A Photolog

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

The Beefsteak of Bread

Recipe* (in grams)
flour weight: 612
water weight: 515
salt weight: 12
starter weight: 61
total weight: 1200
dough hydration %: 85

*Use unchlorinated spring water, fine non-iodized sea salt, and fine organic whole wheat flour.

Starter Preparation:
Take your 100% hydration starter out of the fridge a couple of days before preparing the leaven, let it warm up, feed it twice a day to be sure it is very active, take enough for your leaven, and put it back in the fridge.

Day 1 – 11:00 am Thu Aug 16, 2018 – 76 ℉ 
Prepare the leaven in the morning. Stir down the starter. Use 50 g starter, 50 g unchlorinated spring water, and 50 g fine organic whole wheat flour. Mix in a bowl, cover, and let ferment for six hours. (Put the starter back in the fridge.)

At the same time you are preparing the leaven mix the recipe amount of flour (612g) and 90g less than the recipe amount of water (424g) in a mixing bowl with a bread whisk and then by hand. We leave 90 g water out of the recipe water amount to dissolve the salt and thin the leaven later before adding it to the dough. Don’t add salt or leaven at this time. Cover and let the mixture rest for six hours at room temperature. This will complete the autolyse process and soften the bran so that doesn’t cut the gluten strands too much during kneading.

Mix: – 5:00 pm Thu Aug 16, 2018 – 76 ℉
Stir down the leaven. Remove the recipe amount of starter (61g) from the leaven bowl into a mixing bowl. (It is important to note that “leaven” in this recipe is exactly equivalent to “starter”. Our leaven is just an offshoot of our starter with the same ratio of ingredients. When we made the leaven we essentially just made more starter.) Dissolve the salt (12g) in the the left-out water (90g), pour it into the leaven mixing bowl and stir into the leaven, then add the mixture to the autolyse. Mix by hand until tacky. Put the remainder of the leaven in the starter jar, stir, and put the starter back in the fridge. Transfer the dough to a large bulk fermentation bowl coated with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent sticking.

Bulk fermentation and kneading:
Keep a bowl of water near to dip your hands in to prevent sticking or oil your hands. Do six sets of gentle turns in the bowl over a three hour period half an hour apart. (1 “set” is 4 stretch and folds.) This prevents the bran in the flour from cutting the gluten strands too much. Let rest one hour.

Shape: – 8:30 pm Thu Aug 16, 2018 – 77 ℉
Preshape gently and let rest 1/2 hour. Shape the dough gently into a tight boule, flour, and place upside down in a floured banneton. Pinch the bottom seam together. (Use equal parts whole wheat flour and rice flour to coat the banneton.)

For wet, high hydration dough like this I shape entirely with an oiled flat plastic dough knife on an oiled board. I never touch the boule with my hands until I flour it and invert it into the banneton. I drag the dough in one direction, then move the scraper 90 deg. around the boule and drag it that direction and repeat this many times. The leading edge of the boule gets dragged under creating a tension on the top surface which forms a tight elastic bubble of gluten around the boule, helping to retain its shape. You can feel it firming up as you work it.

Retard: – 9:00 pm Thu Aug 16, 2018 – 77 ℉
Flour the dough lightly in the banneton, cover, and retard in the fridge overnight for 12 hours.

Day 2 – 9:00 am Fri Aug 17, 2018 – 75 ℉
In the morning preheat the dutch oven to 500 ºF in the oven. (Give the dutch oven another half an hour after the oven has reached temperature to equalize the heat in the cast iron.) At the same time remove the banneton from the fridge and let it warm up while the dutch oven is heating. Place a sheet of parchment paper on top of the banneton, invert it, and let the boule and paper drop into the dutch oven. Brush excess flour from the top of the boule. Score and bake for 20 min. After 20 minutes reduce the heat to 450ºF and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove the lid and and bake for an additional 25 minutes at 450ºF until done. Internal temperature should be over 200 ºF. Let the loaf cool for two hours on a cooling rack before slicing.

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