Tuesday, 1 January 2013

30% Wholewheat Sourdough

Well Christmas is over and I have transformed almost all left overs into other incarnations. It's the first day of a new year and I need to be baking bread to set the tone for the year. I decided after the rich diet of the last two weeks, something with a higher percentage of wholegrain would be good, so this is my 30% Wholewheat Sourdough recipe.

You  will need:
For the Ferment
1 Tablespoon of starter
130g of Strong White Flour
70g of Strong Wholewheat flour
200g of water

For the main dough
All of the ferment
700g of Strong White Flour
350g of Strong Wholewheat flour
600g of water
21g of salt

Begin by mixing the ferment ingredients. Set aside until the ferment is bubbling vigorously, at the moment in my chilly house this will take 24 hours. Add the ferment to all the main dough ingredients apart from the salt and after mixing to combine thoroughly, leave the dough to rise overnight. In the morning mix in the salt and keep mixing with a dough hook for 2 minutes to guarantee good distribution. Transfer the dough to a large bowl and leave covered to rise for a minimum of 4 hours. Stretch and fold the dough every hour, you will begin to notice the gluten development changes the tightness of the dough and it becomes less inclined to relax back into a mass. When you are happy good gluten development has been achieved, divide the dough into three and place each loaf after shaping carefully into well floured moulds to prove. I find the success of bread baking is a matter of judging when each stage has been achieved. The ferment needs to be added to the main ingredients only when it is at its peak of production, the dough needs to be left to rise with stretching and folding happening each hour until the gluten is well developed.

Bake the loaves in a hot, 220C oven for 30 to 35 minutes until a good crust has been formed.

I placed sunflower seeds in the top of my loaves but the choice is yours to adorn your bread any way you wish.
This bread has a nice open texture so although it contains more fibre the characteristics of a good white sourdough are not lost.


  1. After almost a week of finding all food just `calories' I found this bread with a particularly subtle smoked salmon slice has re-awakened my good taste buds!

  2. I am delighted to hear it, let's make sure 2013 improves.

  3. This year 'Herman' is coming out of his suspended cryogenic stasis to rejoin the living and to be used to produce wonderful home made bread etc. I will be trying some of your recipes and hopefully won't be pulling out all of my hair in the process (or up to my armpits in "Herman"!). A great and healthy recipe for a good start to the New Year :)

    1. I'm glad this bread found favour, and thank you for always leaving encouraging comments. I think it's a brilliant decision to resurrect "Herman"; I find a starter is a difficult thing to kill off. You do know I keep my starter in the fridge in between using some for baking a batch of bread and stirring in equal quantities of flour and water to replenish it. I leave the jar out, having added more flour and water, for a few hours to give the colony of yeast a bit of a start. I think with regular use and feeding, a starter becomes a strong, active working ingredient in your bread baking after 2 or 3 weeks. The key thing I have learned in all the years I have been baking with wild yeast is to give the starter enough food and water to get going initially, then when it is really flourishing, by that I mean creating a surface full of bursting bubbles and caving in on itself, move it on to the next stage by adding all the main dough ingredients. The timing will depend entirely on the conditions, primarily the strength of your starter and also the temperature. If the ferment is looking ready before the time suggested in the recipe, try bringing the whole process forward. Happy baking and do let me know how you get on. Tôbi

  4. I just recently tried this "stretch and fold" method, and I have to say it did make a difference to the outcome of the bread. This is definitely something I will try and get better at. Do you think this contributes to getting a bread with lots of holes? (your bread looks truly delicious!)

    1. Hello Yvonne, thank you for your comment. I prefer the stretch and fold method of gluten development, partly because the dough is contained (I use a large polythene food container) you don't need to add any more flour to the recipe and it's easy enough to gauge when the gluten is becoming strong enough to shape into loaves to prove before baking. The stretching and folding stage needs to be given enough time to produce a strong dough which increases in volume and strength. Simply wet your hand and reach in at one side of the container and pull up and fold over gently, moving around the box to ensure all the dough has been stretched. Be careful to de-gas as little as possible. Large holes are destroyed by two things, firstly squashing down the dough and pressing to form a dough with smaller, more evenly distributed holes, a process in the UK referred to as knocking back. Secondly by using flour which has ingredients that tear the gluten and don't allow it to make large bubbles to trap the gas. High protein flour (strong bread flour) will, especially when you make a soft dough, form large holes if the gluten is developed sufficiently. Ciabatta is a good example of this. As soon as you begin to include other things in your bread, nuts and seeds for instance or even the bran found naturally in wholewheat flour, the gluten fails to keep its form while trapping air and will result in a denser loaf with smaller bubbles. I hope this helps. Happy baking, best wishes Tôbi


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