Sourdough Whole Wheat and Rye Boule

For the longest time I would drool over the artisan loaves online and in real bakeries. I wanted that bread coming out of my oven. But I had no clue how to go about baking bread that looked as appealing as it tasted. Then earlier this year I learnt about sourdough artisan bread. I found a group of bakers who were willing to help a newbie like me. They were baking the kind of artisan loaf I wanted to bake. A loaf with good oven spring, color, shape and score lines. And of course open crumb when cut.

To bake artisan bread I had to get over a few hurdles. I needed a starter. Then I needed to learn the basic artisan baking technique - recipes that use nothing but flour, water, salt and sourdough starter. Some hurdles I created for myself. I knew that these loaves are baked at very high temperatures but I was afraid to crank up the oven past 475F. I few online friends talked me out of this fear last week and I agreed to set the oven at 500 F. Nothing bad happened. The last hurdle was scoring. Without scoring I would never bake the beautiful loaves that I admired so much.

Recently I got a very useful tip online. Using a sharp razor blade to score the shaped dough works just as well as an expensive lame. I knew that the score lines should be deep enough to cut the surface but not so deep as to scar the bread. A razor blade held almost horizontal to the surface does the job. This sourdough whole wheat and rye bread is the result of my ongoing experiments.

You will need the following bakers percentage
50% white whole wheat flour
10% rye flour
40% all purpose flour
82% water
2% salt
10% fed starter

Refresh your starter as given here. I used 100 gm of fed starter. In a large mixing bowl mix together all the flours and water. Let it rest for half and hour.

Add the salt and the fed starter and mix together well. You may need to break up the dough with your fingers and reform it again a couple times to get all the salt and starter incorporated. Cover and keep aside.

Refer to this recipe for details on how to fold, turn and then shape the dough.

Over the next hour and a half fold and turn the dough three times. Let it rise covered for another hour and a half.

Flour a working surface and transfer the dough to the surface. Shape the dough as a boule. Transfer to a clean bowl seam side down. Cover and keep refrigerated overnight.

Next morning preheat the oven to 500 F along with the dutch oven. When the oven is preheated removed the shaped loaf from the refrigerator. Transfer it to a work surface. Using a sharp razor blade score a pattern of your choice.

Remove the dutch oven carefully from the oven. It will be very hot. Drop the loaf in the oven. I use a parchment paper on the bottom. Cover and return it to the oven as quickly as possible. Let it bake covered for 15-20 minutes. Remove the cover and allow the loaf to bake/brown for another 15-20 minutes.

Transfer to a cooling rack. Let it cool completely before you slice it.




  1. Never used this rye flour bread looks great varada..

  2. Varada, I am amazed at your creation..this is such a beautiful piece of bread!..great job that you have overcome your hurdles and baked this beautiful bread!

  3. Aww varada, I so love this boule! Look at that beauty, amazing!! I m just learning how to shape a boule, sourdough sounds a bit far, maybe for next bakethon!!!

  4. I would like to start my day with this beautiful bread, just spread some salted butter and enjoy,drooling.

  5. this looks like a bread I would see at a bakery in Europe - you have certainly mastered this craft

  6. Loaf is indeed very beautiful. Someday, I wish to attempt baking these breads. For now will enjoy your virtual treats reading about your bakes.

  7. I am not part of the bakeathon but taking in this virtual treat !!

  8. OMG Varada, that bread looks like it is from a bakery -- just perfect. How do you usually serve this bread? My folks like softer bread and are not too fond of crusty bread. Also do you think any sourdough starter can be used. I've a starter that is 4 years old, but I generally use it along with yeast and never tried these artisan type breads. Any tips would be highly appreciated. Thank you.

    1. You can use any starter. Try one of your simple simple loaves first. I can help you with converting the recipe. Once you know your starter is strong you can switch to these artisan breads. We have this bread with soups and for deli style sandwiches. My enjoys it as a snack with brie.

  9. That looks so good Varada. Please help us with sour dough breads.This is something I too would to bake at home

  10. Wow!!that is a beautiful creation!!!!


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