Levain Measurements (1:1:1 ratio)
- 38 grams Mature Sourdough Starter
- 38 grams Unbleached Flour
- 38 grams Filtered Water
Bread Dough Measurements
- 300 grams (unbleached/organic) Whole Wheat Flour (Stone Ground)
- 150 grams (unbleached/organic) Bread Flour
- 320 grams Filtered Water
- 9 grams Sea Salt
- 100 grams (Levain) Sourdough Starter
Flavorful and nutritious whole wheat sourdough bread baked in a bread loaf pan.
This whole wheat sourdough bread not only has more flavor than an all-white loaf but also contains more nutrients.
One of the main differences between whole wheat and white flour is the fiber content.
Whole wheat flour naturally has the level of fiber found in wheat, while most of the fiber has been removed from white flour during processing.
Whole wheat also has more iron, calcium, protein, and other nutrients than white flour.
Wheat has three parts to it—the bran which is packed with fiber, the endosperm and the germ. Germ is the nutrient-rich embryo of the seed.
Whole wheat flour includes the bran, endosperm, and germ of the wheat grain which gives it a slightly darker color and makes it more nutritious!
I think this is reason enough to add a whole wheat sourdough to the rotation.
This method is easy and almost hands-off, as it uses the standing mixer with the dough hook attachment to mix the dough.
Understanding that temperature, humidity, ingredients and time are all such crucial factors when it comes to bread making is so important.
Using the standing mixer to mix the dough will result in a lighter crumb with a thinner crust as the machine will mix the dough more thoroughly.
For structure, I still like to use some bread flour. This way the hydration does not need to me extremely high.
High hydration loaves tend to be harder to handle when it comes to shaping.
Here, I provide you with my typical 1-day bread making schedule, however, you can adjust to your needs.
Start to finish, it will take about 12 hours.
This includes 4-5 hours for the levain to grow, 3-4 hours of bulk fermentation and 2-3 hours for final proof.
I prefer to bake my whole wheat sourdough bread in a bread pan, however, if you are used to making a boule or batard, you can still use this method!
Remember, the below is a guide for you to follow but depending on the temperature and humidity of your environment, the schedule may need to be adjusted.
Fermentation slows in colder temperatures and a dry environment will require a higher amount of water for the loaf.
If you are unsure about anything or simple have a question, can always reach out to me via Instagram DM!
Here’s the baker’s math of this sourdough loaf:
450g flour = 100%
320g water = 71%
100g sourdough starter (levain) = 22%
9g salt – 2%
The hydration of this loaf is 71%.
Here’s how to calculate the hydration properly:
(Total water/ total flour) x 100 = hydration
The sourdough starter is 100% hydration which means it’s equal parts flour to water. 90g sourdough starter is 50g water + 50g flour.
Total water is: 320g (water added to make the dough) +50g (water from the sourdough starter) = 370g water
Total flour is: 450g (flour added to make the dough) + 50g (flour from the sourdough starter) = 500g
(370g/500g) x100 = 74%
Why does this matter? The hydration % of your bread will result in a different texture and crumb. If you live in a dry climate, you might want to increase hydration and if you live in a humid climate like me, keeping the hydration lower is ideal.
Find more sourdough recipes here: All Things Bread
7am - Build The Levain
I tend to make two loaves at a time, which is why the image will show more levain than needed for just 1 loaf.
To build your levain, mix together the mature starter, flour(s) and warm, filtered water. Water that is around 90-100°F will help speed up the process.
Mix well until all dry bits have been fully absorbed, then loosely cover and allow to grow at room temperature.
9am - Autolyse
First, warm up the filtered water to around 90-100°F.
Both the levain and autolysed dough should be the same temperature.
To measure the wight of the flours and water, I place the mixing bowl on top of the kitchen scale and then attach it to the standing mixer.
Mix with the standing mixer and the dough hook attachment until all of the flours have been fully absorbed and it comes together in a sticky dough.
10:30am Float Test
Depending on the temperature of your kitchen, the levain will take anywhere from 3-5 hours to reach peak height.
If the levain has doubled in size, shows a lot of sign of activity and the top is no longer domed, it's most likely ready.
However, always to the float test to be 100% sure.
Get a bowl of water then spoon out just a bit of the levain (1 teaspoon is enough) and gently drop it into the water.
If sinks, the levain needs more time and if it floats it's ready to be used.
11am - Add Levain and Salt
Place the bowl with the autolysed dough on top of your kitchen scale and 0 it out.
Add 90 grams of levain then attach the bowl back to your standing mixer and the dough hook attachment and start on low speed to mix.
While the dough is mixing, measure out 9 grams of sea salt.
Once the levain is fully mixed it, slowly add the salt while it's mixing.
Allow the dough to mix for another 3-4 minutes then remove the bowl, cover and allow to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
I like to transfer the dough into a clean bowl that has a lid.
