I have not bought bread since quarantine started back in March. Almost immediately making bread just seemed easier than going to grocery stores. Since then the process has become even easier. I make bread generally once a week and we have it every day.
Growing up my Mom always made fresh bread. As a child it always seemed like a lot of work but from actually making it I realize that it really isn’t so much work for such a superior product. Storebought bread is just nothing like homemade. Even from a bakery, it is nearly impossible to get bread made as fresh.
I find once you master a simple bread like this making any other type of bread feels a lot less scary.
This bread really is easy to make. I try to explain in the directions (including with photos) what I mean by each step. Ultimately, however, with dough you have to play with it to know. If you have made challah dough successfully you should know the texture before the first rise. This dough, once the flour has been added, should have a similar texture.
I do a mixture of whole wheat and white flour that isn’t too dry as all whole wheat can become but still healthier than white bread (or whole wheat store-bought bread for that matter). The amount of whole wheat you use is flexible. I often use a higher percentage than this recipe calls for, but I recommend beginning with this ratio if you want whole wheat. Getting practice and seeing what you like with this ratio will serve you well if you are trying to do a higher percentage of whole wheat!
I am posting my sourdough notes and tips below as I do with all my sourdough recipes. If you have any additional questions please contact me or comment below. I am more than happy to help troubleshoot!
Sourdough Tips and Notes:
- As with all my sourdough recipes the amount of sourdough you add is really flexible.
- Generally, the night before I make anything with sourdough I mix one cup flour and one cup cold water with the sourdough starter. I then pour the amount of sourdough starter that was in the jar before back into the jar. I cover it lightly with the lid and place a light covering over the bowl that has the sourdough discard I will use in recipes the next morning.
I always want the bread immediately while still warm but it is very hard to cut when right out of the oven. I find even 15 minutes of waiting though will get it ready for cutting.
- 1 cup sourdough starter
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon honey (or agave or sugar)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 cup bread flour
- 1-2 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon vital gluten
- Add warm water, honey, salt, and yeast to the sourdough starter.
- Beat until smooth.
- Add gluten and flour ½ cup at a time until no longer sticky. The exact amount you need is highly dependent on your flour, the humidity, and other factors. Generally 2-3 cups total is right. I recommend 1 cup whole wheat and the rest bread flour.
- Knead dough for 2-3 minutes.
- Place dough back in the bowl. Allow to rise for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
- Punch down the dough and allow to rise for an additional 30 minutes to one hour.
- Shape the dough into a log and place in a bread pan lined with parchemnt paper. Flour and score the top of the loaf.
- Preheat oven to 400°. Allow the loaf to rise another until it looks like a proper loaf extending past the loaf pan.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when thumped.