Welcome to my cottage kitchen! Today, we’re baking wholesome, hearty, 50% whole wheat sourdough bread. This recipe combines whole wheat’s rich flavor with sourdough’s tangy goodness, resulting in two rustic loaves of about 850g each, perfect for any occasion. Let’s get started!

Instead of whole white wheat flour, the more familiar whole red wheat flour can be used for an even heartier flavor. White whole wheat flour is often preferred for baking due to its lighter color and milder flavor. Both flours are unprocessed whole wheat.

Explaining the stretch-&-fold, pre-shape, and shaping maneuvers in words has its limits. It is best to watch a few YouTube demo videos to grasp the craft (see links in the sidebar).

50% Whole White Wheat Sourdough Bread

Recipe by Ye Olde German BakerDifficulty: Intermediate


Duration over





Last updated: 11/22/2023
By the way, BP stands for Baker’s Percentage. On the first day, you prepare the dough. Cold fermentation then takes place overnight in your fridge. On the second day, you bake. About 300g of ripe levain must be available before getting on with this recipe.

The Difficulty rating is deemed ‘Intermediate’ because of the dough’s high water content. During shaping, the dough may be sticky.


  • Preferment
  • Ripe Levain – 300g (14% BP) made with AP or Bread Flour at 100% Hydration

  • Flour
  • Whole White Wheat Flour – 510g (50% BP)

  • Bread Flour – 385g (50% BP)

  • Rye Flour – 30g (counts as whole wheat flour in BP)

  • Water
  • Non-chlorinated Water – 710g (80% BP)

  • Salt
  • Fine Sea Salt – 21g

  • Yield
  • Gross Dough Yield – 1956g; the baking process will steam off about 15% of the water, reducing the final weight of loaves.


  • About 300g of ripe levain must be available before getting on with this recipe.
  • Day 1
  • Mix the 510g whole wheat flour, 385g of bread flour, and 30g of rye flour by hand in a large tub or bowl with 600g of water until incorporated. If using a mechanical dough mixer, use the pulse setting.

    Whole wheat flour, white or red, needs time to absorb water as it starts building the gluten threads. It is also helpful in softening the wheat’s sharp bran.

    On hotter days, use ice-cooled water; on colder days, use lukewarm water. The dough’s desired temperature would be between 75°F and 82°F.
  • Let this batch of flour/water mixture soak for about 30 minutes. This is called the autolyse.
  • Gradually add the 300g of levain, the remaining 110g of water, and 21g of salt to the batch and thoroughly incorporate ingredients until light/dark streaks in the dough have disappeared and the dough looks uniformly shaggy.
  • Continue mixing for 8 to 10 minutes. Mixing this high-hydration dough short of kneading will strengthen the gluten threads and make the dough elastic. This will be a good exercise if all is done by hand. Alternately, run a mechanical dough mixer at low-to-moderate speed for 8 to 10 minutes or until the dough becomes smooth and elastic and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  • Test, via the Windowpane method, if the dough has the proper elasticity and if mixing is complete. Take a small piece of dough and stretch it into a square with your hands. The dough should stick together, not tear, and appear primarily transparent − like a fogged window.
  • Bulk fermentation starts when mixing in the levain with the main dough. This wet or high-hydration dough can now benefit from 4 sets of stretch-and-fold maneuvers, preferably during the first 2 hours after thorough mixing and in 20 to 30-minute intervals.

    Each of the four sets of stretch-and-fold maneuvers takes about a minute and comprises four stretches and folds each. Four times four stretch-and-fold make for 16 stretch-and-fold.

    With a moistened hand, grab up to a quarter of the dough’s perimeter, pull the portion up and stretch it out a bit, then fold it back into the main portion of the dough and press it down a bit. Repeat this process four times, turning the bowl a quarter-turn each time to complete one set.
  • Let the dough relax for 10 to 20 minutes between each stretch-and-fold set. Over time, the dough will become less shaggy and more elastic. However, the dough will noticeably tighten quicker by the third or fourth set of stretch-and-fold. After four sets are completed, grab and invert the batch of dough so the seam side faces down.
  • Cover and let the dough relax (bench rest) and ferment for a few more hours. Look for the dough to have risen from its original volume by 30% to 50% and have become slightly domed with noticeable bubbles emerging. Shaking the vessel a bit should make the dough wiggle like jello.

