Whole Wheat Rye Sourdough Bread Recipe

AuthorKateCategoryDifficultyBeginner

An easy whole wheat rye sourdough recipe that gives you the perfect amount of flavor and oven spring. A good introduction to working with whole wheat and rye flour in sourdough baking.

Whole Wheat Rye Sourdough Recipe

Yields1 Serving

 100 g Sourdough Starter
 250 g Bread Flour
 230 g Whole Wheat Flour
 20 g Rye Flour
 400 g Water
 10 g Salt

AUTOLYSE
1

Weigh out your sourdough starter and water into a large ceramic or glass bowl. Glass is always good as you can see what's happening underneath your dough. This recipe is based on you having an active starter that you have fed a few hours before starting your bake.

Mix the water and starter together briefly. Then add your flour and salt and mix altogether with the end of a wooden spoon. The dough will be fairly shaggy and only just brought together (see photo). You might wonder how this will turn into bread, but just wait, time is your friend and the dough will change in around an hour.

Cover your bowl with cling film or a damp tea towel and let it sit for around 1 hour. It's ok if it's a little bit longer, it's not going to matter too much.

This process is called the "autolyse" and allows your flour to soak in all the water and become hydrated.

FORMING UP YOUR DOUGH
2

After the dough has been through autolyse you need to bring it together into a ball. You'll notice that the dough is fully hydrated after soaking all the water up. It will be fairly sticky but as you bring it into a ball, it will become smoother and shinier.

Work your way around the bowl, grabbing the dough from the outside, stretching it up and over itself until a smooth ball is formed. You shouldn't need more than about 20-25 folds to form the ball.

Once the dough has formed into a smooth ball, pop the cling film back on and let it rest for 30 minutes.

STRETCH & FOLD - CREATING STRUCTURE
3

Over the next few hours you need to create some structure for your dough by "stretching and folding". Aim to do around 4-6 sets of stretches and folds. For each set, stretch the dough up and over itself 4 times. Leave around 15 minutes in between each set. Again you do not have to be exact with time, but you need to do at least 4 sets over 2 hours.

It's up to you whether you want to do these in the bowl (less messy) or take your dough out onto your bench top and do it there. Do whatever you're more comfortable with.

If you are going to do the stretch & folds on your bench top, spray your surface with water mist rather than using flour.

You will need to really work the dough to develop the gluten - because whole wheat and particularly rye flour have a lower gluten content.

Whole Wheat Rye Sourdough Recipe

BULK FERMENT
4

Once you've finished your stretch and folds, place the cling film or damp tea towel back over your dough and let it rest and ferment. The time this takes will depend on the temperature in your home. If your home is warm then your dough will ferment a lot faster and could be done in as little as a few hours.. If it's colder, it will take longer, possibly overnight. This recipe has 100g of starter and is a higher hydration dough so it will ferment fairly quickly. You can reduce the starter to 50g if you want to slow the ferment time. There are resources on my website around changing the amount of starter.

You will know your dough is ready to move to the next stage when it has *just* doubled in size. It will be fairly wobbly and full of bubbles. You should be able to see large air bubbles under the surface of the dough. You don't want to let it go any further than doubled as it will be over fermented.

Whole Wheat Rye Sourdough Recipe

SHAPING YOUR DOUGH
5

Once your dough has finished it's first ferment, it's time to form it back into a ball and give it some shape and surface tension. You'll need to flour your counter top with rice flour for this (we use rice flour because it has no gluten). Try to be quite sparing with the rice flour, you only need a very light dusting.

Use a silicone dough scraper to gently ease the dough out of the bowl. You want it to land upside down on your counter so that the smooth top of the dough is on the countertop and the sticky underside is facing up. This will make it easier to shape.

You can shape into whatever you like. I prefer this one as a batard.

You will need a banneton to put your dough into. If you do not have a banneton, then a bowl or basket lined with a floured tea towel is perfectly fine. Make sure your bowl isn't too big though, you want your dough to retain some shape.

Whatever you're using needs to be liberally floured with your rice flour. If you're using a banneton - liberally sprinkle it with rice flour. If you're using a cloth or tea towel, rub the flour into it to ensure it becomes non stick.

Whole Wheat Rye Sourdough Recipe

6

Once the dough is shaped into a tight ball, place it into your banneton smooth side down, so your seam is on the top - this way the top of your dough will get the pretty lines from the banneton. If you're using a cloth or tea towel in a bowl it's ok to put your dough with the smooth side up. Just make sure the dough is tight.

Lift your dough around the edges to pop a little more rice flour if you feel it needs it. Just try to handle the dough as little as possible and be really gentle as you really want to preserve all the gases and air bubbles that have formed during your bulk ferment.

