Gas station without pumps

2020 May 28

Whole wheat sourdough

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 21:20
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I saved a little of the starter from last week’s Rye bread rolls (diluted with white flour and water, with a little raw vinegar added to inoculate with vinegar-forming bacteria).  I let it sit out for a day, then refrigerated it for the rest of the week.  This afternoon I added a ¼ cup all-purpose flour and ¼ cup warm water, to see if the starter was still alive.  It is, and it is bubbling vigorously after only a couple of hours.  That’s not really too surprising, as the rye sour had started with commercial yeast, so I’m not relying on wild yeast.  The starter does smell of sourdough, not just yeast, but it is a much more pleasant smell than the rye sour I used last week (no dairy products added this time).

I’ll make up a dough tonight, and let it rise overnight, then knead it again tomorrow.  The recipe is a cross between my usual bread-machine bread and “Mrs. Smith’s Zesty Whole Wheat Sourdough French Bread” from The Garden Way Bread Book. Their recipe calls for the starter and about half the other ingredients to be mixed a day before and grown overnight, and uses dried yeast the day of baking.  I’ll try making the full dough tonight and letting it all rise overnight.  I’m also omitting their wheat germ.

¾ cup sourdough starter (the amount I had after feeding it this afternoon)
2 cups all-purpose white flour
3 cups whole wheat flour
1½ cup water
2 Tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons salt

Mix everything together in large bowl, kneading with dough hook.  Knead further by hand, to get a smooth dough.  Save about half a cup of the dough, mixed with another half a cup of water, as a sourdough starter for later recipes.

Put the dough back in the mixer bowl, cover with damp towel, and let rise overnight.

Punch down and knead until smooth and elastic.  Let rise second time in greased bowl until doubled.

Punch down and knead until smooth and elastic.  Let rise third time in greased bowl until doubled.

Punch down and divide into two parts. Roll each part into a rectangle, then roll up rectangle into long cylinder, pinching the ends tight to seal.  Place on baking parchment for fourth rise (seam-side down) and brush tops with melted butter.

Preheat oven to 400°F with shallow pan of boiling water on bottom of oven (high humidity in oven makes for crisper crust).

Slash tops in long diagonals.  Brush loaves with cold water and place in oven.

Bake 5 minutes, and brush again with cold water.

Bake another 5 minutes, and brush again with cold water.

Remove pan of water from oven and bake another 15–20 minutes.  The bottoms of the loaves should sound hollow when tapped.

Update 2020 May 30:  The bread was quite tasty, but needed more time in the oven than the recipe called for.  This has been an ongoing pattern—I should get an oven thermometer and see if my oven is cooler than it claims.  The crumb of the sourdough was not the airy crumb of a traditional San Francisco sourdough—the whole-wheat flour makes for a denser loaf.  I probably should have shaped the loaf earlier (combining the third and fourth rising) so that there would have been more bubbles in the final loaf.

The larger loaf was baked 10 minutes longer than the smaller loaf and came out with a slightly better crust. The last 10 minutes were directly on the terra cotta tiles in the oven, without the baking parchment.

This view of the loaves shows how the bread did not fully integrate after being rolled into cylinders, opening up a bit of a spiral internally. This is probably from the oil on the outside of the dough in the penultimate rising.


  1. […] I still have some sourdough starter from last week’s whole-wheat sourdough, which in turn came from the previous  week’s rye bread rolls, I’m going to make […]

    Pingback by White sourdough | Gas station without pumps — 2020 June 4 @ 20:21 | Reply

  2. […] starter that I’ve been using for the past three weeks’ breads: rye bread rolls, hole-wheat sourdough, and white sourdough. Focaccia is not traditionally a sourdough recipe, but the sourdough starter […]

    Pingback by Sourdough focaccia | Gas station without pumps — 2020 June 10 @ 14:50 | Reply

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