    Bulk fermentation might take as little as two to three hours in warmer or as much as five to eight hours in cooler climates. The time allowed for bulk fermentation depends not only on ambient temperatures but also on the strength of the starter, the type of flour used, and the level of hydration.
  • Lightly flour a flat work surface and ease the dough out of the fermentation vessel onto the work surface.

    When sticky dough is released onto the lightly floured surface, it becomes a bit less sticky on the bottom but will remain sticky on top. Simply try not to touch the more sticky upper side of the dough.
  • With a dough scraper, gently shape the batch of dough into a more uniform round.
  • Divide the dough into approximately two equal batches. Shape each batch of dough into an approximate round or oval.
  • Stretch out and pat each batch of dough a little without trying to flatten or degass it too much. Gently stretch-and-fold a few outer sections of each batch into the middle and press down to seal and to build strength for the dough to better hold its shape. Turn the dough over, leaving the dough’s less sticky underside on the top. With hands and dough scraper, slide each dough around the work surface in a somewhat circular motion to create surface tension on top.
  • Cover, and let the two batches bench rest for 20 minutes to relax again to become extensible for final shaping.
  • Prepare two bannetons by sprinkling them with a bit of flour to prevent dough from sticking.
  • Again, fold a few sections from the circumference of each dough into the middle and press down to seal. Use a dough scraper to slide the dough over the work surface and into the desired form, thus helping the dough build strength and keep in shape.
  • Gently flip each dough over into a banneton seam-side up.
  • Stitch up any gaps left between seams to create a smooth, airtight surface.
  • Cover each banneton loosely with plastic wrap to prevent the dough from drying.
  • Place bannetons into the refrigerator overnight for 12 or more hours. The ideal environment for a cold fermentation is less than 50°F or 10°C, but not below 4°F.
  • Day 2
  • Preheat your electric oven to 500°F (260°C) with two cast iron Dutch ovens inside. Preheating the oven is crucial for achieving a proper rise and crisp crust. This may take an hour or more with two Dutch ovens.
  • Remove the bannetons from the fridge and tip them over to allow the proofed loaves to drop onto precut parchment paper.
  • Score the loave’s tops with a lame or sharp knife at a 30° angle to the surface at a 1/4 to a 1/2 inch depth. This scoring might feel like hurting the raw loaves and they may flatten a bit.
  • Carefully place each parchment paper carrying a loave into an uncovered Dutch oven.
  • Cover each Dutch oven with its lid and place them back into the hot kitchen oven.

    Please keep in mind that a kitchen oven’s temperature knobs and gauges are not necessarily all that reliable and that loaves can be smaller or larger and fewer or more than two, and adjust temperatures and baking times accordingly.
  • Bake for up to 10 minutes at 500°F.
  • After 10 minutes, reduce oven heat to 475°F and keep baking the loaves for about 20 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes of baking, carefully remove both lids from Dutch ovens. Continue baking loaves for 10 to 15 minutes at 475°F or until a desired browning is reached.

    Baking the loaves to 190°F of an internal temperature will make for a moist but fully baked bread, while baking to a more traditional 210°F will make for a little drier and a bit chewier bread. The loaves are safe to consume at these temperatures as all microbes will have sacrificed their lives and died.
  • After ample time baking the loaves, remove them from their Dutch ovens and place them on a cooling rack. Loaves will be very hot and still setting on the inside. Let the loaves rest or ripen on a cooling rack for 2 or more hours to reach at least ambient temperatures before slicing.


  • For a loaf to come out great, all the steps in the process must be appropriately handled. A misstep early in the prep work may be hard to compensate for later. I say, make sure that the beneficial microbes or cultures in the levain are not only plenty but also active.
  • Read more here: https://www.sacramento-sourdough.com/artiste-mixer/
  • Otherwise, use this recipe as a base for getting on with your distinct prep work and bake.
  • Enjoy…


Recipe 50% Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

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