Beginner Whole Wheat Artisan Sourdough Bread is made with 100 percent WHITE whole wheat flour. Working with White Whole Wheat Flour is MUCH easier than the heavier whole wheat flours. That makes white whole wheat flour a perfect healthy choice for this beginner’s artisan sourdough bread. This post is based on our Beginner Artisan Sourdough Bread Recipe with adjustments to the recipe and method to help you have success with whole wheat flour.
The crumb of white whole wheat bread is dense compared to a white flour but less dense than other whole wheat flours. I use Montana Prairie Gold white whole wheat flour to lighten the loaf and give it a softer, moister crumb than a heavier whole wheat such as winter red wheat will produce. The flavor is outstanding!
And the results speak for themselves. This white whole wheat loaf is beautiful with a nice amount of rise, moist flavorful crumb and it’s extremely nutritious. Sourdough whole wheat bread is Wonderfully nutritious and digestible. Even gluten sensitives can digest sourdough bread WAY more easily than commercial yeast raised breads. The fermenting process of sourdough actually helps to break down the gluten into more gut friendly food.
What is WHITE whole wheat flour? White whole wheat flour is a variety of wheat. Just like any other whole wheat flour it is grown from wheat berries and made into whole wheat flour. The brand I am using is Montana White Whole Wheat Flour.
White whole wheat flour is Planted, grown and milled WITHOUT extra steps or additives. No bleaching or mixing in other flours. It is simply naturally lighter in texture making it easier to work with. And it’s full of nutrients just like any other Classic red wheat flour. Happiness!
White whole wheat flour makes baking with whole wheat flour easier. It’s about mid way between the lightness of all purpose bread flour and the heavier red winter wheat flours. I have made several batches of this bread. The various loaves you see are the results. They all turned out great!
Working with winter wheat whole wheat flour in a long rise sourdough bread is challenging. The heavier whole wheat flours (like Winter wheat) are stickier than all purpose white bread flours. They don’t develop gluten easily or raise as well as this 100 percent white whole wheat Sourdough bread.
TIPS: If you mill your own whole grain flours READ THIS: Bread making is science and art. This is Some of the science you need to be aware of.
As freshly milled flour ages after 12 hours, enzymatic activity begins and causes unpredictable results in bread rise. I made my own whole wheat bread flour from hard red winter wheat berries for years and never ran into trouble. BUT I was grinding the flour the same day I used it most often and it was for yeast breads finished in about three hours. So I never ran into this problem… that I was aware of.
Sourdough breads made with this 24 hour long rise method are going to have a problem with freshly milled Whole grain flours (called green flours). Whole grains can ferment quickly and become OVER fermented. That’s what happened to me and why I went searching for answers. I found them here.(read Girl Meets Rye’s post for more detailed information.)
HER SOLUTION: Use your freshly milled grains before 12 hours or WAIT three weeks and oxidize your home milled fresh flours.
- To oxidize your home milled flour Store the fresh milled flour in a canister with an open weave top so oxygen can get in and oxidize the grain naturally. This neutralizes the enzymes that are screwing up the flour for bread making. After oxidation is complete, use the home milled flour as store bought.
Beginner Whole Wheat Artisan Sourdough Bread Recipe:
NOW we know why WHITE whole wheat flour is a good choice for this artisan sourdough bread. We know how to properly prepare your home milled flours for sourdough long rise bread baking. Let’s get started learning the method for this bread recipe. It’s REALLY VERY EASY. It just takes a long time.
YOU TUBE VIDEO OF BEGINNERS ARTISAN SOURDOUGH BREAD:
We made a video of the ENTIRE process of making our Beginners Artisan Sourdough Bread for you. We compressed the 24 hours it takes to complete this recipe into about 6 minutes long. We show you the techniques used in this recipe and every step in order. BUT the video is NOT a whole wheat flour bread. We give you extra tips on this post for working with whole wheat flours.
Let us know in the comments if it helps you out. And Please subscribe to our you tube channel. The finished loaf will have a denser crumb (probably) than you see in this video. I will make a new video soon that will show you the slap and fold technique. And How I work with whole wheat white flour.
LET’S START WITH THE WILD YEAST STARTER. WHY WILD?
Wild yeast starters provide a much Better, Fuller, more Complex….AMAZING flavor and texture than commercial yeasts can. You can easily build your own wild yeast starter. But plan ahead. Give yourself about a week (maybe two for your first one) to get it ripe and bubbly. And all the sourdough discard you will create? I have lots of sourdough discard recipes in the works!
