The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough whole wheat question

jreitman's picture

Sourdough whole wheat question

I made a no-knead whole wheat sourdough loaf as follows:

I started with a white flour starter at 100% hydration, mature.  I added one cup to 3 cups of whole wheat flour, 1 cup of water, 1/4 cup flax meal, 3 tbsp. vital wheat gluten, 1 tbsp. olive oil, chopped rosemary and 1 tbsp. honey.  I let it rise for about 18 hours, then briefly kneaded it, placed it in a dutch oven on parchment paper, then let it rise for 4 more hours.  I scored it, started it covered in a cold oven, turned up heat to 450, removed the cover after 35 minutes, and took the whole thing out at 70 minutes.

Flavor, loaf volume, crust were good.  Only problems were a strange mottled color patterning on the crust rather than a clean, consistent golden brown, and a lack of a nice craggy, thick crust.  Crust was firm, which I like, just not nice and craggy where I scored it.

 Any ideas to modify this to improve the crust color and texture?  Should I leave out the honey or oil?  Should I start in a hot oven?  Higher temperature? Wetter dough?

Thanks for any suggestions!

By the way, it's amazing how sourdough bread only really tastes like sourdough the next day!

holds99's picture

When I use a dutch oven, I preheat it with my kitchen oven (set at 475-500 deg. lid in place) for about an hour before baking. Seperately, I let the dough rise in a parchment lined stainless steel bowl or frying pan with high sides, covered with a kitchen towel.  Make sure your sheet of parchment is long enough to be able to easily lift the dough out of the stainless steel bowl (by holding onto each end of the parchment) in order to set it into the hot dutch oven (using mitts or heavy pot holders remove the dutch oven from the regular oven and remove the lid.  Be careful, the dutch oven is very hot.  On the stove top, sitting on a burner plate is a good place to perform this operation), place the stainless steel bowl containing the dough as close to the dutch oven as possible and lift it by each end of the parchment, set it in the hot dutch oven, put the lid on and place it in the oven, close the door,  Reduce your heat to 450 deg. and let it bake.  10-15 minutes before the end of the baking cycle remove the lid from the dutch oven and let it brown.  The internal temp., when it's done should be 205-210 deg. F.  I have 2 dutch ovens and that I use a couple of time each month to make two 2-3 pound boules, depending on which recipe I'm baking.  I also use bannetons and bake free form but I really like using the dutch oven because it always produces a nicely shaped loaf with good oven spring and no need for steam because the steam is created inside the covered dutch oven by the vapor released during the baking process, which is why you need to remove the lid during the final 10-15 minutes of baking, so the top can brown.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL