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[Recipe] Half Wholemeal Sourdough – plus updates on sourdough baking

July 9, 2012

Just another update this month, to follow my first post about baking sourdough. I’ve been baking once almost every week for the past few months now and I think I’m starting to see some improvement! Still feel like I’m very much a beginner, but at the same time feeling a bit more confident with the process.

That being said, every time a loaf goes into the oven I still mutter a quiet prayer to Ceiling Cat. A treacherous part of my brain will always remain convinced my bread might fail!

White Sourdough:


This was actually my first time making 2 loaves at once. Actually found it a bit tiring hand mixing over a kilo of dough at a time (I’m a real weakling). But quite fun to experiment with different scoring and seeing how they effect the final result.


I think these loaves had the best crumb so far! Big big bubbles. I think I actually squealed with glee when I cut this one open.

White Sourdough topped with linseed:

Still, sometimes it doesn’t always go to plan. I have no idea why this dough turned out so liquidy – eventually I gave up and put it in a loaf tin and hoped for the best. I sprinkled the top with some linseed and poppyseed (my go-to combination it seems. At least until I invest in more seed packets!)


Here you can see the dough before and after final proof. Before baking I lightly scored the top with a straight line down the middle.


The finished loaf! So relieved that it turned out. Though actually prying it out of the tin was a bit of a struggle. Note to self: non-stick pan is not very non-stick.
Quite a bubbly crumb in the end! Lots of small holes rather than big ones.

Linseed and poppyseed white sourdough:

With this loaf, I mixed in some linseed and poppyseeds right before my bulk ferment.



Light wholemeal sourdough loaf:

With this bread I followed my usual recipe from Brasserie Bread for a white sourdough batard, but substituted a cup of white flour for wholemeal (just regular wholemeal flour from the supermarket. I found that even the Coles brand had a quite high protein level that was sufficient for baking).


Formed the batard with some pointy tips this time…. getting proper fannnncy!

Wholemeal SourdoughWholemeal Sourdough

Was so pleased with the look of this one! Definitely the tallest bread I’d made so far. While shaping this batard I tried to pay more attention to the way I rolled the dough – trying to keep it tight and even, and sealing the ends into points. Watching this video on youtube on shaping was really useful on different techniques of shaping dough (and how good is his accent!! “this-a-way!”):

Wholemeal Sourdough

Wholemeal Sourdough
Some large holes inside! Also pls note delicious cheese.

Wholemeal Sourdough

Half wholemeal Sourdough Loaf:

This past weekend, I baked two loaves – as I gifted one to my friend Charles (you should totally check out his amazing art blog here: Minitreehouse – I guarantee you will be blown away!). This time the recipe was half wholemeal.

Wholemeal Sourdough
Before and after proofing! Look at the size difference (esp the distance between the two loaves)

Wholemeal Sourdough

Wholemeal Sourdough

Wholemeal Sourdough

What follows is a very basic recipe for what I baked on the weekend, and assumes that you already have access to a sourdough starter. As I didn’t create my sourdough starter from scratch I don’t feel quite qualified to give any instruction on creating your own, but the Bourke St Bakery book which I’ve recommended in my blog before has a very detailed section on creating a starter.

This recipe also assumes basic bread-making knowledge. I go into further detail about beginner bread-making in this post: Schiacciata Con L’Uva, and have some musings about beginner sourdough baking in this post here: Sourdough – A work in progress update in case it’s useful to you.

And of course if you’re serious about learning how to bake sourdough bread, I can’t recommend the Brasserie Bread classes more highly enough. You can read about my experience at the class I attended here: Brasserie Bread Art of Sourdough Class.

For a makeshift banneton (the bowl that holds the bread dough as it proves so that it keeps its shape), I’ve been using large bright red Décor tupperware containers with a teatowel knotted tightly at both ends. It creates a kind of sling for my baby dough to rest in:


Simple yet effective!

As I’m quickly realising, sourdough baking is as much (if not more) to do with technique than any particular recipe – so do feel free to adapt the recipe to fit your usual baking process. This recipe works well with my 100% hydration starter (if you like reading way too much information on the topic like I do, this is a good page: Maintaining a 100% Hydration Starter)

Of course if you have any other questions, leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to answer!

Half Wholemeal Sourdough Batard

(Based on a Brasserie Bread white sourdough batard recipe. Makes 2 loaves)


380g unbleached white baking flour (I’m using Kialla organic unbleached plain flour)
380g wholemeal flour (I’m using Coles homebrand)
400g starter
410g chilled water
18g salt

Linseed/Poppyseed for topping (optional)


Add the two flours into a large bowl and stir to mix them up. Add the water and the starter.

Mix by hand for a few minutes. Turn out onto an unfloured board.

Once the dough has come together, incorporate the salt. Knead using your preferred method until your gluten is developed (check this by making a gluten window).

Place your dough into an oiled bowl and cover with clingwrap. Let it rest for 20 mins.

Fold into 3rds. Stretch the dough slightly, and fold into 3rds again. Place your dough back into your bowl, cover with clingwrap and let it bulk prove for another 2 hours.

Divide your dough into two using a knife or a dough scraper (use your kitchen scale to make sure the two loaves are the same weight). Preshape and leave to recover for 15 mins.

Final shape your doughs. Place into generously floured bannetons if using, or onto a tray lined with a floured tea-towel. Seam side up. Cover loosely with clingwrap or a teatowel to stop them drying out.

