Sourdough Recipes Galore: Honey Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

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Honey Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread Recipe - best toast ever + health benefits of fermented foods and a looooong rise time. You can do real sourdough homemade bread with these techniques!

Patience.

Patience is key when baking sourdough bread.

You have to wait for your starter to mature. You have to wait for the dough to rise. Sometimes you have to wait longer than the recipe says and beg a little. Sometimes you even have to wait to make loaf number one into croutons and then try again!

I will give you some sloppy tips today, but if you really want to tend a sourdough, you must check out my friend Sarah’s Definitive Guide to Sourdough.

If you are a “need to see it” kind of person and would like to see a video of this recipe, check out the Traditional Cooking School’s Learn to Cook Sourdough Online eCourse. I’d love for you to join so you can see me demonstrate all the wrong ways to get sourdough to rise, and still end up with tasty bread at the end. :) Check out all the lessons on traditional food preparations! There are over 20 different sourdough recipes in a multimedia format at Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS’ eCourses plus hundreds of other lessons in different categories.

On Keeping Your Starter Happy

I think sourdough starters are kind of like…toddlers. I never really know what they’re going to do, but I keep feeding them and watching them.

Basic Sourdough Feeding Tips

  • Feed your starter every day if it’s at room temperature or higher, with any grain and sometimes water.
  • Stir well, scraping all the way down to the bottom of the jar/pot/bowl.
  • Keep your starter warm by leaving it on the stovetop when you cook. I generally get great bubble action when I do this, which sometimes results in this.
  • Store your starter in the fridge if you don’t bake often. You still need to feed it once a week if it’s in there long term. I usually let it sit out to ferment at room temp when I feed it, then refrigerate again.
  • Be sure to feed your starter every time you take some out for baking. How much? Most recipes say to replace what you took out – like if you use a cup of starter, mix in a cup of flour and a cup of water. Depending on your plans for your starter, you can add more or less and be just fine. As long as you have some starter left to continue your culture, nearly anything goes. Katz of Wild Fermentation claims that the starter clinging to the sides of the jar is enough to keep it going.
  • Some recipes say to “discard” half your starter every time you feed it, so that’s where the lingo in this week’s recipes comes from. I don’t. I just feed and feed and feed – so if I’m getting too close to the top of my jar, I better use some! You can just use any starter for this week’s recipes. Once you take some out and give it a bigger feeding, it will be even more ready for bread baking, in my experience.

Honey Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread Recipe

5.0 from 1 reviews
Honey Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2 loaves
Ingredients
  • 1½ c. whole wheat sourdough starter
  • 2 c. whole milk (or even water)
  • ¼ c. mild honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 c. (divided) whole wheat flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature (or coconut oil)
Instructions
  1. The night before you are going to bake bread, make a sponge by mixing the starter with the milk and 3 cups of flour.
  2. Cover and leave at room temperature overnight, or better yet, in the oven with the light on. I always turn the oven on to 350 degrees for one minute exactly when I’m trying to get my sourdough yeast to be most active.
  3. (I use a KitchenAid mixer with a dough hook to knead my bread – I could NOT do it without that tool!)
  4. The next morning, stir the sponge before beginning.
  5. Then, add in the honey and eggs, stirring until incorporated.
  6. Add the remaining flour, salt and butter and use your dough hook to fully mix, then knead for 5-7 minutes, adding more flour as necessary. Here’s where we radically depart from conventional yeast bread. Don’t add too much flour. That’s how you get a doorstop loaf, aka “straight to crouton,” (see below) or worse yet, a brick, aka “straight to breadcrumbs.” I add just barely enough to get the dough pulling away from the sides ever so slightly. (see photos below)
  7. Look for "developed gluten" which is sticky and stringy and holds together quite well.
  8. Cover the dough with a towel and put it back in the oven with the light on, 350 degrees for exactly one minute and then off. Sourdough takes longer to rise than commercial yeast, so expect anywhere from two to four hours, depending on the strength of the starter and the heat in your kitchen. I almost always leave it for four to six, or longer if necessary! Have patience.
  9. Butter two 9×5-inch loaf pans.
  10. Once the dough has doubled in size, pour it into the loaf pans. I’m serious. Pour it.
  11. Cover the pans again and put them in the oven – you know the drill by now – with the light on, 350 for a minute and off. This is a great time to baby your starter, too, so keep it in that nice warm oven.
  12. When the dough has risen at least to the top of the pans or a half-inch above, which takes an hour and a half to three hours, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. (Take the loaves out first.)
  13. Slash loaves down the middle, then immediately bake until they are honey brown and sound hollow when tapped on the top, 35-40 minutes. Be careful not to overbake this bread or it will be dry.
  14. Carefully remove the loaves from the pans and let cool completely on wire racks before slicing.
Notes
* I use half and half traditional (red) whole wheat and white whole wheat, red for the gluten content and white for the lighter flavor. Sometimes I also use part spelt or rye flour (remember that rye is highest in phytase, so a great flour to use with sourdough). The recipe is very versatile!

* Feel free to use 100% water instead of the milk for a more frugal, dairy-free version. The loaf may be slightly softer with milk, but it's good either way!

* I also forget to set the butter on the counter sometimes and have replaced it with coconut oil in a pinch with fine results (dairy-free version).

adapted from Sarah at Heartland Renaissance, who adapted it from Essentials of Baking cookbook.

Photos so You Know What to Look For

In the morning, the sponge should look bubbly like this:sourdough sponge for Honey Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread RecipeLots of rising action here already, even in the sponge. If I don’t see this, I might need to offer extra time on the rising for the loaves.

Remember that I add just barely enough flour to get the dough pulling away from the sides ever so slightly. It looks like this:Honey Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread Recipe - best toast ever + health benefits of fermented foods and a looooong rise time. You can do real sourdough homemade bread with these techniques! Does that look like any self-respecting bread dough? No way. That is why I couldn’t do this with my hands! When trying to figure out if you’ve kneaded enough or added enough flour, keep in mind that developing gluten, the substance in grains that enables a rise, is your goal. “Developed” gluten is sticky and allows you to stretch the bread dough. Elasticity would be a word to keep in mind. This bread dough below, for example, does not have developed gluten. I didn’t get that part. We’re still eating the croutons from November!this is NOT developed gluten

This an “oops I let the dough rise too long in the pans” moment: sourdough bread overroseWhen my starter was less mature or is less active, I could leave my loaves forever (it seemed) without consequence. Some days the rising action is just working so well that I actually have to keep an eye on things or risk overrising the dough! If this happens to you, just bake with a cookie sheet underneath to catch the dough that will fall down. The bread is still good, if odd-shaped! (My mom has just trimmed off the overhanging dough just before baking with good results.)

What is slashing loaves? This took me a while to figure out, but it’s basically the chef’s way of telling the bread where to expand, like here:How to slash loaves for the best Honey Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread Recipe - best toast ever + health benefits of fermented foods and a looooong rise time. You can do real sourdough homemade bread with these techniques!
instead of here: This isn't the best way for your sourdough bread to rise!

Oops. You can use a sharp serrated knife and make a quick sawing motion or a small sharp knife to cut about 1/2 inch in. This sticky dough is a bit difficult to slash –you have to convince it to stay.

Cook’s notes:

  • I changed the original recipe by adding a half cup starter because I was worried I wouldn’t get it to rise. Now that I’ve had success, I’m afraid to take it back out, and I’ve even read since then that more starter decreases the overall sourness of the finished product, which is the opposite of what I expected! I also added a cup of flour to the sponge, taking it from the next day’s dough. My intent was simply to get more flour soaking overnight for more total phytate reduction.
  • I use half and half traditional (red) whole wheat and white whole wheat, red for the gluten content and white for the lighter flavor. Sometimes I also use part spelt or rye flour (remember that rye is highest in phytase, so a great flour to use with sourdough). The recipe is very versatile!
  • In my research on the health benefits of sourdough bread, I came across a source that said that any sponge that includes milk would inhibit the fermentation process. I tried this recipe with 100% water instead of the milk, and it was equally as good! The milk and eggs both will serve to make the final loaf softer, so if you’re nervous about good results, go ahead and use the milk. Once you’re confident with the bread, give water a try. It’s more frugal, too! (I have not tried it without the eggs.)
  • I also forget to set the butter on the counter sometimes and have replaced it with coconut oil in a pinch with fine results.
  • It does take a long time to do proper sourdough bread. I generally knead the dough at breakfast and shoot to get it in the loaf pans around 3:00 to bake for dinner.

Storage:

To keep the fresh-baked crusty and crunchy crust, just store the entire loaf out in the air. Once cut, you can put the heel back on the end to keep it fresh or stand it on end on a cutting board. If you’re willing to give up on crunchy crusts, put it all in a bag or other airtight storage. I always at least let the loaves sit out overnight on the rack.Honey Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread Recipe - best toast ever + health benefits of fermented foods and a looooong rise time. You can do real sourdough homemade bread with these techniques!
Many say that homemade bread doesn’t last very long, but in my experience, you can’t hardly convince this stuff to mold. I’ve read elsewhere that because sourdough is a fermented food, it does have the added longevity you would expect from a ferment.

Don’t refrigerate bread (it will get stale but not moldy), but you could freeze it for the future if you like. If you freeze it, give it a day after baking before storing to increase the nutrient density even further, believe it or not. Slice it first if you like so that you can remove and toast individual slices any time.

