Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Artisan Breads Every Day - Whole Wheat Sourdough Hearth Bread

Still working through the recipes in Peter Reinhart's book...

100% Whole Wheat Sourdough Hearth Bread

I made this recipe way back in November- and I'm just now writing about it. There is a good reason. I hate to talk about my failures. I'd much rather pretend that I never have cooking disasters. Ed is good at not reminding me about past mistakes. But I said I would work through this cookbook and report the outcomes. So here is my honest dismal report.

I've had lots of bread baking failures. But of all the many recipes that I've tried in this book, both when I was recipe testing last spring, and now since the book came out this fall, every one was successful.

Until now. I'm sure it is my fault and not the recipe. Sourdough baking is new to me. I can make 100% whole wheat bread with yeast and I can make sourdough bread with white flour but I can not make 100% whole wheat sourdough bread.

At least not yet. I'm not giving up.

I'm sure there is some way to get the results I'm searching for. One of my problems is by the time I get the loaf baked to the center, the bottom is burnt. This dough felt wonderful. It was soft and pliable and a joy to work with, but once baked, it was hardly edible.

I did a little bit of reading on the forum dedicated to bakers using Peter Reinhart's book and think that part of my problem may be that my sourdough starter is young and may not be potent enough. I may need to give it some time to mature. My starter is languishing in the bottom of the fridge. It appears to still have some life in it and I plan to tackle the challenge in the near future.

Which means, you'll probably be reading about whole wheat sourdough bread again!


  1. Thank you for sharing your failures as well as your triumphs. It is not an easy thing to do. I really do hope that you are able to write about whole wheat sour dough in the future. I would really like to try it, but not being a very accomplished baker, I'm a little intimidated.

  2. Hey there,
    You should check out Richard Bertinet's book called Dough. It's an English published book and it looks like that's what Peter Reinhard is getting at. Richard does the traditional methods, very simple and easy.
    The only problem you'll find with Richard's book is the difference between UK and US flour. More or less water needed.
    I made Richard's bread in the breadmaker (I know!! blasphemy!). turned the machine off after the basic mix had ended and removed it after a rise for a quick reshape cut and rise before cooking. I made the BEST jam doughnuts I have ever experienced! All the paramedics at DH's work thought so too. (I've tried so many from around the world).
    Truely a simple and easy peasy book.

  3. I made this bread Monday and it came out fabulous. I made the dough into one big loaf and cooked in in a Dutch oven. I replaced 75 grams of the whole wheat with corn meal. I also added some vital wheat gluten and ascorbic acid. Don't know if those helped or I was just lucky!

  4. I was so excited to find your blog! It seems we are on the same quest. I am also trying to make an artisan whole wheat, sourdough bread. I tried this recipe:
    (Note - on step 2 add 1/2 of the flour.)
    It was the most delicious whole wheat bread I have ever made or tasted. I wished that it was more fermented (to reduce anti-nutrients). I am trying to make my bread with home-ground whole wheat bread which may make a difference in the outcome.
    I will keep watch on your blog - I hope we can help each other to achieve our goals. I always say the everyone deserves good food!
    Thanks, Billie

  5. I was taught that your whole wheat flour needs to be at least one week old before using in sourdough... Especially for feeding it. Also I like the website cookinggodsway. They have a good sourdough cookbook and lots of good info.


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