Whole Wheat Sourdough: Take One Part Two

I got up Sunday morning, super excited to make my sourdough bread.

Here is what I did.

Took the mason jar out of fridge around 9 AM and left it out for one hour ish
divide off 3.5 ounces for sour to keep for next week.

  • 15 ounces remained.
  • add 10 ounces whole wheat flour
  • add 8 ounces of room temp water
  • half ounce of kosher salt
  • knead for 5 minutes in a bowl as it’s pretty sticky.
  • let rest at room temp 67 degrees.

30 minutes later, I kneaded for 5 minutes.  The dough seemed to want to come together, but the more I kneaded it, the more it fell apart.  This whole wheat flour has a lot of sharp shards of grain in it (stone ground) so kneading might be doing more harm than good. It didn’t seem to want to form gluten so that is why I chose to knead it again.  Decided I would  let it set for 30 more minutes and go back to the turn and fold method for the next two hours.

And then I got busy doing other things.

And then I forgot to heat up the oven.

And then I decided to bake some oatmeal for the week.

So, it’s been almost 4 hours.  oops.

Well, nothing ventured… nothing gained.

It was too wet, that was obvious as soon as I put it on the peel.  Where it promptly stuck and…. flattened out..   double oops.

After fussing with it and fighting with it and finally getting it scored and off the peel, I stuck it in the oven.

In the oven at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.

baked loaf
It’s a little flat


The crumb is much lighter, but the texture was a bit gummy.  It think with a bit more oven spring and maybe being more prepared with more flour on the peel (and maybe some cornmeal) and maybe at a higher temp it might come out better next time  I’m very pleased with the flavor, though

Whole Wheat Sourdough: Take One Part One

Continuing yesterday’s theme of “I should have written that down” , I realized that I have an EXCELLENT place to write things down.. and guess where it is?  RIGHT FREAKING HERE.

Welcome to the Bread Chronicles my friends!

First feed:

  • 3.5 ounces 100% whole wheat sour starter
  • 3 ounces North Country Stone Ground whole wheat flour
  • 3.5 ounces filtered room temp water

Fed at 9:30 PM.  Ambient room temp 66 degrees.


9:30 AM (I sleep in on Saturday when I can)
It looked like this:

Second Feed:

  • All of the sour (9 ounces)
  • 5 ounces of flour
  • 4 ounces of room temp water.

Ambient room temp 66 degrees

The mason jar went into the fridge for a slow second build.  Tomorrow, we bake!

I probably should have written that down….

I have this nasty habit of just throwing stuff together and hoping for the best.

And then when whatever I’ve thrown together comes out delicious, I have no idea what I did.

I am slowly learning my lesson when it comes to cooking, but baking?  Well baking shouldn’t be improvised.. or so they say.

A few months ago, I made a sourdough starter with the intention of making whole wheat sourdough bread, and I followed the method in my Whole Grain Bread book to the letter.  I measured the starter, I started the “soaker” which is basically water and flour mixed up so that the bitter elements in the whole wheat flour and… I added the commercial yeast per the instructions.

The bread was… good.  I mean it was fine.  We enjoyed it.   It was certainly better than any 100% whole wheat bread purchased in the store. And it sure looked pretty.

Whole Wheat Sour

Whole Wheat Sourdough

Mostly, I was happy with it. But I really wanted a 100% whole wheat flour sourdough with no commercial yeast added.

And then I stuck the sour in the fridge and forgot about it for a month.

In the meantime, while searching for my tried and true recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup (which I didn’t find) I stumbled across the handouts that I got from Chef Krebs at SCCC when I took a course on making sourdough at home. HUZZAH!  No commercial yeast!  And more information that I had forgotten about.

So.. um.. I took the sour out of the fridge, fed it twice by eye, shoved some sour back in a jar and basically, added salt based on the formulas on the handouts (mostly I did the math based on the weight of my sour), proofed it, shaped it, panned it and baked it off.   What was the worst that would happen?  The sour needed to be fed and brought back to life anyway so, nothing ventured, nothing gained AMIRITE?

After proofing and before scoring

After proofing and before scoring

After baking

After baking

Very different crumb

Very different crumb

You guys.. this was.. AMAZING.   The FLAVOR of the sour was so pronounced and the texture was definately softer.  I didn’t really knead this so much as fold it a few times every 30 minutes while it was proofing.. and I think I proofed it for 2 and a half hours..

I think.

The total bummer is that I can’t replicate this because I winged it.  I tried to remember…


My half-assed notes well after the fact.

My half-assed notes well after the fact.

Since that was SO ridiculous, I decided that I was going to start taking better notes from my experiments. I’m going to file all of them here on this blog under The Bread Chronicles.

Because holy crap, that was delicious even if was a soft crumb. I’m a little excited to start this project actually. I’m pretty interested to see what happens as I go along

Just breaking down a few chickens

Just breaking down a few chickens, like you do….

Pressure Cooker Short Ribs

I have long been a fan of Mel Joulwan‘s recipes. So much so that I bought Well Fed and Well Fed 2, even though I don’t eat Paleo.

Mel uses a lot of “tougher” cuts of meat which I really appreciate as I enjoy a good long braise.
But here is my problem.

I’m impatient. Like super impatient. Also, I bought an Instant Pot about 6 months ago and when people said it was life changing they WERE NOT KIDDING.

So, now I want to use it for everything. I adore Mel’s recipe for Thyme Braised Short Ribs which calls for cooking them on the stove top for four hours.

But I didn’t start cooking dinner until 6PM because I was super busy brewing beer.

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I always feel a wee bit witchy on brew day

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This is what I did.

I took Mel’s original recipe and made the following changes:

  • I turned the Instant Pot on to saute and seared the short ribs
  • After removing the short ribs from the pot, I added the veggies.
  • I mixed 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar and the tablespoon of tomato paste and the tablespoon of dry thyme together and then poured that over the veggies. I skipped the water all together. I mixed it up together and cooked the veggies for a bit. Maybe 5 minutes
  • I put the short ribs back in the pot, poured two cups of chicken stock over the top
  • Then I closed the Instant Pot, set it for 35 minutes on high pressure and walked away
  • After the timer beeped, I waited 15 minutes and did the quick release of pressure because I wanted to eat.. because.. impatient
  • I used my fancy schmancy Oxo Fat Separator and then poured about a cup of the liquid into a small saucepan and reduced the drippings
  • While the liquid was reducing, I pulled the bones out of the meat and pulled off the fat bits


Short ribs in half the time.