bcmom's kitchen

bcmom's kitchen

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Whole Wheat Sourdough

I've been making sourdough bread for a while, and after reading this article, Sourdough Bread and Health, I started thinking there's more to it than just the taste. Maybe I shouldn't just be using white flour. Don't get me wrong, I really like my all white flour sourdough bread, and I'll still be making that, for one thing it goes really well with spaghetti, but adding whole grains should really make a healthy bread. So I started experimenting and came up with a bread I really like.

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

The night before you want bread:
  • Bring sourdough starter to room temperature and measure out 1 cup
  • In large bowl mix starter with 1 cup lukewarm water, 1 cup whole wheat flour, and 1/4 cup 7-grain cereal (or 2 T 7-grain or 10-grain cereal, 2 T wheat bran, and 2 T to 1/4 cup oatmeal - or any combination thereof - or whatever grains you have, want, like)
  • Mix well, cover, and let sit overnight
  • Be sure to replenish your starter by adding 3/4 cup water and 3/4 cup flour and letting that sit out overnight, too
The next morning:
  • The mixture should be nice and bubbly
  • Mix in:
    2 T brown sugar, 1/2 t. salt, and 2 T oil
  • Mix in 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • Then add 1 cup unbleached flour, mixing in as much of the flour as you can with a spoon (recently I have been adding whole wheat flour for this 2nd cup of flour and only using unbleached for kneading)
  • Knead on a floured surface until you have a smooth, elastic dough, adding flour as necessary
  • put into greased bowl, cover and set in warm place to rise (about 2 hours)
When dough has doubled in size
  • Punch down and turn out onto floured surface
  • Cover and let dough rest for 10 minutes, then shape dough into a ball
  • Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more cornmeal; cover with the other end of the towel, or another towel.
  • Let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
  • About a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450°. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 5 to 10 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

I think this is the best bread ever! I say that a lot, because I really like bread, but the whole wheat flour and the brown sugar give this a really nice flavor, as well as the flavor of the sourdough. I love the crust that forms because of baking it this way and the cornmeal embedded in the crust. It's good sliced with butter. It's good toasted. It's good when used to make a grilled cheese sandwich. I love it all!

Besides flavor and health, I just like making sourdough because it's so much fun to make bread without adding packaged yeast. It's like magic! Here's an article that explains How Sourdough Bread Works that I thought was pretty interesting. Not that I want to take away the magic, but it's also fun to know how things work.

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