Large whole wheat sourdough

Large Whole Wheat Sourdough

My current mission is to figure out how to make a whole grain sourdough that doesn’t flatten out so much. Come to think of it, this has been my on-and-off-again mission since I began baking bread with 100% freshly-milled wheat…

Process notes

Followed the formula I found on the Azelia’s Kitchen blog:

  • 500 gm flour, med-fine grind hard white wheat (unsifted)
  • 200 gm levain
  • 290 gm water + about 100 gm more
  • 10 gm salt

Day 1

5:30 p.m.: Mix flour, levain, and water. Autolyse 1 hour. Add salt and fold in bowl. Fold 2 more times, 45-min to 1-hr intervals.

8:30 p.m.: Shape dough into boule and place on lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic and refrigerate.

Day 2

7:00 a.m.: Dough was rather flat, so I reshaped it into an oval and covered to rest.

9:40 a.m.: Preheated oven to 430° convection and placed metal pan on bottom rack. Turned dough into a gratin dish that had been sprayed and coated with coarse wheat to prevent sticking.

10:25 a.m.: Poured 2 pints water into metal tray.

10:40 a.m.: Placed dough (in dish) in oven. Bake 35 min. then remove pan and finish on stone for 10 more minutes. Internal temp. 208°. Cooled 90 min.

Results

The flattening of the dough has me frustrated but I’m trying not to let it get to me too much because the bread does taste really good. This loaf tastes wheatier than the sourdough ciabatta, which is interesting. It had an almost buttery smell while baking which was wonderful, and the crumb is rather tender and moist which I like.

Once again, scoring got me nothing. I keep following the instructions to score before baking and it’s always a flop. I need to trust my gut and skip the scoring.

While researching some solutions to the flat dough issue, I found a recipe for 100 Percent Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread that detailed how to achieve a light and fluffy whole wheat sourdough bread. It referenced the Loaf for Learning from The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book (which I own) and reminded me of how effective the long kneading time is for whole grain flour. I had gotten swept up in the gentle stretch & folds technique, which may not actually work all that well for my flour and goals. I’m excited to revisit this long kneading cycle which served me well for sandwich loaves and use the sourdough adaptation in the post. I want to try the hearth baking method with this formula as well.

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