How does it taste?

Honey Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread Recipe - best toast ever + health benefits of fermented foods and a looooong rise time. You can do real sourdough homemade bread with these techniques!

We love this bread! It’s not a perfect sandwich bread, but I think it makes good grilled cheese, and my kids will eat it as sandwiches. It slices so evenly that my mother-in-law couldn’t believe it wasn’t storebought. We love it best toasted with butter and honey – I think my kids could eat a slice at every meal and snack and be thrilled.

We like it so much I’m almost afraid to branch out, although my husband does think this multigrain sourdough bread is even better. If I have a cup of leftover oatmeal, I’ll make that one, but it’s a compromise because it has a few cups of white flour.

Other Sourdough Posts elsewhere:

Disclosure: I am a teacher and affiliate of Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS and will earn a commission if you purchase a membership but it doesn’t change your price. Links to Amazon are also affiliate links.


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106 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. Mrs. Hewett says

    This recipe looks good! Thanks so much for sharing. Now I’m off to get some bread started…

    Blessings – Mrs. H

  2. says

    I’ve adapted a yeasted sourdough recipe to all sourdough. Instead of making a sponge with half the flour (which I find leaves me with pourable loaves instead of ones I can shape), I mix all the ingredients (no sweetener, milk or eggs in the recipe). Then I let it rise for several hours on the counter and put it in the fridge when I go to bed. Next morning the dough has at least doubled if not tripled and is ready to shape into loaves and bake. That way all the flour gets soaked and I don’t even have to pull out any ingredients the next morning. I’ve been making it half white whole wheat, half white. My coop order comes in this week with more whole wheat pastry flour. I plan to use that in it next.

    Also, I never discard any starter but I don’t get overrun by it either. I feed it small amounts each time I use it and let it sit at room temp for a while. Then I put it back into the fridge. Even if I plan to use it 2 days later, it goes back in.

    Thanks for all the recipes this week!
    .-= Cori´s last blog ..lacto ferments – link of the day =-.

  3. Sarah W says

    This is the only sourdough recipe I’ve really gotten to work for me too. I also increased the amount of flour in the sponge so that more of it would get soaked (great minds think alike ;)).

    I also use a kitchen aid mixer for the mixing and kneading, however, I often have trouble with the dough climbing up the dough hook. Does this happen to you? In reading my KA manual it said this happens if there is not enough flour (and maybe more so with WW recipes? I don’t remember…) I have found that I must add almost exactly six cups of unsifted flour (total) to keep the bread dough from climbing up the dough hook. And I am still constantly monitoring it as it also seems that this recipe is about the maximum amount of dough my KA can handle and the dough gets some high “arms” up and almost over the top of the bowl.

    So glad to know the recipe works with water, as it has happened that I am out of milk on bread baking day.

    I am also happy to learn that I am not the only one who didn’t “get” what it meant to “slash the loaves.” It took me a while to figure out that it’s meant keep the loaves more symmetrical and therefore cutting it down the middle was the best place to slash. (Then a little light bulb went on and I relized that’s what store bought bread looks like!)

    Thanks for the tip on freezing since I’ve been freezing extra and I don’t know if I waited a day or not, but I will from now on!

    • Katie says

      Sarah,
      Thanks again for all your wonderful recipes this week, by the way. I had a big problem with pizza dough climbing my dough hook a few weeks back; make me really mad! This dough doesn’t usually get too high; but threatens to at times. I definitely add all 6 cups in the recipe, plus usually 1/3-1 cup more. My grandma had a method for avoiding the climbing – it might have been oiling the dough hook. I think I’ll email her to find out!
      :) Katie

      • Sarah W says

        You’re most welcome. Thanks for letting me share!

        As for the pizza dough, I usually just use the paddle attachment to combine the dough. I don’t really knead it. But I like to use the mixer b/c it is hard for me to stir it with my hand!

        Any tips for climbing dough are appreciated! :)

        • Katie says

          Sarah,
          Grandma says just spray Pam on the dough hook before you begin – I will try wiping olive oil on it all the way up myself and see if it works!
          :) Katie

  4. Sarah W says

    Oh yeah, just wanted to let you know that reducing the amount of starter actually increases the sourness of the bread b/c it will increase the fermentation time.

    I also reccommend sourdoughhome.com to any sourdough novices out there. I found his explanations clear and the easiest to understand of all the sourdough “how to” sites I read.

  5. says

    I love it!! I can’t WAIT until we’re done with GAPS so I can start making some sourdough bread. I tried playing with it over a year ago and it was a disaster, I just wasn’t prepared. I’m loving this series for that reason. For now though, I’ll have to be satisfied with my other fermented foods. :)
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..Living for Joy =-.

