The Fresh Loaf

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94% Whole Wheat Sourdough

HeiHei29er's picture

94% Whole Wheat Sourdough

After last weekend's success doing a cold retard during bulk, I decided to try it again, but this time with a whole grain loaf.  It's been quite a while since I made a 100% whole wheat loaf and I have some flour I want to get through.  This one's not quite 100%...  I used my white flour starter refresh again for the inoculation.  I kept the method the same and am happy to say it worked again for me.  My summer schedule gets pretty crazy, so I'm glad I tried out this method as it gives me just a little more flexibility. 

Final Dough
475g     Whole Wheat Flour (King Arthur's)
356.3g  Water
8.6g      Salt
64.1g    White Flour Starter (from 12 hour refresh)

1)  Combine all ingredients except starter and saltolyse on the counter for 1 hour.
2)  Combine starter and saltolyse by pinching/squeezing/mashing them together.  Do not stretch or fold.  Goal is to get a complete mix without developing gluten.
3)  Cover and bench rest 73-77 deg F for 1 hour.
4)  Do two sets of bowl kneading until you get resistance.  Should be 12-16 folds.  10 minute rests between sets.
5)  Bulk ferment at 76-78 deg F until you get some puffiness and maybe a 10-15% rise.  Do a bowl Stretch and Fold every 45-60 minutes during this step. (It was 4-4.5 hours for this bake.) 
6)  Place in refrigerator overnight (I went 12 hours for this bake)
7)  Remove from refrigerator and let warm on countertop for 30 minutes.
8)  Light bowl Stretch and Fold and let warm for another 30 minutes.  Watch for dough gaining activity and starting to rise.
9)  Preshape and bench rest for 20-30 minutes.
10)  Final shape and then final proof at 76-78 deg F until dough well risen and jiggly (this bake was about 2.5-3 hours)
11)  Pre-heat oven with Fibrament stone at 460 deg F for 1 hour.  Set up oven for steaming.
12)  Bake at 460 deg for 1 minute and then drop oven temp to 400 deg for 19 minutes.  Vent oven and finish the bake at 425 deg F until you have a hollow thump. (It was another 15 minutes for this bake).

Will try it for the first time at lunch today, but it does have a good wheat aroma with almost a hint of sweetness.


WatertownNewbie's picture

Wow, what a great-looking loaf of bread.  A completely uniform crust and very nice crumb.  Excellent oven spring for any flour and especially for whole wheat.  That looks tremendous.  Thanks for posting.

Happy baking.


HeiHei29er's picture

Thank you!

idaveindy's picture


HeiHei29er's picture

Thanks Dave.  I officially joined the Dark Side!

GaryBishop's picture

I'm trying to learn to make hearth loaves with efficient shapes for slicing. I've always baked pullman loaves because of their slicing efficiency but a new cloche has inspired me to try  shaping.

I'm thinking about aspect ratio; the ratio of the width to the height of a slice. Your great crumb shot looks to be about 7:4  (7 units wide and 4 unit tall). Does that seem about right to you? 

How did you shape that loaf? My unbound loaves spread way too much. 

HeiHei29er's picture

Thanks Gary.  For efficient slicing and hearth loaves, I like scoring across the dough about 5 times instead of one continuous score along the length.  It causes the dough to elongate instead of opening up and blooming.  You get a slightly longer and more uniform “round” shape.  You don’t get an ear with that score though.  Someexamples of it here.

I would say your aspect ratio on that loaf is just about right.

How do I shape…. It’s a hodge podge of techniques I picked up from various videos until I found something that worked for me.  If I get ambitious, I’ll post a video of it.  

I’m still not happy with how I shape though.  Overall I am, but I regularly get those triangular shaped holes.  I’m guessing it’s a shaping thing because no bubble is going to naturally form in that shape, but I can’t figure out where my mistake is.  😁. 

I’m finding more and more than loaves spreading is more a function of building dough strength during bulk than anything.  I do bowl S&F every 30 minutes if the dough is loose and extend it out if it feels strong.  After every S&F, I shape it in a ball before putting it back in the bulk bowl.  If it’s completely flat by the next fold, I stick with 30 minutes.  If it’s holding a bit of the ball shape and hasn’t completely spread out, I extend to every 45 minutes.  That has helped me a lot recently.

gavinc's picture

Excellent! I love the colour and crumb.

HeiHei29er's picture

Thanks Gavin!  I’m really happy with how this one turned.

naturaleigh's picture

Great looking bake...color, crust, crumb, ear, especially for such a high WW%.  I'm also intrigued by this method (I think Benny also recently posted a similar fermentation/proof formula).  I'm looking for ways to free up my normal dough prep day and I think this refrigerated ferment might help quite a bit.  I'm looking forward to giving this method a try soon and appreciate the additional guidance as far as steps and timing.

Great post!

HeiHei29er's picture

Thank you Leigh.  I agree that it will be nice to have options.  Sometimes it just works best to mix right after dinner.  Didn’t have that option before this.  😁

Benito's picture

That is just perfect Troy, welcome to the dark side, really well done.


HeiHei29er's picture

Thanks Benny.  It's a continuous learning curve.  Next time, I'll do a better job of planning ahead and do a couple refreshes with WW to make it 100%.  

Another Girl's picture
Another Girl

You must be delighted with that. Super nice.


HeiHei29er's picture

Thanks AG!  Really happy with it.  One of my better whole grain loaves to-date!