Whole wheat sourdough

whole wheat sourdough

Whole wheat sourdough bread

Jane Mason
If you love wholemeal bread and you love sourdough bread you will love this easy recipe for delicious and surprisingly light wholemeal sourdough bread.  
You can bake this with spelt or wheat flour and, although I used a white wheat sourdough starter because that is what I have, you can use a whole wheat starter if that is what you have or prefer.
Baking Time 40 minutes


  • bowls, scale, baking tray, non stick parchment, scraper, rising basket


To refresh the starter

  • 80 grams White or whole wheat starter from the vat in the fridge
  • 80 g Whole wheat or spelt flour
  • 80 g Water

For the dough

  • 500 g Whole wheat flour
  • 150 g Water
  • 200 g Milk
  • 11 g Salt


Day One

  • Measure the sourdough starter into a large bowl and return any remaining starter to the refrigerator. Add 80 g of the flour and 80 g of the water.
  • Stir and cover with plastic wrap, and leave on the counter for around 8 hours. Note: If it's a cold day, refresh the starter and proof the dough in the oven with the light on!

Day Two

  • Add the remaining ingredients and knead well for 10 minutes.
  • Cover the bowl with a shower hat and leave on the counter for 4 hours.
  • Generously flour a 1 kg, oval proofing basket. If you only have round, use round, and of course you can divide the dough in half and use two, smaller baskets.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a floury work surface. Gently stretch it out into a flat rectangle that is just a little narrower than your basket.
  • With the help of a scraper, fold the top edge the the middle and gently press along the seam. Fold the bottom edge to meet it and gently press along the seam. Still using the scraper, fold the dough in half, long wise and, with the heel of your hand, seal the long edge. Sit the dough on sealed bottom seam and, using the sides of your hands, seal up both side edges.
  • Sprinkle flour over the dough and pick it up (it’s more robust than it seems) and put it seam side UP in the basket.
  • Cover it with a shower hat and let it rest for 2-3 hours or until it passes the probe test.
  • Preheat the oven to 230 degrees C. Turn the dough out on to a baking sheet that you have lined with non stick parchment and pop it in the oven.
  • Bake for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to 200 degrees C and bake for a further 30 minutes.
  • Remove from the tin and let cool completely on a wire rack


Slice of whole wheat sourdough bread – much lighter than you think!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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9 thoughts on “Whole wheat sourdough”

    1. Hi Cat, it will work with a rye starter – no problem at all. If you take 20 g rye starter and mix it with about 80 g whole wheat flour and 40 g water – squeeze it together and then cover and leave over night an then simply do the recipe. It may (MAY) be a bit too liquid so add the liquid gradually until you get the dough you want.

    1. Hi there, You make a spelt starter in the same way you make a wheat starter but I have to be honest with you, I don’t like spelt starters. I find they get bitter really quickly. I don’t know why. They are also tricky – in that they all of a sudden just decide to kind of explode, climbing out of the bowl and on to the floor! I much prefer the predictability and non bitterness of my wheat starter!

  1. Hi, is the float test applicable? I tested after mixing 80g of starter with 80g of water and whole wheat flour and left it overnight but it didn’t float.

    1. Hi and thanks for writing. The float test is always applicable to be sure. If you know your starter you will know if it’s fit to make a lump of dough rise! If you are not certain, by all means float it. The question is, why did yours not float? Is it cold in the kitchen? If so, pop it in the oven with the light on (no heat) for 8 hours and it’s nice and warm in there so as long as the base starter is alive (albeit sleeping) it will be lively by then. If you are ever uncertain and you want to go ahead with baking, you can always add a few grams of yeast. It’s a bit of a cheat but it’s better than a loaf that does not work out or wasting a perfectly good – but not lively enough – starter. What do you think?

    1. Hi Billy! You don’t have to stretch and fold. It’s always an option and pretty necessary if you want to get voids in a pure white loaf. WHole wheat will never get bit voids because the flour is too heavy. So you can do it, but it’s not going to get you the voids. To make the crumb a bit lighter you can go through a longer process of refreshing the sourdough and seiving the whole wheat flour to separate the bran and germ from the white flour. Add the flour to the refreshed sourdough and the water and salt and mix it together. Leave it for an hour to autolyse. Then add in the bran and germ and knead it. This enables the glutenous part of the flour to strengthen before the inclusion of the heavier (and non gluinous) ingredients. let me know what you think!

  2. Hi, thanks for your replies.

    Regarding the float test, my kitchen is 85+ deg F as I live in the tropics. My starter usually float after I feed it with white wheat flour but not this time with whole wheat, may be the type of flour I used as this is my first whole wheat sourdough? I went ahead to mix the rest of the ingradient anyway, and did 3 stretch and fold over 4.5 hrs (before I saw your comment), then folded it into a sausage and let it rest for 2 hrs before baking.

    The result was not exactly what I was hoping for, as the dough flattened somewhat during baking. The dough was very sticky to pick up during shaping. However, the texture of the bread turns out quite nice and soft inside with crispy crust, with quite a fair bit of voids though not as big as those in the image above.

    I will try separating the bran and germ as suggested the next time, thanks again.

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