  6. says

    That’s a great sourdough sandwich loaf, I’ll have to try it – my girls love sourdough. I’ve had great luck just tipping the bread on end with the cut side down on the bread board to keep the cut part fresh. (The ends are quickly claimed around here!)

    • Sarah W says

      I was able to bring my starter back to life after MONTHS of neglect. I think they are hard to really kill. I’d try rehabing before starting all over. :)

    • Katie says

      Amy,
      That sounds like my kombucha! I’m sure I’ve killed it; it scares me. 😉 Hmmm…try feeding it asap and leave it in a warm spot. Maybe give it a big meal and tell it you’re very, very sorry… Apparently you can freeze or dehydrate it to save for instance like your neglect. 😉 Katie

    • says

      I left my starter at room temp and forgot to feed it for a few days…but it forgave me. :) They seem to do okay. It had started to not even smell sour but rebounded after one feeding and I’ve tried harder to pay attention to it now!

      I did, however, kill my water kefir grains recently. Oops.

      Katie — I’m halfway through perfecting kombucha right now! Doing some experiments but the most recent batch was very good!
      .-= Kate´s last blog ..Journey to Real Food: Introduction =-.

      • Katie says

        Kate,
        Awesome! I glance sideways at the kombucha I was supposed to try to make in December and wonder if I should just throw it out now…

        😉 Katie

  7. says

    I was just watching Julia Child’s cooking show on PBS and she had a guest cook who was a master baker who’s speciality was sourdough breads. She uses 1 lb. of purple grapes wrapped in cheesecloth and submerses it into the flour water mixture after she has pounded it a little with a rolling pin to release some of the flavors. She leaves it in for about 7-8 days and then she makes wonderful sourdough bread and then she feeds the dough again. She said that the reason for the grapes is that it helps in speeding the fermenting process of sourdough. I have yet to try this because this show just aired this week and I do not have grapes. I will try this this week and post it on my blog. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    • Katie says

      Wow! I dropped about 4 grapes into my starter at the beginning – that’s just incredible to use so many. Almost wine? 😉
      Thanks for sharing! :) Katie

    • Sarah W says

      NT has a bread recipe (sourdough?) that calls for unwashed organic grapes. So if you try the grapes method, I’d definitely go with organic! It is my understanding that they should be unwashed b/c of the bacteria/yeast that will be on the surface of the skin, and that is what helps the fermentation process start.

  8. says

    I’m so glad that you love my recipe! Adding ingredients with fat or sugar, specifically the butter or coconut oil, eggs and milk, will make a softer bread than ones with only water – so keep that in mind when making the bread! It absolutely can be made with water, but it might not be as soft of a bread.

    Thanks for including me in your sourdough week!

    Best,
    Sarah
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..Whole Wheat Brown Sugar Chocolate and Almond Biscotti =-.

  9. says

    Great post! I also just feed and feed my starter. Like you, it works just fine and I think the flavor is more complex than it would be otherwise.

    Your bread looks delish, I’ll have to bake some!!

  10. says

    My loaves are cooking on the counter. I swapped 1/2 cup of flour (I use a hard ww and dark rye mixture) for 1/2 cup gluten to improve the elasticity.

    The only thing I didn’t like about this loaf so far was that I lost a bunch over the edge. I didn’t get any rise during baking and slashing the loaves deflated them a bit. I wonder if I can get deeper loaf pans.
    .-= Leanne´s last blog ..Chores and Rewards =-.

    • Katie says

      Leanne,

      Sounds like maybe you needed a little bit more flour – I had a bunch go over the edge with some multigrain sourdough, and I think it was just tooooo goopy. It still needs to have enough strength to stand up on its own a bit. 1/2 cup gluten sounds like a lot! Since you didn’t get quite the results you were looking for (gluten helps the rise), maybe lower or eliminate that.

      :) Katie

  11. says

    OK I’m thinking about maaaybe jumping on the sd bandwagon, but I was wondering if you have ever made sourdough in the bread machine?
    Sorry to kvetch here, but I work full time, run a photography business on the side, so I just can’t justify spending the time to make homemade bread by hand right now…I’m too addicted to my bread machine!!!! (which by the way, LOVE your 100% soaked whole grain bread for the bread machine recipe)
    .-= Kelli M´s last blog ..Dawn and Shane – Married =-.

    • Katie says

      Kelli,
      The long rise time wouldn’t work in a machine, BUT if you can just use it to knead the dough, that would help a lot. Other than pouring the dough into pans, there’s not really more work than setting up a bread machine. ?? Sorry I didn’t have good news on that one!
      :) Katie

    • Katie says

      Rebecca,

      Read and LOVED your post! What fun! So glad I was part of the success, but Sarah of Heartland Renaissance gets all the credit. :) Katie

  12. says

    I started my sponge just now for this. I have to say, when I was making the sponge, I stirred together the 1.5 c. starter, 2 c. milk and 2 c. flour and was seeing lots of bubbles — then I added in another c. flour and not seeing as many. I think next time (after reading your notes) I might leave out that extra c. flour to get more rising action going in the sponge. But I’m also using sprouted flour, actually, so reducing phytates is not important to me.

