This bread is undoubtedly the easiest bread recipe I have ever tried and tested. Its very nutritious being made entirely from wholewheat flour and whole rye flour. Its also easier to digest than yeast leavened whole wheat bread because it is leavened with a combination of sourdough, a pre-ferment (Biga) and a minimum amount of commercial yeast.
I think its fair to say that I am using a long slow fermentation type method here, but although it sounds technical it could not be simpler. All you do is set up 3 different overnight ferments and then the next day combine them all to a dough, rise, shape and proove and then bake. The first overnight ferment is the sourdough made with whole rye flour, water and a starter. The second is a yeast pre-ferment, known as a Biga, made with wholewheat flour, water and a scant amount of yeast. The final overnight bowl contains just wholewheat flour, water and salt and this is known as a soaker. For both the sourdough and biga the overnight incubation is clearly to allow the leavening agents plenty of time to ferment. The soaker, is just to fully hydrate the wholewheat flour and thus to help soften up the gluten and give the final bread a better structure.
Recipe for easy whole wheat and whole rye bread
Total time; 13 hours, hands on time; less than 30 min
Time breakdown; 10 hours for the overnight ferments, 15 min mixing and kneading, 1 hour bulk rise, 10 min shaping, 45 min final prooving, 45min baking.
Ingredients for 1 large oval or round loaf
200g whole rye flour
20g sourdough starter (directly from fridge if used recently or after refreshing)
230g whole wheat flour
1g dried yeast
230g whole wheat flour
all the sourdough (minus the spoonful you retain for as the starter for your next loaf!)
all of the biga
all of the soaker
80g whole wheat flour (or dinkel flour)
5g dried yeast
30g dark honey
- take 3 large bowls, for the sourdough, the biga and the soaker. Combine the ingredients for each into separate bowls and cover with cling film. Leave at room temperature overnight.
- The next day combine the fermented sourdough (it should look bubbly and smell a little sour), the biga (should also look bubbly) and the soaker, add the rest of the ingredients and bring together into a dough. Knead either by hand or with an electric mixer with a dough hook for 6-8 minutes until the dough takes on some elasticity. Finish the kneading with some stretch and folds.
- Form the dough into a ball and place into a lightly oiled bowl or container, cover and leave to rise at room temperature for 1 hour, or until doubled in size ( this time depends on how active your sourdough is).
- Once risen, turn out your dough onto a floured work surface and gently form into an oval or round. Place in a proofing basket, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise again for about 45 minutes, (again depending on how active your sourdough starter is) until the dough has increased in size by approx 1.5. About half way through the final rise, preheat your oven to 250deg C and place a roasting tray on the oven flour.
- When ready to bake, carefully tip your loaf onto a baking stone or baking sheet, cut an approx 1cm lengthwise slash into the top of the loaf an place immediately into your preheated oven. Before you close the door pour a cup of cold water into the roasting tray in the oven to create steam for the bake and give you that lovely crust.
- Bake for the first 10 minutes at 250 deg C and then reduce the heat to 200 degrees and bake for a further 35 minutes, until nice and dark brown.