NOTE: You can make your own starter from ANY flour you like. I have made starter from whole wheat flour and also rye flour. Eventually you will learn which starter you prefer. But they can be easily adjusted by simply starting with your established starter and adding whatever flour you prefer.
After the starter is active like this one, it’s time to build the leaven for the bread. DO NOT begin your bread recipe until the active starter passes the float test.
To test your starter drop one teaspoonful of it into a cup of tepid water. It should float like a superstar! No lazy barely lifting off the bottom. It should bounce right up and retain it’s form.
If you DO have an inactive or lazy starter? FEED it. Feed it now and check it in a few hours. That may be all it needs. Otherwise feed it twice or even three times a day until it floats like it should. NOW let’s make bread!
TIP: For this ancient method of Long cold rise bread baking (Made famous by Chad Robertson) you have control over the amount of time you develop the gluten in your bread. After 15 to 18 hours in the fridge take out the dough and look at it. It should be risen about 20 percent at least (it won’t rise as much as regular bread flour).
Notice the air bubbles and the sheen on it? That tells me the dough is developing and rising as it should. Time to divide the dough.
After the dough is divided it should look like this. It has body and structure from gluten development. The dough aeration is also evident. Time to bench rest.
Bench resting means your room temperature dough is relaxing and continuing to build it’s structure for the final form and rise. If your dough is slack and won’t hold it’s shape it may need to be bench rested twice. Even cold raised for several more hours. OR it may mean it’s over proofed. If so it won’t form good loaves. But it makes great pizza!
For Further Help on making Sourdough bread with this method refer to the video linked earlier in this post OR go to my Beginner Artisan Sourdough Bread Recipe Post for a complete tutorial on this process.
Recipe Yield: 20 slices
165 Calories/ Slice
- Fats: 1 gram 2%
- Carbs: 35 grams 12%
- Proteins: 6 grams 12 %
Your Printable Recipe card. I suggest for this lengthy recipe you print out the recipe and refer back to it while reading the post tips.
- 525 grams water-80 degree F. -NO chlorine 2.22 Cups
- 250 grams Very active starter - make sure it floats 1 1/4 Cup
- 20 grams Sea salt 1 Tablespoon
- 700 grams WHITE whole wheat Flour about 5 1/2 Cups
- Make the STARTER AHEAD (This can take up to a week or more) AND DO NOT USE UNTIL IT IS ACTIVE ENOUGH TO FLOAT A TEASPOON ON A CUP OF WATER. Continue the recipe
- Leaven Float Test
- Pour the water into a large bowl.
- Add the ripe starter to the water and mix thoroughly with a whisk or by hand until the floating cloud of starter is mixed completely into the water
- Add the flour to the leavened water and mix with the dough bowl scraper or other spatula. At the end use wet hands to form a shaggy dough ball.
Let it rest (autolyse stage) about an hour. This stage can be extended without worry up to four hours at 75 degrees F.
After autolyse, add the salt to the bread dough. Use your hands to pinch and stretch the dough gently until the salt is mixed into the dough. (see video for my technique)
Using your wet hands pull the dough from under the dough ball up and stretch it gently as you pull it over the dough ball top. Release. Repeat this process as you give the bowl quarter turns until the dough is stretched and pulled from each quarter of the bowl. (SEE video for a demo of this technique).
Over the next 2 1/2 hours repeat the stretch and fold every 30 minutes. Whole wheat flour can be VERY resistant to this technique. If you prefer use the SLAP and FOLD technique.
The dough should become an elastic resilient dough that passes the window pane test. BUT whole wheat flour may need more time in the stretch and fold(Or slap and fold) to build gluten sufficient to pass this test.
- Allow the dough to bulk rise IN THE BOWL at room temperature an hour or SO until it rises by 30 percent or so.
Cover the bowl of dough with a plastic bag and set it in the fridge for 15 to 18 hours (Or overnight). It should continue to rise slowly so give it room in the bowl. Whole wheat flour will rise even more slowly than all purpose bread flours.
Remove the dough from the fridge and let it sit on the counter in the bowl for two hours or until the dough reaches room temperature (or pretty close). The dough will soften and gently rise (a tiny bit) and relax as it warms.
- On a clean unfloured counter pour out the dough into a large mass. Flour the top of the dough lightly but evenly.
- Divide the dough mass in half with your metal dough scraper.
