Our favorite whole wheat levain loaf

After all those years, who would have thought, but I ♥ you whole wheat!

Klik hier voor Nederlandse versie
Do you need a bit of encouragement to start making a super healthy whole wheat loaf? Awful childhood memories like me of stale and even rancid bread? Get out and buy the best fresh! organic whole wheat you can find and give this loaf a chance! It is nothing like your memories, it is about 1000 times better, or frankly incomparable, with an intense flavor that is the opposite of bland. Close your eyes and you can see the wheat fields gently swaying in the wind.

This recipe is not highly original of course, there are many whole wheat levain recipes and they are all more or less the same. But it is a great loaf to have in your bread repertoire. This is our version of it and the recipe contains the exact details on how we create our loaf. People have told us (and we believe them) that they really work for them so here it is.

We started out by making a 55% whole wheat loaf. Gradually we started making more of this 65% loaf, the one described in this recipe, and people just love it. You can compare the two versions by looking at the first (65%) and second (55%) gallery of pictures below. The thing we love most about the recipe is you end up with a bread still very much crusty and creamy crumb, with a complex, sweet taste, while having this high percentage of whole wheat goodness in it.

For this recipe we are going to make a starter named a poolish. A poolish is a type of wet sponge usually made with an equal weight of water and flour and a small amount of sourdough starter culture or yeast and NO salt. Making a poolish helps bring more taste and strength to your bread.

We use a sourdough culture which is made with 100% whole grain rye flour. A sourdough culture based on rye flour is easier to maintain, does not go into a slurry when you forget about it, is easier to stir because it has almost no gluten and smells very nice, a bit like fruit. It is also very forgiving in the amount you feed it, everything seems to be alright. Normally we only feed it once a week, after our weekend baking we give it a few table spoons of water and rye flour, stir, ready!

Making the poolish
In a bowl stir together the 65 g whole wheat flour, 65 grams of water at room temperature with 15 grams of sourdough culture. Mix it well until you have a homogeneous slurry that looks like very thick batter. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and let the prefermenting begin. After 12 hours at room temperature it should be bubbly, light and ready for use. So if you want to begin your bread making in the morning, you should make your poolish at 9 in the evening.

Ingredients for the poolish
65 g whole wheat (bread) flour
65 g water (room temperature)
15 g sourdough culture
Ingredients for the whole wheat loaf
makes 1 loaf
the poolish from step 1
225 g whole wheat (bread) flour
160 g wheat (bread) flour
250 g water
7 g (sea) salt

Making the loaf
Put the poolish starter, flour and salt in the mixing bowl of your standing mixer and add 2/3 of the water. Now start mixing and gradually add the rest of the water and let the dough come together. We use European flour which absorbs a few % less water than American type flour. People using American type of flour should add 5-15 ml water to the final dough. Knead for 6 minutes, leave it in your mixing bowl, cover with clingfilm and rest for 50 minutes. The dough should feel a bit wet and even a little bit sloppy or tacky, there should be moderate gluten development.

Ideally the temperature of your dough after mixing should be around 24-25 ºC / 75ºF. You should adjust the temperature of the water you add, so the total dough reaches this temperature. For us this means in summer adding cold water to this recipe and in winter (when our little bakery gets much colder then the rest of our house) adding water up to 50ºC /122 F. You can measure the temperature of water and dough with a food thermometer. These measurements are important because they correspond with the proving times in the recipe.

After the first rest take the dough out of the bowl and onto a floured work surface and do one stretch and fold (a full letter fold, left over right, right over left, bottom over top, top over bottom; watch our bread movie to observe this technique if you are not familiar with it). Transfer to the bowl, cover and again leave to rest for 50 minutes. Repeat the stretch and fold (full letter fold) one more time (so 2 times in total) and again leave to rest for 50 minutes. During each stretch and fold the dough should feel firmer and less wet.

Now it’s time to shape. Shaping is a tricky subject. It’s something for which everybody develops his or her own technique over time. You can make a batard or loaf shape or a boule (ball). If necessary you can learn more on shaping from a good bread book, like the ones by Hamelman or Reinhart, or the Tartine Bread book. You can also check out our video on how to shape a boule.

Preheat your oven to 230 ºC / 445 ºF (at what stage you preheat your oven depends on how long it takes for your oven to heat through, some take 30 minutes, some, like ours, with stone floors take a lot longer, up to two hours.

Transfer the shaped dough in a proofing basket or baking pan, cover and leave to proof for 2 hours and 15 minutes (provided your dough has a temperature of around 24-25 ºC / 75ºF). When you think it has risen enough, use your finger to carefully make a very small dent in the dough. If the dent remains, the bread is ready to bake, if the indentation totally disappears, the dough needs a little bit more time.

Now your loaf is ready for the oven. Slash the top of the loaf with a lame or bread scoring knife. To get a nice crust, try to create some steam in your oven by putting a small metal baking tray on your oven floor when you preheat the oven, and pour in half a cup of hot water immediately after putting the bread in the oven. Release some steam by setting your oven door ajar (perhaps with the help of a wooden spoon or oven mitt) 5 minutes before the bread is ready. If you are going to create steam with a baking tray, you maybe also want to turn your oven temperature a bit higher, because you are going to lose some heat in the process.

After 48 minutes of baking your loaf should be ready. Transfer onto a rack and leave to cool. This loaf also keeps very well in the freezer. But please make sure to eat at least some of it while fresh!

Whole wheat levain time table
day 1 21.00 h Make starter let ferment for 12 hours at room temperature
day 2 0.900 h Make final dough

  • Starter + all other ingredients 6 minute mixing
  • 50 minutes rest
  • Stretch and fold nr. 1
  • 50 minutes rest
  • Stretch and fold nr. 2
  • 50 minutes rest
  • Shape
  • final proofing 2 hours and 15 minutes
  • bake for 48 minutes at 230ºC / 445ºF

PS: A lot of people still believe the a whole wheat loaf should be very dark in color. The darker the bread, the healthier. This is a big misconception. These factory breads are filled with burned malt to give them that ‘healthy’ dark appearance. Don’t let them fool you…Just buy the best fresh flour you can find, take your time to make a good loaf and you’ll never look back!

PPS:Like with all the recipes you find on our website, this one has been tried and tested by us at least 8 to 10 times before we publish it.

Share 'Our favorite whole wheat levain loaf' on Delicious Share 'Our favorite whole wheat levain loaf' on Digg Share 'Our favorite whole wheat levain loaf' on Facebook Share 'Our favorite whole wheat levain loaf' on Google+ Share 'Our favorite whole wheat levain loaf' on LinkedIn Share 'Our favorite whole wheat levain loaf' on Pinterest Share 'Our favorite whole wheat levain loaf' on reddit Share 'Our favorite whole wheat levain loaf' on StumbleUpon Share 'Our favorite whole wheat levain loaf' on Twitter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

135 Responses to Our favorite whole wheat levain loaf

  1. Natalie says:

    Hi there,

    Thank you so much for your great site! I have made your Tartine style bread and sourdough pain naturel many times now with great results so thank you so much for sharing your recipes and advice! Your advice on using less water when following American recipes has also been invaluable as this has prevented a lot of the disasters I encountered when I first started baking sourdough.

    I wanted to ask whether the final proofing time could be lengthened by putting the dough, once shaped and in the banneton, into the fridge for 12+ hours? Also, would this help develop more of a sour tasting flavour?

    The loaves I have made have great flavour but I would also like to try making more sour tasting versions. Would a longer ferment be the solution?

    Many thanks for your help!


    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello Natalie,
      Thank you so much for your comment! Great to hear the feedback on the less water remark.
      And the answer to your questions is yes. Yes you can retard the loaves in the fridge and it will help with the development of a more sour taste. You can check out more tips on how to achieve more (or less) sour in your sourdough in our posting on the subject here:…ough-tips/

      Wishing you many more wonderful loaves and happy baking!

      Ed & Marieke

  2. Ben Fisher says:


    I’ve never paid any attention to dough temperature when baking bread at home (with instant yeast) – it just takes as long as it takes to prove, depending on conditions, and I’ve always used water from the cold tap. However, I’m keen to start exploring the world of sourdough, and it seems to be more important to have an idea about dough temperature in order to get predictable results.

    I’m just wondering exactly how it works though. Someone with no idea about dough temperatures (me) might assume that water at 30 degrees C is only that temperature at the time you take a reading, and will then gradually move towards the ambient room temperature over a given amount of time. Given the very long proving times involved in sourdough production, doesn’t the dough just approach room temperature over the course of a few hours? Or once you’ve achieved a dough temperature of 24-25C at the outset, does the heat generated by the fermentation process maintain that initial temperature, even if the room is 20C?

    Thank-you for your time, and the brilliantly written information on your site!

