100% Stoneground Whole Wheat Hokkaido Sourdough Milk Bread
Back from two weeks off without any baking. My starter was refreshed two weeks ago at 50% hydration, given 1 hour at room temperature then refrigerated. The pH had only dropped to 4.4 or so when I returned so there was plenty of food left. I discarded some, then brought the hydration up to 100% and did a small feed. He tripled in 3 hours but had not yet peaked, so I discarded and fed him again. 5 hours later he had peaked at 3.5-4x with the dome just starting to flatten. He was ready to build a levain for this bake.
You may have noticed my gradually increasing the whole wheat in my Hokkaido sourdough milk breads lately. I finally decided it was time to do 100% whole wheat and this didn’t disappoint.
For a 9” x 4” x 4” pullman pan
Sweet Stiff Starter
• 53g stoneground unsifted organic whole wheat flour
• 24g water
• 18g light brown sugar
• 18g sourdough starter ~100% hydration
Tangzhong classic 1:5 ratio
• 89g milk (adjusted down to 1:5 ratio from original)
• 18g stoneground unsifted organic whole wheat flour
Dough Dry Ingredients
• 9 g vital wheat gluten
· 424 g stoneground unsifted organic whole wheat flour
• 54g sugar 12.5%
• 7g salt 1.6%
Dough Wet Ingredients
• 180g milk (consider adding more milk 5 g next time, dough was stiff)
• 50g egg beaten (about 1 lg egg)
• 60g butter 13.9% softened but do not melt, unless you are mixing with the mixer then melt. Combine with 30 g of flour to make easier to add to dough if hand mixing.
Total flour = 431 g
Total weight 920 g
• 1 egg beaten
• 1 Tbsp milk
• 1 Tbsp butter
Mix the starter ingredients in a jar or pyrex container with space for at least 50% growth. In fact I usually get 2.5-3.5x growth.
Press down with your knuckles to create a uniform surface and to push out air.
At room temperature, it typically takes up to 10 hours for this sweet stiff levain to be at peak.
In a sauce pan set on med-low heat, whisk the milk and flour until blended. Then cook for several minutes until thickened, stirring regularly with a spoon or heat-resistant spatula. Let cool in the pan or, for faster results, in a new bowl.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, briefly whisk the dry dough ingredients, and then add the sweet stiff starter, separating it into 5-6 portions as you add it to the bowl.
Now pour/scrape in all the wet ingredients (including the tangzhong), with the melted butter last. With the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed for a minute, scrape down the sides, and then mix on medium speed for 15-20 minutes. The dough will seem very soft, but as you approach the 15-20 minute mark, it should not stick to your hands and should pass the windowpane test.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, form it into a ball, flip it smooth side up, cover and let rise for 6-12 hours depending on room temperature. You can place the dough into the fridge to chill the dough for about 1.5 hours, this makes rolling the dough easier.
Prepare your pans by greasing them or line with parchment paper.
Scrape the dough out onto a clean counter top. Lightly flour the bench. Press the dough into a rectangle and divide it into four. Shape each tightly into a boule, allow to rest 5 mins. Using a rolling pin roll each ball out and then letterfold. Turn 90* and using a rolling pin roll each out to at least 8”. Roll each into a tight roll with some tension. Arrange the rolls of dough inside your lined pan alternating the direction of the swirls. This should allow a greater rise during proof and in the oven.
Cover and let proof for 2-4 hours (more if you put the dough in the refrigerator). I proof until the top of the dough comes to within 1 cm of the top edge of the pan.
Preheat the oven to 350F and brush the dough with the egg-milk wash. Just prior to baking brush with the egg-milk wash again.
Bake the loaves for 50 minutes or until the internal temperature is at least 190F. Shield your loaf if it gets brown early in the baking process. After 50 mins remove the bread from the pan and bake a further 10 mins by placing the loaf directly in the oven on the rack with the oven turned down to 325ºF. You can brush the top of the loaf with butter if you wish at this point while the bread is still hot.
Wonderful flavour, there isn’t any real sour tang and certainly no bitterness that I had always thought was characteristic of 100% whole wheat breads like this that I ate as a child. I’m not sure that the Vital Wheat Gluten was necessary, but I wanted to ensure that I was able to get the shreddable crumb that this type of bread should have.