Eat / Recipe

Eat: Whole Grain Sourdough Bread

A recipe from Christina Samson of Demeter Bread & Pastry

Eat: Whole Grain Sourdough Bread
Michelle Montgomery Photography

Christina Samson of Demeter Bread & Pastry believes in using whole grain, local and seasonal produce. After gracing us with her talents at a Community Table dinner in the Summer of 2018, we knew we needed to invite Christina back to show us how to make the perfect loaf of Whole Grain bread. In front of a local audience, Christina walked our First Saturday attendees through the process of bread baking. Read on to enjoy Christina’s time-tested recipe and make sure to work with your local farmer to use only the highest quality grain for the best tasting bread.

Whole Grain Sourdough Bread

When you want to bake sourdough bread, you need to plan ahead. I feed my starter twice get it nice and active before I mix my final dough. Here is a schedule that works well for me when baking at home.

Feed #1: Friday evening before bed – take container of starter out of the fridge. Weigh out 50g of culture into a bowl and return the rest to the fridge. Add 50g water to the bowl and mix; add 50g whole wheat flour and mix. Cover and leave at room temperature overnight.

Feed #2: Saturday morning when you get up – observe your sourdough culture by sight and smell. It should have bubbles and take up about twice as much volume as the night before. It should smell a bit acidic. Now feed your starter again. Scale out 50g of the active, room-temperature starter into another bowl, add 50g water and mix, add 50g flour and mix. Then cover and keep at room temperature. The excess starter can be used to make pancakes or biscuits or returned to the container in your fridge. Your room temperature culture will be ready to use for mixing bread dough in about 4-5 hours. You’ll know it’s ready when it has about doubled in volume, has bubbles on the sides, and is slightly domed on top.

Mix: Saturday afternoon – mix final dough (autolyse, bulk ferment, stretch & folds)

Shape: Saturday evening – shape loaves and put in fridge overnight (cold proof 10-12 hours)

Bake: Sunday morning – bake your loaves and enjoy!

Formula 1 Loaf 2 Loaves
Hard White Whole Wheat Flour 100% 435g 870g
Water (75˚F) 85% 370g 740g
Levain (active) 20% 87g 174g
Salt 2% 9g 17g
Levain Feed #1 (8-10 hrs):
  • Scale out 50g of cold starter from the fridge; add 50g water and 50g whole grain flour. Cover and let sit at room temp overnight (see “Getting Your Sourdough Culture Ready to Bake”).
Levain Feed #2 (4-5 hours):
  • Scale out equal parts by weight of active levain, water, and flour (use 50g of each if you are making one loaf; 100g each for 2 loaves). Mix well and cover. Let sit for about 4-5 hours until bubbly and active (see “Getting Your Sourdough Culture Ready to Bake”).
Mix & Autolyse (1 hour):
  • In separate containers, scale out flour, water, salt, and active levain. Water temp should be about 75˚F. In large bowl, add water to levain and mix to break up levain. Add flour and combine with your hands. Sprinkle salt over top but do not mix in. Cover and let sit for 45 min.
Bulk Fermentation & Folds (3 hours):
  • Use the pincer method to incorporate salt. Use stretch & fold method to create smooth round ball. Cover. • Perform 3 stretch & folds at 45 min intervals.
Divide & Shape (30 min):
  • Divide and shape into final loaves. Place in proofing basket (dusted with white rice flour or lined with tea towel) or metal loaf pan (well coated with cooking spray). Cover and proof.
Final Proof (90 min or 10-12 hours):
  • To bake the same day – Proof loaves at room temperature for about 90 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 475˚F at least one hour before bake time. If using dutch oven, make sure it is in the oven during pre-heating. Use the finger dent test to determine when your loaves are ready to bake.
  • To bake the following day – Retard loaves in refrigerator overnight, about 10-12 hours. When you wake up, use the finger dent test to determine if your loaves are ready to bake. If they are ready, leave them in the fridge while you preheat the oven to 475˚F. If they are not ready, proof at room temperature while oven heats up.
Bake (45 min):
  • Score loaves and load into oven. Bake 30 minutes at 475˚F, then rotate and reduce oven temp to 425˚F. Bake additional 10-15 minutes. • Cool completely on wire rack before slicing. Store in paper bag (to retain crunchy crust) or plastic wrap for up to a week.