Homemade Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

By Amanda Paa – Last updated: September 21, 2022
4.81 from 61 votes
A basic recipe for naturally fermented, whole wheat sourdough bread. Detailed instructions for how to stretch and fold as well as shape your bread. Using a blend of whole wheat with bread flour and all purpose flour give this whole wheat loaf a nice structure with tender crumb, and nutty flavor.
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Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread Recipe with freshly milled flour
whole wheat sourdough bread, sliced in half and stacked on top of each other

If you want to start your own sourdough journey, you can BUY MY SOURDOUGH STARTER HERE! – and I will ship it you in the mail, with instructions for feeding and maintaining it so you can bake all the amazing bread you dream of. Cost is $12.

I started baking sourdough in 2018. After just one loaf, I knew this process was going to become a hobby and passion of mine. Sourdough is the way bread was made centuries ago, and I’m so glad that many around the world are embracing sourdough again, and sharing their learnings with others. My starter has become a part of me…. It needs to be fed. It asks to be used. The long rise. The satisfying bake. The first slice of whole wheat sourdough bread.

I’ve never been so fascinated in my own kitchen, nurturing a live starter (you can read my Top 5 Sourdough Starter Tips) on my counter and transforming it into the most delicious bread I’ve ever eaten, with just flour and water.

This Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread has:

A golden, crunchy, caramelized crust.
Holes scattered through the soft crumb.
A touch of tang, but mostly yeasty sweet.

You’ll notice that besides whole wheat flour, bread flour and all purpose are also used in this recipe to achieve a tender crumb, and keep the bread from becoming too dense, which can happen if you use all whole wheat.

A beginner friendly recipe.

Bread flour and AP are also important for building structure and allowing for easier handling of the dough, including shaping, due to the higher protein count and strength. Once the dough has been shaped and gone through its final rise, use these tips for scoring your dough.

Hard Red Winter Wheat Grain
At Home Grain Milling - Komo Grain Mill
Komo Oat Flaker

As I continued to learn about sourdough bread, I also started to research using fresh milled grain. I was really curious as to the complexity that whole grains would add to the bread.

I had some experience with home milling, as I acquired the WonderMill grain mill about 6 years ago. I milled only gluten-free grain, and had good end results, but the mill was extremely loud and I didn’t like how the flour flowed into a bucket that had a “hose” coming from the main mill. It got messy. Additionally, it wasn’t the prettiest machine to look at, made of hard plastic.

Komo Grain Mill for at home grain milling

Pleasant Hill Grain has lots of kitchen equipment, and is the exclusive US importer of Austrian made Komo Grain Mills and Flakers (mill is left side of machine, flaker on the right) you see here in the photos. We are working together to start more conversations around home milling, the benefits of using fresh flour, and how easy it is.

They graciously provided me with the Komo Duett Mill, which is gorgeous – constructed of beechwood, and I’ve been using it for the last month, experimenting with different grains, and making bread with the flour using different techniques and ratios.

The process of milling is as simple as:

  1. Select your grain.
  2. For sourdough bread, you’ll want to grind it as fine as possible. With the Komo Mill, all you have to do is turn the top hopper as far to the left as it goes before the stone burrs touch each other.
  3. Flip the switch to turn the mill on.
  4. Pour grain into the hopper, and boom – FRESH FLOUR!

The grinder side mills hard or soft wheat, rice, kamut, spelt, buckwheat, barley, rye, millet, teff, quinoa, amaranth, sorghum and dent (field) corn. It will also grind lentils, dry beans (pinto, red, chickpeas, kidney & more), and dried, non-oily spices. It isn’t suitable for herbs, oilseeds like flax or sesame, popcorn, or fibrous materials. The grain flaker side (shown above), is incredible too! Wheat, rye, barley, and most commonly, oats are flaked.

When you press your own oat flakes, you’re getting fresh, raw oats with all the delicate essential oils and life energy of the seed. That’s compared to commercial oat flakes, which are steam cooked and heat dried to preserve. Other grains that are normally dry and hard should be softened by briefly rinsing them under water. Then spread the grains on a cloth or towel to let them dry over night or for at least 3-4 hours.

Fresh Milled Hard Red Winter Wheat

Milling your own flour, without sifting, means you retain 100% of the same wheat berry in your end product. Many mills will label using the term “whole wheat”, but that doesn’t always mean whole grain. Additionally, they will sometimes perform several milling passes, especially on the germ and bran which are sifted out and then later added back in. Once the wheat berry is milled, breaking open that protective bran layer, oxidization begins which causes nutrients to slowly degrade.

So when we mill at home and use the flour immediately, we’re retaining many more nutrients that store bought flour.

