Basic Whole Grain Sourdough Bread Recipe

This recipe and this approach are not intended to create beautiful artisan loaves that will fill your social media feeds with ooh’s and aah’s. It is intended to create serviceable loaves that are both nutritious and delicious! This approach won’t appeal to the artist in you, but it will appeal to the taste buds around your table. It is a great place to start into the world of Sourdough Bread Baking as it is a little less complicated and less time consuming than much of what is “out there” on the internet.

Asiago Sourdough Bread – Yum!!

Carl Griffith’s 1847 Sourdough Bread
This starter is available from Bethlehem Harvest (Carl Griffith’s Sourdough Starter)

Use filtered water and unbleached white flour to preserve the original natural yeast that is in your starter. If you want to use whole grain flour in your starter you may, but expect the nature of the starter to change over time.

Use a either unbleached flour or whole grain flour (or a combination) to make your bread. Note that traditional sourdough bread has no sweetener and no fat, just flour, salt, water and sourdough starter. “San Francisco” Sourdough bread is made with unbleached white flour. At the DeGray household sourdough bread is usually made with about 90% whole grains. We are about both flavor AND nutrition here!

Directions for re-hydrating and maintaining your sourdough starter are below. The recipe begins with one cup of active starter.

Makes two large loaves

1) Mix together and let stand 8-12 hours (overnight)
1 cup active starter
1 cup filtered water
1-1.5 cups unbleached flour (enough to make a “goopy” batter)

2) Stir together:
2 cups water
6 cups whole grain flour (wheat, spelt, einkorn or a combination)
3 tsp. salt

Let the batter stand 45 minutes to hydrate (autolyse) the flour.

Begin to develop the gluten by kneading the dough (by hand or in a mixer) or by using a “stretch and fold” method. Add a little additional flour if needed for dough to gather together into a ball.
Kneed for 5-6 minutes in a mixer with dough hooks (I use the Bosch Universal Plus Mixer). Hand kneading will require a little more time to develop the gluten. The dough will be smooth and stretchy.

Move dough to a large greased bowl and let double in bulk – around 2 hours in a warm house.

Using oil or water on your hands to handle dough, shape into 2 large or 3 average sized loaves.
Place dough in greased bread pans for sandwich bread or on a parchment-lined cookie sheet for free form loaves. Cover lightly and let rise until nearly doubled (1½ – 2 hours). For an extra treat, cover the tops of risen loaves with grated Asiago cheese before baking (as pictured above).

For Sandwich Bread:
Preheat oven to 350.
Use a spray bottle to spray the tops of the loaves with water.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, rotating pans in the oven as needed for even baking.
Loaves should be evenly browned on top and bottom and should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Remove loaves from the pans to a cooling rack.

For an Artisan Style Crust:
Place a pyrex or metal container of water in the bottom of your oven, and heat oven to 475.
Preheat your baking stone with your oven.
Just before baking, slash the tops of your free-form loaves with a sharp knife or razor blade to allow expansion.
Slide parchment and loaves from the cookie sheet onto the hot baking stone.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating loaves half-way through.
Remove baking stone from oven and return loaves to the oven racks to cool with the oven door open. This will help keep the crust crisp even as the loaves continue to release moisture.

To Re-hydrate your starter:
Place a few pieces of dried starter from your bag into a small glass jar. Keep remaining pieces in your freezer as a back-up. Soften the dried starter in 1Tbs water. Add approximately 1 Tbs of flour to make a thick batter. Let mixture remain at room temp for 6-12 hours. Add an additional 1 Tbs water and 1 Tbs flour. Let sit again for 6-12 hours. Mixture should begin to bubble by the end of 24 hours. If not, feed again using 2 Tbs of water and 2 Tbs of flour, and wait 12 more hours. Once active, this starter culture can be stored in the refrigerator and used as a starting point for each batch of bread.

Begin with refrigerator starter 24 hours – 36 hours before you want to bake. Remove a small amount of starter (1-2 Tbs) from your refrigerator culture and place in covered pint jar. Feed the refrigerator culture with 1-2 Tbs of water and flour. Return to the refrigerator.

In the pint jar, add an equal amount (1-2 Tbs) of bottled water and flour to make a thick batter. Wait until starter is bubbly (2-6 hours or overnight). Feed again with 1/4 cup water and 1/4+ cup flour to make a thick batter. Allow to double in bulk (4+ hours). Stir down and add ½ cup water and ½+ cup flour to make a thick batter. Let rise until very bubbly. (4+ hours). This will be approximately 1 cup of starter for recipe. Now you are ready to begin making your bread.

If you have questions or comments about this recipe please contact Gail DeGray at bethlehemharvest@gmail.com or use the comment section below.


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