Sourdough Wholewheat Bread

How to make sourdough wholewheat bread that is light and flavorful! Using a combination of whole wheat flour and all purpose or bread flour adds the nutritional benefits of whole grains but results in a whole wheat loaf with a tender crumb. 

Whole wheat loaf on a blue cloth.

This bread is naturally leavened using your choice of either traditional sourdough starter or use this sourdough starter with yeast.

If you’ve been looking for a heartier version of traditional sourdough bread and love the earthy, nutty taste of whole grains, this sourdough wholewheat bread is for you! 

It’s packed with fiber and nutrients from the whole wheat flour, contains all the benefits that come from slow-fermented sourdough, and yet will still appeal to the whole family as it contains familiar white flour which gives it a soft texture. 

This whole wheat sourdough bread recipe is simply the best way to introduce more whole grains into your life! Once you master this loaf you will love serving it for dinner, using it for sandwiches or toasting it for breakfast. 

What is Sourdough Bread Baking?

If you are new to sourdough baking, sourdough bread is made with naturally fermented ‘wild yeast’ instead of a commercial packet of yeast that you can buy at the grocery store. 


The natural fermentation process gives sourdough that classic tang it’s known for, but can also be a bit finicky to work with unless you have a very mature sourdough starter. 

I have a small trick for you, though, that produces a foolproof loaf and also aids in a quicker rise for your sourdough wholewheat bread! By adding a little active dry yeast to the dough, you still get all the classic taste but consistent results. 

Sliced Whole wheat bread on a blue cloth with the rest of the loaf behind it.

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread Ingredients

Only a few ingredients are needed for this whole wheat sourdough recipe, but most importantly you will need a mature starter!

  • Active sourdough starter: You will need to feed your sourdough starter 4-12 hours beforehand so it is active and bubbly.
  • Lukewarm water: Filtered water works best.
  • Whole wheat flour: Freshly milled flour or whatever brand of 100% whole wheat flour you prefer. 
  • White flour: You can use either all purpose flour or bread flour or a combination of the two.
  • Salt: Don’t skip the salt! It’s needed to balance taste.

How to Make Sourdough Wholewheat Bread

Follow these steps to make whole wheat sourdough. I like to use a little active dry yeast to speed the process along, be sure to read the detailed instructions in the recipe card. 

Mix: In the bowl of an electric mixer combine water and sourdough starter, mix well.

Starter and water in the mixing bowl.

Add all flours, knead, then add the salt, and continue to knead for 7-8 minutes.

dry ingredients added and kneaded in a mixing bowl.

Bulk rise: Remove dough from the mixer bowl and place on a lightly floured flat surface. Form into a ball, place in a lightly oiled bowl, roll the dough to lightly cover with oil, cover the bowl and let rest in a warm draft free area for 2 hours.

Dough doubled in size in a bowl.

Shape: Remove sourdough to a lightly floured work surface, gently knead a couple of times, form into a ball, then cover and let rest for 20 minutes. Shape into either a round boule or a loaf shape and place into a preferred baking dish or loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8-48 hours to proof.

Dough shaped into a circular shape.

Prepare dough to bake: Remove your sourdough from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature which will take 30-45 minutes. Score the dough if desired. 

Bread dough scored after taking it out of the fridge.

Bake: Preheat the oven to 410 degrees F and prep oven-spring method by placing an empty pan on the bottom of the oven. Once the oven has preheated, pour a cup of very hot water into the pan. Place your dish or loaf pan with whole wheat sourdough on the middle rack and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Cool and slice: After baking, move immediately to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!

Baked whole wheat bread loaf.

Tips for Making the Best Wholewheat Sourdough Bread

  • Type of whole wheat: Freshly milled whole wheat flour will taste best, but any whole wheat flour can be used.
  • Bread expectations: Don’t expect super fluffy results as this bread is made with whole grains which are heartier by nature! Try my no-knead sourdough bread for something similar to what you might purchase at the store.
  • Cutting the bread: For best cutting, use a serrated knife. 
  • Oven-spring method: Don’t forget to add hot water to a pan on the bottom rack of your oven before baking your whole wheat sourdough bread. This creates steam and assists in giving your bread a really good rise. 
  • Time: This will vary depending on both the warmth of your home and if you have used yeast or not. A good visual cue is to not let your dough rise beyond double during bulk fermentation. Ideally it is ready when it increases 50% in volume.

