The Fresh Loaf

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Whole Wheat Sourdough Tearing

diverpro94's picture

Whole Wheat Sourdough Tearing

I really don't know why, but my dough is tearing. When I shape my loaves and proof them, they tear. It's so strange! My recipe is the basic sourdough from the Peter's BBA. I decided to exchange some of the 5oz. white flour for 5oz. of whole wheat flour. I also added a tablespoon of olive oil to help out with the texture.


I first made a 3lb. boule and it tore in half after about 3 hours of proofing. I was extremely confused so I molded the dough into a 1.5lb. batard and a 1.5lb. boule. Right now they are proofing again and I'm seeing the same thing happen to the boule. On the other hand, the batard's surface is starting to rip too (not as much).


I use this recipe all the time with all white flour and I have no problem, but Peter's Grace Note says that you can substitute however much white flour for any flour. It's just so strange because this has never happened to me! Does anybody know what happened?

Mebake's picture

Sound like you have too much enzymatic activity going in your whole wheat, hence the breakdown. It may also be that your wholewheat is fine, but you may have had to add more water, as bran in wholewheat tend to absorb more water. If the latter is the cause, i suggest you prepare a wholewheat soaker (i.e. mix the wholewheat flour with water to make it at least 70% hydration add half the formula salt i.e. 1%, and let it sit at room temperature for 8-12 hours before the final mixing).

Do you mill your own wheat? starch damage could be a probable cause to your dough tearing problem.

Finally it may be remotely possible that the introduction of a wholewheat flour to your sourdough culture has created a shock to the microorganisms in your starter. Its advised that you should add the same wholewheat in the last couple of feedings to your starter in order to allow the bacteria and yeast in your starter to adapt to the flour mix.

hope this halps!


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

that whole wheat ferments faster.  You found that out on your own.  Naturally that means use a shorter fermentation time than with sifted flours. 

Whole wheat also contains fine little sharp edges of bran that tend to cut the gluten strands.