Whole-Wheat Sourdough Bread

Reader Contribution by Jodi L. Wise

I am sitting at my desk wondering what in the world am I going to blog about this week. This amazing smell starts drifting up stairs to the office. It smells so wonderful, my mouth starts watering and I immediately think that this is employee abuse! So, of course I head downstairs to see if I can be of any assistance — and what I mean by that is that I am hoping to sample.

Ed made whole-wheat sourdough bread. I have yet to try his and am thinking how I am going to make a case on needing to eat his fresh-out-of-the-oven bread. Ed had me slice it and take pictures and wow, the smell was just amazing. Finally, he agreed that we should try it. Now, I have to tell you, it blew me off my feet. It was a perfect combination of sour and whole wheat. Melt in your mouth. He must have seen the look in my eye as I was trying to figure out how to convince him that I needed to eat the rest of the loaf!

He used Sourdough International’s South African culture. This culture loves and thrives on whole wheat. In fact, it is started with whole wheat. If you grow or mill your own whole-wheat grains, you need this culture! I headed right home to start mine. All I could think on the way home is how I could add sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cranberries and the list could be endless!

Whole-Wheat Sourdough Bread Recipe

Here is his recipe. Yield two 1½ pound loaves.

Bob Linville, a good friend, calls this loaf one of his favorites. It has great flavor and texture. He uses our fast Russian culture to leaven this moderately heavy dough.

2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 ¾ cups white flour
2 cups sourdough culture
¾ cup water
2 tsp salt
1 cup warm milk
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp butter, melted

Commbine the flours and mix well. Mix the sourdough culture with 1 cup of the flour and ¼ cup of the water in a large mixing bowl. This is the working culture. Proof 12 hours at room temperature (68 degrees to 72 degrees Fahrenheit) or 6 hours in a proofing box at 85°.

Add 1 cup of the flour mixture and ½ cup of the water. Mix and knead until smooth. Proof 8 hours at room temperature or 4 hours in the proofing box. After proofing, this is the fully active culture.

Punch down. Dissolve the salt in the milk and mix in the sugar and butter. Add to the dough and mix well. Reserve 1 cup of the flour for flouring the board. Mix and spoon knead the remaining 1 ¾ cups flour into the dough 1 cup at a time. When too stiff to mix by hand, transfer to the floured board and knead in the remaining flour.

Form 2 pan loaves, and proof at the same temperature used above until the dough rises about 1 inch above the pan tops (2 ½ to 3 hours).

Bake in a cold oven at 375 degrees for 70 minutes.  Remove from the pans and cool on wire racks.

    I hope you enjoy this as much as I have.  Happy baking.