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello Ben,
      Yes, you are correct, but the advantage of starting out at this higher temperature is that the yeast can multiply in the first hour. After a while indeed, the dough of a single loaf will take on the room temperature. The bigger the amount of dough, the longer this will take. The mass and the fermentation process of a big slab of dough will make for a longer heat retention. The amount of time and temperature are of course closely related when it comes to bread baking, bakers can make optimum use of that knowledge, so we think it helps a lot to know the details, especially with sourdough .
      You can check out some theory and tips on the subject here:…mperature/

      Happy sourdough baking!

  3. Patricia says:

    I absolutely love your website, it is well presented and easy to follow instructions..

    Just one question please. I have whole grain rye flour that I have grinded myself. I would like to know how to adjust your whole wheat levain bread to a 100% whole grain rye flour bread.

    P.S. I have started my rye sourdough starter using your recipe. Thanks for the detailed description and photo’s. Much appreciated..

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi, this will not be a success. Rye flour does contain almost no gluten. So you end up with a strange, dense bread. When using rye flour you have to use special ways of ‘building’ your dough and to get a nice structure you have to add some wheat flour. See 3 stage 70% Rye Bread with Raisins for how to bake with rye.

  4. Caroline Van Hassel says:

    Ik heb nu al verschillende recepten geprobeerd, de smaken zijn heel goed alsook de korst en het kruim. Ik blijf wel altijd met hetzelfde probleem kampen, alles gaat goed tot het bakproces. Het lukt me niet echt om een brood met volume te krijgen.
    Ik laat het zeker niet te veel rijzen en toch als ik het uit de rijsmandjes neem en het brood in de oven gaat bak het niet voldoende in de hoogte. Ik heb ondertussen gelezen dat dit kan zijn door het vochtpercentage? Zijn al jullie recepten gebaseerd op het werken met bloem die meer vocht opneemt dan de bloem die wij in Europa gebruiken? Zoja dan probeer ik de recepten met een lager vochtpercentage. Hebben jullie een gedacht hoeveel ik dit in percentage moet verminderen?
    Wat ik een beetje mis in de recepten en niet alleen in die van jullie is het waarom van de handelingen. Ik zoek graag de logica uit van de zaken. Waarom zoveel water in het ene recept en minder in het andere, waarom het ene brood 2 keer stretch en fold, waarom verschillende rijstijden……
    Ik probeer een recept te analyseren, te verstaan en te vergelijken. Ik ondervind dat door gebrek aan kennis me dit niet echt lukt.
    Ik zoek naar meer uitleg maar die vind ik , buiten enkele basiszaken, niet. Misschien zoek ik het te ver -:)
    Hele boterham, maar het is steeds met plezier dat ik jullie recepten uitprobeer de smaken zijn superlekker.

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Caroline, Het hoe en waarom staat voor een deel in de tips, en in onze bread baking tips sectie. Als je meer achtergrond wilt dan raden wij het boek ‘Bread’ van Jeffrey Hamelman aan. Hier staat maar achtergrond kennis in dan je lief is. Ook het (dure) boek The Taste of Bread van Raymond Calvel geeft veel info. Beide boeken zijn meer voor de profi bakker dan de thuisbakker maar geven goede achtergrond. Recepten gaan in vele kilo’s ipv 1 brood. Wij gebruiken voornamelijk tarwebloem van de Zandhaas in Zandpoort-Zuid, met dit bloem kun je alle recepten maken 😉

  5. Jay Rubinstein says:

    I just wanted to thank you for a great site!

    I’ve been sourdough banking for more than 10 years but since I found your site I’ve made the change to a rye starter and stretch and fold techniques. I’ve just used a double quantity of the levain recipe in a loaf tin with added seeds. Worked a treat.

    Thanks for the hard work and thought you put into the site.

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Jay, thank you for your kind words. The stretch and fold technique did help to fire our love for good bread. The feel of the dough through time and stretch and folds is amazing. We love the process!

      • Susan says:

        Hi, I have time on my hands, so will creating more sets of stretch and fold (say 5-6 sets) improve
        The crumb of my bread. Will this produce a more holey crumb.
        I really enjoy your technique of stretch and fold. Almost theauraputic.

        • Weekend Bakers says:

          Hi Susan,
          You will get a feel for the dough and the technique the more often you use it. As long as the dough cooperates you can do the sets, but it is not a case of ‘the more the better’. In general our recipes form a good indication of how much is needed and if your dough lacks a bit of plumpness, you can do one more for instance, but as soon as the dough does not cooperate anymore, there is no need to go on with it.

  6. r rehkemper says:

    Hello Marieke & Ed
    I love this recipe… you basically saved my life with the detailed descriptions!!! Thanks
    Have you ever tried to make this bread but slowed down the fermentation in the refrigerator for that it ferments longer. I keep reading that the longer fermenting breaks down the anti nutrients in grains which make them more easily digestible. (even for people with wheat/gluten allergies!!!-NOT for Celiac folks though)
    Thanks again,
    Renee in Chicago

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      As we have a chronic lack of space in our fridge we never have retarded bread our self at this moment. Indeed the longer the fermentation the easier it is to digest the bread, the yeast and bacteria have done some work for you!

  7. Pingback: Desembroden uit de houtoven - Niet Zomaar Een Taart

  8. Grace says:

    I’m so excited! I made my first sourdough bread with this recipe and it turned out exceeding my expectation! It’s very tasty with just a enough sour taste, crumbs are creamy and open, crust is crispy!
    I made my first starter from Peter Reinhart’s BBA book last week and wondering which recipe i should use to try out the starter. I could use the recipe in PR’s book but from my research on internet, i knew that the newer method is using stretch and folds. You guys got a great website and I was convinced that this is a good recipe to incorporate S&F. The only thing is that I’m from Canada we don’t have the same types of flour and also mine is not a rye starter. Anyway i just went ahead and made the bread yesterday. I wasn’t expecting that much because I didn’t see that much oven spring (may be i proof for too long?) and I had problem with my shaping that the top of loaf split open before it went into the oven. But all my problems were gone when I cut open the loaf. The crumbs were so nice!! And when I tasted it, I was really surprise at how good it was!
    Ok….don’t wanna say too much. In short, what a wonderful loaf of bread and I love your website. Thank you.
    See my pictures of the bread here: My personal notes on bread baking

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Thank you Grace for your wonderful feedback. You should be really proud to have achieved this result with a first attempt at a recipe. The rest are details that you can fine tune as you make the recipe more often, the best way to learn! Over proofing could be the cause of not much oven spring but there could also be other factors like not enough steam and oven temperature for instance.
      Keep up the wonderful baking and lots of loaves,

      Marieke & Ed

  9. David Rowthorn says:

    Could this be made with yeast instead of sourdough culture?

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello David,
      Yes that is possible, but there is more to it than just replacing the culture by yeast. You need to adjust times too, because with yeast, things will go quicker. Also, because of this, you will end up with a totally different loaf. We would recommend finding a recipe for a whole wheat yeast bread that already has all the right amounts and times.

  10. Elvira says:


    Sinds vorig jaar september bak ik elke week dit heerlijke brood. Geen ander brood komt hier nog het huis binnen! 😉
    Nou vroeg ik me alleen iets af: hoelang blijft desem goed in de koelkast als je het niet voert? Ik ga over een tijdje 5 weken op vakantie; kan ik het daarna weer gewoon gaan voeren en opnieuw gebruiken?

    Ik hoor het graag, bedankt alvast!

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hallo Elvira,
      We hebben zelf alleen ervaring met twee tot drie weken koelkast en dat werkt prima. Of het ook vijf weken goed zal gaan durven we niet helemaal te zeggen. Als je verder geen keuze hebt dan stellen we voor dat je het net voor vertrek ververst en dan ‘fingers crossed’ en inderdaad bij thuiskomst voeren (en op basis van geur en al dan niet enthousiaste groei kun je wel opmaken hoe dit experiment is gegaan).

      Succes ermee en vooral een heel fijne vakantie!

      Marieke & Ed

      • Elvira says:

        Beste Marieke en Ed,

        Nog even een berichtje om te laten weten dat het is gelukt: na 5 weken koelkast was m’n zuurdesem al na de eerste keer voeren enorm actief! Intussen heb ik er alweer verschillende broden mee gebakken, en het resultaat is hetzelfde — lees: geweldig — als vóór de lange vakantie, hoera ;-).


        • Weekend Bakers says:

          Hallo Elvira,

          Wat goed om te horen zeg! Het desem heeft duidelijk ook geprofiteerd van een lange vakantie. Heel mooi om te weten. Met recht hoera!

          Happy baking (weekend)!

          Marieke & Ed

          • Mirjam says:

            I have put my starter in the freezer. After getting back let it come to room temperature and gave it a feed. Perfect bubbly.

  11. Mila says:

    Mm I love your website! I’ve been picking a recipe pretty much every weekend and trying it out, the results have been fantastic (I also used your starter recipe!). I’m making this bread today, but I was generally curious if you have any tips on shaping triangle loaves. I have a triangle proofing basket. Last weekend I tried just shaping it a circle, then putting it into the basket in hopes that it will grow to be a triangle, but it just stayed a circle (delicious delicious circle nonetheless).