Place into the fridge and let them prove in the fridge overnight (12-24 hrs)

The next morning – take your dough out of the fridge. Final proof until your dough roughly doubles in size. Check this using the “poke test” – poke the dough with your finger. If the indentation fills back immediately it’s underproofed, not at all then it’s overproofed, if it slowly fills up in a few seconds then it’s perfect!

Meanwhile, place a deep tray into your oven and preheat to 200˚C. Boil a kettle of water. Once your oven is hot, pour the boiling water into the hot tray. This will create a lot of steam and will help your dough rise in the oven and form a crispy crust!

Dust loaves with flour (and seeds if using – sometimes I mist my loaves with a bit of water from a spray bottle to make the toppings stick!). Slash and bake!

Bake for approx 45-50mins until the crust is golden brown.

Remove from oven and let them cool before eating the heck out of your freshly made bread!

36 Comments leave one →
  1. July 10, 2012 1:12 am

    These look so good Melly! Your bread keeps getting better and better. Hahaa I like that you send a prayer up to Ceiling Cat while baking XD

  2. July 10, 2012 9:59 am

    Carb heaven!!! They all look so pretty, love the smell of freshly bakes bread nom nom nom

    • August 9, 2012 5:28 pm

      Me toooo! Makes the house smell so good

  3. July 10, 2012 10:27 am

    Wow, you’ve become a true artisan baker 🙂 I love love love sourdough and can’t imagine anything better than eating your own. Your loaves look amazing!

    • August 9, 2012 5:29 pm

      Haha my friend and I like call our breads “freshly baked smugness”! It’s so satisfying making something like this from scratch!

  4. July 10, 2012 12:42 pm

    You are amazing!!! They look like a work of art, Bravo!! I still have so much to learn from you!

    • August 9, 2012 5:44 pm

      Aw thanks Billy!! Loving the photos of your bread too! I love how everyone’s learning together 🙂

  5. July 10, 2012 9:32 pm

    wow! your bread looks so good! I’m sure it tastes as good as it looks! sourdough is low GI and wholemeal flour adds fibre to your bread. That’s quite a healthy bread! I love the smell of bread baking in the oven, it’s therapeutic :p

    • August 9, 2012 5:44 pm

      Ooh that’s definitely good to know! Even more excuse to eat it 😉

  6. July 10, 2012 11:57 pm

    Your bread looks fantastic. I would never have the patience to deal with sourdough bread. Your hard work has definitely paid off.

    • August 9, 2012 5:45 pm

      Thanks Sara!! I quite like all the kneading and throwing of the dough…. stress relieving haha

  7. July 11, 2012 8:34 pm

    These look amazing! I’m actually just cooking my first loaf as we speak funnily and somehow I don’t think they willl end up as pretty as these. Great stuff!

    • August 9, 2012 5:45 pm

      Oh! Would love to see what you come up with!

  8. July 11, 2012 8:44 pm

    Loving your bread posts! They all look so beautiful – you should open a bakery!

    • August 9, 2012 5:46 pm

      HAHA! As long as the bakery doesn’t require me to make more than 2 loaves of bread a day. That dough gets pretty heavy to knead!! I think I would go bankrupt hehe

  9. Tina @ bitemeshowme permalink
    July 12, 2012 10:22 am

    Love love this post. You are sooooo soooooooo good at this Mel! Loving how each loaf has its own characteristics. Congratulations on such a fine job at bread making 😉

    • August 9, 2012 5:46 pm

      Thanks Tina! It’s always exciting to see what comes out of the oven

  10. July 15, 2012 12:33 am

    Since speaking with you the other night and reading your posts, im inspired to start my own starter- hoping to book into one of the classes first 🙂

    • August 9, 2012 5:47 pm

      Hooray!! Please let me know if you have any questions about anything! I’m super lucky to have a bunch of friends learning sourdough at the same time… it’s good to have people to bounce ideas off and troubleshoot with!

  11. July 18, 2012 12:45 pm

    Beautiful! Honestly, I’ve paid $6 for sourdough loaves that don’t look HALF this good. I’ve only just started baking my own bread, but I’m not brave enough to tackle sourdough yet!

    • August 9, 2012 5:47 pm

      Knowing how much effort goes into making even one loaf makes me really appreciate how cheap you can buy it at the stores! Good luck with your bread 🙂

  12. July 23, 2012 9:20 pm

    wow i’m so in love with your bread!! i gave my bro the bourke st bakery book and he made his own starter – i was super impressed but he lives ages away so i’m yet to try his creations.

    • August 9, 2012 5:48 pm

      Oh such a nice sister to give him that present! It’s such a good book! 🙂 Hope you get to try some of his bread soon!

  13. July 25, 2012 2:49 pm

    OMG your bread looks professional 🙂 Awesome job!!

  14. July 27, 2012 6:56 pm

    I just love those doughs, great photos, I would gladly add honey with these delicious treats. . 😀

  15. August 13, 2012 2:12 am

    I am so impressed with all your sourdough! For all the bread I churn out it is one thing I’ve never managed to do… Definitely bookmarking this to click through to all the hints!!

  16. Nelly permalink
    September 12, 2013 3:33 pm

    Hi, I was looking for a wholemeal roll recipe when I found your posts. I’m a true beginner having got my precious starter from my lovely friend Donna on the weekend. Was pleased to see that you use the Kialla flour as that is what I’ve bought.

    Have you ever tried making rolls from this dough? That is my aim, to supply rolls for school lunches.

  17. October 5, 2013 6:17 pm

    Those are some of the best looking French baguettes I have ever seen!

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