But where fresh milled flour really shines is in flavor. The complexity and nuances of each grain comes through, deeply rich and nutty.

I’ve baked with both fresh milled hard red winter wheat, and spelt, and loved each.
The crust becomes crackly and shines! And the crumb is tender, softer than an everyday kind of loaf.

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread Recipe

After baking several loaves now with fresh milled flour, the success has been mostly dependent on three things:

  • A longer autolyse to let the grains absorb the water better
  • Four sets of folds during bulk fermentation
  • A cold (refrigerated) proof for the final rise, 8-10 hours

When doing these two things, I achieved the oven spring I was hoping for, and nice holes near the edges of the loaf, with a tighter middle. It’s wonderful for toast and sandwiches.

If you’d like to purchase some of my starter, you can! Right HERE.

My Whole Wheat Sourdough recipe is adapted from the Artisan Sourdough Made Simple cookbook, which has been my guiding star throughout this whole sourdough learning process. I highly recommend it.

More Sourdough Bread Recipes:

whole wheat sourdough bread in a dutch oven

Homemade Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread (beginner friendly)

A basic recipe for naturally fermented, whole wheat sourdough bread. Using a blend of whole wheat with bread flour and all purpose flour give the loaf a nice structure with tender crumb, and nutty flavor.
4.81 from 61 votes
Prep Time :10 minutes
Cook Time :45 minutes
Additional Time :10 hours
Total Time :10 hours 55 minutes
Yield: 1 loaf
Author: Amanda Paa



  • 55 grams [bubbly active starter] (100% hydration)
  • 385 grams warm water (about 85-90 degrees F)
  • 15 grams honey
  • 150 grams fresh whole wheat flour
  • 155 grams all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur)
  • 195 grams bread flour (I use King Arthur)
  • 9 grams fine sea salt


  • In a large bowl, whisk starter, water, and honey. Add the flours, mixing first with a fork, then switching to your hands until the dough is shaggy. A rough, sticky dough will form, no dry bits should be showing. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 1 hour (this is the autolyse). 
  • After the autolyse, add the salt. Squeeze the salt into the dough, then work the dough generously with your hands for at 2 to 3 minutes, kneading to begin building the gluten. Then finish with your first stretch and folds. Let rest for 30 minutes.
  • Perform another set of stretch and folds (video to show you how). Let rest for 30 minutes. Perform another set of stretch and folds, and rest 30 minutes. Perform your 4th and final set of stretch and folds.
  • Cover the dough with a damp towel and let rise about around 4-5 more hours if your house is around 70-72 degrees F, until your dough has risen at least 50%, has a bubble or two on top, the top is smooth and a bit glossy, and it jiggles in a bit in the bowl. Go by how the dough looks, rather than time.  
  • Now it's time to shape. Gently coax the dough onto a flour surface. Shape it into a rustic round and let rest, covered, for 15 minutes.
    Then shape the dough using this method. Put banneton with dough into a plastic grocery bag, or garbage bag, so that it doesn't dry out, and let cold proof in refrigerator for 8-10 hours. 
  • Preheat your dutch oven in your oven at 450 degrees F. When oven is preheated, take dough out of refrigerator, cover with a piece of parchment (cut larger than the banneton) and a plate. Then use your hand to hold the plate and flip the plate + banneton over, so that now the banneton is upside down and you can now lift it off so that your dough is on the parchment, ready to score. Gently rub a bit of flour onto the top, and score the dough.
  • Lift parchment with bread into dutch oven, put cover on.
  • Slide dutch oven onto the middle rack, and bake with cover on for 25 minutes. Remove cover, turn heat down to 430 degrees F, and bake for another 20 minutes, until exterior is golden brown and crispy. Remove from oven, and carefully remove from bread from dutch oven.
  • Let cool for one hour before cutting. Store bread in a plastic bag, cut side down for up to four days.

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May 6, 2018


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  1. I love this recipe but I can’t do the cold retard today – can I bake after the 5 hours at room temp?

    • Hello Jessica! You can bulk ferment on the counter, shape and put into banneton and leave on counter. It should then take about 1 1/2 hours approximately, to go through its final rise. You can use this test to see if it is ready for baking with a counter final rise.

      • 5 stars
        Do you mean 11.5 hours from the initial start time? Or from the time it goes into the banneton?

        • Final rise on the counter would be approximately 1 1/2 hours (90 minutes) from when it goes into banneton. It will all depend on the temperature of your kitchen and the temperature of the dough.

  2. 5 stars
    Just pulled mine outta the oven!! Looks so good!! Can’t wait for it to cool so I can check the crumb! Thank you!!

