Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread Recipe (1 Small Loaf)

A few days ago, I showed you guys how to make sourdough starter. I feel this would be more complete if I ACTUALLY make bread with the starter.

But before we go on, I just want to say thank you to the people who looked at my post yesterday. I posted the link to my own Facebook page, and I did not even know so many people are interested in knowing why did I start doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ).  This is one of the reason I am still doing this sport today because the BJJ community is very supportive and everyone is helping each other out. There are some outliers of course, but I will talk about this later.  Many of the comments on my Facebook were positive.  Here were some (names were covered due to privacy reasons):

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THANKS GUYS! I REALLY APPRECIATE IT!

Okay! Now back to sourdough bread recipe.  I used whole wheat flour because it is healthier.  Whole wheat flour is more expensive than all-purpose flour, but not that much (probably one or two dollars more for the same weight).  Since bread making is a long process, therefore you also have to make sure you schedule your time properly.  Here is the recipe:

3.5 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups warm water

0.5 cups sourdough starter

2 teaspoons salt

Noticed I did not weigh my ingredients (weighing ingredients are more accurate when baking)? This is because I think some people do not have a scale at home, and this recipe worked for them as well.

1) Put all ingredients in a BIG bowl in this order: starter, water, flour and salt.  You do not want starter and salt to interact with each other at this point because salt inhibits yeast’s growth.

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2) Mix everything until a dough is formed.  If it is too wet, put more flour; if it is too dry, put more water. Transfer to a floured surface when dough is formed.  Knead the dough until windowpane test is passed (just grab a small piece of dough into golf ball size and stretch dough into translucent membrane.  Your dough is ready to rise when the membrane does not break).  It took me less than thirty minutes to knead the dough.

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3) When dough is ready to rise, put it into a bowl, cover with a wet cloth and let the dough rise to double its original size in a spacious environment. It may the dough four hours to twenty-four hours to rise, depends on where you put the bowl.  Mine took twelve hours to rise.

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4)  When dough is rise properly, punch dough to release carbon dioxide from the dough and re-incorporate oxygen to the dough.  After you punch the dough, let the dough rise to double its original size again.  Mine took another twelve hours.

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5) When dough is ready, round dough on a slighly floured surface and let is rest for thirty minute.

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6) Turn on oven to 150F and grease loaf pan with oil.  When oven is ready, put dough into loaf pan and put loaf pan in oven.  We are now proofing the dough so the bread is ready for final baking.  Make sure you turn on the steam in your oven because steam is needed for proofing and baking process.  Since I only have a toaster pan, I had to fill a cup with water and put the cup inside the oven. Mine took almost 1.5 hours to proof.  I know my dough was ready when I use my finger to push the dough and the dented part slowly came up.  If you did that and the dented part came up instantly, that means your dough is not ready to be baked.

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7) When dough is ready, turn up your oven to 350F and slash one side of your bread.  I put tin foil on my dough so it did not get burnt easily. Bake your bread for  twenty-five minutes to one hour.

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8) When you see your bread has browned (about twenty-five minutes), you can check to see if your bread is done by using a thermometer and poke a hold to your bread.  Your bread will be ready when the dough reaches the temperature between 190F to 210F.  Let the bread rest for at least thirty minutes after baking.

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9) When bread is completely cool, you can start eating it!

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There you go! The bread will taste slightly sour when cooled, but it is still good for your homemade sandwiches or just with butter or your favourite spread alone.  Also, you can see the bread is very easy to make and you spend most of the time just waiting.  So give it a try!

Have you made sourdough bread before? What is your recipe? How long did it take you to make yours? Post your comments below. Till next time!

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Sourdough Starter Recipe

I love making bread with sourdough starter not because I want to impersonate ANCIENT EGYPTIAN (yes….I actually tried to wrap myself to become a mummy…hahaha..joking), but it just tastes natural.  I LOVE NATURAL, and once you started a starter, you can make bread WHENEVER YOU WANT (JUST LIKE BUYING ACTIVE DRY YEAST IN THE SUPERMARKET). I got referred to this recipe by my teacher at George Brown Chef school.  It is from Chad Robertson, the owner of Tartine Bakery and Cafe in San Francisco. I did some changes to what works for a Canadian, Extremely Cold Home Kitchen.

You will need all-purpose flour and lukewarm water. You can also use bread flour and whole wheat flour as well.  I am not too sure about pastry flour and cake flour because they contains less gluten content than all-purpose, bread and whole wheat flour.  In addition, I am using lukewarm water because increase in temperature increases the rate of fermentation.

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  • Put 0.5 cups all-purpose flour and 1 cup of lukewarm water in a bowl and mix until there is no lumps. You can see some bubbles at this point and this is okay.

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  • When mixed, cover the bowl with a dry clothes and leave it in a cool place.  Because a final sourdough bread tastes sour, so keeping your sourdough starter wet and cool would make your final product less sour.  DO NOT LEAVE YOUR SOURDOUGH STARTER IN YOUR REFRIGERATOR BECAUSE FERMENTATION OCCURS MUCH SLOWER IN COLD TEMPERATURE.

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  • When you start to see bubbles occurring on the surface of the starter, it is time to “feed” your starter.  You may have to wait 1 to 3 days before you “feed” your starter.  Just put 5 tablespoons of your original starter, 0.5 cups of flour and 0.5 cups of lukewarm water in a new bowl and mix until there is no lumps.  Then cover the bowl with a dry cloth and leave it in a cool place.

You can see this is a cycle and you have to keep “feeding” your starter everyday. This is what the starter looks like after about 2 weeks:

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Bubbles are forming and you see a crust.  Once your starter form a dark crust and floats in warm water, you are ready to make your sourdough bread. That would take about 3 weeks to 1 month. I also find you get a better result by using whole wheat flour (probably due to the milling process of flour).

BUT WHY? WHY ALL THIS WORK WHEN ACTIVE DRY YEAST WORKS TOO?

Professor Terry Graham  from University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario (a small town just outside Toronto) did a study on four types of breads to determine which had the most positive health effects. He used white, whole wheat, whole wheat with barley and sourdough white breads to examined how subjects (who were overweight and aged between 50 to 60) responded just hours after eating the bread for breakfast and again just hours after eating a standard lunch. Professor Graham found subjects’ blood sugar levels were lower for a similar rise in blood insulin with the sourdough.  In addition, this positive effect remained during their second meal and lasted even hours after. As a result, Professor Graham concluded the fermentation of the sourdough changes the nature of the starches in the bread, creating a more beneficial bread.

In fact, some people suggested sourdough bread is more digestible and more nutritious as well because the lactic acids in sourdough starter make the vitamins and minerals in the flour more available to the body.  In addition, the acids slow down the rate at which glucose is released into the blood-stream and lower the bread’s glycaemic index (GI), so it doesn’t cause undesirable spikes in insulin.

Have you tried sourdough bread before? Do you or how do you make your bread at home? You have a bread recipe you want to share with us? Post your comments below. Till next time!