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How to make 100% Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

Sourdough can be very overwhelming. I was too overwhelmed to attempt it for many years, until I went to a friend-of-a-friend’s house in Birmingham for a sourdough class. She sent me home with a jar of starter and a recipe. I was still a little confused as to how to start, but I figured it out. I’ve dabbled in it here and there over the past 7 years and am making better loaves than ever! I hardly ever buy bread now.

100% Whole Wheat Sourdough

I use a white flour starter and feed it white flour (always use unbleached) and then make the bread with freshly-milled 100% whole wheat flour, ground from organic hard white wheat (which I order from Azure Standard in 25 lb bags). If I’m making it for other people or to be impressive, I use at least 1/3 or 1/2 white flour for fluffiness sake, but for my every day family bread I use 100% whole wheat. It’s a little more dense but, let’s be honest, homemade sourdough is going to be delicious even with 100% whole grain.

The trickiest part is definitely the whole grain aspect. It’s pretty easy to make a good loaf of white sourdough bread, but when you add whole grains it is denser and doesn’t rise and tall and fluffy. I think a good starter and recipe are the most important keys, but maybe also just some luck? Ha. I’m no bread scientest or expert, I just make it the way I do and enjoy the bread, whether it’s Pinterest Perfect or not. If you’re looking for a simple recipe without complicated words like “60% hydration” and “autolyse,” you’re in the right place.

Benefits of Sourdough over Yeast Bread

  • Lactic acid of fermentation makes the nutrients of the grains more available.
  • Has lower glycemic index, meaning it doesn’t spike your blood sugar as much as other bread.
  • Has less gluten as the bacteria has broken much of it down. Helpful for people with gluten intolerance, but still not an option for celiacs.
  • Fermentation makes the bread easier to digest. It’s rich in prebiotics that feed your good gut bacteria.
  • If made with some whole grain flour, it’s rich in fiber, folate, magnesium, iron and even contains 5-7 grams of protein per slice.

How we Eat Sourdough

I like to bake it in sandwich loaves and use it for peanut butter jelly sandwiches, chickpea salad sandwiches, tomato sandwiches, avocado toast. As a treat on our fresh, warm bread we love Mikoyo’s Plant-Based butter. It tastes just like real butter to me, but is dairy-free and has no processed oils. It’s expensive, but one package lasts us at least a month. For a homemade vegan butter, this recipe is delicious. Note that neither of these are oil-free, but they are much better than typical dairy-free butter/margarine (that I avoid at all costs, yuck).

I get so many questions about how I make sourdough, espeically whole wheat, that I thought about making an e-book and charging for it. However, instead, I’m just going to ask for your email address. What a steal! Let me know if you have any issues receiving the document.

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3 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for all of this great info, Faith! How do you grind your wheat? (My apologies if I missed that info in the article or download.) Thanks!

    1. Good question! You have to either have a wheat grinder (Such as Nutrimill) or you can do small batches in a Vitamix/Blendtec. I buy whole wheat from Azure Standard, but you can get it from many bulk bins at regular grocery stores. It has more nutrition if you grind it yourself than buying pre-ground which loses a lot of nutrition on the shelf.

    2. Good question! I have a NutriMill wheat grinder, but you can also do small amounts (about 2 cups of wheat berries at a time) in a Vitamix.

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