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Hi Bold Bakers!
Did you deal with the first wave of self-isolation last March by taking care of a sourdough starter? Maybe you even followed my Sourdough Starter Guide! Maybe a whole door of sourdough was opened to you: Sourdough Pizza Crust, Sourdough Focaccia, or simply Sourdough Bread for Beginners! (If you accidentally forgot to feed your starter, revisit my starter guide, or go to your local bakery and ask for some of their starter! Many bakeries will be happy to give you a start.)
If you still have your starter alive and thriving, you have to try my Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread recipe! It’s bubbly, chewy, sour, and everything you could ask for in a good sourdough loaf.
There’s nothing better than a fresh loaf of bread cooking away in your oven, especially if it’s made from scratch from your own starter!
What Is Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread?
Whole wheat sourdough bread is like classic sourdough bread, with a crispy, crunchy crust and a bubbly, chewy inside. The difference is the addition of fine whole wheat flour. Whole wheat flour is a good source of fiber, protein, and a number of vitamins and minerals.
What You Need To Make Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread
- A fed/active sourdough starter
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Mixing bowls
- Cling wrap
- Kitchen towel
- Baking tray
How To Make Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread
Sourdough bread will need a number of hours to rise properly, so I recommend making the dough the night before and letting it proof overnight, so keep timing in mind! Here is how you make the perfect whole wheat sourdough bread (and don’t forget to get the full recipe with measurements, on the page down below):
- To make the sourdough, add your sourdough starter, water, and olive oil to a large bowl and whisk to combine.
- Add the bread flour, the whole wheat flour, and salt to the liquid and mix to form a ball of dough. I prefer to mix by hand so I can feel exactly how wet or dry the dough is.
- Bring the dough together to form a ball that cleans the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is a little dry, add a splash more water.
- Pour a little olive oil into the bowl and toss your dough in it. The oil will help the bread from sticking to the bowl while proofing. Cover the bowl tightly with cling wrap and a kitchen towel.
- Allow the dough to proof at room temperature for about 12-18 hours. I like to make my dough the night before so it can proof overnight. (If you can’t bake it off after 12-18 hours, it can be kept in the fridge after this proofing for up to 3 days.)
- Once proofed for 12-18 hours, carefully remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a floured surface. I don’t knock the air out of the batter, but I fold the dough over itself to strengthen the gluten.
- Now it is time to shape and proof your sourdough again. On a flourless surface, shape the dough into a ball by pushing the dough against the surface to make it round and smooth.
- Lay a kitchen towel in a bowl or breadbasket and dust it generously with flour. (I mean EXTREMELY generously. More flour than you think you will need!)
- Place the dough into the bowl with the seams facing you and the smooth side down. Cover it with a towel, so the dough is not exposed to air.
- Proof the dough again for about 1 ¾ -2 ½ hours or until the bread has risen to almost double the size. Don’t rush this step; let the dough have the time it needs. Once it has properly risen, it is time to bake. (Go by sight here, not time. Every loaf is different. Take a photo at the beginning of this process for reference!)
- Preheat your oven to 450°F (225°C).
- Carefully turn the dough out onto a floured, flat baking tray. Gently shape it back into a round loaf with your hands by pushing the seams underneath the bread.
- Using a blade or a sharp knife, score the bread.
- Turn the oven down to 400°F (200°C) and place in the bread.
- Bake the bread for about 55-65 minutes, or until it is a gorgeous, golden brown color. See my notes about creating steam in the oven during baking by baking in a Dutch oven or covering your bread with a bowl (7 Chefs Tips for Baking Bread).
- Once the bread is golden and has a crisp crust, remove it from the oven. Allow your bread to cool completely before cutting. As tempting as it is, do not cut hot bread. Cooling will take at least 2-3 hours.
Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread
- I made this bread with my 1-year-old starter, affectionally named Breddie Vedder, after Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder. Click here to learn how to make your own starter.
- New to bread making and want some tips? Check out my 7 Common Breadmaking Mistakes!
- Nervous about making sourdough? Check out my video on How to Make Perfectly Crust Sourdough.
- Does your dough seem a little too dry? Add more water to make it form into a ball. This isn’t uncommon! Everyone’s flour is different and absorbs liquids differently.
- Freezer hack: Slice your loaf and place it into a bag in the freezer. This way, you can take out however many slices you want at a time.
- This dough is versatile, so feel free to add in nuts, seeds, and dried fruit!
How Do I Store Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread?
You can keep leftover whole wheat sourdough bread at room temperature for up to 3 days. It will keep longer in the freezer, but be sure to follow my freezer hack above!
Make More Sourdough Recipes!
And don’t forget to buy my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook!
Full (and printable) recipe below!
Whole Wheat Sourdough Recipe
- ½ cup (4oz/115g) sourdough starter (fed/active)
- 1 cup (8floz/225ml) lukewarm water, roughly*
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ cups (7½oz/213g) bread flour*
- 1 ⅓ cups (6½oz/185g) whole wheat flour, fine
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Olive oil for greasing
Making the Sourdough:
- In a large bowl, add in your sourdough starter, water, and olive oil and whisk to combine.
- To the liquid, add the flours and salt and mix together to form a ball of dough. I prefer to mix by hand so you can feel exactly how wet or dry your dough is.
- Bring your dough together to form a ball that cleans the bottom of the bowl. (If your dough is a little on the dry side add a splash more water).
- Pour a little olive oil into your bowl and toss your dough in it. This helps the bread while proofing. Cover the bowl tightly with cling wrap and a kitchen towel.
- Set aside the dough at room temperature to proof for roughly 12-18 hours. I mix mine up the night before and let it proof overnight. If you are unable to bake it off after this time place it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- The next day, carefully remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a floured surface. I don’t knock out the air but rather I fold the dough over itself to strengthen it.
Shape and Proof your Sourdough:
- On a flourless surface, shape the dough into a boule or a ball by pushing the dough against your surface to make it round and smooth.
- Lay a kitchen towel in a bowl or breadbasket and dust it generously with flour.
- Place your dough into the bowl with the seams facing you and the smooth side down. Cover over with the towel so that none of the dough is exposed to the air. (Air is not a doughs friend so keep it well covered so it doesn’t form a skin.)
Proofing the Sourdough:
- Proof the dough for roughly 1 ¾ -2 ½ hours or until the bread has risen to almost double the size. Don't rush this step, if your bread is not ready then give it the time it needs.
- Once the dough is well risen and feels almost lighter and not as dense then it’s time to bake it off.
Baking the Sourdough:
- Preheat your oven to 450°F (225°C).
- Safely and carefully turn the dough out onto a different floured flat baking tray. Gently, shape it back into a round loaf with your hands by pushing the seams underneath the bread.
- Score the bread with a blade or a sharp knife.
- Turn down the oven to 400°F (200°C) and place in the bread.
- Bake for 55-65 minutes or until a gorgeous golden brown color. See my notes about creating steam in the oven during baking by baking in a Dutch oven or covering your bread with a bowl (7 Chefs Tips for Baking Bread)
- Once your bread is golden brown and has a crisp crust remove it from the oven. Allow cooling down completely before cutting your bread. It’s tempting, but don’t cut hot bread, it’s just not the same. Let it cool down for at least 2-3 hours before cutting.
- Store your sourdough covered at room temperature for up to 3 days. And CONGRATS! You just made a loaf of sourdough bread from scratch.