a simple recipe for a wholemeal sourdough

wishfish's picture

Can anyone recommend a nice simple reliable recipe for a wholemeal sourdough?

I have basic equipment - no scales, for example, but a measuring jug. I have a good hot oven, but it doesn't have a thermometer or marked temperature setting. I have a beautiful baking stone. Within these limitations I would like to achieve a wholemeal sourdough that has at least a slightly open crumb. I've been producing tasty bread for a month or two but now I want to achieve a little more finesse.

I appreciate any suggestions for a good recipe.


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farinam's picture
farinam 2014 November 9

Hello wishfish,

Do you mean a recipe that uses only wholemeal wheat flour or do you mean a recipe that uses a blend of wholemeal and white wheat flour?

The recipe will be quite different depending on which you mean because whotemeal flour will absorb a lot more water due to the bran and germ content and will give a stiffer dough or will require a higher hydration (more water) depending on the proportion of wholemeal in the flour mix.

The other aspect is that, as the amount of wholemeal in the flour mix increases, the bran and germ interfere more and more with the strength and continuity of the gluten that is developed in the dough which will affect the shaping and potential rise of the bread.

So, you might be better to sneak up on the proportion of wholemeal in your recipe in stages so that you get used to handling and developing the dough.

As far as recipes goes, all you need is your starter, flour, water and salt.  Start with your normal recipe and add, say a third of a cup of wholemeal, reduce your white flour by the same amount and see how that goes.  You might also add an extra splash of water if the dough needs it after it has been well mixed.  Don't be tempted to add it too early or in too large amount.  If you overdo the water addition, be extra cautious adding more flour because it takes some time for the flour to absorb all of the water that it is capable of and it is very, very easy to overdo things in the opposite direction.  Plus, you can end up with under/differently-developed flour in your dough that will adversely affect the quality of the final loaf.

Once you are happy with that change to the recipe (it might take a couple of goes to get it right), substitute an additional one third cup (two thirds in total) and work your way through that as before.  Repeat until you get to the 100% wholemeal stage or until you get to a stage where you are happy with the product that you are making.

As far as baking goes, start with your oven very hot and your stone well soaked (with heat that is) and when you put your loaf in reduce the temperature to hot and bake for the normal time ( a 3-4 cup fresh flour loaf should take about 40 minutes).  If the loaf starts to brown too quickly after 10 or 15 minutes, you could reduce the temperature a bit more to moderate.

Good luck with your projects.


wishfish's picture
wishfish 2014 November 10

.... as usual, your comments are well-considered and thorough.

I was thinking of a mixed wholemeal/white combination loaf, with the possible addition of rye.

I've added a couple a photos to the original post to give an idea of what I've been achieving. The main thing I would like is a more open crumb. I am aware that wholemeal is never going to give exactly the same results as white flour but I'm willing to sacrifice a bit of style in favour of nutrition.

I'm not sure where I can get better than the standard supermarket flour that I've been using. I might have to go to Porto Alegre in a couple of weeks and I'm going to see if there is anywhere there that has better quality flour.

I'll keep at - and I think a set of scales is on my wish list.

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