But because this is whole-wheat flour, I’ve had to make some adjustments from my previous bread flours and my baking rhythm to get a great loaf of sourdough. But these are the kind of adjustments that I enjoy when baking with any new kind of flour.
At her site, YourSourdoughStart.com, Martha Levie, chief baker at Abigail’s Oven sourdough bakery, explains in a series of three posts that explore how to work with whole-wheat flour in sourdough baking and what the benefits are:
Working With Whole-wheat White Flour
Freshly milled whole grains handle differently than refined wheat flour. Martha Levie explains the need for more water and to expect high enzymatic activity when using whole grain flour.
Hydration and Sourdough Whole Wheat Bread
Enzymes, wild yeast, and lactic acid bacteria all work together making sourdough rise and develop great flavor—enzymes speed the process up. But the promise of creamy crumb and crusty loaves makes the challenge of high hydration in whole wheat sourdough baking worth it.
- Enzymes, Wild Yeast, and Bacteria in Whole Wheat Flour
Whole grains come packed with enzymes and good bacteria, both of which will accelerate the bulk rise. To mitigate the negative side effects of the grain and to release the full nutritional value contained therein, you may need to retard your long ferment in the fridge. This will help to break down gluten into a more digestible form of protein, dissolve phytic acid to make vitamins and minerals more bioavailable, and allow the yeast and bacteria time to consume many of the sugars and starches, which will promote a lower glycemic response to the bread.
These tips will help make your bread great—bread that allows, as Peter Reinhart explains in his Whole Grain Breads, “the flavor and mouthfeel of whole-grain bread… that people will actually want to eat—not just because it is good for them but because it brings them, and us, joy with each bite.”
Learn more about working with this whole-wheat flour in PartII: “Hydration and Sourdough Whole Wheat Bread,” and Part III: “Enzymes, Wild Yeast, and Bacteria in Whole Wheat Flour“.
MARCH 1, 2021