Making a loaf of sourdough whole wheat bread: Part I
Adapted from Wild Bread: Handbaked sourdough artisan breads in your own kitchen:
While I periodically make fancier types of sourdough bread such as artisan boules, most of the time I bake two loaves of basic bread a week: one loaf of whole wheat bread for myself and one loaf of Dan’s Sandwich Bread. I have too many other activities to do and loaf bread only requires one rising, so it is the easiest bread to make. Usually, the two loaves are baked on separate days so that we both get to eat fresh bread the day it is baked (the loaves don’t run out on the same day).
I make up a whole wheat artisan formula (20 oz active sourdough starter, freshly-ground flour, water) by taking the starter out of the refrigerator, scooping it into the mixing bowl, feeding it twice the evening before I bake, and then a third time in the morning. My sourdough culture is ready for making dough an hour to an hour-and-a-half later.
In this set of photos I begin the process of making my whole wheat loaf with saving some of the sourdough starter culture for next time. I put 8 oz of starter back in the storage jar and feed it with 3.5 oz of flour and water, stirring to mix. I leave the jar on the counter for about an hour before placing it back into the refrigerator.
Then I add water and salt to the bowl of remaining starter and stir to mix the batter. After that I add flour as needed to make the dough and stir to combine the ingredients. When making my loaf bread, I don’t bother weighing out the added flour any more. I add flour intuitively until the dough feels right. (I still weigh the flour for Dan’s Bread because that formula contains more ingredients and is more exacting.)
Part II will discuss kneading the dough.