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Mila,
      Thank you so much! To be honest we have never shaped a triangle before, but we guess that indeed it should be pretty much pre-shaped as a triangle before going into the basket, like you would also do with round and oval loaves. We found this for you to help you:…rot-formt/ Think it could work, judging by the pictures.

      Happy triangle baking!

      Marieke & Ed

      • Mila says:

        Fantastic! Thanks so much 😀 I ended up doing something similar last weekend, but my crazy bread ended up expanding in both directions in the oven (up and down) and looked quite a bit like a triangular pillow. Perhaps the slashing I did wasn’t sufficient and it had nowhere else to go? The little boules I baked rose up okay. I’ll work on this next time (this weekend is high hydration rye bread, so I don’t get to slash it much).

        • Weekend Bakers says:

          We think your analyses could be spot on! Try to score deep enough, at the right angle and also right up to the edges of the bread. Bread always ruptures at the weakest points.
          Lots of fun with the hh rye bread and happy weekend baking!

          More tips on scoring your loaves and baguettes:…onfidence/

  12. christine says:

    I love you guys I feel so blessed to have found your site your breads are beautiful and all the help with all the recipes please add me to your subscription keep up all the amazing good work we all appreciate all your hard work so much

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Thank you so much Christine! About the subscription: You can enter your email address here: to get a feed of new postings. Hope this works for you or otherwise you will check back with us now and then.
      You can also follow our baking adventures on twitter:

      Thanks again and wishing you many happy baking days!


  13. Anna says:

    ik heb al eens eerder een vraag gesteld maar ik heb er nog een, namelijk dat mijn brood er niet luchtig uitkomt, hij is nogal compact en er zitten nauwelijks luchtgaten in.
    Moet ik beter ‘vouwen’ of ligt her ergens anders aan?
    Alvast bedankt

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hallo Anna,
      Er is een kans dat het brood niet lang genoeg de tijd heeft gehad om te rijzen. Ook kan het zo zijn dat de manier waarop je het deeg behandelt een rol speelt. Vooral als je nog wat minder ervaring hebt met natter deeg heb je misschien de neiging om het deeg te veel vast te pakken en ook om te veel meel toe te voegen (onbedoeld ook via je werkbank). We kunnen je aanraden onze tips voor nat deeg eens na te lezen:…ion-dough/
      Wat betreft het rijzen is het heel belangrijk dat het deeg de juiste temperatuur heeft zoals in onze recepten staat aangegeven.
      Zie hiervoor ook onze tips:…mperature/.

      Veel succes ermee!

      Ed & Marieke

      • Anna says:

        Na het kijken van de stretch and fold video zie ik dat mijn deeg niet zo ‘stretchy’ is.
        Zou dit inderdaad zoals jullie al zeiden door de temperatuur van het deeg en het behandelen van het deeg komen?
        Moet ik het deeg langer mixen?
        Heel er bedankt voor jullie tips!


        • Weekend Bakers says:

          Ja, dit speelt inderdaad een rol, naast het genoemde onbedoeld te veel toevoegen van bloem waardoor de structuur van het deeg verandert en het veel stijver wordt bijvoorbeeld. Dus niet bang zijn voor het natte deeg en gewoon doorgaan (gebruik een schraper om je te helpen het deeg te begeleiden) ook al is het heel plakkerig en krijg je deeg aan je handen. Veel oefenen en als vanzelf wordt je er handiger in waarbij je contactmoment met het deeg ook verkort en je minder ‘blijft plakken’. Als laatste kun je nog kijken naar het meel dat je gebruikt (zie ook:…our-types/).
          Als je een staande mixer gebruikt moet je zoals het recept aangeeft 6 minuten kneden, met de hand ongeveer het dubbele. Je kunt een minuutje langer kneden om te kijken of dit verschil maakt.

          Succes ermee!

          Marieke & Ed

  14. Pim says:

    Note to people living in the province of Noord-Holland: the local mill in Oosterblokker (near Hoorn) sells excellent high quality flour they mill themselves. Also, they have a little shop which is staffed by people with a mental disability. They sell coffee and nice tarts and breads and sandwiches. Worth a visit!
    Do check out their opening times though:

  15. Pim says:

    Great recipe, will try it out soon!
    However, I’m trying to cut on my wheat intake, and make more spelt breads instead. Since spelt has less good gluten development I’m struggling with it. You just cannot take wheat recipes and substitute the wheat for spelt.

    I tried the spelt ‘fluitjes’ before and love them, but I’m more fan of whole grain. But.. I also like big bubbles in my bread… Nice, soft bread, like the Tartine bread (made this one today and it turned out INSANELY GOOD, thanks!)

    Could you give me some hints on a recipe for a 65-75% whole spelt recipe that will rise properly and has good gluten development?

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Pim,
      You are very right, it is much harder. Not from our own experience but we do know a fellow baker that makes good spelt loaves (a combination of whole spelt and finer spelt flour I think) based on our Pain Rustique recipe (…-rustique/). You might want to try altering the hydration and times given in the recipe a bit to get to a good result.

      Happy baking!


  16. Petra Robinson says:

    I made the bread again today, this time I did the 6 minute kneading on low spead with my Kennwood Standmixer.
    The Dough was sticky but not wet, very easy to work with.
    It is proofing now in its basket and will be baked in 1 hour and 20 Minutes.
    I wonder how it turns out.

    When I did it the first time I mixed it with my Danish Dough Whisk until it came togehter but was a shaggy Mass, the dough was Wet and sticky, not easy to work with but I am used to wet Dough.
    The crumb had lovely big holes, the bigges holes more at the top.

    The taste was wonderful but not enough salt for my taste so I added 2 more g. of Salt now.

    I let you know how it turned out.

    • Petra Robinson says:

      I baked the bread last Night, used the Standmixer, did it per your instruction with the mixing and kneading time.
      The Bread was Denser and could hold it shape better , but I prefer the crumb texture the way I did it the first time with minimal kneading.

      I just used the Danish Dough Whisk to combine all Ingedients , no kneading, then did the fold and stretch and resting time as per your instructions.

      Maybe I just do not like using a standmixer lol

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Getting used to taking in less salt is something you have to do gradually> We adjusted the salt levels in our bread according to the new guidelines in Britain, found it a good idea because people get so much salt in their food each day. We did some tests with our bread friends and non of them noticed the difference which was great. We wrote about it in our newsletter a while ago:

      Salt: How much goes into your bread?
      Recently we took a closer look at the percentage of salt we put into our bread.
      If you are a big bread eater, chances are high you get a lot of your daily salt intake via your sandwiches. The UK recently came out with a new standard of 1 gram of salt per 100 grams of baked bread.
      We looked at our own baking and did a test with this new standard. For a standard pain rustique (750 g dough, weighing about 680 g after baking) this would mean lowering the added salt from 8 g to 6.8 g or from 1.17 g to 1 g per 100 g bread.
      We tested and tasted the bread with new salt content, together with some bread friends, several times. Result: We all had a very hard time noticing any difference. There is a line below which it would become noticeable of course, but this new standard is no problem for us.

      • Petra Robinson says:

        I agree, I am very good with less Salt, but in bread, it needs a bit umph for me;)
        To much Salt is not healthy, but in a whole loaf of bread 8 – 9 g. I think I can live with that:)

        This is our fav. bread now, thank you so much for the recep and my Rye Starter is doing a fine job:)

  17. Petra Robinson says:

    I have a question, when you say * Mixing * in your Recipes, do you mean by hand or with a Standmixer?
    I thought in a Standmixer or by hand it is * Kneading * when you do it over a period of 6 Minutes?
    It got me confused.


  18. Petra Robinson says:

    This is one of the finest Breads I have ever baked.

  19. Petra Robinson says:

    I baked this bread today, but instead of Wholewheat flour I used Wholemeal flour and it is sooooooooo good.
    The Stretch and fold Method is fantastic.

    I am nor sure why but the biggest hole in my bread are mort at the top.

    I so love your Site.

  20. Anna says:

    Ik heb een ‘probleempje’, ik heb namelijk een heteluchtoven en mijn korst komt er net iets te hard uit, terwijl de binnen kant nog iets te nat is! Wat is de oplossing voor dit probleem? Zou het alleen aan de oven liggen, of doe ik iets fout bij het brood zelf?
    Alvast bedankt


    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hallo Anna,
      We denken inderdaad aan je oven. Het zou een goed idee zijn je oventemperatuur (minimaal) 20 graden naar beneden bij te stellen denken we. Wat je ook doet, de baktijd moet wel echt altijd 40 tot 45 minuten zijn. Als je korst de juiste kleur heeft kun je zelfs de oven nog verder temperen naar 180 graden. Het is de bedoeling dat het brood aan de binnenkant ‘uit-kookt’ en gaar wordt en daarvoor moet het een temperatuur bereiken van ongeveer 93 graden. Dit kun meten met een digitale thermometer, dan weet je het echt pas zeker dat je brood goed gaar is (zie ook onze oven-tips:…your-oven/). Daar zie je ook de tip over ‘je echte oventemperatuur’.

