Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

Sourdough Whole Wheat Bread Sliced

This whole wheat sourdough recipe takes about 3 days from refreshing your starter to baking. It takes that long because the shaped loaves are refrigerated and allowed to rise slowly for about 16 hours. The dough fully develops its flavor and sourness during this time.

My fridge keeps a temperature of 40°F so adjust the final proofing time accordingly, anywhere from 12 to 18 hours, depending on your numbers.

The bread is equal parts white and whole wheat flour. Since the previous sourdough bread post was all white, a 100% whole wheat recipe seems like the next logical step, isn’t it? Not much luck with that, though. The loaves either fall flat or turn into bricks, but we’ll see what happens. Can you recommend any 100% whole wheat sourdough recipes?

recipe adapted from Michel Suas’ Advanced Bread and Pastry
Yeastspotting at Wild Yeast Blog

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread Recipe

makes two loaves

Sourdough Whole Wheat Bread Crust

For the Stiff Levain / Wild Yeast Starter:

Ingredients                  Volume          Ounces          Grams
stiff levain (50% hydration)    1/4 cup           2             57
water, room temp         2 tbsp + 1 tsp           1.25          35
unbleached bread flour          1/2 cup           2.5           71

Stiff Levain / Wild Yeast Starter Directions:

  1. Cut the stiff levain into small pieces and place in a bowl. Pour the water over the levain and stir to dissolve. Add the flour and mix until thoroughly hydrated. Knead for a few minutes until a smooth dough is formed.
  2. Place the levain in a bowl and cover. Let stand at room temperature for about 12 hours before using in the final dough.

For the Final Dough:

Ingredients                  Volume          Ounces          Grams
all of the stiff levain, cut into small pieces
water, room temp     1 1/4 cups + 2 tbsp         11.1          315
whole wheat flour                 2 cups          8.8          248
unbleached bread flour        1 1/3 cups          5.9          167
salt                              2 tsp           0.4           11


Mix             In a large bowl, Pour the water over the levain
                pieces and stir to dissolve. Add the flours and salt.
                Mix until the dough is thoroughly hydrated and a
                shaggy ball is formed.

Rest            Cover the bowl and let stand for about 10 minutes.

Knead           8 to 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and only
                slightly sticky.

Bulk Ferment #1 90 minutes at room temperature

Stretch and Fold

Bulk Ferment #2 90 minutes at room temperature

Divide          2 pieces

Preshape        loose rounds

Rest            20 to 30 minutes

Shape           tight round or oval loaves

Final Proof     Refrigerate for 12 to 18 hours. Loosely cover with
                plastic wrap or store in a large airtight container.

                Remove the loaves from the refrigerator just as the
                oven is preheated. The proofed dough will be at room
                temperature for about 45 to 60 minutes before baking.

Sourdough Whole Wheat Bread Proof

Preheat Oven    450ºF / 230ºC


Sourdough Whole Wheat Bread Scored

Steam           1 cup of boiling water poured in a heavy steam pan
                (preferably cast iron)

Bake            Bake for 35 minutes at 450ºF / 230ºC, rotating the
                loaves halfway through baking if necessary.

Cool            Let the loaves cool completely at room temperature,
                at least 1 hour.

Sourdough Whole Wheat Bread
Single slash down the center for the win.

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28 Responses to “Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread”

  1. Rosa says:

    What magnificent breads! I love the pretty slashes!



  2. Zita says:

    The bread look good though, I’m scared even to try to start with sourdough, are you sure it’s from the recipe? I’m always afraid for my unstable oven.

  3. Caitlin says:

    I love the dark color to those, and the crumb is just awesome. As for 100% whole wheat breads? Yeah, I barely can handle the non – wild yeast ones, let alone ones using my starter!

  4. Susan/Wild Yeast says:

    Even equal parts white and WW is not easy — great loaves!

  5. Ben says:

    I don’t have the patience for that! Hehe, I have also tried 100% whole-wheat breads but I have failed miserably. I got a cookbook from Arthur King’s flour on whole-wheat baking but haven’t had the time to go through it. I’ll let you know if I come across a good one.

  6. Christina@DeglazeMe says:

    Truly beautiful bread! I am so intimidated by making bread at home, but I just love love love fresh crusty bread! One day, I’ll be willing to give it a shot. And I’m sure there’ll be no turning back! Especially whole wheat sourdough, YUM!!!!

  7. MyKitchenInHalfCups says:

    That is incredible! And I love how much whole wheat is in there!
    Gorgeous crumb. I guess if I keep trying I may come close to your amazing slashes!

  8. Gera @ SweetsFoods says:

    You’ve a very good baker-hand I don’t know if I could make this wonderful recipe, it requires patience and effort.
    I adore the brown color and the airy crumb inside; the bread is ideal with some butter or jam :)


  9. Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella says:

    Sounds time intensive but definitely worth it! I’ve never used Wild Yeast before-is it very different from regular yeast?

  10. Hayley says:

    Gorgeous bread. Thanks for the recipe!

  11. Carolyn Jung says:

    I so love sourdough. It might have been my first bread love, too, because I was born and raised in San Francisco — home of sourdough.

  12. YeastSpotting April 3, 2009 | Wild Yeast says:

    [...] 50% Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread [...]

  13. Barbara says:

    I love the picture of the loaves rising on the cloth!

  14. Dimah says:

    What a wonderful result, your bread looks perfect!

  15. Mary says:

    Beautiful pictures and a beautiful bread. It looks perfect.

  16. The Duo Dishes says:

    You’re on a roll with these breads!

  17. Dragon says:

    You are becoming a true breadmaking artist. :)

  18. Jillian says:

    Wow, I have never seen a whole wheat sourdough bread. It looks amazing!

  19. Sean says:

    Great looking crumb! I would definitely love to try a Chicago sourdough someday!

  20. bee says:

    wonderful crust!!! i really miss sourdough since i stopped baking breads owing to a lack of time.

  21. noble pig says:

    Rustic and magnificent.

  22. grace says:

    the last time i tried a ratio of whole wheat to regular bread flour like that, i ended up with a brick-like loaf. i haven’t given up, though, so thanks for the recipe!

  23. Soma says:

    All I can say is I envy ;-D Kudos to your abilities, patience & everything that it takes to create such miracles.

  24. Girl says:

    You have serious skills in the bread dept…. Gosh you abilities are really outstanding and it shows in each of your posts!

  25. courtney says:

    You are turning out some amazing breads. Beautiful.

  26. Katherine says:

    Amazing bread, so dense. I love sourgdough breads.

  27. Frozen Yogurt Guy says:

    Thanks for the post. I am currently working on my frozen yogurt site at: http://www.frozenyogurtrecipe.org/frozenyogurtarticles/. In fact I got some great design tips here at Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread Recipe | Apple Pie, Patis, and Pâté Recipes. Looking forward to reading more.

  28. Mui mui 4x says:

    This looks amazing. I love baking with whole wheat. But where can I find this type of wild yeast? Thanks for clarifying why I should let it rise so long in the fridge..otherwise I would never have the patience to wait!

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