    Frankly it doesn’t matter to me if it turns out or not, though. Croutons are on my list of “things to make” anyway, and I’m trying to help my starter mature more (it got a big feeding and put in the oven with the sponge) so having to do this again tomorrow with minor changes wouldn’t make me sad. :)
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..Journey to Real Food: Introduction =-.

    • says

      In case you’re wondering how it turned out, it didn’t rise at all when it was sitting out (5 hours in the bowl, 2 hours in the pans) but rose nicely in the oven. It’s dense, but not “doorstop” by any means. Next time I’ll use water and only 2 c. flour in the starter and wait longer and I bet it will turn out! I got impatient because I really did just want it for croutons, lol.
      .-= Kate´s last blog ..Journey to Real Food: Introduction =-.

      • Katie says

        Kate,
        You are too funny! Sometimes I have to wait alllll day long for rising to happen. Last time I baked at 10 p.m.! Glad you don’t have a doorstop – Katie

  13. Jeannette says

    Katie,

    Tried out your sourdough honey wheat this week – I failed at producing a good loaf. I do want to comment on an interesting development. For the past month I’ve been experiencing awful digestive issues. On most days I struggled to eat and when I did I often had indigestion and stomach pain. I finally got to the doctor on Monday and she found nothing unusual in the physical exam so she scheduled an ultra-sound for next week. On this same day I completed my first loaves of sour dough (white and whole grain wheat) and I tested a couple of slices that night. The next morning I had 2 more slices with a cup of tea. By lunch time I noticed that I had not experienced any abdominal discomfort at all that day. Aside from a cup of peppermint tea in the evenings and the sourdough I haven’t changed anything else. My thought is that the natural cultures in the sourdough have helped rebalance something in my GI tract. Maybe? I’m not 100% back to normal but I’m better than I’ve been in the last 5 weeks. I’ve been miserable this whole time – even the yogurt was little help. Are you familiar with this type of benefit to sourdough? I may be a convert!

    • Katie says

      Jeannette,
      Many people struggle to digest regular whole grains, but sourdough is much more digestible. If the sourdough was the only grain you were eating, I would perhaps “blame” it for your feeling better! I sure hope whatever it is either is gone/leaving or the docs can figure it out for you.

      Sad to hear the loaf didn’t turn out for you! Sometimes mine doesn’t rise, but it’s never been a doorstop. In a few weeks, the GNOWFGLINS eCourse will be featuring this recipe with a video, and maybe that will help out a bit!
      :) Katie

  14. mdvlist says

    Um, you don’t happen to have Sarah’s multi-grain sourdough bread recipe memorized, do you? It is my family’s favorite, and I’ve been making it every week, but now I can’t access the recipe because Sarah’s Musings has supposedly been infiltrated by some suspicious spreader of malware. I remember the process just fine, but I’m completely paranoid that I’m forgetting a major ingredient. This is what comes of making the sourdough waffles and the sponge for the sourdough bread (AND feeding the starter) all at the same time. I guess I need to make a resolution not to rely on internet access for my most treasured recipes! Sigh.

  15. says

    I finally put on my big girl panties and tried this recipe – my first time making sourdough bread and actually my first attempt at bread NOT from a bread machine. I was so nervous but I was amazed at how beautifully it turned out. It tasted AND looked great! I actually overcooked it just a touch so I get it will taste even better next time. Thanks for such detailed instructions for a sourdough newbie like myself.

  16. Cheryl Schlins says

    I just made my sponge using raw milk. Is that okay? I have no previous experience with raw milk (but so far I like drinking it) and am a little nervous about leaving it out at room temperature. Am I going to make myself sick? I keep thinking about our ancestors who probably did it all the time and thought nothing of it. Also, I really appreciate your website. I am learning so much from you.

    • Katie says

      Cheryl,
      I’m a little late seeing this comment, but I’ve used both raw and pasteurized milk with great results. Raw would be the safest, really, because it won’t spoil at room temp, just sour. Enjoy! :) katie

  17. says

    mine is in the loaf pan and hasn’t risen at all. What should I do now? This is my second failed attempt at making sourdough bread. I use whole wheat for the starter, should I use rye instead for better performance?

