290% Whole wheat sourdough bread recipe

I’ve been baking sourdough bread for about a year with the intent to produce delicious but nutritionally superior bread to what’s available in stores, with a focus on high fiber. The idea is to make bread that tastes good and will help you live longer. North americans generally don’t get enough fiber; getting enough fiber has been correlated with reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, type-2 diabetes, and lower all-cause-mortality.

Here follows my recipe adapted very loosely from the Tartine sourdough country loaf recipe/method which has been widely reproduced on the internet. While this bread doesn’t take a lot of effort, it does require a lot of technique. If you haven’t made high-hydration sourdough before, I’d suggest you try a mostly-white flour recipe a few times before tackling this bread. I have skipped over a lot of the techniques like loaf forming with the assumption that you already know how to do this.

I’ve named this bread 290% whole wheat sourdough because it has about 2.9 times more fiber than regular 100% whole wheat bread (check my math). I realize this doesn’t make sense; it’s a joke. Still, this recipe includes a whopping 252g of fiber, most of which is soluble fiber. And it’s delicious. I’ve never been able to make it quite as open and airy as a white flour loaf, but it still has a great texture– better than a lot of 100% whole wheat bread I’ve purchased in the past, and wildly better than any other high fiber bread I’ve tried.

Total time 18-36h, ~45m active, makes two 1.1kg loaves

Ingredients

In addition to a ton of fiber-packed seeds, this recipe uses 3 unconventional ingredients to produce a good texture and huge fiber content:

  • hi maize 260 resistant starch: made from corn, tastes and looks like regular corn starch but is about two-thirds RS2 resistant starch, a kind of soluble fiber. This ingredient boosts fiber by about 50% without diminishing flavor or texture. In the US, this can be obtained from Honeyville and other sources. If ordering from Honeyville, I’d suggest you ask them to include some extra padding in the box. The bag in my order broke during shipment and made a mess. It worked out in the end, but as I’m sure you can imagine, a box covered in white powder raised some eyebrows at the post office.
  • wheat gluten: just the gluten part of the flour. Used to boost the gluten content to produce a better texture and compensate for the lack of gluten in the hi maize.
  • bread improver: A mixture of enzymes and stuff which makes your bread better. This isn’t for purists, but for me, 100% whole wheat bread isn’t very good without bread improver. Adding corn starch probably isn’t for purists, either. There are many kinds of bread improver, some of which are just gluten and soy flour, and some which contain weird additives that you may want to avoid. I’m using this one. If your bread improver has tons of gluten in it, you should cut down on the gluten in this recipe to avoid an overly dense and chewy crumb.

For the seed soak

  • 65g flax seeds
  • 35g sesame seeds
  • 60g chia seeds
  • 20g sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • 350g water

For the bread

  • 650g whole wheat flour (King Arthur white whole wheat)
  • 200g hi maize 260 resistant starch
  • 65g gluten (bob’s red mill)
  • whole grain bread improver, per instructions, typically 8-25g
  • 22g salt
  • 760g water
  • 150g 100% hydration sourdough starter

Method

Soak

Mix soak ingredients, stir a few times to prevent chia seeds from sticking together, soak for 4-6h. Optional: microwave on high for 3 minutes, stir and soak for 20 min instead. In either case, you should expect a super thick porridge slime which can hold up a soup spoon almost indefinitely. The goal here is twofold: 1- avoid having the seeds soak up too much water from the dough and making it hard to assess hydration and 2- soften and cover the seeds with gross fiber mucilage so that they’re less likely to interfere with gluten development.  This is only partially successful in both cases: expect fewer large bubbles than a loaf without seeds, and expect that the dough will tighten up more than you’d expect as it matures.

Dough

Forming into loaves

Combine gluten, salt, flour, hi maize and improver in a large bowl, whisking vigorously to produce uniform mix. Whisk water and starter together in separate bowl. Combine all ingredients, mixing until no dry areas remain. At this stage, it may seem more like a batter than a dough. Don’t worry; it’ll come together. Let sit 1h.

Perform dough strengthening and proofing routine using the Tartine stretch and fold method that is everywhere on the internet. I perform about 5 sets of stretch and folds over 2-6h and let it rise for ~10h total before placing in the fridge. The large amount of bran and seeds interfere with the window pane test, but you should see the dough easily holding large bubbles towards the last few stretch & folds. My preference is to form the loaves with cold dough after a night in the fridge, but I am sure you could form loaves now and retard those in the fridge as well.

I don’t think the timing is very critical so long as there’s enough total proofing time. I’ve let my bread retard in the fridge anywhere from 6-36h. After 24h in the fridge the bread becomes a little too sour for my taste.

This recipe is for two loaves, which will weigh about 1100g each when baked.

Bake

In the oven halfway through baking, just after removing the lid

I bake using the dutch oven method described below. There are lots of different methods on the internet, and I’d suggest you watch a few videos if this is your first time baking sourdough. Here’s a good one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APEavQg8rMw

Preheat large dutch oven in oven at 500-525F, wait at least 15 mins after oven has come up to temperature. Transfer loaf to a piece of parchment paper. This is how I do it: Place a piece of parchment paper about 18” long and at least as wide as your loaves on a cutting board. Place cutting board parchment side down on top of proofing basket and invert. Remove the proofing basket.

Score the loaf as desired. Use parchment to quickly transfer loaf into the dutch oven, replacing lid as quickly as possible. Bake 525F for 18 mins, remove lid and bake at 440F until internal temperature reaches 195F, about 16 minutes.

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