All Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread
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4.67 from 3 votes

All Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread

An all-whole wheat sourdough sandwich bread with an airy, open crumb that's great not just for sandwiches but for toast or to dunk into a soup or stew.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Bread
Servings: 2 loaves
Author: Vaishali

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sourdough starter
  • 2 cups water (I've been using distilled water for my breads because the chlorine can inhibit yeast and I find it does make a difference. But if you'd rather use tap water, that's okay too)
  • 4-5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar or molasses
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  • Place the sourdough starter in a bowl along with the water, sugar, and 2 cups of whole wheat flour. Mix well and let it stand overnight or about eight hours.
  • Beat the dough the next morning with the kneading attachment of a stand mixer or with a ladle, then add salt, vinegar, and 1 more cup of flour. Continue to add the flour and mix, 1/4 cup at a time, until you get a dough that feels sticky but doesn't really stick to the sides of the bowl.
  • Continue kneading on a flat surface, by hand or in the stand mixer, for another five minutes. If the dough sticks to the surface as you knead, add a little flour, no more than a tablespoon at a time. You want a supple, smooth ball of dough that's not too firm.
  • Coat a large bowl with oil and place the ball of dough in it, turning over once to coat the top with oil.
  • Cover with cling wrap or with a tight lid and let it stand in a warm place for two hours or until doubled.
  • Lightly grease two loaf pans with an oil spray or oil, and sprinkle some cornmeal or cream of wheat on the sides and the bottom.
  • Punch the dough down and divide into two. Shape each half into a loaf by rolling it out into a rectangle about six inches wide and nine inches long, and then rolling it into a log. Tuck the sides down and pinch any seams together. Place the loaf, seam side down, into a prepared loaf pan. Repeat for the second loaf.
  • Cover the loaves with a towel or -- better still -- with shower caps. This is a trick I learned from the King Arthur blog, Flourish, and it works really well because it allows the loaf to expand without weighing down the top, the way a kitchen towel would.
  • Place the loaves in a warm place and let them rise two hours or until they dome slightly over the top. Whole wheat loaves will not dome or rise as much as white or part-whole-wheat breads will, so don't wait too long to bake in the hope that your loaf will rise further. After two hours, the bread is likely to lose its structure.
  • About half hour before baking, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • When you're ready to bake the loaves, place them on the center rack and bake 40 minutes.
  • Remove the loaves from the oven and, carefully, turn them out onto a rack. Let them stand, right side up, until they are thoroughly cool. As attractive as the smell of freshly baked bread is, resist the temptation to cut a slice off before the bread has thoroughly cooled because you can upset the moisture balance in the loaf.
  • I like brushing or spraying the top with a little oil for an attractive look as soon as it comes out of the oven. But no need to do this if you'd rather not.
  • Slice and eat!