Want to make 100% whole grain sourdough bread? This recipe allows you to experiment with your favorite whole grain flours to create a rustic and delicious sourdough loaf!
Whole grain sourdough bread is rich, dense, and chewy. It has a full-bodied flavor that is influenced by the type of flour, cooking temperature, and the strains of sourdough yeast and bacteria.
So let go of the idea that 100% whole grain sourdough bread is just about the good-for-you-protein and fiber, and embrace it as something that deserves its own recognition. A bread that is meant to be noticed, tasted, and enjoyed!
Experiment with different grains!
This recipe will work for any whole grain, gluten-containing flour. However, the flavor and density of the bread will change depending on the type of flour you use.
The flour will also impact the water to flour ratio. That’s why I don’t recommend this recipe for anyone wanting to make a rustic white bread loaf. For a mostly white flour loaf, check out my recipe for pain de campagne (French country loaf) instead.
We have tested this recipe with dark rye, light rye, whole wheat, spelt, and red fife.
Here’s what to expect from each of these types of flour:
- Dark rye is a heavy, low gluten flour. It results in a dense, moist loaf and may require a bit of extra flour.
- Light rye is also low in gluten, however, the bran and germ have been removed so the bread will be lighter. To make a traditional caraway rye-flavored loaf, add 2-3 tablespoons of caraway.
- Other low-gluten flours include barley, Kamut, einkorn, and emmer. The recipe was designed with a lower gluten flour, so it shouldn’t require any adjustments.
- Whole wheat, spelt, and red fife are higher gluten flours. They may require a little less flour.
- Flour blends can include a mix of low and high gluten flours. They are a great way to combine the flavor of ancient grains with the loft of wheat. Feel free to use up to a 50/50 mix of whole grain and white flour.
Do you have a favorite flour blend? Share in the comments section!
100% Whole Grain Sourdough Bread
This 100% whole grain sourdough bread is rich and delicious. It is perfect sliced fresh with butter or toasted for breakfast. It can be made with rye, barley, spelt, or whole wheat. See the section above for more details on each of these flours.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 2 loaves 1x
- Category: Bread
- Method: Sourdough
- Cuisine: Eastern European
- Diet: Vegan
- 7 cups (31 oz) whole grain flour (see section above for details)
- 3 cups (24 oz) warm water
- 1 cup (7 1/4 oz) sourdough starter
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1/2 tsp instant yeast (optional, to improve the rise)
- Warm the water to approx. 32-35 C / 90-95 F, and mix with the flour. Leave the flour to hydrate for 15-30 minutes.
- Using the pincer method, mix in the sourdough starter, salt, and yeast. The dough should be stiff but not dry. If needed add a bit more water or flour. The hydration ratio will change depending on the type of flour you’re using.
- Allow to rise in a warm location until doubled in volume (about 5 hours). Use the dough folding procedure 3-4 times during this rise.
- Place the dough on a well-floured surface and cut into 2 equal pieces. Gently shape the dough into a ball, using flour, as needed, but avoid kneading. You want to keep the air bubbles.
- Place the dough balls in floured bowls or baskets, then place them in an air-tight container and leave them in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. (We use one banneton and one mixing bowl lined with a floured tea towel. Then we put dinner plates on top of them).
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 500 F (250 C). I recommend baking in a cast iron Dutch oven or a metal loaf pan as free-form baking will result in a flat loaf of bread. See notes for details on each of these methods.
- Bake for 40 to 55 minutes, until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool on a rack before slicing.
- This recipe requires an active sourdough starter. I recommend making your own rather than buying one. Rye is especially good at catching a sourdough culture. The extra yeast isn’t necessary if you have a very healthy sourdough starter, though it does give the loaf a second boost.
- When baking in a loaf pan, 45 minutes will be sufficient.
- To bake in a cast iron Dutch oven, place it in the oven to preheat so it is hot when you put your loaf in. Bake the loaf for 30 minutes with the lid on. Remove the lid, and bake for another 20 minutes, until done.
- Serving Size: 1 large slice
- Calories: 73
- Sugar: 0.2g
- Sodium: 175mg
- Fat: 0.6g
- Saturated Fat: 0.1g
- Carbohydrates: 15.4g
- Fiber: 5.1g
- Protein: 3.2g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: dairy free, egg free, vegan, fall, 10 ingredients or less, winter, red fife, spelt, barley, rye, kamut, einkorn, emmer