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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 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sourdough-bread#section5).

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 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5313421/#:~:text=Miso%2C%20which%20is%20made%20from,%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.)

Equipment

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

Ingredients

400 grams whole wheat flour