This recipe for a soft whole wheat sourdough contains about 45% whole wheat flour. The texture is super soft with a rustic flavor from the blend of whole wheat flour, bread flour and all-purpose flour.
I enjoy this soft whole wheat sourdough toasted with scrambled eggs for my breakfast. It is also delicious to eat while drinking tea in the afternoon.
This recipe was adapted from my favorite sourdough book, Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson.
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What type of flour to use?
For these sourdough loaves, I used a mix of three different flours. For the whole wheat flour, I used Central Milling’s Hard White Whole Wheat flour. This is the same flour that I feed by sourdough starter with. Any whole wheat flour would work well. I also like King Arthur’s white whole wheat flour. I also used both bread flour and all-purpose flour. My bread flour was Central Milling’s Artisan Bakers Craft Plus.
For a full list of the equipment I use for sourdough baking, check out this post here.
If you don’t already have a sourdough starter, I recommend buying one (it is much easier than making your own, especially if you’re just starting out with sourdough). This sourdough starter is already live and can be fed a few times before using.
The other two items you need are a kitchen scale and Dutch oven. The kitchen scale is essential for measuring your ingredients accurately and the Dutch oven is important for capturing steam during baking which will help your bread rise and develop a crispy crust. I’ve been using this Emile Henry 4.2 qt Dutch oven recently, and I really like it because it is not very heavy to lift.
Okay, let’s get baking!
A Soft Whole Wheat Sourdough
- Dutch oven
- Large mixing bowl or container
- 400 g whole wheat flour (I used Central Milling Organic Hard White Whole Wheat)
- 200 g bread flour (I used Central Milling Artisan Bakers Craft Plus)
- 400 g all-purpose flour I used the Central Milling all-purpose flour that Costco sometimes carries)
- 750 g water
- 217 g active sourdough starter feed your starter and let it grow 2-3 times in volume before using it for this recipe. My sourdough starter is fed 1:1:1 with water and whole wheat
- 20 g sea salt
- sesame seeds for topping optional
Prepare the leaven (levain) and your dough
- Make sure your sourdough starter is very active and doubling or tripling in size within at least 12 hours at room temperature. If it is not very active already, feed your sourdough starter 1:1:1 by weight with water and whole wheat flour (example: mix 100 g starter, 100 g water, 100 g whole wheat flour) and let it grow at room temperature until it is very bubbly and at least doubled in volume. Repeat this feeding process until your starter doubles in size within 5-12 hours (the rate depends on how warm your home is). This active sourdough starter will be your leaven or levain.
- Transfer 217 g of your active and bubbly sourdough starter to a large bowl or container. (Remember to reserve the rest of your sourdough starter for other baking projects).
- Add 730 g water and stir to dissolve the starter in the water.
- Then, add all of the flour (whole wheat, bread, all-purpose). Mix by hand until combined and shaggy. The dough will not be smooth at this point.
- Cover and let the dough rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Then, add the 20 g salt and remaining 20 g water. Mix in gently by hand. Cover, and rest at room temperate for 25 minutes.
Stretch and fold the dough
- After 25 minutes, stretch and fold the dough by lifting up the outside edges of the dough and pulling toward the middle. Here is a demonstration from my Instagram page. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 50 minutes.
- After 50 minutes, repeat the stretching and folding. Then, cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 12 hours (my dough for the loaves in the photos was refrigerated for 13.5 hours).
- Then, remove the dough from the refrigerator. Allow it to warm up at room temperature for 50 minutes, then repeat the stretch and folding.
- After another hour, repeat the stretch and folding. Let the dough rest and repeat the stretch and folding once more for a total of 3 stretch and folds after taking the dough out of the refrigerator.
- After the last stretch and fold, let the dough rest (still at room temperature) until soft and billowy (about 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on how warm your home is). The dough for the loaves in the above photos was soft and billowy about 70 minutes after the last fold at 76 degrees Fahrenheit.
Shape the dough
- Next, remove your dough from the container or bowl and place it on your countertop.
- Then, divide the dough into two. A bench scraper is helpful, but not essential.
- It is helpful to do these next steps with damp hands. Fold the edges of each piece of dough inward toward the middle to create a seam. Then, shape into a taut ball. Let the shaped dough rest on the counter seam side down for about 20 minutes.
- Then, lightly flour (I use rice flour to prevent sticking) a kitchen towel in a bowl or banneton. If using sesame seeds for topping, sprinkle them on top of the towel. Place the loaf seam side up into the bowl or banneton, dust the loaf with flour and cover with the towel. Refrigerate the shaped dough for 18 hours.
Bake the loaves!
- Preheat your oven and Dutch oven (if using) to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Once your oven is preheated, remove a loaf from the refrigerator and continue to preheat your oven for another 20 minutes to make sure it is very hot.
- Then, slash one loaf of dough across the top. This slashing allows the steam to escape the loaf. Quickly and carefully transfer the loaf to the Dutch oven and cover with the Dutch oven lid. Bake for 25 minutes. Then, uncover and decrease the oven temperature to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for about 30-40 more minutes until the crust is golden brown.
- Repeat for the second loaf.
- Let the loaves cool down for a few hours (or longer) before slicing, otherwise the inside will be gummy.
I hope you enjoy this soft whole wheat sourdough loaf.
If you like this recipe, you might also like my Parmesan, Paprika and Black Pepper Sourdough recipe.