Baking & Desserts

Cooking class: Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

Cooking class: Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

Author: Canadian Living

Baking & Desserts

Cooking class: Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

Sourdough can claim to be the original bread as it's made with spongy starter, the leavener used in making bread before cake and granular yeasts were commercially available. Although it's not a last-minute project – the starter and the bread need time to develop the distinctive tangy taste -- this crusty, chewy loaf is actually easy to make and well worth the time. And if you feed the starter regularly, you can enjoy making this bread for years to come.

Sourdough Starter:
• All-purpose flour
• Warm water
• Active dry yeast

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread:
• Half batch Sourdough Starter
• 1 cup (250 mL) warm water
• 2 cups (500 mL) white bread flour (approx)
• 1-3/4 cups (425 mL) whole wheat bread flour
• 2 tsp (10 mL) salt
• 1 tbsp (15 mL) cornmeal
• 1 egg

Step-by-step instructions
Photography by Christopher Campbell

1. Sourdough Starter: In 8-cup (2 L) container, stir 2 cups (500 mL) flour, 1 cup (250 mL) water and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) yeast. Cover with plastic wrap; let stand at room temperature until tripled in volume, 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Refrigerate for 3 days. Stir in 1/2 cup (125 mL) water or milk and 1/2 cup (125 mL) flour. Refrigerate for 3 more days. 2. Divide the starter in half; place one-half in large bowl. To feed the remaining starter, stir in 3/4 cup (175 mL) water or milk and 1-1/4 cups (300 mL) flour. Refrigerate for at least 2 days or for up to 1 week. The starter must be fed once a week; if not making bread, dispose of half the starter and feed the remainder. 3. Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread: Into Sourdough Starter in large bowl, stir in 3/4 cup (175 mL) of the water until smooth. With spoon, beat in 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) of the white bread flour to make smooth paste. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise at room temperature for at least 12 hours or for up to 24 hours. Stir in remaining water.

4. Stir in whole wheat bread flour and salt. Turn out onto floured surface; knead, dusting with as much of the remaining white bread flour as needed to prevent sticking, until smooth and elastic, 8 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease all over. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in warm place until tripled in bulk, 2 hours. 5. Punch down dough; turn out onto floured surface. Knead about 10 times to remove air bubbles. Cover with tea towel; let rest for 10 minutes. Press into 1/2-inch (1 cm) thick circle. Fold dough 1-1/2 inches (4 cm) down from top, pressing down with hands. Repeat folding, pressing into torpedo-shaped loaf. Pinch edge and ends to seal. 6. Place loaf, seam side down, on cornmeal-dusted baking sheet. Cover with towel; let rise until doubled, 1-1/2 hours. Whisk egg with 1 tbsp (15 mL) water; brush over loaf. Using serrated knife, cut slashes in top. Bake in centre of 425°F (220°C) oven until golden and loaf sounds hollow when tapped, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool on rack.

White Sourdough Bread
Omit whole wheat bread flour and increase white bread flour to 3 1/4 cups (800 mL).

Rye Sourdough Bread
Omit whole wheat bread flour and use 1 3/4 cups (425 mL) rye bread flour.

Boule (round loaf)
Line 12-cup (3 L) bowl with tea towel. Dust with white bread flour. Instead of forming dough into torpedo shape, shape into ball and place, seam side up, in prepared bowl. Let rise as above; transfer to baking sheet. Cut crisscross slashes.

Click here to add this recipe to your Canadian Living Recipe Box.

Source: Canadian Living Magazine: November 2002


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Baking & Desserts

Cooking class: Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread