The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

SFBI Whole wheat sourdough

Kuret's picture

SFBI Whole wheat sourdough

Today I decided to try the whole wheat sourdough from SFBI's book. Or rather I decided a couple of days ago so I could prepare the levain. Now this formula calls for making a levain 12 hours prior to making the final dough, I made this levain using rather low protein flor as the flour I whould use in the final dough had approx 13% protein.

I didn´t have whole wheat so instead I mixed up some "whole wheat" using 15% bran 3%germ and the rest bread flour. I had some idea that soaking the whole grain over night(with salt) whould make the dough better so I did just that.

This bread turned out way over proofed. The book calls for 2 hours of proofing and after 1½ I see cracks on the surface of the loaves. I wonder why? the reasons I can think of are the following:

1. Enzymatic activity in the whole grain flour resulted in lowered protein quality. 2. Insufficent mixing 3. Lack of dough oxidisation due to no AA (I usually use this as my bread turns out better with it) 4. fierce levain.

Seeing as I was looking for a bread to make on a regular basis I will try the recepie more times and trying to adress these teoretical issues. The levain I dont know though, maybe using less starter in the preferment?

Pics are sure to come, first of the not so good loaves and then hopefully better ones!

holds99's picture


Maggie Glezer's Artisan Baking book has a levain in her recipe for Thom Leonard's Country French Bread (page 133) that I have used numerous times and it works great.  She only uses 1 1/2 tablespoons of starter for the levain.  I always make sure my starter is refreshed and very active before I make the levain.  She doesn't add salt until after the levain, flour and yeast have been combined in a preleminary mixing (10-15 min.).  Then for the final mixing she adds the salt to the mixed dough and mixes for another 5 minutes to get the salt thoroughly incorporated into the dough.  Bernard Clayton does this (adds salt as a final mixing step) in some of his recipes, presumably to minimize the salt's impact on the yeast spores during initial mixing. I have also soaked whole grain overnight but never with salt.  Introducing the salt early in the mixing process could be causing you a problem.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL