Wholemeal sourdough bread

    8 days 1 hour 55 min

    I've been making my own wholemeal bread for some years, but in 2012 I discovered the sourdough version and am now hooked! It has such a tangy flavour and sticky moist texture with a crisp outer crust.


    Cambridgeshire, England, UK
    48 people made this

    Makes: 1 loaf

    • Sourdough starter
    • wholemeal flour
    • water
    • Dough
    • 500g stone-ground wholemeal flour
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, or other fat of choice
    • 2 teaspoons ground caraway seeds
    • juice of 1/2 lemon (about 20ml)
    • 1 tablespoon plain yoghurt
    • 250 to 300ml water

    Prep:1hr  ›  Cook:55min  ›  Extra time:8days  ›  Ready in:8days2hr55min 

    1. A week before, prepare the sourdough: In a loosely covered bowl, combine 1 tablespoon wholemeal flour and 1 tablespoon water and mix together. Leave at room temperature.
    2. Once every day for 7 days add more flour and water and stir well. Soon you will see bubbles of gas forming, as the wild yeasts and bacteria in the air and on the flour begin to multiply in the bowl. After one week, the starter can be stored in the fridge in a large jar. It should be a thick liquid of approximately half flour and water.
    3. To make the dough add 500g flour to a mixer or breadmaker. Alternatively the whole procedure can be done by hand in a large bowl. Add the oil or fat, ground caraway seeds, water, lemon juice and yogurt. I suggest adding only 250 ml of the water first as you don't want the dough to be too wet and sticky. Sourdough gets very sticky like glue! The exact amount of water to add will vary depending on the exact amount of lemon juice and yogurt added, how runny the sourdough starter and yogurt are and the type of flour.
    4. Add 2 tablespoons sourdough starter to the mixture in the breadmaker, dough mixer, or mixing bowl. Switch on the breadmaker, choose the dough preparation mode and press start, or knead the dough in the mixer using a dough hook, or knead manually. Add extra water now, if the dough is too stiff or dry.
    5. Let the breadmaker run the dough cycle (see breadmaker tip below) or, if using the dough mixer or doing it manually, knead for about 5 minutes, put the kneaded dough into a bowl, cover it with oiled tin foil and let it stand at a warm place for at least 8 hours or overnight, until doubled in size.
    6. If using the breadmaker, tease the sticky dough out of the tin, then sprinkle with flour and knead the dough a little. Take out the paddle from the tin before replacing the dough because it leaves a gash in the bottom of the baked loaf.
    7. If not using the breadmaker, re-knead the dough and put back in the bowl and cover with oiled tin foil to avoid it drying out.
    8. In both cases the dough should now be left from 1 to 2 hours to gradually rise again.
    9. Now set the breadmaker to "bake" mode for 55 minutes or set the oven to around 175 C / Gas 4 and put the loaf in the oven for a similar time. When the loaf is cooked, stand it on a wire mesh to cool down and allow the crust to dry.

    Breadmaker tip:

    The simplest dough procedure in my breadmaker takes 2 hours 20 mins, and it gently warms the dough after kneading. I leave the dough in here after the cycle is over, for 8 hours or overnight.

    2nd rise:

    The procedure is very flexible and if the dough gets left too long, simply re-knead it and let it rise for another 2 hours in a warm place.

    Explanatory note:

    Note this is a long procedure but actually requires very little work. Once you get in the routine and make little adaptations to suit your own time schedule, work commitments and cooking style, it will become a very simple procedure.
    Note, I do not add salt to my loaves as the tangy flavour and addition of caraway seeds and lemon juice make this unnecessary (plus I have a thing about salt!). However, you can add salt by all means, maybe half a teaspoon to the dough mixture. Experiment by substituting white flour, oats, barley, spelt or rye flour for some or all of the wheat, and by adding various seeds to the mixture like sunflower, linseed, pumpkin seeds, poppy seeds and sesame seeds. Also a little mashed potato, mashed cooked beans or peas can be added if you dare! I sometimes like to add a little chopped raw onion. The probiotic bacteria love the prebiotics such as beans, peas and onion. I have tried adding garlic too, although it may inhibit the wild yeasts. You could try gluten free flour such as rice flour, to see if it works, if you prefer to avoid gluten. Good Luck!
    Enjoy the first few slices of this bread just with butter, to appreciate its wonderful flavour and texture. The bread last several days without the need to freeze or toast. I keep it semi-wrapped in tin foil. If you wrap the whole loaf in plastic, the crust might go soft and grow mould if left too long. I'm sure you will get hooked too....maybe dough-hooked!

    Sourdough starter:

    You will need to add more flour and water every time you take some out for making bread. Give it a good mix. Don't leave the starter too long without using and feeding. The starter never seems to go moldy, if kept fed and watered regularly. Don't tighten the lid of the jar as carbon dioxide needs to escape slowly.

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    Reviews in English (3)


    Chris, during those 7 days while making the sourdough, how much flour and water do I need to add every day? Is it a tablespoon of each? This will be my first loaf Thanks.  -  05 Sep 2013


    Great bread. For my first one I just used 1/2 tsp of salt and not the lemon or ground Caraway seed. Quite the most delicious taste! Thank you.  -  24 Jun 2013


     -  06 Jan 2013