      Hopelijk lukt het hiermee.

      Succes en happy baking,

      Ed en Marieke

  21. Elvira says:

    Beste bakkers,
    Gisteren voor het eerst een desembrood gebakken, volgens jullie Whole Wheat-recept. Ge-wel-dig lekker! Niet te zuur, lekkere korst, smeuïg kruim… Echt een heerlijk brood.
    Maar… ik ben een beetje afgeweken van het recept en daar had ik wat vragen over.
    – Ik ben helaas niet in het bezit van zo’n superstandmixer, dus ik heb een handmixer gebruikt. Omdat ik vermoedde dat die niet voldoende hard zou kneden, heb ik het deeg een extra rustperiode + stretch & fold gegeven, om zich goed te kunnen ontwikkelen. Is dat een logische redenering?
    – Ik vond het deeg aanvankelijk erg stug, en heb er daarom ietsje extra water bij gedaan. Uiteindelijk, na al die rustperiodes en stretch & folds, werd het zo zacht en soepel dat het waarschijnlijk z’n vorm niet zou behouden in de oven. Dus toen heb ik het laten rijzen in een rijsmandje, de oven voorverwarmd met daarin een gietijzeren pan met deksel (à la no-knead bread), en het deeg toen – hup – in de gloeiendhete pan gekieperd en met deksel 30 minuten laten bakken en zonder nog eens 30. Het resultaat: geweldig, zoals gezegd.
    Nu vraag ik me alleen 2 dingen af: 1.) Had ik dat extra water achterwege moeten laten? Is het zo dat deeg met al dat rusten en stretchen & folden vanzelf soepeler wordt? (Ik heb nog niet zo veel broodbakervaring.) En vraag 2.): Is het zo dat het deeg-in-de-panconcept zorgt voor een goeie vochthuishouding? M.a.w: de eerste 30 minuten blijft het vocht uit het brood in de pan, wat zorgt voor een mooie ‘oven spring’?
    In elk geval werkte het wel, maar ik wil altijd graag weten waaróm iets werkt ;-). Hoop dat jullie het weten, hartelijk dank alvast voor jullie antwoord én voor de inspirerende website!

    Vriendelijke groet,

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Beste Elvira,
      Als je deeg kneedt wordt het eerst wat droger en als je dan door kneedt wordt het langzaam weer wat vochtiger. Het oogt vrij snel wat droog in de eerste minuten van het kneden maar dit is geen goede indicatie voor hoe het later wordt. Dus..volgende keer zelfde recept en methode maar zonder dat extra water want het recept heeft al een hoge hydratatie (verklaard ook waarom je deeg zo zacht en soepel werd!). De deeg in pan is helemaal top en je hebt helemaal gelijk wat betreft de waterhuishouding en stoomvoorziening. Je zou zelfs de deksel er al wat eerder af kunnen halen, want het brood is dan gestabiliseerd en de stoom heeft haar werk ook na 20 minuten al gedaan (eigenlijk al veel sneller). Ook de baktijd zou misschien terug kunnen naar 45 tot 50 minuten (voor 750 g deeg). Maar omdat je al zo een goed resultaat had zou ik zeggen, niet te veel tegelijk veranderen en eerst even alleen dat extra water weglaten zodat je goed kunt beoordelen hoe dat uit pakt.

      Fijn dat het al zo geweldig gaat. Ga zo door!

      Happy Baking,

      Ed & Marieke

      • Elvira says:

        Beste Ed en Marieke,

        Dank jullie wel voor het heldere en uitgebreide antwoord. Ik heb vandaag opnieuw dit brood gebakken en toch twéé dingen veranderd (ik ben nu eenmaal eigenwijs ;-)): ik heb geen extra water toegevoegd en ik heb de baktijd verkort met 8 minuten. Het is nog beter geworden dan de vorige versie! Hoger gerezen, heerlijk smeuïg kruim en een geweldige smaak. Wel heb ik nogmaals de extra stretch & fold + 50 min. rust gedaan; dat lijkt een goede compensatie voor de matige kneding met de handmixer.

        Ik had nog wel één vraag: zijn er standaarden voor de baktijd ten opzichte van de hoeveelheid deeg? Stel dat ik een brood wil maken dat 20% zwaarder is (mijn gietijzeren pan is tamelijk groot), verleng je dan ook de baktijd met 20%? Of is dat te simpel gedacht?

        Bedankt voor het delen van jullie rijke bakkennis!
        Vriendelijke groeten,

        • Weekend Bakers says:

          Hoi Elvira,
          Zo werk je toe naar je eigen perfecte brood! Heel mooi.
          Wat betreft baktijden kun je aanhouden dat je voor elke 250 gram extra deeg je ongeveer 10 minuten extra baktijd hebt (dit gaat niet oneindig door maar gaat wel op voor deze hoeveelheden deeg).
          Uitgaande van 25 minuten bij 250 g deeg. Dan krijg je 35 minuten voor 500 g deeg, 45 minuten voor 750 g en 55 minuten voor 1 kg. Jouw 20% plus deeg zal dan zo rond de 50 minuten baktijd liggen uitgaande van bovenstaand recept.

          Succes ermee en nog veel meer mooie broden!

          Lots of loaves,

          Ed & Marieke

          • Elvira says:

            Bedankt voor de rekenmethode; heel handig om te weten!
            Intussen zijn er al prachtige broden uit mijn oven gekomen. Ik ben volop aan het experimenteren met verhoudingen meel/bloem, met de hydratatie (mijn biologische tarwemeel vraagt toch iets meer water dan het recept voorschrijft, ben ik inmiddels achter), met de kneedmethode (ik kneed intussen met hand + deegschraper; gaat prima met dit tamelijk vochtige deeg) en met de baktijd.
            Volgende week maar eens een van jullie andere broodrecepten proberen. Leuk hoor, dat bakwerk!

            Bedankt voor alle informatie,

  22. Candy says:

    Your website is wonderful! Thank you for such wonderful instructions for making healthy bread. I have been trying to teach myself to make bread for several years and your site has the most complete instructions that I have found.
    However, I am confused about the flour types used in this recipe. I have a grain mill and usually grind my four fresh. I have some hard wheat berries and some soft wheat berries. This recipe calls for whole wheat bread flour and wheat bread flour. I am thinking that the soft wheat would be used for the whole wheat bread flour and the hard wheat for the wheat bread flour. Would that be correct?

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Candy,
      Thanks for your very kind words. Very nice to have your own grain mill!
      In general hard wheat with higher protein content and more gluten is used for bread. Hard wheat (usually hard spring wheat) has a higher gluten content (between 11% and 13%) and is excellent for baking bread. Soft wheat has a lower gluten content (between 9% and 11%) and is often used in all purpose flour and pastry flour which gives a more crumbly texture. Soft flour is usually divided into cake flour, which is the lowest in gluten, and pastry flour, which has slightly more gluten than cake flour. To make things more complex, you can make whole wheat flour from soft wheat and patent flour from hard wheat and vice versa.
      So in your case it would help to know the protein content of your flour, but that is difficult of course. Our suggestion would be to try and use the hard wheat first.
      Whole wheat: The coarse ground complete wheat grain, contains the whole kernel ((extraction rate: 100%). Wheat flour has a percentages of the bran sifted off (the wheat flour we use as our basic bread flour has an extraction rate of around 78%).

      Also check out our little piece on flour types:…our-types/

      Hope this information is helpful to you.

      Happy milling and baking,

      Ed & Marieke

  23. Pingback: Pane integrale al lievito madre con miele e lavanda – Wholemeal bread with sourdough, honey and lavender – Pain complet au levain avec miel et lavande | Family, bakery and country

  24. Joel says:

    I used your site to make my first wild yeast sourdough starter using wild yeast caught in Dubai, and this whole wheat loaf sounds like a great use for it.

    I have one question about the recipe, though. I don’t have a mixer, just a bowl, spoon, and my hands. What would be your instructions to mix the dough by hand? Do I need to knead it? I’m specifically referring to the “mix for 6 minutes” part of the recipe.


    p.s. The instructions for the starter were fantastic, I especially liked the picture of the jar with all of the markings. That made everything clear for me. Thanks for making the instructions available!

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Joel,
      It all sounds very good, keep up the fantastic baking and starter making and maintaining! You can indeed replace the 6 minute mixing by kneading the dough with your hands. Keep in mind that this will take a bit longer (also depending on your kneading skills) around 10 to 12 minutes. Hope you will have great results. Don’t forget to check out our tips on dough temperature and the use of your oven for example. They can really help you achieve better baking results. See:…king-tips/

      Happy Baking in Dubai,

      Marieke & Ed

  25. Erik says:

    Hoi Ed en Marieke,

    Met dit recept heb ik het probleem dat het deeg aan de banneton blijft plakken. Ik heb dit recept nu drie keer gemaakt en telkens blijft het deeg aan de banneton plakken. De derde keer heb ik nog veel extra meel in de banneton gedaan maar dit mocht niet baten. Hebben jullie enig idee waarom dit gebeurd en nog belangrijker, hoe ik dit kan voorkomen? Heeft het misschien met het soort bloem of meel te maken waardoor ik iets minder water moet gebruiken? Ik gebruik trouwens een banneton van houtpulp.