Whole Wheat Rye Sourdough Recipe

COLD FERMENT
7

Now your dough is in it's "shaping container" cover it loosely with a plastic bag or damp tea towel and place into the fridge. I use a large plastic bag to cover it - I just reuse it each time. It's not totally essential to cover it - you can place it in the fridge uncovered if you'd prefer.

Try to leave it in the fridge for a minimum 5 hours up to a maximum of around 36 hours. The longer you leave it the better your bread will be! A longer cold ferment creates beautiful blisters on your crust and a deeper sourdough flavour. It will also ensure your dough forms a skin which makes it easier to score.

Whole Wheat Rye Sourdough Recipe

PREPARING TO BAKE YOUR SOURDOGH
8

Once you're ready to bake your sourdough, you'll need to preheat your oven to 230C/450F. Place your Dutch Oven into the oven when you turn it on so it gets hot. Try to preheat for around 1 hour to ensure your oven is super hot - but you know your oven so just adjust this time if you need to.

Leave your dough in the fridge until the very last minute - placing a cold dough into a hot oven will give you a great "spring".

BAKING YOUR SOURDOUGH
9

Now it's time to bake!

When your oven is at temperature. Take your sourdough out of the fridge. Gently place it onto a piece of baking paper. If you use a banneton, you will have a nicely rounded shape. If you used a bowl, it will still have shape but may not be as round. Make sure that you make the baking paper big enough to use the edges as a handle to lower to dough into your Dutch Oven.

Gently score your bread with a lame, clean razor blade or knife. At minimum a large cross is sufficient, but you can get as artistic as you like. Try to score it fairly deep to ensure the dough opens up.

Carefully take your dutch oven out of the oven. Place the sourdough into the pot using the baking paper as a handle. Put the lid on and place into the hot oven. If you want to you can spritz your dough with extra water before you put the lid on.

BAKE TIME:
30 Minutes with the lid on at 230C/450F plus
10-15 Minutes with the lid off at 210C/410F

If you're worried about the base of your bread burning, place a baking sheet on shelf underneath your Dutch Oven - it works!

FINISHING YOUR BAKE
10

When you remove your dough from the oven, carefully remove it from the dutch oven as soon as possible and place on a wire rack to cool. If you prefer a less crusty loaf, wrap in a tea towel and let it cool under that. The tea towel will make the bread sweat a little and soften your crust.

If you're worried about your bread not being cooked all the way through, turn the oven off and place your dough straight onto the oven rack. Leave the door ajar and let your bread rest there for a few hours.

Wait at least 90 minutes before you cut into your delicious loaf (because this loaf has rye and a high hydration, the longer you leave it the better - 6 hours is generally good).

Sourdough Whole Wheat Rye Recipe

Ingredients

 100 g Sourdough Starter
 250 g Bread Flour
 230 g Whole Wheat Flour
 20 g Rye Flour
 400 g Water
 10 g Salt

Directions

AUTOLYSE
1

Weigh out your sourdough starter and water into a large ceramic or glass bowl. Glass is always good as you can see what's happening underneath your dough. This recipe is based on you having an active starter that you have fed a few hours before starting your bake.

Mix the water and starter together briefly. Then add your flour and salt and mix altogether with the end of a wooden spoon. The dough will be fairly shaggy and only just brought together (see photo). You might wonder how this will turn into bread, but just wait, time is your friend and the dough will change in around an hour.

Cover your bowl with cling film or a damp tea towel and let it sit for around 1 hour. It's ok if it's a little bit longer, it's not going to matter too much.

This process is called the "autolyse" and allows your flour to soak in all the water and become hydrated.

FORMING UP YOUR DOUGH
2

After the dough has been through autolyse you need to bring it together into a ball. You'll notice that the dough is fully hydrated after soaking all the water up. It will be fairly sticky but as you bring it into a ball, it will become smoother and shinier.

Work your way around the bowl, grabbing the dough from the outside, stretching it up and over itself until a smooth ball is formed. You shouldn't need more than about 20-25 folds to form the ball.

Once the dough has formed into a smooth ball, pop the cling film back on and let it rest for 30 minutes.

STRETCH & FOLD - CREATING STRUCTURE
3

Over the next few hours you need to create some structure for your dough by "stretching and folding". Aim to do around 4-6 sets of stretches and folds. For each set, stretch the dough up and over itself 4 times. Leave around 15 minutes in between each set. Again you do not have to be exact with time, but you need to do at least 4 sets over 2 hours.

It's up to you whether you want to do these in the bowl (less messy) or take your dough out onto your bench top and do it there. Do whatever you're more comfortable with.

If you are going to do the stretch & folds on your bench top, spray your surface with water mist rather than using flour.

You will need to really work the dough to develop the gluten - because whole wheat and particularly rye flour have a lower gluten content.

Whole Wheat Rye Sourdough Recipe

BULK FERMENT
4

Once you've finished your stretch and folds, place the cling film or damp tea towel back over your dough and let it rest and ferment. The time this takes will depend on the temperature in your home. If your home is warm then your dough will ferment a lot faster and could be done in as little as a few hours.. If it's colder, it will take longer, possibly overnight. This recipe has 100g of starter and is a higher hydration dough so it will ferment fairly quickly. You can reduce the starter to 50g if you want to slow the ferment time. There are resources on my website around changing the amount of starter.

You will know your dough is ready to move to the next stage when it has *just* doubled in size. It will be fairly wobbly and full of bubbles. You should be able to see large air bubbles under the surface of the dough. You don't want to let it go any further than doubled as it will be over fermented.

Whole Wheat Rye Sourdough Recipe

SHAPING YOUR DOUGH
5

Once your dough has finished it's first ferment, it's time to form it back into a ball and give it some shape and surface tension. You'll need to flour your counter top with rice flour for this (we use rice flour because it has no gluten). Try to be quite sparing with the rice flour, you only need a very light dusting.

Use a silicone dough scraper to gently ease the dough out of the bowl. You want it to land upside down on your counter so that the smooth top of the dough is on the countertop and the sticky underside is facing up. This will make it easier to shape.

You can shape into whatever you like. I prefer this one as a batard.

You will need a banneton to put your dough into. If you do not have a banneton, then a bowl or basket lined with a floured tea towel is perfectly fine. Make sure your bowl isn't too big though, you want your dough to retain some shape.

Whatever you're using needs to be liberally floured with your rice flour. If you're using a banneton - liberally sprinkle it with rice flour. If you're using a cloth or tea towel, rub the flour into it to ensure it becomes non stick.

Whole Wheat Rye Sourdough Recipe

6

Once the dough is shaped into a tight ball, place it into your banneton smooth side down, so your seam is on the top - this way the top of your dough will get the pretty lines from the banneton. If you're using a cloth or tea towel in a bowl it's ok to put your dough with the smooth side up. Just make sure the dough is tight.

Lift your dough around the edges to pop a little more rice flour if you feel it needs it. Just try to handle the dough as little as possible and be really gentle as you really want to preserve all the gases and air bubbles that have formed during your bulk ferment.

Whole Wheat Rye Sourdough Recipe

COLD FERMENT
7

Now your dough is in it's "shaping container" cover it loosely with a plastic bag or damp tea towel and place into the fridge. I use a large plastic bag to cover it - I just reuse it each time. It's not totally essential to cover it - you can place it in the fridge uncovered if you'd prefer.

Try to leave it in the fridge for a minimum 5 hours up to a maximum of around 36 hours. The longer you leave it the better your bread will be! A longer cold ferment creates beautiful blisters on your crust and a deeper sourdough flavour. It will also ensure your dough forms a skin which makes it easier to score.

Whole Wheat Rye Sourdough Recipe

PREPARING TO BAKE YOUR SOURDOGH
8

Once you're ready to bake your sourdough, you'll need to preheat your oven to 230C/450F. Place your Dutch Oven into the oven when you turn it on so it gets hot. Try to preheat for around 1 hour to ensure your oven is super hot - but you know your oven so just adjust this time if you need to.

Leave your dough in the fridge until the very last minute - placing a cold dough into a hot oven will give you a great "spring".

BAKING YOUR SOURDOUGH
9

Now it's time to bake!

When your oven is at temperature. Take your sourdough out of the fridge. Gently place it onto a piece of baking paper. If you use a banneton, you will have a nicely rounded shape. If you used a bowl, it will still have shape but may not be as round. Make sure that you make the baking paper big enough to use the edges as a handle to lower to dough into your Dutch Oven.

Gently score your bread with a lame, clean razor blade or knife. At minimum a large cross is sufficient, but you can get as artistic as you like. Try to score it fairly deep to ensure the dough opens up.

Carefully take your dutch oven out of the oven. Place the sourdough into the pot using the baking paper as a handle. Put the lid on and place into the hot oven. If you want to you can spritz your dough with extra water before you put the lid on.

BAKE TIME:
30 Minutes with the lid on at 230C/450F plus
10-15 Minutes with the lid off at 210C/410F

If you're worried about the base of your bread burning, place a baking sheet on shelf underneath your Dutch Oven - it works!

FINISHING YOUR BAKE
10

When you remove your dough from the oven, carefully remove it from the dutch oven as soon as possible and place on a wire rack to cool. If you prefer a less crusty loaf, wrap in a tea towel and let it cool under that. The tea towel will make the bread sweat a little and soften your crust.

If you're worried about your bread not being cooked all the way through, turn the oven off and place your dough straight onto the oven rack. Leave the door ajar and let your bread rest there for a few hours.

Wait at least 90 minutes before you cut into your delicious loaf (because this loaf has rye and a high hydration, the longer you leave it the better - 6 hours is generally good).

Sourdough Whole Wheat Rye Recipe

Whole Wheat Rye Sourdough Bread Recipe
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