    • Katie says

      Sarah,
      Sometimes giving your loaves a nice, warm place to rise will speed it up. Sometimes you just have to wait 6-8 hours! And sometimes you just give up and bake anyway, and it’s still incredibly good for toast. To get the best sourdough bread, you want a really active, bubbly starter that is rising in its jar before using in the recipe. The GNOWFGLINS eCourse teachers have much better info on how to do that than I do though! Sometimes I have pretty flat loaves b/c I don’t baby my starter enough. Good luck! :) Katie

      • says

        Thank you for your kind reply! I did keep the dough in the oven like you recommended, mine is always at 150 and I kept it in there all night and then all day for both rises. I also keep my starter in a jar and keep that on top of the oven so it’s always warm and feed it every day. I’m at a loss. I did join the sourdough class but payed what I could and now it’s expired! I am thinking maybe switching to rye flour or just adding white to the starter for a while? I keep it closed usually, should I keep it more open to the air? You are so kind to help us all in this way. And yes, it did make good french toast, very dense but still good!

        • Katie says

          Sarah,
          One thing for sure, the sourdough starter should be open to the air – use a cloth or coffee filter on top. I almost wonder if 150 is a little too toasty for it? Do you ever get good bubbles that you can see through the jar? If you’re regularly feeding equal amts flour and water, keeping it warm, you should have action for sure. Try less temp? Sometimes they’re just temperamental. Maybe you could split into 2 jars and do a few different things to experiment with best conditions for your home. Some folks also add a 1/2 tsp. of instant yeast to their dough, which cuts down on frustration! :) Katie

  18. Elise says

    You say you use your Kitchen Aid, I have a 5qt Mixer and the guide says never use more than 6 cps Whole Wheat. With the starter do you do OK or do you have a 6qt? I also work at Chefs Catalog store and sell Kitchen Aids so tips always help customers.
    Thanks

    • Katie says

      Hmmm, I bet I’ve never read that part in the manual. 😉 Mine is the basic one, so probably only 5 qt. That would explain why sometimes the dough climbs the dough hook and makes me mad! Most of the time, though, it’s so wet that’s it’s not a problem. Maybe I need a more industrial machine! Thanks! :) Katie

  19. Meg R says

    Katie,
    I have made this bread several times, and love the taste and the fact that it is 100% whole wheat. I am still struggling to get it to rise over the tops of the bread pans. Today I let it rise for 6.5 hours, and it didn’t seem to want to get any higher. Do I perhaps have too much moisture in the dough? Should I wait 8 or 10 hours? The loaves also experience a deflation when I slash them. I am also using whole ground spelt flour, but I don’t think that should be an issue. Thanks!

    • Katie says

      Meg,
      The activity of your starter makes all the difference. Is it rising in the jar? Does is have tons of huge bubbles before you bake? The long rise time is going to make a more sour bread, so better to baby your starter – feed it often and pull some out to make something else or pitch the day before baking. Does that make sense? You can find lots of helpful sourdough tips at the GNOWFGLINS eCourse where this lesson is a guest lecture: https://rl102.infusionsoft.com/go/srdoecourse/ks/

      Also, if the loaves don’t rise above the pan, I wouldn’t bother slashing them! It is tough to keep them from deflating at that step, I agree. I hope you can fiddle a bit more and get this recipe down so that you love it! 😉 Kataie

  20. anna says

    Katie, I love your blog, and I was wondering what you thought about the last part of this article (I cut and pasted below )where it talks about the addition of yeast further enhancing the breakdown of phytic acid. . .

    Sourdough fermentation of grains containing high levels of phytase-such as wheat and rye-is the process that works best for phytate reduction. Sourdough fermentation of whole wheat flour for just four hours at 92 degrees F led to a 60 percent reduction in phytic acid. Phytic acid content of the bran samples was reduced to 44.9 percent after eight hours at 92 degrees F.46 The addition of malted grains and bakers yeast increased this reduction to 92-98 percent. Another study showed almost complete elimination of phytic acid in whole wheat bread after eight hours of sourdough fermentation

  21. says

    I just made this bread – it looks terrible but smells amazing! I can’t wait to cut into it and see how it looks and if it’s usable! The top is the worst looking part – just kind of flat and lumpy… 😉

  22. Danielle Brossart says

    Thanks so much for your recipes and tips. Can’t wait to taste the bread. I just put the bread dough in pans for the third rising. The first two risings, although they rose nicely, the dough had a skin on the top. I had put a warm wet cloth over the bowl to prevent this, but I suppose it wasn’t enough. Any ideas on how to not develop this skin?

    • Katie says

      Danielle,
      I always just ignore that and knead it right back in…did you think it hurt the final product? I’m so lazy… 😉

      And your other question: I can’t remember right not about the bread baking science and what the various rises DO for the loaf. So the worst that could happen is dense bread, I suppose, and with sourdough, you’d be fermenting for less time, so not quite as “healthy” right?

