Ok so there was a 100% Whole Wheat Sourdough Loaf-1 right? Now you are probably wondering if these enhanced versions are going to become a habit with me? Well if it is for your good, then why not I say? 😀
Ok ok, your good and my good too because the more I experiment, the more comfortable and successful I get and then both of us can have great recipes to work with, which will not end up disappointing us.
With Sourdough (SD) breads, as I mentioned earlier, it is more about the process and a whole bunch of variables with potentially infinite values, rather than the actual recipe itself. And while the recipe is definitely a guideline, merely possessing it is no guarantee that one can produce a great bread. Hence the need for practice practice and more practice.
And why does this bread warrant its own blog post you might ask? That is because though I have made minor changes in comparison to the previous version, both recipes work well with slightly different results and once you try them out, you can then stick with whichever works best for you.
This was my 4th trial with 100% SD and 100% (Whole Wheat Flour (WWF) and somewhere in this post you will be getting a glimpse of the horror that was Trial 3 😀 but let us start with the more appealing Trial 4 which is now documented as our 100% WWF SD Loaf – 2.
So say Hello to this pretty loaf’er and proceed to learn to make and bake it.
Sourdough bread –
As always, if you are a beginner, I would recommend that when you have the time, please do go through past posts to get a better idea of sourdough. First go through this post on SD that gives you some idea of what SD is and how you can create a SD starter which is the vital ingredient in any SD bake. This method also gives you a whole wheat starter, as compared to method 2 which gives you a maida/All Purpose Flour (APF) starter.
However, that is not really significant though, since any starter can be converted to an alternate flour at the time of feeding.
The process –
This loaf also does not use egg and dairy and hence it is vegan. Also, please note that whole grain flour tends to absorb more water and the recipe has been created accordingly to take that into account.
And before we embark, let me show you that promised picture of Trial 3, so that you will appreciate the current fellow a little more 😂😉 Ok let us not be mean, Trial 3 was not all that bad 😀
Trial 3 – this used the exact same recipe but I think my error was in letting the final proofing go on for too long and hence there was no oven spring and the loaf did not rise. However, the texture and taste were far more acceptable than the aesthetics. But as we all know, discrimination is permitted in bread loaves and the ones that rise better are loved better 😎
I have also learnt the hard way, that Size matters. Which means that the size of the loaf tin makes a significant difference in the final outcome, especially when it comes to SD loaves. Hence this recipe used a smaller tin than last time and that also did help in helping the bread emerge out in all its glory.
Let us now get on to the current recipe –
The steps –
The steps are similar to the previous 100% WWF SD loaf but I will repeat them here again, for easy reference.
As I mentioned, the process is quite similar to making bread with commercial yeast, the main difference being that the SD dough takes much longer to rise.
1. Make or have your SD starter ready –
Refresh your starter a day or two before baking, depending on how neglected it has been.
2. Prepare the Levain –
About 5 – 6 hours before making the dough, take a portion of the starter and feed it with equal weights of flour and water in a 1:4:4 ratio.
For example if I need 90 gm of levain in the recipe, I will take 10 gm starter and feed with 40 gm water and 40 gm flour at least 6 hours before beginning to make my dough. If my starter is known to double in less than that time, I will create my levain accordingly.
Usually the quantity of levain used is 20% by weight, of the total flour in the recipe. For a quicker sandwich loaf, I have used 40% of the total flour (exact figures in the recipe below).
The float test is a good method to see if the levain is ready. Drop a teaspoon of levain gently into a glass container of water. If the blob floats for a while and does not sink right away, the levain is ready to be used.
3. Autolyse the dough –
Around 1 -2 hours before the levain is ready, mix the rest of the flour and water from the recipe and let it sit covered in a bowl. Autolyse has many benefits and loosely speaking they include helping the dough to fully hydrate, giving a better flavor and texture to the finished product etc. Of course there is much chemistry behind this but I will not get into that here.
4. Kneading –
One can perform hand kneading or machine kneading with a stand mixer. This is done till the dough comes together as a soft, cohesive mass.
5. Bulk Ferment –
The kneaded dough is rolled into a ball and smeared with a bit of oil and left to ferment and rise in a covered container (sometimes if the hydration is high, I also prefer to do around 3 Stretch and Folds aka SnF at intervals of 30 min – 1 hr)
6. Shape the dough and place in loaf pan –
When the dough has increased to around 1.5 times its original volume (around 3 hours in my warm Indian kitchen), it is then shaped and placed in the greased/lined loaf tin.
7. Final rise –
The tin is covered in plastic wrap and set aside till the dough rises again to nearly double (around 2 hours in my kitchen)
8. Preheating oven –
Around 15 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to maximum temperature.
9. Scoring and baking –
Slash or score the dough and bake it in the oven. Timing will depend on individual ovens.
SD Whole Wheat loaf recipe –
Approximately 11 – 12 hours from start to finish.
