The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Michel Suas Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread - Advanced Bread and Pastry

holds99's picture
September 7, 2008 - 2:18pm -- holds99

Today I made Michel Suas' Sourdough Whole Wheat Bread from his book Advanced Bread and Pastry.  I was pleased with the results. 

Although Mr. Suas book is written primarily for the professional baker his book is an amazing book, which covers both bread and pastry with an interesting history of bread making and many photos, illustrations and much detail re: techniques.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL


Paddyscake's picture
Submitted by Paddyscake on

That is the nicest whole wheat I've seen in a long time! I don't think I've ever had a sourdough WW. Tell us about the flavor.


holds99's picture
Submitted by holds99 on

First let me say, I would reduce the salt by 25-30%.  It isn't unpleasant but I prefer less salt.  The recipe is excellent.  The measurements, proofing times, baking time and temp. are right-on.  It's really quite an intesting taste.  No bitterness, just a pleasant light taste of whole wheat.  The final dough is actually 40% white flour and 60% whole wheat.  The taste is on the order of a light-medium rye, not too pungent but a with a subtle taste of sourdough.  I really like whole wheat bread and I like this bread very much.  The texture is a real sturdy sourdough texture. 

It's made with a levain.  I mixed the flour for the final dough, containing the yeast (he calls for a small amount of yeast in the final dough, 1/8 tsp per 2 lb of dough) and water and let it autolyse for 20 or so minutes.  Then mixed in the preferment and then the salt last.  I then mixed up the final dough, did 3 stretch and folds at 20 minutes intervals, then put it into the fridge for overnight retardation.  The following morning I took it out (it had doubled in volume overnight) , divided it, let it rest for 20 minutes, shaped it and put it into the brot forms, let it final proof for a couple of hours til doubled in volume.  I baked it on parchment, after scoring, sliding it from the peel directly onto a hot stone then added a small blast (1 cup boiling water) of steam.  It bakes at 450 deg F. for about 35 min.  I did a check and at 37 min. it was 210 deg. F. internal temp. 

I also worked out an Excel spreadsheet for conversion of his measurements for his test loaf.  It's not a major problem but I wanted them converted from fractions to decimal so I could easily scale the ingredients.


dougal's picture
Submitted by dougal on

Howard it looks nice, seems like you've made some nice bread there!

But did you use the all purpose white flour that the recipe calls for?


And I'm certain that the autolyse, the stretching and folding, plus that overnight refrigerated retardation (none of them mentioned in the book formula) have also improved the result.


I calculate the salt usage as 1.98% of the total recipe flour. Which certainly isn't extremely salty. So I'm not sure where that one has gone awry there for you.

Incidentally, all my numbers are based on the "Kilogram" column figures. (Page 210)



There is something that might be misleading though

holds99 wrote:
The final dough is actually 40% white flour and 60% whole wheat.
One also ought to mention that the "final dough" is additionally 40% "levain" - all these numbers are Bakers Percent.

Now, that levain is (Bakers Percent again) 80% stiff starter plus 90% white flour.

As I remarked on the other thread, there actually is a reference in the book to the "stiff starter" being 50% hydration. Therefore that starter is 2/3 by weight white flour.

So I added up the total overall flour composition of that "final dough" (ie the loaf composition).

It comes out at : -

51.94% white flour

47.39% whole wheat flour and

0.69% Medium rye


Is it just me, or does it seem strange to others for Suas to call a 52% -white- flour bread a "Whole Wheat" Bread? 

holds99's picture
Submitted by holds99 on

Thanks for your comments.  Yes, I used Gold Medal USDA organic all-purpose flour and Cable Mill (Great Smokey Mountains) whole wheat flour. 

Yes, overall % of salt is approx. 1.98 of the total recipe, as is % of flours you mentioned.  I should have made it clearer that I was referring to final dough.  I believe Janedo wrote that 1.8% was something of a standard in France.  It may be the salt in combination with the whole wheat flour or simply my personal taste but I still think the salt can be cut back by 20-25%. 

FWIW, Re: calling 52% "white flour" bread a "Whole Wheat" bread, I'm inclined to believe Suas was simply indicating that it contains a fair amount of "Whole Wheat" flour as opposed to another type of flour---or does not consist solely of white flour.  Much the same as Nury's light rye bread only contains a small amount of rye flour but is still called rye bread. 

Howard - St. Augustine, FL