Crunchy Bottoms

Striking the caloric balance. Barely.

Wholemeal Sourdough

Wholemeal Sourdough

I have bad news.

While this piece of news may not exactly bother much of anyone, it bothers me on a very emotional, fundamental, devastating level.

Someone threw away my 8-month-old sourdough starter from the fridge.

This wasn’t so much a proper sourdough starter since I used the Old Dough method of acquiring sourdough – I add this piece of dough to every batch of sourdough I make, cut off a piece from the main bulk of dough, keep it in a bowl covered with plastic wrap, and let it sit in the fridge until I make a new batch where the process repeats again.

It’s not quite as exciting as the conventional way of creating sourdough, since I hear that intimately naming a newborn sourdough starter is just one of the thousand of loony things bread fanatics do from time to time for their sourdough starters.

Wholemeal Sourdough

But yes, this sourdough starter that I’ve had for 8 months, that I bake weekly, that has developed incredible, earthy, complex flavours from its dormant state in the fridge before its weekly addition into humble dough, that has received raving comments and gushes from people I’ve given a loaf or two to….is gone.

I’m back to square one. No words can describe the anguish (oh!!). Sigh.

I have a lump of plain, white dough sitting in the fridge now – a poor substitute for the cheerfully bubbly little ‘un I took for granted. It’ll take a while for me to get over this, clearly.

Anyway, this was the last batch I managed to churn out. It started out with just plain bread flour, but after I found immense flavour in a mixture of wholegrain flours, I converted. My advice would be to avoid going trigger-happy with the mixture of flours that you may have since you may need to add more water to the dough because flours like rye and wholemeal flour are really thirsty buggers.

Have a go at this recipe, get a feel of the texture of the dough, and then play around with the wholegrain flours (I won’t recommend dark rye though).

If you’re keen on your own homemade sourdough (the Old Dough way), there’s no better place and time to start.

I’ll be joining you, of course. Square one, remember? Gah.

One last crumb shot...

Wholemeal Sourdough

Recommended equipment: Metal Bench Scraper, Stand-mixer/bread maker.

Time required: Approximately 5.5 hours from mixing to cooling.

Hydration: 75%


  • 150g Sourdough Starter* (See notes if you don’t have one)
  • 450g Water
  • 430g Bread Flour
  • 60g Wheat Bran
  • 50g Rye Flour
  • 30g Wholemeal Flour
  • 12g Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Instant Yeast
1. Add all the ingredients except the salt into your mixer. Mix for 10 minutes. Add in salt and mix for 2 more minutes.
2. Pour out the dough into a container and cover/bowl with plastic wrap. Leave to rise for 1 hour.
3. After 1 hour, fold the dough.
4. Repeat Step 3 two more times. Total of 3 hours for folding.
5. With your metal bench scraper, section the dough into 4 medium loaves.
6. Shape them into boutards (a rough oval, which is the simplest), place on a well-floured cloth with space in between each loaf, and let rise covered for 1.5 hours.
5. Preheat oven to 250C (or higher if possible).
6. Carefully transfer the loaves onto a wooden peel, score, and slide them into the oven. Mist the oven with water (don’t do this if you’re not confident or don’t know why you should).
7. Bake for 12-14 minutes.
8. Once done, leave the loaves in the oven with the door ajar for 10 minutes. This helps to form a thick crust.
9 Let cool completely before slicing.
Note: If you don’t have a sourdough starter, mix together 85g All-Purpose flour, 65g Water, a pinch of yeast. Let sit over night at room temperature for max 16 hours. Or keep in the fridge for 2 days for best flavour development. What you’re doing here is creating a pre-ferment.
* Remember: If you keep about 150g of dough from the main batch and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge, you’ll start your own Old Dough sourdough!
Submitted to YeastSpotting

15 responses to “Wholemeal Sourdough

  1. jo June 22, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Hi Christine, I would love to try out this recipe as it looks pretty easy as sourdough makes great rustic sandwiches. May I ask where you get your flours from?

    • Christine Leow June 22, 2011 at 10:50 am

      Hi Jo, I don’t get my flours from any specialty store. My bread flours are all from the baking store. =) I do have access to Gold Medal flour, but that’s about all the better flours I have.

  2. alkanphel June 22, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Looks like you’re going to strangle someone! (if you find out who threw it away)

  3. cinnamonsin June 23, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    hi christine! you’re an amazing baker and i really admire you for that! that sourdough looks gorgeous cant get any prettier than that! nice bubble pockets and lovely rustic looking crust! wish i could bake like you haha. i really love your blog, would you mind linking blogs with me?

  4. Teresa July 12, 2011 at 12:29 am

    Great looking bread! Very holey and inviting. Sorry about the demise of your starter. Dry a small amount out next time or keep a piece frozen in the freezer, replacing it on occasion.

  5. Salomé July 12, 2011 at 1:01 am

    He publicado este post en Mis Favoritas de esta semana, si quieres verlo está en:
    Espero que te guste!

  6. Anonymous July 12, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Quick question – step 7 says “bake for 12-14 mins” – isn’t this a bit quick? Most of my breads bake for around 40mins?

    • Christine Leow July 13, 2011 at 10:40 am

      Do they? I preheat the oven to 260C and then drop the heat down to 250C once the loaves are in. Mine are all done usually by 12 minutes. But that depends on how large you shape your loaves as well. Or perhaps your oven temperature isn’t what the display reads it to be?

      • Anonymous July 13, 2011 at 4:00 pm

        Thanks Christine! Yes I preheat at 250 but turn down to 220 then 200 for baking
        I’ll give this a try – much appreciated!
        (and sympathy re your old dough!)

  7. Lauren July 15, 2011 at 12:46 am

    I just saw this on YeastSpotter and had to come check it out. It’s absolutely gorgeous. I need to try sourdough at home. Thanks for the inspiration!

    I’m sorry about your starter!

  8. Rob November 29, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    In the recipe, what is ‘Bread Flour’? White Flour? It seems a very low percentage of wholemeal.

    • Christine December 26, 2013 at 10:36 am

      Bread flour is high protein flour. It’s a type of white flour, yes. My family prefers bread that isn’t too dense, and adding too much wholemeal will result in that so I balance it with bread flour. You could increase the wholemeal content, but that would require a change in water content etc. Play around!

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