Sourdough Wholewheat: at 100%, all the flavor!

Sourdough Wholewheat 100%.

A sourdough of wholewheat at 100% is perhaps a bit more challenging than a loaf made only with organic white flour, or a mix of wholewheat and white, but the healthy and flavoursome results are worth the extra attention.

The aroma and the taste of pure wholewheat incorporated with the tang of homegrown sourdough open up a plethora of taste possibilities:

º Drizzle fresh olive oil onto the wholewheat bread as it comes out of the oven.
º Enhance it with cheese and honey;
º Enjoy it in satisfying chunks dipped into soups, or as a tasty addition to winter stews.

The challenge is how to avoid a 100% wholewheat loaf having a ‘heavy’ texture and feel.

This sourdough + potato version of my basic wholewheat loaf has proved a consistent success in our household. It presents with a good crumb, and gives us substance without stodginess.

My feeling is that the use of the potato assists in the rise and adds to that lighter texture.

In the Morning

Make up 300g fresh starter, using:
– 100g existing starter. Read about my starter here..
– 100g wholewheat flour.
– 100g water.
Leave this mix to feed and grow bubbly.

If it works better for you to set the starter going in the evening, to ripen up overnight – hey, this is a pilgrim site. Each pilgrim is free to find their own pace and their own way.


When I’m making a potato bread, I’ll usually plan to cook potatoes for the previous evening’s meal. I will then save a cup of the water they were cooked in, plus a cup of the cooked potato.

Afternoon to Evening

Measure out 100ml of the potato water and add this to the starter.
Mix to form a looser liquid.

Mix together:
º Half a cup / 125ml of cooked potato, finely mashed
º 3T / 45ml olive oil
º Quarter cup / 62,5ml warm milk
º 1T / 15ml sugar
Add this to the starter mix.

Then add:
400g wholemeal flour
1 t salt.

– All the flour I use is organic, and all the olive oil is cold pressed extra virgin – I get it straight from the olive press.
For space and convenience, I don’t write this down every time.

Mix the dough by hand, squidging it together until the ingredients are roughly combined.

This dough is a nicely moist dough. As always if you feel the need for a bit more liquid, add some water very slowly.
Tips and Techniques – How wet Should a Dough Be


Lightly flour the kneading surface. Tip the dough out and knead it for about 10 minutes.
Tips and Techniques – Kneading Bread Dough by Hand.

When the dough is stretching out smoothly and feels soft, with a silky surface, it’s ready for the first rise. Don’t worry if you feel a few little bumps from the potato – the yeast will deal with those 🙂 .

Form the dough into a floppy disc and place it in a large glass bowl that has been generously oiled.
Flip the disc over, so that the base – which is now nicely oiled – is at the top.
Cover the bowl.

To cover the bowl, the usual recommendations are either a damp tea towel or plastic wrap.
I use large glass plates – the ones from a microwave work well.

Proving – First Rise

Leave the dough to rise for about 12 hours.

With this schedule, I’ll leave the dough to rise overnight. Equally, the rise can be fitted in to a different time frame.


With a 50/50 mix of flour and semolina, generously dust a large working surface.
Gently turn the dough out of the bowl, and press it outwards, easing out the the excess air.
Knuckle it out to a rough rectangle.

Folding and Shaping

Tips and Techniques for various options in Folding and Shaping.

Proving – Second Rise

Generously flour a baking sheet with a 50/50 mix of semolina and flour.
Gently place the loaf onto the floured surface.

Enclose the baking-sheet-plus-loaf in a loose ‘tent’ made with a large plastic bag.
Leave the loaf to rise until it is about double the original volume – in this case about 4-6 hours.

Prep for Baking

Pour about 1 litre of water in the bottom of a baking tin and place it in the bottom of the oven. This will create a steamy atmosphere that gives a nice texture to the bread.
Heat the oven to 220ºC.

Once the bread has risen, lightly flour the surface of the loaf.
Score 4 neat arrowhead cuts across the top. These cuts govern the expansion of the bread, and give a nice aesthetic touch.
Tips and Techniques Loaf Cuts -slashing a loaf.


Place the loaf in the pre-heated oven and bake for 30 mins.
Check the bread visually, and with a quick tap on the crust.
I don’t always do the ‘tap the loaf on the base and if it sounds hollow it is cooked’ test – but I know my breads.
If need be, bake for a further 5-10 minutes.

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