So tell me, does anyone else look at their sourdough starter and yell in a mad scientist type voice “IT’S ALIVE!! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!” or is it just me?
I have to say that I have had a bit of fun experimenting with sourdough based recipes over the past few years (I’m a biology teacher, so what did you expect?). It’s even more fun when you get past all the confusing advice that often makes no sense and actually get to the act of baking with your wee little life forms.
There is truth to the saying, though, that cooking is art and baking is science. Creating a new recipe, or tweaking an old one, doesn’t always give you the results you were probably looking for. Getting this bread to work took some time, because I wanted to have more whole-wheat flour incorporated, but still needed the gluten of the refined bread flour. Lucky you, I’ve worked out the kinks so that you can get to the best part of all… eating this hearty, whole grain bread that’s just as perfect for sandwiches as it is for toast, or soaking up juices from your favorite meal. (Psssstt… type “sourdough” into the search bar to get to other sourdough containing recipes, even cake and waffles!)
Whole Wheat & Olive Oil Sourdough Bread Recipe
Not only is this bread good to eat, it also doesn’t require a lot of kneading if you go for a slow rise method, and only has one rise. I’ve included instructions for both a slow overnight rise, as well as for baking the same day. For the long rise, you could start in the morning, bake in the evening and then enjoy the next day. Or start in the evening, bake in the morning, and enjoy for dinner that night!
In a medium bowl, measure out the flours and salt. I measure flour by whisking it up and then scooping it into the measuring cup. Whisk all the ingredients together and set aside.
In a large non-reactive bowl (glass, plastic, stainless steel) add the remaining three ingredients together and mix until combined. You can do this with or without a stand mixer. Add the flour to the bowl and knead until everything is combined.
**If you want to bake your bread the same day as you are doing the mixing, you will want to knead the dough for several minutes to give the gluten in the flour a chance to be well “activated”. It will be rather stiff, but if it feels too sticky (a little is okay), then you may need to add just a little bread flour until it is able to hold it’s shape when formed into a ball. It shouldn’t flatten out. **If you are going to let the dough have a long rise, you will only need to knead enough to get the flour you use completely mixed in. You will want the same texture and stiffness, either way.
Shape the dough into an oval and place the dough into an oiled bread pan (about 9 x 5 inch). You could also leave it in a ball shape if desired, just cut an “X” in the top and place it onto a lightly oil baking sheet. Lightly oil the top of the dough and cover with a clean towel.
**If you want to bake that day, place the dough someplace warm to speed up the rising time (an oven with the light on is often good). Allow the dough to rise until it is doubled in size. This will still take a few hours. **If you are doing a long rise, the dough can be placed somewhere out of any drafts and allowed to rise “overnight”, or roughly 12 hours. Depending on the temperature of the location, more time might be necessary for the dough to double in size.
Once the dough is ready, mist it with some water (to help prevent cracking) and preheat the oven to 425 F. Place the loaf on a rack in the middle of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Remove the bread from the oven and allow to sit in the pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Then remove the bread from the pan to cool completely, uncovered. Don’t you dare cut it before hand!! Doing so will let all the moisture escape and leave you with a dry bread. Not tasty. Once it is cooled, you have my permission to indulge!