Once this step is done, bulk fermentation has started. Note down this time stamp.
11:30am - Bulk Fermentation and Stretch & Folds
During bulk fermentation, you will perform 3 sets of stretch & folds 30 minutes apart.
Once bulk fermentation has started, set a 30 minute timer.
After the timers, goes off, lightly wet your hand then gently scoop and grab one side of the dough and stretch it up and over the dough to the other side. Rotate the bowl 90° and perform another stretch and fold slightly overlapping the first. Continue to rotate the bowl and perform stretch and folds until all sides are complete. You can leave the dough as it or gently lift it up and place it back into the bowl with face-side down so that the top is round and smooth.
Cover the bowl again and set another 30 minute timer.
After 30 minutes perform your second set of stretch & folds, then cover, set another 30 minute timer and perform a third set of stretch & folds.
Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rest for the remainder of bulk fermentation.
3:30pm - Pre-Shape
Depending on how well your dough ferments, it may be ready after 3-5 hours. The colder your kitchen, the longer fermentation takes.
The dough should have risen during bulk fermentation, have a smooth and slightly domed top, and show some bubbles on the sides and surface or the dough. It should also feel alive and aerated.
If the dough does not seem ready, allow it to bulk a but longer. I do not recommend going past a 5 hour bulk fermentation.
Lightly flour your clean work surface then gently remove the dough from the dough using lightly floured hands or bench scraper, being careful not to deflate the dough too much. You want as much of the air pockets to stay in tact.
Place the dough on top of the lightly floured (less flour is better than more) work surface then gently pre-shape using a lightly floured bench scraper or your hands.
Gently shape the dough into a ball shape by pushing the dough and rotating it with a bench scraper or your hand into a ball shape.
Allow the dough to rest uncovered for 20 minutes. During the bench rest, the dough will spread and flatten a bit.
4pm - Final Shape
First, I recommend lightly grease all sides of your loaf tin with oil. I use olive oil.
Using lightly floured hands or a bench scraper, loosen the edges of the dough ball then gently flip it over.
Brush off any excess flour.
To shape the dough into a log shape, stretch the right side of the dough then fold it into the center on the dough, pressing it down so it adheres.
Then stretch the bottom of the dough and fold it into the center of the dough, pressing it down so it adheres.
Repeat the stretch and fold with the left side.
Stretch and roll the top of the dough down into a long tube, similar to rolling a beach towel.
Roll the dough so it's seam-side down.
Place your hands on either side of the loaf with your palms facing the loaf.
Gently push the dough from both sides and slightly cup the bottom edges to seal the bottom and all four sides.
Lift the dough log and place it into your bread loaf pan with the seam-side down.
Place the loaf pan inside a large plastic bag and seal (making sure the bag does not touch the top of the dough). I use a plastic produce bag.
Allow the dough to proof in a warm and draft-free area in your kitchen for 2-3 hours.
Alternatively, you can proof the dough at room temperature for 1-2 hours then move it to the refrigerator and cold proof for 10-12 hours.
4:30pm - Final Proof
6:30pm - Pre-Heat The Oven
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
To create steam in your oven, place a large and heavy baking sheet or large cast iron skillet on the very bottom rack and fill about half way with water. Once the oven is preheated, the water will gently boil and create steam.
7pm - Poke Test
To see if the dough has fully proofed, perform the poke test.
Remove the proofing basket from the bag and gently press a finger into the dough.
If the dough springs back right away it's not ready yet and needs a bit more time to proof.
If the dough springs back slowly and leaves a small indentation, it’s ready to be baked.
7:15pm - Bake
Dust the top of the loaf with a bit of flour or rice flour then score the top of the loaf with a bread lame or a sharp knife.
A simple slash a bit off-center is all you need. I like to angle my blade a bit outward and score is lengthwise from top to bottom.
This is optional but recommended as a slash in the dough will give it a more even oven spring and rise.
Place the bread in the oven (middle rack is best) and bake with steam for 20 minutes at 425°F.
After 20 minutes, carefully and with oven mitts, remove the steam and lower the heat to 420°F.
Bake for another 30-35 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread is at 208°F.
Allow To Cool Completely Before Slicing
Once the bread has fully baked, remove the loaf from the loaf tin and move it to a cooling rack and allow to cool for at least 2 hours before slicing in.
If you slice in too soon, the crumb will be gummy and the bread will go stale faster.
Store the cooled bread in a bread basket (unsliced) with a lid or a plastic bag at room temperature.
You can also slice and freeze the loaf and toast each slice before eating.
For bread that is kept at room temperature, keep the bread whole and slice as needed. After day 2, toast the bread slices for the best taste and crunch!
It is not recommended to store the bread in the refrigerator as it will go stale faster.