Today we talk with Siouxland Public Media's general manager, Mark Munger, about his 100% whole wheat sourdough bread. He tells us about the importance of being able to make the one food you love best, and how he is sharing what he loves to make with his soon to be 2-year-old daughter.
In the conversation, Mark mentions the pineapple juice method of beginning a sour dough starter. You can find that method here. Though he doesn't say it in the interview, he later mentioned that if you are interested in other methods of making a starter, and they are all interesting, check out the desem sourdough in Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book, one of his old favorites (if you have access to this book, be sure to try the banana bread recipe).
Mark's rough guide to a 100% whole wheat sourdough.
For 2 loaves (prep time will vary widely with power of starter and the temp or your kitchen).
- 2C of sourdough starter
- 3C water, preferably filtered, at room temp.
- 8-12C whole wheat flour
- Enough Salt (sea salt is good as is the pink Himalayan salt, but any salt will do)
- Olive Oil
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the starter and water until it is one solution.
- Add 1-2T of salt. To be honest, I just pour a heap of salt into my palm for measurement.
- Add 1 C of the flour. Stir. Add another 2C. Stir until the glutens start forming strings. Once they do, begin stirring in handfuls of flour until you can no longer stir.
- Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. Begin kneading in flour. Add more flour when the the ball begins leaving itself behind on the surface. Keep kneading. When the dough no longer sticks to the surface but is still moist to the touch, you have achieved good consistency. Knead until you can form the dough into a tight ball and make a small dimple in it that pops back out. Or, try the window pane test.
- Add 1T of olive oil to a deep bowl. Put the dough in the bowl and roll it around until it is coated in oil. Cover with a damp cloth until the dough doubles in size.
- Punch the dough down. Let double again.
- Punch the dough down. At this point you can either divide, shape, and place in prepared loaf pans, or you can let it rise again. The more you let it rise, the more developed (sour) the flavor will be.
- Once you have set the dough in the pans, cover again with a moistened cloth and let double. If you do not let them rise long enough, the bread will split in the oven (see the picture above where even though the bread was scored, it tore). Score the bread. I make a single slit down the center about 1/2 inch deep. This will not only make your bread look pretty, it will give the crust space for the oven spring, preventing it from splitting.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- When loaves have doubled and been scored, smoothly transfer to the oven. Splash some cold water on the oven floor - the steam will help make the crust chewy (you can repeat this step in another 3 minutes if you would like).
- Bake for 18 minutes.
- Turn oven down to 375. Bake an additional 20 minutes.
- Remove loaves from oven. Let them rest for a minute, then turn them out onto a cooling rack. It is best to let them cool before slicing; otherwise, the moisture will escape as steam. If you cannot wait, however, I understand. Slice. Butter. Eat.
To store your bread, slice it and place in a freezer container. When you want to eat it, take out a slice and toast it.