Heritage Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread
1000 G Ultra-Fine Heritage Whole Wheat Flour
720 G Chlorine-Free Water 90 F
1 tbsp Real Salt or other unrefined salt
250 G Active Sourdough Starter
Autolyze the flour (pre-soak flour and water for one hour. Add the water to the dough and mix into a shaggy dough).
When mixed into a smooth bread dough, place the dough in a large mixing bowl and cover for a several-hour bulk ferment. This will depend on the temperature of the room. If it is 70 degrees or more, it will grow to double in size in a few hours. If it is less than 70 F, it will take longer. Keep an eye on it.
After the pre-soak, add the salt to the dough and mix just enough to combine it. Add the starter and mix thoroughly to combine into a smooth bread dough. Mixing the sourdough into the pre-soaked flour is the challenging part of the process. It can be done by hand or mixer. By hand, pinch and turn the dough. Using a mixer may necessitate stopping the mixer and stirring the pre-soaked dough and starter together. This may need to be done a few times while continuing to mix.
Once it about doubles in size, stretch and fold by grabbing the dough and pulling it up and toward the center for four stretches at 90 degrees each – top, left, bottom, right.
Cover and repeat the stretch and folds in twenty minutes (the dough needs this much time to relax between stretch and folds). The number is up to you. Anywhere from 2-5 is common. The dough will get stronger with each.
Divide into two equal portions and place in bannetons (seam side up) or bread pans(seam side down). Cover with a plastic bag and place in refrigerator for 12 hours. Leave air in the bag to allow room for rising.
Heat oven and Dutch oven (if using) to 425-450 F for at least 30 minutes.
Place dough in heated dutch oven, slash with a razor blade or lame, cover and bake 30-35 minutes. For a darker crust, remove the cover after 20 minutes.
If baking in a bread pan, place the dough-filled bread pan in the oven, reduce the heat to 350 F and bake about 40 minutes. (If the top is getting too brown, cover with a foil tent).
At the end of bake time for either method check the inside temperature of the bread with a stick thermometer. It should read 195-205 F when done.
For pan bread, remove the bread from the pan immediately and let cool on a rack to allow air to circulate under the bread.
If you're new to whole wheat baking, you might want to start by using Heritage White Flour and substituting between 20%-40% Heritage Whole Wheat Flour. As you have success with those percentages, you can start increasing the amount of whole wheat.