      By 1st you mean the sponge and then the second is the dough in the bowl and third is loaves in the pan, right? Bread remains a mystery to me, to be honest – I just try to fiddle with it as best I can! Good luck!
      :) Katie

      • Danielle Brossart says

        Your explanations of risings are just what I did, but the third time in the loaf pan hasn’t done anything. Put it in the pans around 4pm (2nd rising may have been too long) and this is the the following morning and the dough looks the same as when I put it in the pan… :( Tried to heat the oven again for the 350 for 1 minute and see if it does anything… I hate wasting food.

        • Katie says

          Danielle,
          If you try again, best to just put it in the oven to bake after 2-4 hours max in the loaf pans; if you did bake the batch in question, you probably had SUPER sour bread, right? Sourdough can just be so finicky; I don’t know that I’ll be able to help you exactly, but the next time might be better! :) Katie

  23. Danielle Brossart says

    One other thing, with this recipe and other sourdough starter recipes – my third rising doesn’t do as well as the 1st and 2nd. What would be the result if I put the dough in the bread pans after the 1st rising and just skipped the 3rd?

  24. Chad says

    Friends that brew beer have told me that lactose sugars do not ferment but instead breakdown and add a fuller flavor. Milk Stouts, one friend also adds cocoa powder for a Chocolate milk stout. My starter is a gift from a Montana family that has been feeding theirs with milk and flour for forty years last bread was quite good .I’ll try this with water to see if I notice a change.

  25. Sara says

    Argh!! Of course I spent all day working on this bread and then proceeded to forget to turn off the oven during the third rise. Hopefully I didn’t kill my starter! Can’t wait to try it again, though.

  26. Marie says

    I just attempted this today. I followed your recipe to a T, but the dough was way too loose. It rose fine in my bowls, but was not strong enough to rise above the pans without simply overflowing like liquid. I think that following the original recipe that you had linked to might have been better for me.

    • Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship says

      Marie,
      As with any bread recipe, you have to add flour as necessary. The hydration of your starter can change things a great deal, even from time to time in your own kitchen. I hope you have better luck with Sarah’s original! :) Katie

  27. Barby says

    Katie,
    Thank you for a recipe that works. I have tried off and on for 30 years to make good sour dough bread, and I did not have success until I tried your recipe/directions. The bread I made from your recipe had perfect flavor and excellent consistency. Today I am back at your site to make a new batch and to check out the other recipes here. Thanks again!

  28. says

    After years of trying different recipes, I’ve found a bread recipe that my whole family really LOVES, but it’s not sourdough :o( It’s a very basic recipe that makes 3 loaves of bread, or pizza crusts, or cinnamon rolls, etc. The recipe is:

    2T. dry active yeast
    3C. warm water
    1/3 C. honey
    1/2 C. oil (coconut or olive)
    2t. sea salt
    8-9 C. flour
    2T. apple cider vinegar

    The vinegar is a dough enhancer that makes the dough soft like store-bought bread. I’m wondering though if, I could either change this recipe over to sourdough somehow (2 cups sourdough starter in place of the yeast, and only 1 cup of water?). Or maybe I can just add the vinegar to another sourdough bread recipe. Would it hurt it in anyway? Would I add it in the beginning before souring, or towards the end? I’d appreciate any advice…thanks so much!

    sara

    • says

      Sara,
      I know there are instructions for transforming regular recipes to sourdough, but I can’t think where any of them are at the moment. I would combine the flour and water to make a sponge, leaving out two cups flour and a cup of water, let that sit overnight, and then add the other ingredients, adding more flour as necessary to make the dough look like you’re used to – then let that rise for 6ish hours or until doubled. Make sense?

      If you wanted to just try vinegar as a dough conditioner in a sourdough recipe, I think there might even be come conversation at this thread (or maybe it’s somewhere else) about doing that; add it when you add the other ingredients, not right at the start b/c you don’t want to interfere with the souring action.

      Good luck! If you meet success, I’d love to hear how it goes! :) Katie

  29. says

    Thanks so much for writing this up. I LOVE this bread. A friend gave me some sour dough starter so I began looking on-line for sour dough recipes. I seldom bake with white flour so this was perfect. It was kind of funny – the friend positions herself as super special homemaker/housewife/baker/ etc. Her starter was really immature. Thank goodness you addressed this in these directions. It took me two full days for the bread to rise. Again, thanks.

  30. M. says

    I have a question. I’m can’t have the honey or any kind of sugar. : ( I’m dying to make this bread, but do you think it will be okay without the honey?

    I love sourdough bread, but the only one I’ve found that doesn’t have a lot of garbage in it is way over my budget — $5.99!