Makes – One inch loaf
For the dough –
1 – Levain – 150 gm – See Notes
2 – Whole wheat flour any brand – 220 gm – See Notes
3 – Water at room temperature – 160 gm – See Notes
4 – Salt – 8 gm/1 teaspoon
5 – Oil/ghee/butter – 40 gm (I used oil)
6 – Raw sugar (or any sugar) – 20 gm
7 – Oil for coating the dough – 2 (or more) teaspoons
Ingredients for greasing the pan and dusting –
Oil (any neutral type. I used Sunflower oil) – 2 teaspoons
Flour for dusting the loaf – 1 teaspoon
Equipment that I used –
Kitchen Aid Bowl Lift Stand Mixer
Aluminum Loaf Pan 7.5×3.5×2 inches
You can hand knead it if you are comfortable doing so and also use any shape of pan or even bake a free form bread.
1. Refresh your starter a day or two before baking, depending on how neglected it has been. FYI, whole wheat starters are thicker than pure maida (APF) starters.
2. Prepare the Levain – About 3-4 hours (because my starter rises fast) before making the dough (say 10 am), take 20 gm of the starter and feed it in a 1:4:4 ratio with 80 gm flour + 80 gm water.
(If the starter is active, the levain should double in around 5 – 6 hours or less)
Perform the float test if you need to confirm if the levain is ready. Drop a teaspoon of levain gently into a glass container of water. If the blob floats for a while and does not sink right away, the levain is ready to be used. This step is not necessary if you are confident that your levain is ready even without performing the test.
3. Autolyse the dough – Around 1 – 2 hours (say 12.30 pm) before the levain is ready, mix 220 gm of WWF with 160 gm water and let it sit covered in a Kitchen Aid mixer bowl or regular bowl.
4. Kneading – At around 1.45 pm, add 150 gm of levain and sugar to the autolyse. The remaining 30 gm of levain can go back to the fridge to be the new Mother starter or you can discard it if you already have too much starter in the fridge. I never discard any.
Knead for 5 minutes in the Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Add the salt and oil and knead for another 5 minutes till the dough comes together.
Perform hand kneading if you do not have a stand mixer. Knead till the dough comes together as a soft, cohesive mass.
5. Bulk Ferment – At around 2 pm, roll the kneaded dough into a ball.
Lightly oil your hands and do a stretch and fold. Grab one end of the dough and pull it up gently till as far as it goes without breaking. Then fold it over the ball of dough. Rotate the bowl and repeat the process until the entire dough had been stretched and folded, around 6 – 8 sections. Smear the ball with a bit of oil and leave it covered in a greased bowl. I use my Kitchen Aid bowl itself. You can use any container that can be closed or covered.
6. After another 60 minutes (say 3 pm), repeat the process again.
7. After another 60 min, 4 pm, repeat the process again.
8. After another 30 minutes at 4.30 pm ie 2.5 hours after you finish kneading, take out the ball of dough with lightly floured hands and place it on a lightly floured counter. Pre shape by gently stretching it out on all sides and then folding it over itself from all sides. Cover it and let it rest for 15 minutes.
9. Keep ready the greased loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
10. At 4.45 pm, perform the final shaping by pressing the dough into a rectangle whose length is equal to the length of the loaf pan. Gently roll up the dough into a cylinder and place it seam side down in the loaf pan.
11. Cover the pan with cling wrap and set it aside in a warm place till the dough rises. Mine rose to only 1.5 times its size in 2.5 hours. Do not expect a rise which is similar to commercial yeast dough.
12. Around 15 minutes before baking ie 7 pm, preheat the oven to maximum temperature.
13. Dust some flour on the dough through a tea strainer. Score the dough with a blade and place it in the oven. Failing to slash the loaf may give rise to the loaf breaking through the top unevenly while rising.
14. At 7-15 pm, place the pan in the oven. Timing will depend on individual ovens. In my oven I left it at maximum 250 deg c for the first 20 minutes until I saw the top browning. Then I reduced to 200 deg c for another 20 minutes. Please note that my oven is old and nuts 😀 and you will have to find your ideal oven temperature with experimentation.
15. Take out the loaf and invert it on a cooling rack. Slice ONLY when completely cool. Enjoy it plain or with any spread of your choice. Notes –
The levain quantity is ideally supposed to be 40% of the total flour, for a SD loaf. The total flour is around 295 gm hence the levain should be 118 gm but I have randomly used 150 gm. Which means 75 gm flour + 75 gm water.
The flour is 220 gm and is derived from subtracting 75 gm which the levain has, from the total 295 gm in the recipe.
The water is 160 gm, which means a total of 235 gms if you include the 75 gm that is used in the levain.
The hydration (meaning how much water you wish to use) is up to you. For a beginner, a lower hydration level is easy to deal with.
Timings are dependent on many factors and what I have noted are what worked for me in a moderately warm Indian kitchen. Please work according to the relevant factors in your surroundings.
I hope you will successfully try this recipe and I would really appreciate if you leave your feedback in the Blog comments.