Whole wheat sourdough bread

whole wheat sourdough
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Making whole wheat sourdough is a challenge. It is not difficult, but it requires some extra attention and tricks to make the bread light and airy. Whole wheat flour has less gluten than the white flour. This is the main reason for whole wheat bread to be dense and not pleasurable to eat some times.

whole wheat sourdough
Whole wheat sourdough

But we can overcome this, by simply following few extra steps in the bread making process. A slight change in the recipe could also help maximizing the bloom. Lets see what they are.

whole wheat sourdough
whole wheat sourdough

First on to the tips:

If the whole wheat percentage in the recipe, is anywhere between 100% – 80%, these tips can help you get strength in the crumb and thus help trap air while proofing, which in-turn will help the bread to expand in the oven with ease.

Tip 1

Use a higher percentage of water. I find this easier to handle the dough as whole wheat is hi-gyroscopic. A tough dough will inhibit blooming and oven spring. More water means a softer dough which could be worked to develop gluten.

Tip 2:

Autolyze the dough. It is important to not add the starter until the very end of autolyzing process. This will give you more control over how your bread is proofed. Autolyze is the word used to describe the simple process of , mixing the flour and water(usually a larger percentage) and letting it sit for an extended period of time. This process helps develop maximum strength of gluten. At the end of the autolyze, add the starter and move on to kneading.

Tip 3:

Give the dough some extra kneading. Kneading help strengthen the gluten too. Since our whole wheat has less gluten, we need all the strength we can get out of those gluten.

Tip 4:

Give extra folds. On the same note as kneading, give one or two extra folds while the dough ferments. When doing this, try to stretch the dough on a surface and fold it back so that this will give maximum strength to the gluten strands.

Key is to develop more gluten and to strengthen that gluten as much as possible so we get that nice airy crumb.

whole wheat sourdough

It is always a good idea to add something glutenous to the recipe in addition to the above steps. even a 10% of white flour makes a big difference in strengthening the crumb, without affecting the taste and texture of the whole wheat bread.

whole wheat sourdough
50% whole wheat crumb

I find adding the following help give more body to the bread

  • chia seeds – 2 table spoons per loaf
  • ground linseed – 1/4 cup per loaf
  • psyllium husk – 1 – 2 teaspoon per loaf

I love to experiment with adding these extras to breads and there can be several other great ways to make your whole wheat loaf a success. I am still in the process of finding possibilities and feel free to comment if you know a way to achieve this or simply share your tips and tricks!

Following is a whole wheat recipes I bake often.

whole wheat sourdough
90% whole wheat

Another one of my favorite whole wheat recipes is the 90% whole wheat one with 90% hydration. For this simply use 200 g whole white wheat flour, 200 g whole red wheat flour, 100 g of white bread flour. Use the same amount of oil, salt and starter weights as above. Use 400 g of water and autolyze the dough for two hours.

Following photo shows how the bread looks followed by the crumb shot. Incredibly soft crumb for a whole wheat loaf. The crumb is very gelatinous due to the higher water percentage and this stays fresh for longer.

whole wheat sourdough
the crumb

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  1. Hi Vindi!
    Would this recipe work with the same quantities if I put spelt flour instead of whole wheat?
    Thank you!

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