Sample Baking Schedule

Keep in mind your sourdough wholewheat bread may take longer depending on feeding your starter and rise time!

  • 5:00 p.m.: Mix dough and allow dough to bulk rise (first rise).
  • 7:00 p.m.: Knead and rest for 20 minutes. 
  • 7:30 p.m.: Shape and then refrigerate dough for proofing up 8 to 48 hours (second rise).  
  • 7:30 a.m.: Remove dough from the refrigerator and allow to rest 30- 45 minutes.
  • 8:00 a.m. : Bake and enjoy!
Whole wheat loaf in a dutch oven.

FAQs

What tools do I need for this recipe? 

For making whole wheat sourdough bread, you will need a mixer, mixing bowls, parchment paper, baking pan, Dutch oven or bread pans. You may also like Banneton baskets for proofing. 

How do I shape a round sourdough boule?

The easiest way to shape your sourdough in a nice round shape is to use your hands to shape it then gently tucking the seams under the loaf.

Does whole wheat sourdough take longer to rise?

It will take longer to rise than whole wheat bread made with commercial yeast, but is about average with other sourdough loaves. 

How should I store sourdough wholewheat bread? 

It’s best to store your leftover bread in a ziploc bag at room temperature for up to 3 days. Your crust will soften, but toasting your bread by the slice or reheating it in the oven will help get it crusty again. You can also store it in the freezer either whole or in slices. This is a great way to preserve your bread while it’s fresh to enjoy a slice whenever you would like!

Three slices of whole wheat bread on a blue cloth.

More Sourdough Bread Recipes

Slice of whole wheat bread on a blue cloth with the rest of the loaf behind it.

Sourdough Wholewheat Bread

Erika Marucci
How to make sourdough wholewheat bread that is light and flavorful! Using a combination of whole wheat flour and all purpose or bread flour adds the nutritional benefits of whole grains but results in a whole wheat loaf with a tender crumb. 
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Rising time 10 hours
Total Time 10 hours 45 minutes
Course dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 1 Loaf
Calories 1557 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • ½ cup active sourdough starter*
  • 1 cup lukewarm water (divided only if using yeast)
  • ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour (100 grams total)
  • cups +2½ tablespoons flour all purpose or bread flour (331 grams total)
  • teaspoons salt

*For this recipe you can use either this sourdough starter or this sourdough starter with yeast!

    Instructions
     

    • In the bowl of the mixer combine the water and sourdough starter, mix well. Add the flours and start to knead, add the salt, continue to knead 7-8 minutes.
    • Move the dough to a lightly floured flat surface and form into a ball, place in a lightly oiled bowl, roll the dough to lightly cover with oil, cover the bowl and let rest in a warm draft free area for 2 hours.
    • Again place the dough on a lightly floured flat surface, gently knead a couple of times, form into a ball, cover let rest 20 minutes. Shape into desired form, either boule or loaf shape place in baking dish or loaf, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8-48 hours.
    • Remove from the fridge, let sit 30-45 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 410F (210C). On the bottom of the oven place an empty pan, once the oven has pre-heated pour a cup of very hot water into the pan.
    • Score the dough if desired, place the dish or loaf pan on the middle rack and bake for 30-35 minutes.
    • Move immediately to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!

    Notes

    I actually added 3/4 teaspoon of active dry yeast to this bread and let it sit overnight in the fridge, add the active dry yeast to 1/4 cup (60 grams) of water sprinkle the yeast on top, let sit 10 minutes then stir to combine. Add the yeast mixture when you add the sourdough starter mixture.
    If you prefer not to add dry yeast, then your first rise time will remain the same, the second rise will be 3-4 hours. Could be more depending on the warmth of your home.
    Store your leftover bread in a ziploc bag at room temperature for up to 3 days. Your crust will soften, but toasting your bread by the slice or reheating it in the oven will help get it crusty again.
    You can also store it in the freezer either whole or in slices. This is a great way to preserve your bread while it’s fresh to enjoy a slice whenever you would like!

    Nutrition

    Calories: 1557kcalCarbohydrates: 327gProtein: 47gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 2929mgPotassium: 662mgFiber: 19gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 8IUCalcium: 86mgIron: 18mg
    Keyword bread, bread recipe, sourdough bread, sourdough whole wheat bread, whole wheat bread
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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