    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hoi Erik,
      Om je vraag beter te beantwoorden: Mogen we vragen hoe lang je deeg gemiddeld in de mandjes zit /rijst en hoe nat (percentage) je deeg is?

      • Erik says:


        Ik heb dezelfde verhoudingen gebruikt als beschreven in jullie recept, dus 70%. En ik heb ongeveer 3 uur laten rijzen op kamertemperatuur (20-21 graden). Het brood zelf was heerlijk en was ook aardig gerezen in de oven, maar doordat hij vast plakte aan de banneton is hij zijn vorm verloren en plat geworden.
        Nu zit er een brood in de oven met een water percentage van 65%. Het deeg kwam nu wel beter uit de banneton, maar het plakte er toch nog een beetje aan vast. Ik merkte op dat het deeg vooral plakt aan de randen in de banneton en niet aan de groeven. Heb je misschien tips hoe ik ervoor kan zorgen dat er meer meel op de randen blijft zitten? Is het misschien een goed idee om “how to break in a banneton
        ” proces nog een keer te herhalen? Voorheen kwamen de broden trouwens perfect uit de banneton.


        ps. Bedankt voor deze goede site met veel heerlijke recepten en duidelijke uitleg!

        • Weekend Bakers says:

          Hoi Erik,
          Je geeft eigenlijk al antwoord op je eigen vraag :)
          Ik zou het proces inderdaad nog een keer herhalen en zorgen dat het hele mandje inclusief randen goed ‘behandeld’ is. Bij het inbloemen, voor je het deeg erin legt, gooi je als het ware de bloem ook goed tegen de wanden van het mandje aan. Misschien moet je in eerste instantie nog een beetje overdrijven met inbloemen (je kunt de overtollige bloem dan na het bakken nog wat afborstelen).
          En als je brood met het omkeren van het mandje er niet meteen uit valt dan moet je even rustig heen en weer wiegen met het mandje en de zwaartekracht haar werk laten doen, niet te veel en te hard schudden.

          Hoop dat je er wat aan hebt!

          Happy Baking,

          Ed en Marieke

          • Erik says:

            Hoi Ed & Marieke,

            Bedank voor jullie reactie. En ik ga het mandje de volgende keer nog beter inbloemen. Hopelijk wordt hij dan helemaal perfect. :-)



  26. Lesley Broadbent says:

    Hi, what a wonderful website this is! I have only been making bread since April when I watched Paul Hollywood on TV in the UK and he inspired me to have a go.

    I made my own sourdough starter and it’s been performing very well. I made your white bread Pain Levain the other day and I can honestly say it’s the best bread I’ve ever made – my husband was so impressed. Today I have been making the wholewheat version of the Pain Levain and it’s now on its final proof in the banetton. However, I have one question for you. Do I have to use the poolish within 12 hours of making it? I can’t always get the timing right and something comes up to divert me. This morning I used it after it had sat for 14 hours and I didn’t know whether it would work as well. So if you can give me some guidance I’d be very grateful. Obviously I realise that the ambient temperature in the kitchen makes a lot of difference. I put last night’s poolish in my pantry as it is a little cooler so I’m hoping that’s OK?

    Thanks again for any help you can give.

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello Lesley,
      You’ve already figured some things out for yourself and made the right decisions by looking for a cooler place if you want to slow down the fermentation process. Next to temperature you can also control it by the amount of yeast you put in. This is a handy schedule:
      Poolish up to 8 hours in advance – 0,23% – 0,33%
      Poolish up to 12 hours in advance – 0,1% – 0,2%
      Poolish up to 16 hours in advance – 0,03% – 0,08%
      The first row if figures is for warmer weather, the second for colder.

      Your prepared will not suddenly collapse after 12 hours by the way (I think the poolish you made will be fine the way you handled it). But If you are working with pre-fermented doughs like poolish or biga it is important to make sure not to ‘over ripe’ your pre-ferment. This is especially true when using larger percentages of preferment in your final dough (think up to 50%) because over riping will kill the gluten in your preferment (the yeast will eat them all) and you will end up with a weaker and hard to handle dough. You will notice this by the shrinking of the poolish in the bowl.

      So if you think you will not be using your poolish for quite some time over the 12 hour period it is best to keep it in the fridge and take it out an hour or so before using it.

      Hope this helps and you will have more wonderful loaves!

      Marieke & Ed

      • Lesley Broadbent says:

        Hi again,

        Thanks for all the information. I think I understand about the amount of sourdough starter in the poolish. If I put in less, then the preferment will be slower? I just have to get used to the fact the making bread your way means a lot less sourdough starter, so I will have to start giving it away.

        Yesterday’s final proofing went completely to pot! I didn’t get back in time to put it in the oven and so its final proofing was over 4 hours. When I tipped it out of the banetton it collapsed and went quite flat. It was still delicious, but today I am making another and I won’t make the same mistake again! I suppose I should have put the banetton in the fridge and brought it out when I was ready to give it my full attention.

        Anyway, I am learning and hopefully tonight’s loaf will be much better. Thank you for all your help and encouragement.

        • Weekend Bakers says:

          Yes Lesley, next time the fridge would be a good option if you cannot predict how long you will be away!

          Happy Baking!


  27. Miki says:

    Hi, I enjoyed this recipe very much. I am experimenting with sourdough, and this was my second bread. The first was the Tartine recipe, which was also very nice but unfortunately the dough got stuck to my proofing basket so I think wiggling it out affected the rise. Nevertheless, the taste was wonderful

    The only adaptation I made to the recipe is that I baked it on a pizza stone while the bread was covered by a cast iron skillet for the first 25 minutes at 230 degrees celsius and then I baked the bread for another 15 minutes uncovered. I had a nice oven spring en the crumb was nice as was the colour of the crust. I also used a bit more salt, 9 instead of 7 grams, because I know in general I like my bread a bit saltier.

    The only thing I may try is to incorporate an autolyse in order to make the handling of the wet dough easier.

  28. tini says:

    Hi there,

    I just got my bread out of the oven and it turned out great. The taste is yummy and the crumb is nice as well, but I didn’t get as much rise as you did and also the “pores” of my bread are smaller than yours. Any ideas?
    Thank you! Even one of my 3 year olds wanted some for “coffee”, also she then also switched to cookies, like her twin…


    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Tini,
      We do have a few suggestions for things to look out for with your next bakes. First of all the dough temperature in relation to the proper proofing of the bread. Maybe there is some improvement possible especially with these tips on dough temperature:…mperature/
      Also try to keep the use of extra flour while handling the dough to a minimum, because otherwise you will change the hydration and thus the structure of the bread. More tips that may help you in this area:…ion-dough/
      Finely the oven is a big factor in how the bread turns out. Maybe you did not use steam or not enough steam to aid your bread with the important oven rise, the first minutes of of the baking time. Yesss…even more tips on this subject:…your-oven/

      It usually is a combination of these factors that determine how your loaf turns out. You just need to tackle them one by one, make notes and bake a lot to get to that perfect loaf. But in the meantime as you have already discovered together with the 3 year olds, already eat delicious bread!

      Happy Baking!

      Marieke & Ed

  29. Kat says:

    Thanks! Yes, I’m going to give it a go later this week. I really hope I have success and will let you know how it goes. Like you say, might need some tweaks before I get it right.

    • Kat says:

      Well….it was a success! I started the poolish yesterday morning and then followed recipe from 8-11 last night. After I shaped the bread I put in banneton, in an airtight bag and put in fridge. Took out this morning 10.5 hours later, but finger print was fully springing back so left it a bit longer. Only took an hour at room temp then was ready to bake! Came out lovely.

      Now I’m sure its not perfect (but then again I’m not sure mine usually are) but its as good as it usually is…and I’m delighted. Evenings are no problem for me but with a small child I wasn’t making as often as I’d like as we need to get out the house in the day.
      Also made pain rustique which was also a success!

      Thanks for the site!

      A happy baker :)

      • Kat says:

        Sorry – also made pain naturel!

      • Weekend Bakers says:

        Hee Kat,
        That sounds absolutely marvelous! Thanks for the feedback. It is always great to hear about these variations that work out as planned.
        Keep up the good baking!

        Ed & Marieke

  30. Kat says:

    Hello! Love this loaf and so easy to make. I was wondering if you can give Mr some guidance on doing the final proofing in the fridge? I would like to make this more often than time will allow and if I could proof it overnight and cook in the morning occasionally it would be very helpful. Is it ok to do this?

