One of the most common questions I am asked is how to bake bread with whole wheat flour. I must admit that I am not a fan of whole wheat bread, especially made with those available in India. Yet every once in a while I try to bake with whole wheat. This is mostly a test to see if my dough handling skills have improved. I had baked this seeded sourdough boule few years ago when I was still a novice baker. I wouldn’t call myself an expert now but I have come some way from that loaf. So this time I increased the amount of whole wheat and baked the boule. The results did put a smile on my face!
How I baked this sourdough boule
This loaf has one third whole wheat flour and the balance is all purpose flour. I loved the crunch of the pumpkin seeds and the bite that the whole wheat flour imparts. Since whole wheat absorbs more water than all purpose flour, I had increased the hydration to 74%.
The dough was autolysed was for 3 hours and the bulk fermentation took 5 hours. I then shaped and retarded the loaf for 14 hours in the refrigerator overnight. I baked it for 35 minutes covered and 15 minutes uncovered.
Importance of folds in a sourdough bread
I know no knead breads and lazy breads are in vogue. Everyone wants a loaf of homemade bread with the least amount of effort and maximum taste and texture. But, in breads just as in life, nothing good ever comes easy. If you want a nice airy loaf then you need to put some effort, atleast little effort.
When we bake yeast breads we knead the dough either by hand or mixer to ensure we develop the gluten and achieve the windowpane effect. But we cannot follow the same method with sourdough breads. Since sourdough, by nature, is slower we will not achieve the same impact by kneading it at the beginning and letting it rise over the next few hours. That is why we have a staggered approach to building gluten network in the loaf. We perform one of the many methods of folding – stretch and fold, coil fold, etc. every 30 minutes or so to build the dough strength and get a good structure to the bread.
This may be a little more effort but it is absolutely worth it. So do try that stretch and fold next time and think of me when you bite into the airy slice of bread.
For other similar sourdough bread recipes check out this Sourdough bread with tomatoes & thyme, Laminated Sourdough Bread
Seeded Sourdough Boule
- OTG or MIcrowave Oven to bake
For the starter
- 20 gms Unfed starter
- 40 gms all-purpose flour
- 40 gms water
For the dough
- 200 gms all-purpose flour
- 100 gms Whole wheat flour
- 80 gms Sourdough Starter (from above)
- 7-8 gms salt
- 225 gms water
- 20-30 gms Pumpkin seeds or any seeds of your choice
For the starter
- Mix the unfed sourdough starter, flour and water in a transparent container. Ensure no dry flour remains
- Once mixed, mark the level of the mixture on the container. Cover and keep aside till it doubles in volume. It should take around 4 hours at 26C
For the dough
- Mix the flours for the dough with water to ensure no dry flour remains. Cover and set aside till the starter doubles
- Once the starter doubles, add it along with the salt to the dough mix. Knead the dough well so that the starter and salt are mixed well into the dough, around 10 minutes. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes
- Transfer the dough to the counter top. Wet your hands and spread the dough on the counter to as thin as possible. To spread the dough, simple lift the end of the dough, drag it slightly and place it down. Repeat the same procedure for all sides of the dough. Handle the dough delicately. If it tears, just pinch it together and continue
- Spread the seeds across the dough and lightly press them in the dough. Fold the dough like an envelope on all four sides and further fold the dough into a ball. Put it back into the mixing bowl. Cover and set aside
- Stretch and fold the dough every 30 minutes. Take one side of the dough, stretch it and fold it on top of itself. Repeat the process on all four sides. Cover the dough and set aside. Check out this video to see how it is done.Repeat the stretch and fold 4 times at a 30 minute interval
- After completing the stretch and folds, cover and set aside the dough till it significantly rise in volume. It should rise atleast 50% in 4 hours
- Once the dough rises around 50-60%, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Shape it into a nice tight dough ball
- Transfer the dough to a banetton or any napkin lined basket. Cover it and set it in the refrigerator for 12-15 hours
- Preheat the oven to 230C
- Line a dutch oven with parchment at the bottom and grease the rest of the dutch oven. Transfer the dough to it and make one or more slashes across the top of the dough with a blade.This will help the steam escape from the loaf and yet retain its shape
- Bake the loaf covered for 35 minutes and uncovered for 15 minutes
- Once the loaf has been baked, transfer it to a cooling rack and let it cool completely before slicing it
Pin it for later
This post is part of the monthly post for Bread Bakers for the theme -Bread with seeds. Thanks to Stacey of Food Lust People Love for hosting this month’s event.
- Amaranth and Honey Bread from What Smells So Good?
- Brioche Buns from Simply Inspired Meals
- Cheddar Poppy Seed Bread Sticks from Food Lust People Love
- Dinner Rolls With Seeds In Paper Tea Cups from Sneha’s Recipe
- Everything Sourdough Bagels from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Gluten Free Amaranth Crackers from Anybody Can Bake
- Gul Poli-Tilgul Poli – Jaggery and Sesame Seeds StuffedIndian Flatbread from Cook With Renu
- Nordic Stone Age Bread from All That’s Left Are The Crumbs
- Poppy Seed Rolls from Ambrosia
- Seeded Sourdough Boule from Bread Therapy
- Seeded Turmeric and Leek Levain from A Messy Kitchen
- Sesame Scallion Bread from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Wholewheat Poppy Seed Dinner Rolls from Sizzling Tastebuds
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.
We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
This post has been updated with a recipe card and better pictures
Constantly looking for sourdough recipes now. Thanks for sharing.
I love pepitas on and in my bread! I was thinking of a pumpkin sourdough with cranberries and pepitas as an idea for this month, now I really should make it!
I love pumpkin seeds on and in bread. Your loaf is beautiful.
Beautiful bread Sowmya. I absolutely agree that unpredictability is the favourite part of sourdough journey. Your bread look lovely with pumpkin seeds studded all over.
What a lovely golden crust and round rise! The ideal boule!
I love sourdough breads and hoping to start this now for the last 2 years. I really need to push myself now. After seeing your delicous bake I am so tempted.
Sowmya, yet another beautiful bake by you and look at those ‘ears’. A true sign of a good sourdough bread. I learnt the stretch and fold method from my brother in law. Before that my had no idea and use to try and knead the dough like normal bread dough… obviously that was a disaster.
Such a beautiful bake Sowmya ! Love the golden crust and the beautiful rise on this seed studded bread. Thanks for sharing the video for stretch and fold method.
the terminologies apart, all I know is I am savouring the delight (virtually) of a perfectly baked, golden hued boule that looks great for tomorrow’s breakfast ! amen