Tuesday, October 1, 2019

100% Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

100% Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

Mix 1/2 cup whole wheat flour with 1/2 cup room temperature water. Beat it well to incorporate air. Cover loosely and let stand at room temperature for approximately 12 hours. Every 12 hours, stir well and cover loosely again and continue to let it stand at room temperature. At the beginning of day 3 (12 hours after you stir it for the 4th time), you will start the discarding and feeding cycle. Mix well: 3 Tbsp. whole wheat flour, 2 Tbsp. water (always use room temperature), and 3 Tbsp. of your starter. Stir well, incorporating air. (It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t look like your starter is doing anything yet.) Discard the remaining starter. Continue to do this every 12 hours for at least 10 days. At this point, place your starter in the fridge at the end of the 12 hours of growth. If you do not use it within a week, do a discard and feed cycle, letting it stand on the counter for 12 hours or so before returning it to the fridge. (You can also use rye flour or part rye flour to feed it from now on.)

Bread day
The evening before, combine the following in a mixing bowl: 500 g whole wheat flour, 450 g water, 1 heaping teaspoon salt, and about 130 g of starter (once you’re used to the recipe, you don’t need to weigh the starter—just eyeball it. It will actually work with widely varying amounts of starter). Mix with your hands until all ingredients are incorporated. No kneading is necessary! NOTE: I find that when the humidity is higher, this is too much water. Currently I am using as little as 400 g of water.

Cover loosely and let stand on the counter at room temperature overnight. I do this at 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit. In hot weather, you may want to do this first thing in the morning and let it sit out for a shorter time, like 6-8 hours. However, the length of time is really quite flexible. 

In the morning, every 15 minutes to 1 hour, whenever you think of it, do a stretch and fold of the dough. Pick up one side of the dough, stretch it up as far as you can, and fold it back onto the dough. Turn a quarter turn and repeat. You’ll probably only be able to do this 4 times in a row until the dough won’t stretch anymore. Cover again and repeat later. Don’t punch down or knead at any time although you can press it down enough to break any large bubbles. Continue for several hours (the amount of time is totally flexible!)

To bake, place a large baking dish (at least 2.5 quarts in size) that has a lid into your oven and preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a large square of parchment baking paper by spraying with nonstick spray or water. Lay the paper on the counter. Do a final stretch and fold of your dough and place it on the paper, seam side down. Let it rest for approximately 1 hour. It may or may not appear to rise. When the oven is hot, continue to heat the baking dish for at least another 15 minutes. To get a good rise on the bread, the pan must be very hot. Then, carefully remove the hot baking dish. Lift the parchment paper with the dough in it into the hot baking dish. Put the lid on the baking dish and return to the oven for 25 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from the pan to a cooling rack.

Feeding the starter
When you add the starter to your dough above, leave a couple tablespoons of starter on the side of your jar. Add 1 cup whole grain flour and enough water to make a stiff, just stirrable mixture. Mix well and let stand out on the counter while your bread is rising. I make mine in a wide mouth pint jar, and when it bubbles up enough to fill the jar, I put it into the fridge. This amount of starter is perfect for 2-4 loaves of bread of the size listed above. If you only will be baking one loaf at a time, you can just feed your starter with 1/2 cup flour so you will have a smaller amount of starter. The starter will last for a week or two. If you don't bake bread again within that time, discard most of that starter and feed it again.

If you want to see these steps or want more information, I encourage you to watch the videos that I watched to learn this method. The internet is full of sourdough recipes, but this individual specializes in 100% whole grain baking, which is fairly unique on the internet. I have modified this method, but these videos have great information and will be helpful if you want to see what the dough and starter should look like.

How to make sourdough starter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAwaAAnxC30

How to make 100% whole wheat sourdough bread: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Z3ae1vPNQ0

A slightly different 100% whole wheat method. (I slightly prefer the results of the first method, but this method is great if you’re not able to be home during the day.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jd_r69WauPk&t=8s