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Yes that is very well possible. The retarding of the final dough is something that is done by many bakers. We have not tried it ourselves (never enough fridge space) so we cannot help you much with what the exact outcome will be and what times and optimum amounts of culture would produce the best bread following this method (a bit of tweaking might be in order). Usually you will see some blistering on the crust of the bread. Funnily enough American bakers view this as an asset, French bakers find it a defect. One tip we can give you is to put your proofing basket inside a big plastic bag and inflate it, so the dough has no contact with the plastic and it does not dry out.
      Maybe you will be so good as to let us know how the method turned out for you too?!

      Good luck with it and happy baking!

      Marieke & Ed

  31. Chris says:

    Yesterday, very late, out of the oven. This morning a couple of delicious slices of this whole wheat loaf. Nice crispy crust a firm crumb with a nice bite. Taste….? Well, not enough words to describe. Let’s call it ‘delicious’!
    Shapewise there is room for improvement. Out of the proofing baskets it looked ok. One of the two was slashed a bit deeper than the other and, once in the oven, turned out flatter than the other. I guess there was not enough tension in the dough to keep shape.
    Next time (soon!) a chance to improve.

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hee Chris,
      That’s what also keeps you baking, immediately after the last bake you have these ideas on how to do it just a little bit better or different. For us it really helps to take notes, so next weekend we take our notes and still know exactly what we did last bake and want to do now (score less deep, bake 5 minutes more, slightly different oven temp, more water etc.).
      Good analyses on the tension, the shaping plays a big part in how the bread can develop in the oven.

      The great part is, not perfect home made bread is still delicious and way better in many ways than store bought.

      Happy Baking,

      Ed & Marieke

  32. Anna says:

    Hello Ed en Marieke,

    I would like to ask you where I can find more recipes (books) which use a little amount of sourdough starter. In a poolish or otherwise. I like the fact that I only have to maintain one (rye) starter, use and store just less of it than in most other recipes I found. Also the bread doesn’t taste as sour, using a little bit of starter.


    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Thanks for your comment Anna. The method you find in our own recipes has evolved from studying different bread books and combining things we thought would work. For example the pain rustique started out as a yeast bread without any shaping and with us became a hybrid (with sourdough) with added shaping technique.
      There is (to our knowledge) not one book that is full of only sourdough recipes that uses the method (with maintaining the small amount of starter) that we prefer too. All books (and bakers) have their own method and lots of them use /maintain larger amounts of starter. So we usually do some recalculating and adapting to come to a method and recipe that works for us. The book that has worked and is in our eyes still the best book around to learn everything there is to know about artisan bread is still ‘Bread’ by Jeffery Hamelman. There are several sourdough recipes in this book but also lots of other (yeast based) bread recipes.
      Other recipes we can truly recommend that use the preferred method are our pain naturel:…n-naturel/
      the ‘miche’ bread:…g-a-miche/ (Big loaf but you can make half for a smaller loaf). And the San Fransisco sourdough:…ugh-bread/

      Happy Baking!

      Ed & Marieke

  33. Pingback: FRAM’s bakery: Whole wheat sourdough bread « Adventures in FRAM land

  34. Tom says:

    Het is goed gelukt. De smaak is echt lekker! Ik vind jullie website fantastisch :)
    Een ding: mijn deeg is precies niet zo goed gerezen. Ik had een brood van 22cm diameter en 6 cm hoog. Of is dat normaal dat hij niet zo hoog is. Ik heb het deeg wel laten rijzen op een plateau en niet in een rijsmandje. Zou zo’n mandje helpen?


    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hallo Tom,
      Ja, dit nattere deeg kan tijdens de rijs wel een beetje steun gebruiken, en een rijsmandje geeft ook vorm aan het deeg. Maar ook het juiste vormen zelf (shapen) van het deeg en het goed opspannen helpt mee, evenals de condities in je oven. (zie tips:…your-oven/). Het is juist een uitdaging om het de volgende keer net weer wat beter te krijgen. Wat betreft het rijzen kun je ook eens goed naar de temperatuur van je deeg kijken.
      Deze tips kunnen je daar zeker bij helpen:…mperature/

      Heel veel bakplezier en mooie broden!

      Ed en Marieke

  35. Anna says:

    I noticed that you use very little sourdough culture, compared to the recipes I’ve seen or tried. For instance, the bread I baked today contained 130 grams of culture, 243 grams of flour, 130 grams of water and 6.2 grams of salt. A lot of culture. And I still managed to create I brick instead of a nice bread! :-)

    Is there a reason why you use so little culture and how come it is enough to create a voluptuous dough/bread? (and I created a small brick instead?)


    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello again Anna,
      There seem to be two schools of thought when it comes to using sourdough cultures in recipes for bread making. One tells you to refresh your starter the day before baking and add a large amount of this starter to your final dough on baking day. The second tells you to build a poolish by using a small amount of sourdough added to equal amounts of flour and water and let it ferment (ripe) for usually around 12 hours. It more or less comes down to the same result as in the first method you use your starter as a poolish, but the downside of this is you have to maintain a large amount of starter. With the second method you maintain a small amount and let it increase in size the day before baking in a separate container. With this second method you do not have to throw away as much starter when you refresh (feed/ maintain) it.
      This is also why most of our recipes use this method that tells you to build a poolish type preferment with a small amount of culture.
      Another advantage of this method is you can use a rye starter (easier to maintain) with regular white sourdough loaves, as the amount of rye used is so small you will (almost) not notice it in the final bread.

      If you want to try ‘our’ method we can recommend starting with this recipe for pain naturel:…n-naturel/ The resting and proofing times given in the recipe are correct only if your dough is about 24 to 25 degrees Celsius, if it is less, it can take longer. So it is important to be patient when making and baking sourdough bread.

      Good luck with the baking and a very good weekend!


      • Anna says:

        Thanks so much for getting me started. I have a lot of questions, don’t I !? :-) But I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it eventually.

        The recipes I’m trying for this weekend, use a large amount of starter, but in a poolish! They also say that I have to get the amount of starter needed, out of the fridge at night and make the poolish the night after. But if I feed my starter and put it somewhere at room temperature, 6-12 hours rest should be enough, right?

        Can I, using your method, take some starter out of the fridge in the morning, feed it in a separate container and make the poolish the same evening? Took some out at 8 am this morning and now it has already tripled its former size!

        Thanks again and my compliments on the website!


        • Weekend Bakers says:

          Yes, you should be absolutely fine doing that. You can always adapt the water temperature (use lukewarm) if your culture should need a bit of help and you want to speed things up, but sounds like at the moment it is already very active so no problem making the poolish later and hopefully some wonderful bread baking tomorrow!

          Have a great baking weekend,


  36. Tom says:

    Na jullie Crusty white loaf wil ik deze eens proberen.
    Ik heb 2 vragen:
    – moet je voor 2 broden ook de poolish verdubbelen?
    – ik heb gewoon volkoren tarwemeel staan, maar ook volroggemeel, Kan het volroggemeel hier ook voor gebruikt worden?

    Het crusty white loaf was trouwens overheerlijk!


    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hallo Tom,
      Ja, voor twee broden moet je alles verdubbelen dus ook de poolish!
      Voor dit recept kun je het beste volkoren tarwemeel gebruiken. Met roggemeel krijg je echt een ander resultaat. Rogge bevat minder gluten, dus je brood zal dan wat compacter en platter worden en ook de opname van vocht is iets anders met rogge.
      Als je van rogge houdt kunnen we ook dit brood van harte aanbevelen:…h-raisins/

      Fijn dat de crusty white al zo goed is bevallen. Heel veel mooie broden nog!

      Marieke & Ed

  37. Caren says:

    Dear Weekend Bakery,

    many thanks for this recipe! I just tasted my first home made sourdough loaf and it is so delicious! Crusty on the outside and soft and light on the inside. YUM! And I even used a cheap flour so it should be even better with nicer ingredients. As a German in England I do miss good bread and I am glad I found out how to make it thanks to you. I also learned how to make a starter sourdough from your website. It is really easy, and your recipes are very clear and easy to follow.

    I am looking forward to trying out other recipes on your website as well. Thank you for sharing your knowledge :)


  38. SloppyBaker says:

    Hello Ed & Marieke,

    Many, many thanks for your instructions. Kneading turn out to be key. My old baking machine ended up in the dustbin, and I developed muscled hands! No more sloppy work.
    Today I made my best loaf ever. (Pity I cannot post a picture)
    PS. I found out that the flour from the IJsselstein mill is also tremendous!

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello Mr. Sloppy,
      Glad to hear it all worked out as expected. From here on the only way is up and I am sure you will bake many more delicious loafs. Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing the tip about IJsselstein.

      Happy Baking,


      PS: We are working on the picture adding thing!

