Vermont Sourdough with Increased Whole Grain

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Dough Yield: About


    loaves at 1.5 lb each

Appears in


By Jeffrey Hamelman

Published 2004

  • About

There are Two Small Changes in this Formula compared to the Vermont Sourdough—an increase in pre-fermented flour from 15 to 20 percent, and an increase in whole-grain flour from 10 to 15 percent—yet the effect on the dough is surprisingly large. The whole-rye flour offers considerable fermentable sugars and minerals to the yeasts in the levain culture, and this, combined with the increased proportion of ripe culture in the dough, produces a bread that is more acidic than the preceding ones. From a flavor perspective, this bread has a sharper tang and more of a whole-grain taste. Another effect of the increased acidity is a reduced extensibility, due to the acidity’s tightening effect on the gluten structure. Therefore, loaf volume will not be as great with this bread as in the two preceding ones. One fold might be preferable to 2 for this dough, as a second fold might bring too much strength to the dough. The whole-rye flour can be replaced with either medium-rye flour or whole-wheat flour. When mixing the dough, check the hydration carefully. Rye is quite absorbent, and a bit of extra water might need to be added to achieve a dough of medium consistency.

Pre-Fermented Flour: 20%


Overall Formula

U.S. Metric Home Baker’s %
Bread Flour 17 lb 8.5 kg 1 lb, 11.2 oz 85 %
Whole-Rye Flour 3 lb 1.5 kg 4.8 oz 15 %
Water 13 lb 6.5 kg 1 lb, 4.8 oz 65 %
Salt .38 lb .19 kg .6 oz 1.9 %
Total Yield 33.38 lb 16.69 kg 3 lb, 5.4 oz 166.9 %

Liquid-Levain Build

Bread Flour 4 lb 2 kg 6.4 oz ( cups) 100 %
Water 5 lb 2.5 kg 8 oz (1 cup) 125 %
Mature Culture (Liquid) .8 lb .4 kg 1.3 oz (3 T) 20 %
Total 9.8 lb 4.9 kg 15.7 oz

Final Dough

Bread Flour 13 lb 6.5 kg 1 lb 4.8 oz ( cups)
Whole-Rye Flour 3 lb 1.5 kg 4.8 oz ( cups)
Water 8 lb 4 kg 12.8 oz (1⅝ cups)
Liquid Levain 9 lb 4.5 kg 14.4 oz (all less 3 T)
Salt .38 lb .19 kg .6 oz (1 T)
Total 33.38 lb 16.69 kg 3 lb, 5.4 oz


  1. Liquid Levain: Make the final build 12 to 16 hours before the final mix, and let stand in a covered container at about 70°F.
  2. Mixing: Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl, including the levain, but not the salt. In a spiral mixer, mix on first speed just until the ingredients are incorporated into a shaggy mass. Correct the hydration as necessary; the dough should have a medium consistency. Cover the bowl with plastic and let stand for an autolyse phase of 20 to 60 minutes. At the end of the autolyse, sprinkle the salt over the surface of the dough, and finish mixing on second speed for 1½ to 2 minutes. Desired dough temperature: 76°F.
  3. Bulk Fermentation: 2½ hours.
  4. Folding: Fold the dough once, after 1¼ hours.
  5. Dividing and Shaping: Divide the dough into 1.5-pound pieces; shape round or oblong.
  6. Final Fermentation: Approximately 2 to 2½ hours at 76°F (alternatively, retard for up to 8 hours at 50°F, or up to 18 hours at about 42°F).
  7. Baking: With normal steam, 460°F for 40 to 45 minutes.