- BEING CAREFUL NOT TO OVERWORK THE DOUGH-Form each half into a dough ball. The most efficient way to do this is to use the counter as your pivot point. Scrape in a circle around the dough (leave it unturned, flour side up). The unfloured counter will hold the dough center and create tension as you circle the dough with the scraper forming a ball. Repeat to form two dough balls. The DOUGH edge should be round and the dough ball should have some form and resilience to it.
Let the dough balls rest for 30 minutes or so. They will spread out but should not fall off at the edge of the pancake. If they do, reform the loaves and bench rest them again to build the structure of the dough better.
- Gently slide the dough scraper under one of your dough balls and flip it over so it rests on the floured side.
- Now gently stretch and pull the dough over from the bottom to 1/3 up the loaf. Stretch and pull the dough from the sides to the dough middle. For the final stretch take the dough from the top of the ball and pull it all the way down to the bottom. Form a seam. Pinching the seam if necessary.
- Place the dough seam side up in your rice floured, cloth lined banneton or bowl.
Rise in the fridge 2 to four hours until completely chilled. The loaves will not rise much at this point.
- Set a baking stone (if you have one) on your oven bottom rack. Set your dutch oven with it's lid on next rack up (lower third of oven). PREHEAT oven to 450 degrees F. for at least 30 minutes.
- Keep the formed loaf in your banneton in the fridge until you actually need to place it in your preheated dutch oven. Cold dough will aide the oven spring. (which means the loaves will rise better).
Remove one banneton from the fridge. Place the dough in your preheated dutch oven. Do this by flipping the loaf into the dutch oven as gently as possible seam side down. OR:
- Alternate method: Place high heat safe parchment paper over the banneton. Turn the banneton upside down so the dough falls gently onto the parchment paper.
FOR OPTIMAL RISE: Score the loaf with your lame knife or a razor blade or sharp scissors. Scoring helps the dough rise better if you score the loaf at least an inch deep. And use cross cuts (The pound sign works well)
- Now pick up the scored loaf with the edges of the parchment paper, if using, and gently and carefully place it into your VERY hot dutch oven.
- Put the lid on the dutch oven and return it covered to your preheated oven.
- Bake 30 minutes at 450 degrees.
- Now REMOVE the lid (and parchment paper if using). Steam should come out. Hopefully the bread is a light golden color with a nice rise and set crust. Bake an additional 10 minutes UNCOVERED or until the loaf thumps hollowly and the surface gets dark(Caramelized darker than you are used to maybe) and the scored areas look shiny. (To prevent over browning turn the parchment paper (or foil) upside down over the loaf as it finishes in the oven.)
- Remove the dutch oven. Place the finished loaf on a cooling rack. Do NOT cut it for at least an hour to set the crumb.
- Return the dutch oven (with it's lid on) to the oven at 450 degrees F and preheat for 15 minutes. Repeat the process with the remaining loaf.
- To tell if your bread is properly done. It should sound hollow when thumped. The crust should look shiny and Caramelized at the scored sections. Whole wheat loafs are dense. The crumb may be open or closed depending on how you handled it.
WATCH your dough as it goes through the stages of fermentation. This dough can easily over ferment at high room (Or oven proofing) temperatures. If your dough gets slack, unworkable and won't form or rise it is probably over fermented. At this point I suggest you Make pizza with it instead of loaf bread .To avoid over fermentation keep the room temperature (or oven) at 80 degrees or less. Whatever flour you are using will influence this process. Learn to work with the dough you are creating.
This bread freezes VERY well. After it is completely cooled double wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and set in the freezer. Defrost at room temperature wrapped or unwrapped. Slice and eat.
For best results store your sourdough bread loaves in a bread box (I use my dutch oven with the lid slightly cocked). That beautiful crunchy Sourdough crust gets soft in an airtight container or plastic sack. Once cut just set the bread cut side down to protect the crumb. These loaves hold very well for at least three days. Freeze the other finished loaf if you can't eat it right away.
Banneton Tips: High Hydration dough tends TO STICK to the liner cloths and banneton ridges. Scrub rice flour into the cloth or banneton sides. Once the dough is in the banneton I add a bit more rice around the side of the loaf to keep it from sticking during the rise.
IF your dough sticks a bit to the banneton cloth, use a sharp knife to pull it away and add some rice flour to the sticking spot. Now it should invert without too much trouble. For really tough sticks, cut the dough away from the cloth and repair it carefully by pressing the dough to reshape it before baking. Careful of burns if you are doing this in a hot pot. Don't despair. I have had some pretty mangled loaves come out of the oven beautifully!