  39. Carla says:

    Hello Ed and Marieke,
    Yesterday I made my version of this bread recipe with a part whole wheat flour and a part dutch organic “meergranenmeel” (don’t know the english term for this kind of flour). I also used your sourdough-culture in the preferment. The taste of the bread was great!!!!
    There was one thing I noticed while I was making the dough; I’ve made this type of bread a couple of times now but with my own sourdough-starter which is made from rye and bread flour (50-50) and water with equal quantities water and flour-mixture. When I’m making the final dough I have to use more water then mentioned in the recipe but with the poolish made from your 100% rye-starter the dough didn’t need extra water. Is this because of the difference in flour-content in the sourdough-starter that the dough absorbs less water?
    Anyway the results matters and this recipe is fantastic!
    Thank you for sharing your recipes and experiences through this website with us!


    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Carla,
      So glad the rye culture is alive and doing well and giving great results. We discussed a few ‘theories’ as to why you did not need to use more water like you normally do, but we can only come up with with things that would make just a tiny bit of difference. Like the fact that we made our culture rather stiff so if would survive the journey to you. But after that you fed it and the difference in water content with your regular starter would be minimal.
      We found that each time we open a new bag of flour, same type, same brand, there can still be a difference in water absorption and we regularly have to adjust the amount of water, somewhere between 1 and 4%.
      Anyway, glad you like the recipe so much and you we love to share much more bread recipes and theories in the future!

      Happy baking,

      Marieke & Ed

      • Carla says:

        Hi Marieke & Ed,
        I just read your commend on my scribble and you gave me the answer to my “water” problem/puzzle. The adjustment of 1-4% water with different bags of flour is right in comparison with my own experiences. When I’m adding extra water it is about 1 or 1,5 tablespoon of water so that is within the mentioned margin. Glad to read that you have to make such adjustments as well, it gives me the confidence that I’m doing alright.

        Thank you and till next time,

        • Weekend Bakers says:

          About opening a new bag of flour and where this difference may come from: Jeffrey Hamelman writes in his book ‘bread’ about the difference in spring and winter wheat and the difference the use can make in baking results. Winter wheat is considered best for baking artisan loafs, in general it contains a bit less gluten but the ‘kind’ of gluten it contains is better suited for long fermentation.

  40. Naomi says:

    Gisteren het deeg bereid en in de nacht in de koelkast laten rijzen. Vanochtend extra vroeg opgestaan om het in de oven te doen (dus niet eerst nog gevouwen en laten rijzen) en in de oven. Helaas kon ik het niet aansnijden voordat ik naar mijn werk ging, maar het huis rook heerlijk!
    Had ook een prachtige ovenrijs (het insnijden – ‘scoring’) lukt mij nog niet zo goed, dus het brood rees alle kanten op.
    Terug uit het werk zag ik dat het brood al half op was, kennelijk heeft manlief er van genoten! En ik ook. Wat een heerlijk brood!
    Heel erg bedankt voor het recept. Zal het zeker vaker gebruiken!

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hallo Naomi,
      Het is heel dankbaar ‘werk’ broodbakken voor jezelf en anderen en alleen de geur al is een geweldige beloning.
      En bij iedere nieuwe poging krijg je het een beetje meer in de vingers, ook het insnijden, gewoon blijven oefenen!
      Misschien heb je nog wat aan onze tips over ‘scoring with confidence’:…onfidence/

      Happy Baking,


  41. SloppyBaker says:

    Hello Weekend Bakers!

    I desperately want to be able to bake levain breads like the one’s you describe on your gorgeous site!

    I am trying this for several months now, starting with recipes from other sites. Your recipe here, although I followed it to the letter, brought me no luck either.

    Two things go wrong always, whatever recipe I follow:
    1: The final proofing takes endless! Ten hours or more is no exception.
    2: Whatever I do (knead, stretch and fold) the dough remains wet and sloppy.

    I did succeed in making the rye sourdough starter, that now, as far as I can see, has the qualities you describe in your instructions. (smell, structure, etc.)

    During the whole process I kept the dough at a temperature of 23-26 degrees C., thermostat controlled.

    I use whole wheat flour of organic origin.

    For the final proofing I use a proofing basket (boule). When I finally have to decide that it has taken enough(!) time, and try to turn the basket over, the dough runs out as a sloppy mass. It looks like a cow dropping! It sticks to everything it touches……

    Somewhere, somehow, I do something consistantly wrong. But what?

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello Mister SloppyBaker,
      Without having the benefit of looking at your dough it looks like your flour could be low in gluten. Did you ever try to bake a crusty loaf with yeast (recipe on our website) to check out if your gluten in your bread flour are able to make a good bread?
      And did you use 45% bread flour and 55% whole wheat as in our recipe or did you use 100% whole wheat, because you need a bread flour, high in protein, to make a lighter whole wheat loaf. 100% whole wheat loafs tend to be more ‘brick’ like, you will not get the result you see in the pictures above.
      Proofing for 10 hours is very long and will also weaken the gluten structure.
      Have you read our article on how to check if your loaf has proofed and the story about double in size? Can be helpful too maybe:…e-in-size/
      And you can see what our dough for this recipe looks like in this little clip so you can compare:…g-a-boule/

      Really want you to get that wonderful loaf. Just give it another go, (so maybe change brand of flour also) and you will get there!

      Good luck with it!

      Marieke & Ed

      • SloppyBaker says:

        Dank Marieke en Ed voor jullie prompte reactie.

        Nu maar in onze moerstaal:
        Ja, ik bakte vele broden met gist, met succes. Hydratatie 60% (300 g water op 500 g meel, maar ook met gist slaag ik er niet in een stevig deeg met een hogere hydratatie te maken)
        Ja, ik volgde jullie recept tot op de gram nauwkeurig.
        Ja, ik las jullie artikel over rijzen, en weet dat je er een deukje in moet drukken dat net niet terugkeert. (Volumevergroting treed bij mij pas na úren op!)
        Ik laat mijn meel in de eerste fasen ‘rusten’ in een kom in een rijstkoker die ik met een geijkte thermostaat op temperatuur hou. De rijsfase zelf in een duits rijsmandje in de oven, opnieuw voorzien van een externe thermometer… (plm 24 gr C.)
        Ik probeerde van álles en wordt er nu toch wel een beetje gek van..

        Ik kocht mijn meel in de groene winkel: Demeter volkoren van “De Nieuwe Band”. De bloem is minder verantwoord: “Bloem voor witbrood” van Soubry.

        Tja, wat kan ik zeggen? Of ligt het misschien aan het feit dat ik het initiële meng- en kneedwerk aan een oude broodbakmachine overlaat?

        Veel dank voor jullie prachtige stek!


        • Weekend Bakers says:

          Hallo meneer Sloppy,
          Aha, die laatste zin, voordat je ons bedankt, over die broodbakmachine, dat is wel een beetje een ‘eye opener’ voor ons. Wij kunnen ons niet zo goed voorstellen dat je met zo een minuscuul deeghaakje op de bodem van de gemiddelde broodbakmachine voldoende glutenontwikkeling krijgt. In de meeste broodbak-mixen zitten allerlei toevoegingen om dat kleine deeghaakje te compenseren en toch vooral een redelijk brood te krijgen uit de broodbakmachine.

          Wij kneden het deeg voor dit recept 6 minuten met een flinke deeghaak waarbij een gemiddelde glutenontwikkeling ontstaat. Onze suggestie zou dus zijn om dit initiële meng- en kneedwerk anders aan te pakken of in ieder geval een flink aantal minuten met de hand na te kneden.

          Een tweede suggestie zou zijn om toch eens een ander ‘merk’ meel en bloem te proberen. Misschien heb je ook een molen in de buurt waarvan je wat zou kunnen uitproberen. Onze ervaring is dat ook daar grote verschillen in kunnen zitten. Wij hebben goede ervaringen met biologisch meel van De zandhaas uit Santpoort en ook over dat van de molen in Woudrichem horen wij enthousiaste berichten. De molen in Groesbeek (Zuidmolen) bij Nijmegen heeft ook biologische melen en ook heel veel andere soorten en ze bezorgen ook bij je thuis. Ten opzichte van het Demeter meel zou het ook nog wel eens goedkoper kunnen uitvallen.

          Mocht dit niet het gewenste resultaat opleveren dan zou je nogmaals eens naar je starter cultuur kunnen kijken en die voeden met een ander merk biologisch roggemeel (misschien ook van de molen).

          Maar beginnen met het kneedwerk dat lijkt ons de meest voor de hand liggende optie.

          Succes ermee!

          Ed en Marieke

  42. Richard Garcia says:

    I have been playing around with various sourdough recipes scoured from around the Internet. The recipe here has been one I have tested successfully a few times. My children are very appreciative of my efforts! Yesterday I experimented with retardation of the fermentation in the refrigerator. I followed the recipe here, but then placed the dough in the refrigerator after the autolyse and first stretch and fold. The next morning I did one cold stretch and fold, then proofed in a basket for 4 hours. The result was a loaf with a wonderful crumb, moist and filled with holes. There was not an overwhelming sourness either.

    I have also successfully reproduced the pain rustique, but prefer the natural leavening and whole wheat utilized in this sourdough. I really appreciate what you have done here and look forward to attempting some of the other recipes on this site.

    Thank you!

