This bread was made with `100% whole wheat. I like mixing the flours, using a whole wheat white variety made by King Arthurs Flour. I buy the flour at Safeway.
For this batch of bread I used whole wheat flours and a little bit of unbleached (I was running out of flours) It all works. Sometimes I use rye flours. It is important to use an instant read thermometer. I make sure it reads 200 degrees. Gauging breads doneness by “smell” will not give you the best results.
Here is how it works. About once a week I pull out my starter from the refrigerator. I take about 1 cup of the starter and put it into my large electric mixer bowl. To the starter I add about 1 of water and as much whole wheat as needed to make a batter. Every couple of times I move the starter into another clean glass bowl. I return the refreshed starter to the refrigerator.
To the large mixing bowl with the cup of starter I add 4 cups of water. I add 1/3 cup brown sugar (you can use honey, molasses) I also add 1/3 cup light tasting olive oil. Now add flour, enough to make a wet batter. Cover the mixer bowl with a plate. Let set on the kitchen counter for 5 hours or more. Your goal is that the starter will become stronger. The mix will become filled with bubbles. Now before I go to bed, I put the mixer bowl into the mixer. Add 2 teaspoons salt and using the dough hooks add as much flour as possible. Let the mixer “knead” the dough. You want dough to be stretchy. Grab a little ball of dough and stretch it out with your fingers. You should be able to make an almost translucent window with the dough. Kneading the dough develops the gluten. When working with whole grains, you want to do a lot of kneading.
I line 3 bread pans with parchment paper. Turn the dough onto a floured counter top. Divide into 3 clumps. Finish adding as much flour as you can into each clump of dough. Turn dough into parchment lined bread pans. Place pans in a cool oven to rise until morning. In the morning, take the pans out of the cool oven. Preheat the over to about 380 and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Test for temperature. Cool on a baking rack. I freeze 2 of the breads.
Recap of ingredients: 1 Cup Starter, 4 cups water, 1/3 C Brown Sugar, 1/3 C Olive Oil, 2 teaspoons salt. About 2 1/2 pounds of flours. This recipe makes 3 loaves of bread. The bread is heavy, taste good and can be sliced thin without crumbling. If your mixer is not heavy-duty you will want to cut down the ingredients and make one or two loaves.
You might want to make a more traditional sourdough bread with a thick chewy crust and textured with big holes. I made this bread using unbleached flour. The night before I took about 2 tablespoons of starter and added flour until it made a thick dough instead of a batter. I covered it, left it out overnight and in the morning added a bit of oil and more flour and made the bread. While this bread taste good and is fun to eat it really does lack substance.
Last night I took about a cup of starter added another cup of water and enough whole wheat flour to make a thick dough. I covered the bowl with plastic wrap and left it on the counter. This steps helps make more of the sourdough flavor. My usual bread is quite mild. In the morning I added more water, a couple of tablespoons each of oil and sugar and a couple scant teaspoons of salt. I added more whole grain, some rye flour and a bit of unbleached flour. I gave it two raises. This evening I baked it. Yum! Lot of flavor! Not too sourdough and not too mild. The bit of rye come through and great texture. Ted says "I hope you can remember how to make this one a second time." No problem!