First time sourdough

Hi. I have just made my own sourdough starter and now bread.The only difference from the original recipe I made was to use a whole meal flour vs white as my local shop didn't gave the 'good' white flour.The bread was very dense. No air bubbles. But the sour taste was there which is great. My question is why could this have happened? Did I knead I too much? Any suggestions to try for the next loaf would be appreciated. Many thanks in advance. NikolaThe recipe I used was from here flour I used
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farinam's picture
farinam 2014 June 14

Hello Nikola,

Because wholemeal flour has all of the bran and germ still in it, this interferes with the formation and continuity of the gluten and makes for a weaker dough that has more difficulty in containing and supporting the gas bubbles that form as the fermentation proceeds.

Quite possiby it was nothing that you did wrong, just that it was a bit hard for you to manage at this stage.

I think that you should get yourself some white bread flour.  Laucke Wallaby or Defiance from the supermarket is fine and work with a blend (10% wholemeal as in SourDom's Pane francesa in the beginners blog on this site) is a good starting point.  Once you have mastered that then you can progressively increase the wholemeal component and develop your technique as you go.  You will have to increase the hydration as the proportion of wholemeal increases since it is also more absorbent.

The main thing is not to despair and to practice with the one simple recipe and it will come right in time.  There is no 'magic' formula.

Good luck with your projects.


NikkiV 2014 June 15

Thanks Farinam. I did wonder if it has something to do with the wholemeal and hydration.

i will of course try again and let you know how I go. 

NikkiV 2014 June 22

Quick update. Tried it with the white Wallaby flour - using a recipe from a Wild Sourdough book. And yah success. I didn't rush it. Was worried as it didn't seem to ruse as much as expected. But good crust and holes in the bread. Could be a little more sour... But happy with the result and will keep practising.  Thanks again. 

farinam's picture
farinam 2014 June 22

Good to hear Nikola,

As one of your tests, don't be afraid to leave more time.  It would probably pay to let one of your loaves over-prove, just so that you know what to look for.  It might end up a bit flat but it will still be edible and you will have learned something.  I am saying this because I wasn't sure what you were referring to as 'rise'.  Was it rise as in proving after shaping or was it oven spring after it went into the oven.

What you might find is that the more fully risen the dough is, the less oven spring you get.  If it is under risen, it is possible that the loaf will burst during baking.  And obviously if the dough is over-risen it is likely to end up flat after baking.

The main thing is to keep it simple for the time being and get the feel of what to expect and what to look for.  Then as your confidence grows you can branch out to whatever takes your fancy but never forget that you will continue to learn by both success and failure.

Look forward to some happy snaps to see how you are getting along.

Keep on bakin'


EcoGirl123 2014 June 24

Hi Nikola. I'm very new to baking sourdough bread and by NO means fully knowledgable about what to do but I have had success with each "experimental" loaf I've tried and I use ONLY 100% whole grain flours. Adding vital wheat gluten supposedly helps. I use it but can't say for sure it makes all the difference unless I omit it next time. Good luck with your bread baking. It is so much fun!



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