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello Richard,
      Thank you so much for your very nice comment. The whole wheat is a favorite of many of our bread friends. It is also interesting to vary the amount of whole wheat or try the recipe with whole spelt flour. So many options.
      It has surprised me how well children love this bread and the pain rustique, because I would have expected them to go for white and fluffy, but I was totally wrong. They love it, even eating it plain. It is so very rewarding to bake while people of all ages are so appreciative of your efforts :)

      Keep up the happy baking!


  43. Nancy says:

    Hello Weekendbakers,
    In your recipes you make a Poolish first and with the Poolish you make the bread. What is the difference with recipes in which you start with flower, water and sourdough and salt.
    At the moment I’m still busy with the sourdough starter, but I can’t wait to start baking my own sourdough bread.
    Kind regards,

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello Nancy,
      There are different methods for making preferments, one of which is a poolish, equal parts flour and water, no salt, another method is making a ‘complete dough’ (simulating using leftover dough, like the French do, Pâte Fermentée is a French term that refers to a dough that is made before the bulk of the main bread dough is put together and allowed to mature or ‘ferment‘.) There’s also the ‘biga’, like poolish but less wet. The reason we prefer to use poolish is the more elastic structure of the crumb in the end result and the easy stirring when preparing the poolish. So, a matter of personal taste and preference really:). It is interesting to try different preferments and see what you like best.

      Also see:…lish-biga/

      Good luck with the starter and the baking,


  44. Kevin says:


    Quick question on this bread…should the dough double in size between the initial mixing of everything and the final shaping?

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Kevin,
      During the bulk fermentation phase of 150 minutes you should definitely see good growth in dough size (double in size is a tricky subject, we are busy doing a posting on that topic). Just make sure your dough temperature is around 25 degrees Celsius so the timing corresponds with the timing in the recipe to get the best result.
      See also our tips on this subject:…mperature/

      Good luck and happy baking,

      Ed and Marieke

  45. Kirsten says:

    I tried this one after a failed attempt with another sourdough recipe (from another site). I have to say I didn’t expect much because this recipe calls for only a small amount of sourdough starter. The one I tried earlier needed a lot more and it was still very dense and brick-like.

    The dough didn’t rise that much during the final proofing so I was expecting the same result as before but I decided to pay extra attention to creating enough steam in the oven for any oven spring that might occur and try it anyway. The first few minutes didn’t really do much (I camp out in front of the oven during the first 5-10 minutes because I love to watch the oven spring!) but then the natural yeast kicked in and it sprung up. The bread has huge airpockets, a great crumb and is very tasty to boot. Succes! This one is definitely in the running to become our daily bread.

    I also tried the Pain Rustique (so I would have a back-up if this one didn’t work out) and I loved that one too but I prefer more whole wheat for daily use.

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Kirsten,
      Great to hear your success story! The steam definitely plays a big part in the bread being able to expand during the first part of the baking. Also fun to use different percentages of whole wheat and see how it changes the end result.

      Happy baking and happy New Year!

  46. Claartje says:

    Trying to work out the timing to bake in the morning (and have a fresh loaf for lunch!). Would a final proofing overnight in the fridge be an option? (9/10 hours)
    Love your website!

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Claartje,
      Yes that is very well possible. The retarding of the final dough is something that is done by many bakers. We have not tried it with this recipe ourselves (never enough fridge space) so we cannot help you much with what the exact outcome will be, what times and optimum amounts of culture would produce the best bread following this method. Usually you will see some blistering on the crust of the bread. Funnily enough American bakers view this as an asset, French bakers find it a defect. One tip we can give you is to put your proofing basket inside a big plastic bag and inflate it, so the dough has no contact with the plastic and it does not dry out.
      Maybe you will be so good as to let us know how the method turned out for you.

      Lots of (retarded) loaf,

      Marieke & Ed

  47. Rene de Winter says:

    Heb na heel lang niet gebakken te hebben weer aan de bak gegaan.
    Met het desempje die ik van jullie heb gehad er 3 broden van gebakken met wel een iets andere samenstelling meel en gebuild meel (80 % ) bloem had ik niet had het natuurlijk wel kunnen zeven maar daar had ik even geen zin in.
    Het is in iedergeval prima gelukt .

    Heb een vraagje hoelang kneden jullie het in die blauwe Haussler min of 3-4 of …

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hallo Rene,
      Fijn weer aan het bakken en met goed resultaat! Kneden in de Haussler is 5 a 6 minuten met dit recept.

  48. thelittleloaf says:

    Just discovered your blog via Twitter, it’s fabulous! Love the step by step guides and your loaves look wonderful. Will definitely be coming back again soon :-)

  49. Bob says:


    When baking breads with high amounts of whole grain flour ie: whole wheat…. do you ever supplement your mix with vital wheat gluten flour in order to get more lift/raise?


    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Bob,
      We do not have any experience with this, we never use it. We usually have a combination of whole grain (mostly whole wheat) with lighter wheat flour (maybe called bread flour by you) which we think gives the bread the right balance of airiness, texture and taste. We use 35 to 50 % of the bread flour depending on the bread mood we are in…

  50. Ann says:

    My whole wheat bread just came out of the oven, and it was perfect, it was nicely browned with a really good crust, and an open crumb, with lots of holes. I am very pleased with the way it came out and the instructions were very easy to follow. I will be making this again by mid week.


    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Thanks Ann, for the feedback! That is a wonderful result. And with your new mixer it will be an even greater feast to make this dough! Hope you don’t have to wait too long…

      Happy mid week baking :)


  51. Ann says:

    I have a very mature 100 % rye starter which is alive and well. I am going to try your whole wheat bread tomorrow. I hope it comes out as beautiful as yours.


    PS. My Haussler Bread Mixer is on order.

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Oh, that is exiting, hope it will arrive soon and in good order.
      Making the whole wheat tomorrow too. Always curious to know how yours turns out. Hope you will like it.


  52. Ann says:

    Healthy bread, love the open crumb will have to try it soon. I am in the process of making some rye starter. Question: How long does it take for a starter to mature?


    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Ann,

      It takes about 5 days in total, but the best thing is to start using it after a week maturation and after that it should get better and better as it matures further. You can read all about it in our posting about how we make and maintain our own rye starter.…asy-steps/
      There is much more useful info in the bread baking tips section of our website. They are also being used in a few baking courses.

      Hope your starter will be a live and well soon!
      Happy baking,


  53. Rene de Winter says:

    Dat ziet er TOP uit !!!

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Thanks Rene,
      Leuk dat je onze site bezoekt en als @steenbakkertje nu ook actief bent op Twitter! Rofco bakers stick together like high hydration dough on a ‘flourless’ surface :))

    • Mike says:

      Hey guys, you are unbelievable with this awesome recipe of 65% Whole Wheat bread.
      Today i tried it, i followed your instructions literally, and here’s the outcome:
      Color: Just beautiful golden caramel.
      Smell: Very appetizing
      Crust: Very crunchy and about 3 m.m thick, which i like 😀
      Crumb: Fluffy, light, chewy, sweet and with lots of openings in it —-horray 😀
      Taste: Now this i can’t find the words to describe. Sweet with a hint of sourness…and unbelievably delicious
      Shape: I made it batard, with very good shaping, slashed it length wide with one big slash, like you have.
      The only thing is, it rose in the oven but like the 75% hydrated dough, is there a reason behind this?

      Overall, it is a bread that i feel so happy that i made…and guess what, it’s become my favorite Whole Wheat Bread as well not only yours 😀

      Thanks Marieke & Ed for such great recipe, and the thorough explanation you are taking the effort to make.

      Cheers, now i’m going to enjoy my loaf 😀

      • Weekend Bakers says:

        Wow Mike, great job!
        The reason behind the oven spring? Don’t know exactly but it is a good thing right?!
        Seems everything came together in perfect harmony :)

        Keep up the wonderful baking!


        • Mike says:

          Sorry Marieke, i meant to say the oven spring did not happen like the 75% hydrated dough, a bit less. But overall it was very good.

          • Weekend Bakers says:

            Aha, I understand. But that is completely normal, the fibers are much heavier and need to be lifted by the dough bubbles and also they break the bubbles and weaken the gluten strands because they have sharper edges. So no spectacular spring (which is normal) but still a lovely loaf by your description :))


            • Judith says:

              Is de temperatuur van het deeg of de omgeving tijdens de eerste rijs ook nog van belang of maakt dat niet zoveel uit? In onze keuken is het zo’n 20 graden overdag.

              Groetjes van Judith

              • Weekend Bakers says:

                Hi Judith, natuurlijk kun je ook broodbakker in een ruimte van 20 graden. Wij gebruiken normaal lauw water (behalve in hartje zomer) om tot een deeg temperatuur van rond de 25C a 26C graden te komen. Dan help je het gist op gang en is ook is het deeg niet te koud (koud kraanwater kan wel 6 graden zijn). Met een deeg van 26 graden en een kamer van 20 graden moet het zeker goedkomen!