    Thanks for all of the info. This is the 1st time I’ve been to your site, & you are fun to read! :))

  31. Christina Smith says

    Hi :) I’m just starting my sourdough adventures and found your page here. I’m trying it out today! Yay! But, I keep trying to click the links to “Sarah’s” posts and it says I don’t have permission to see her blog :( What’s up with that?

    Thanks!!

    • Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship says

      Christina,
      Hmmm… I don’t think Sarah made her blog private, and I can still click over…but it’s possible that she’s tightened security. I’ll have to check in with her and see! Sorry you can’t read her stuff; it’s really good. :) Katie

      • Christina says

        Thanks so much for checking in with her :) This recipe has become our family bread… We just LOVE it!! So, I would really love to read the linked posts to see her advice on it as well. Thank you! Thank you!

        • Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship says

          Kelli,
          Sarah’s site moved to HeartlandRenaissance.com, so all the posts are over there now. I’ve updated the links in this post. :) Katie

          • Christina says

            :)!!!!!!!!!! Wahoooooo! THANK YOU!!!! Now to go hand write all of this down 😉 Thank you for this amazing recipe!! It has given me so much confidence :)

  32. Stephanie says

    Thank you so much for this recipe. My husband and I almost shed tears of joy at how wonderfully it came out.

    I just wanted to share a hint I found years ago when I first started baking all my family’s bread about getting the bread to rise. It has never, ever, failed me, and my mom even used it to get her annual Easter Babka to rise and raved about this technique. All credit must go to my Pillsbury cookbook, which is where I learned it. Put about an inch of water in a shallow pan and bring it to a boil on the stove, then place it in the oven beneath your rising dough. The steam will keep the environment warm and moist, and your dough will rise more quickly and consistently. I also usually leave the oven light on.

    Thanks again!

  33. Stacy says

    Have you used fresh ground wheat? Do you need to do anything differently to keep the flour from going rancid?

  34. Rachael says

    I love your blog!!!
    Am definitely going to try this with my new San Francisco sourdough starter : ) Just ordered it from Sourdough’s International! Love their products.

  35. Jennifer Love says

    This is my 3rd attempt using sourdough and I’m trying your recipe. It’s on it’s second rise in the oven, (using your tip). I’m SO excited my starters are all doing well and I’m so happy to have found your blog. Pray for my bread! And I’ll tell you how I did!

  36. Jennifer Love says

    Oh, I forgot to mention in my first post… My first attempt at sourdough was a 100% rye sd. I ended up with a gooey brick. I would REALLY like to be successful with 100% rye so that’s my goal. Has you or anyone here tried and succeeded?

  37. Jennifer Love says

    OMG… Beautiful loaf, crumb and slices like a dream, but WAY too sour… What the heck did I do wrong? If I could juice it, it would be straight lemon juice. I had to drowned it in butter and honey just to eat it… HELP!

    • says

      Uh oh! That’s a bummer, Jennifer – how old is your starter? Often very young starters take some time to get going. Did you ferment it for longer than stated here? Feed your starter really heartily for about 24 hours before baking, too – a more active starter will be less sour. And also, you can add a bit of baking soda to the recipe next time: soda sweetens. The last thing is that if you had any other ferments going, like yogurt or kefir, you could have cross-contaminated if your dough was less than 4-5 feet away. I hope it works out better on the next attempt! :) Katie

  38. Angie says

    Love your site and all the awesome recipes! I look forward to my newest cooking adventure of adding wheat back in through fermentation and soaking. I found a Bread for life starter and dvd at Azure Standard and am currently growing my starter. It is done a little differently than a sour dough starter and suppose to be sweeter more like regular bread. I am really excited to try cooking with regular flour again. I plan on starting a rye starter for sourdough soon as well! Love baking!! And with blogs like yours I can actually look like I know what I am doing. :) Thanks!!
    https://www.azurestandard.com/shop/product/13784//

  39. Tiffany says

    I found this recipe last week and made your sourdough bread this weekend. The only difference I had was that I used eikorn flour. Your recipe is amazing – LOVED it! I have never made a sourdough this light and fluffy. I will be making this again and again!

  40. says

    I made this bread, rather I should say I attempted to make this bread!! The sponge was great and so was the dough until I went to “pour” it into the loaf pans and it was in the firmer side so I had to use my hands and then I kinda formed it into the pans and they didn’t rise, so I’m soooooo sad because it was a waste of my day/starter/precious time. I won’t be making again

    • says

      Oh no, Sheree, what a disappointment! Strange that the sponge and dough would rise and then the bread, not. How long did you wait? I’ve baked bread before when it didn’t look like it rose one bit in the pans, though, and it will still get some lift in the oven and turn out good for toast. Did you bake it? Sorry you had a bust with this recipe; it was always our favorite when I was keeping a starter! :) Katie

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