(Yes, I do take requests.) This sourdough bread is made entirely with whole wheat flour, so it won’t keep well, yet it has a dense moist crumb and is very easy to shape. Usually whole wheat is combined with some other type of grain, both for taste and workability. There is also “Hard Red Whole Wheat Flour” which tastes much better, and does not go stale as rapidly. Around here it is only available in the spring, in 50 pound bags, but if you can find it in smaller quantities, try it!
Makes one large loaf
In a large bowl combine:
3 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup Baker’s milk solids (or powdered milk)
2 teaspoons salt
In a medium size bowl combine:
1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup very warm water
2 tablespoons oil (olive oil works fine, but if you have some edible orange oil, any type of nut oil, or any herbed oil, use 1 tablespoon of that and 1 tablespoon olive oil.)
Stir until the egg yolk is broken and the sourdough starter is evenly distributed, then add the liquid ingredients to the solid ingredients. And stir until you can’t stir, then mix with your hands until every speck of flour is absorbed. (I don’t bother with a spoon. I just squish it up with my hand, rubbing the dough along the sides of the bowl to get every speck of four. The dough will be very dry!)
Sprinkle whatever you’re going to knead on with another 1/2 cup flour. Plunk the dough down and knead it vigorously. And knead. And knead it some more. Eventually it becomes a cohesive ball, that barely kisses your fingers when poked.
Put the ball of dough in a well oiled bowl, and roll the dough around so all sides are lightly oiled. Then tightly cover the bowl and let it sit on your counter overnight (12-36 hours.) Bread will probably not double in size
About 4 hours before you want to eat, gently lift the dough out of the bowl. Do not punch it down. Do not knead it again. Shape it gently into a ball, place it on a lightly oiled baking sheet, and lightly drape some plastic wrap over it, so no moisture escapes.
1 and 1/2 hour before you want to eat, preheat your oven to 375 F. Put a large pan of hot water on the lowest rack in the oven to provide steam while cooking the bread.
Remove the plastic wrap. Make an egg wash (1 well beaten egg plus 2 tablespoons water) and, using a pastry brush, gently brush the loaf with the egg wash. Very lightly sprinkle Kosher salt over the top and sides of the loaf. Slash the top of the loaf and immediately put it in the preheated oven and bake about 35 minutes until the bread tests done. (Probe thermometer measures 195-210 degrees, or bread sound hollow when tapped in the center of the bottom.)
Let it rest on a rack for at least 30 minutes before cutting.