I’ve had some questions recently about the recipe I use to make my favorite whole wheat sourdough sandwich bread, so I thought a post on the subject was in order. This recipe comes from the book The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast, which I highly recommend picking up a copy of. It greatly simplifies the why and how of baking with sourdough and is a thorough step-by-step guide.
Almost all of the bread we eat is sourdough. It’s so much better for you than commercially yeasted bread and fits right into our template for a healthy diet.
This recipe is titled “Grammy’s Bread” in the book because it’s a special recipe the author makes for her grandmother who can’t eat anything that metabolizes into sugar.
I love the simplicity of this basic whole wheat sourdough bread, and it is one of my default recipes.
- 1/2 cup sourdough starter
- 2 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 5-6 cups whole wheat flour
- At least 10 hours before baking, combine starter, water, salt, coconut oil, and honey in mixer.
- Add 5 cups of flour, then continue adding flour until dough "cleans" the sides of your mixer bowl. (There may be residual bits near the top, and here and there along the sides, but the lower half of the bowl should be clean.)
- Once the sides have been cleaned, allow the dough to knead for 10 minutes, or until the dough can pass the windowpane test.
- Dampen a large work surface with water and pull the dough out of the mixer bowl onto your work surface. (You want just enough water to keep the dough from sticking, but not enough to waterlog your dough.)
- Wet your hands with water, and knead the dough a few times, until the texture is uniform.
- Place dough smooth side up into a bowl or container. Remember to choose a container that allows your dough room to double in size. You can also split your dough and use two smaller bowls.
- Cover your bowl with greased plastic wrap or with a thick, damp kitchen towel. (Thin towels dry out too quickly and stick to the dough.)
- Place on countertop to rise overnight or all day, for 6-12 hours.
- After a minimum of 6 hours, turn dough out of bowl onto wet work surface.
- Wet hands and use dough scraper or sharp serrated bread knife to cut dough into 2 equal pieces.
- Set pieces aside on a damp surface and grease your pans. (This gives your dough time to "relax" before shaping.)
- Take one dough section and pat it out on your damp work surface.
- Shape each piece individually into sandwich loaves, artisan boules, or rolls. (The book contains shaping tutorials.)
- Allow the loaves to rise in a warm place for 2-2 1/2 hours, or until the dough slowly returns a gentle fingerprint.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the bottom of the loaf reads at least 180 degrees.
- Remove from pans and allow to cool completely before cutting.