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A Little Whole Wheat Sourdough Boule

Updated: Aug 9, 2020

Sourdough baking is all the rage lately, and I have to admit, having much more time at home during our lockdown is wonderfully conducive to the tending that sourdough baking requires. It's so delicious and nutritious, it's become a highlight in our COVID-restricted lives. Since it's just my hubby and me at home, I bake these diminutive boules in a dainty 2-quart cast iron Dutch oven. That way it never gets stale or requires freezing.

I use only whole-grain flour because I don’t want to miss out of the nutritional benefits from whole wheat’s bran fiber and nutrient-rich germ. 100% whole-grain loaves will be denser and have a small crumb than white loaves, but in my opinion, the taste is absolutely supreme, moist, a bit tangy, with a fabulous crust and bursting with flavor.

Whole-grain sourdough, fermented by wild yeasts and lactobacilli bacteria, offers many health benefits vs conventional loaves; it increases the bioavailability of folate, minerals, and antioxidants, is more digestible by lowering gluten levels, and is better at controlling blood sugar levels. (see

To rise properly sourdough loaves need some salt or else their proteins become slack. Instead of rising properly, you end up with a sloppy mess. I use the absolute minimal amount to keep the wild yeasts and bacteria in check and the bread rising as it ought –

4 g for this 400 g boule, for a 1% ratio of salt to flour. Even better, miso is a good salt alternative that helps to lower blood pressure. You can substitute it for the salt in this recipe (,%2C%20including%20salt%2Dsensitive%20hypertension).

Practice makes perfect and while it’s a lengthy process, each step actually requires very little involvement on your part. You just need a day that you’re available to tinker with it now and again as it rises. Baking these boules has become a passion and a pastime, a source of pride, and a sensory experience that truly brightens up our days.

Hint! To make a full-sized boule, just triple the recipe ingredients, bake in a 5-quart Dutch oven, increase baking times to about 25 minutes covered and about 30 minutes uncovered, or until it’s a lovely chestnut color on top.

Prep time 1 day to pre-feed plus 6-8 hours to ferment and rise Baking time: 40 minutes

Makes a 400-gram loaf (0.8 lb.)


a 2-quart cast iron pot • 1 digital scale accurate to 0.1 gram • 1 small digital scale accurate to 0.01 gram • a 3-quart glass bowl with lid (or plastic wrap or dampened kitchen towel) • parchment paper • a bench scraper • a curved plastic bowl scraper


400 grams whole wheat flour