted cup-for-cup for whole wheat flour and I believe that is simply untrue, especially for something like a sourdough that needs a long fermentation. 

The bottom line is that it is very important to use the right recipe for each kind of flour that you have. If you want to use sprouted flour, you have to use a recipe that was created and tested with sprouted. Same with whole wheat.  

When I first started trying to learn to bake I was using sprouted flour, and it was just impossible for me. I got very discouraged. So please don't be discouraged, but do make sure your ingredients are matched to your recipe. That will give you the best chance of success. And you might consider getting some good bakes under your belt using regular flour, so that you are able to recognize what a well-developed and well proofed dough looks and handles like. Then you can go back to the sprouted with a better idea of what you're trying to achieve. 

Warm wishes, Jess

Bread-Head's picture

Thank you everyone! I will try with some regular flour and see how it goes, then try some sprouted recipes once I have more experience.