  3. Hey I just have a quick question, are you baking this in a really dry climate? That seems like a lot of water.

    • Hello! This is a normal climate. The amount of water is needed for whole wheat breads because it soaks up more liquid than bread or all purpose flour because it has the bran and germ in tact.

  4. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe I love it! I’m a beginner but wanted to use a whole wheat recipe to feed my family! This comes out perfectly every time!

  5. Does this only make one loaf? Usually when I use ~500h flour it makes two loaves. I also only have oval bannetons, would that necessitate any changes to make the dough fit?

  6. So I’ve noticed that some of your sourdough recipes give the option of either a shorter final rise on the counter or a longer rise in the refrigerator after shaping. This one specifically calls for a cold proof in the refrigerator. Is there something specific about the whole wheat loaf where that is recommended, or could you do a shorter final rise on the counter?

  7. 5 stars
    I have made this loaf of bread twice. It turns out perfectly every time! These recipes are concise and easy to follow. Thanks Amanda for the incredible recipes you continue to create for those of us who follow you!

  8. 4 stars
    This came out well, except that my dough was very sticky and I had to keep adding flour. It was hard to work with (stuck to my fingers a lot) until the second or third stretch and fold. I weighed all ingredients precisely. Perhaps it was because I used purchased whole wheat flour, not fresh-milled, and also because it was more humid than usual in So Cal this weekend. (I usually make an oval seeded whole wheat loaf and bake on a stone, as I don’t have an oval baker. I did use the Dutch oven for this one.)

  9. 5 stars
    Thank you for this lovely starter! When I checked on it on day 3…bubbles galore! I’ve been feeding it einkorn whole wheat flour. 30 g water and 48 g einkorn flour. Can’t wait to bake with it!

  10. Hi! I’ve baked using your Everyday Sourdough recipe and first time trying this one. Thank you for your recipes! My loaves never turn out as brown as yours do in the photos, even if I leave them in for a little longer. What could be the reason?

    • Hi Mimi! If your loaves are not browning, there are typically 2 culprits. First, your oven temperature might be off, so it’s important to use and oven thermometer to make sure it’s actually heating to what is reads. If the temperature is too low, the Maillard reaction that causes browning will not occur. More than likely though, something is off in the proofing. When bread is over-proofed, the yeast uses up all the sugars in the flour and then there is no sugar to caramelize and brown. Hope that helps.

  11. 5 stars
    I was so impressed with this recipe the first time I tried it, it is now my go to!.
    I would like some advice to correct a small problem I have which detracts from the finished product.
    I use the recommended ingredients, including freshly milled flour in my Whisper Mill. My starter is freshly milled wholewheat flour 13% protein, the bread flour is over 14% protein
    The baking schedule is feed starter 8:00am, mix etc at 1:00pm, into Banneton 5 :00pm. Into frige 10:00pm, bake at 8:00am. The problem I encounter each time is that the dough is a little too slack, hard to shape and slumps slightly, even after 10 hours in the frige.
    I assume I have to fine tune my stretch and fold/ rest period and or my Bulk fermentation time, have tried a couple of times with no success, can you provide me with any suggestions? It would be much appreciated.

    Every day is a good day; some are better than others

    • Hello! If your dough is a bit too slack and hard to shape, you could be overproofing. Or not building enough strength during your stretch and folds. Can you email me a photo of the crumb? That will help me advise you on the proofing or strength.

  12. 5 stars
    I love your everyday sourdough recipe. As a beginner, EVERYONE who’s had my bread thinks I should open a bakery with that recipe 😆 So I though I’d try a second recipe which is this one. My husband asked if I can make my bread taller…so my question for you is what affects the height of of the bread? Could it be my oven?

  13. Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread Recipe, I am interested in the reason for having a combination both AP flour and bread flour.

    • Hello! The bread flour helps give structure, and the all-purpose flour helps lighten the loaf so that even though it is whole wheat based, it isn’t dense.

  14. 5 stars
    I baked this today and it is absolutely delicious! Definitely recommend giving it a go. Thanks Amanda for another fabulous recipe.

  15. Hi there! If I want to make a few of these doughs and freeze them, do I freeze after the entire bulk fermentation is done (right before baking) or do I let it rise just once and then freeze?

  16. 5 stars
    This is the most approachable whole wheat sourdough recipe I could find! I typically make the everyday sourdough loaf, but wanted to mix it up and I’m so glad I did! The oval shaping method worked well and I was able to get a great ear. Thank you for all of the photos and helpful tips

  17. Should the pot be preheating in the oven while the oven preheats, or should the pot be put in cold with baking begins?

  18. 5 stars
    i am not good at baking bread but then i tried this recipe. let me tell you, it turned out to be great, everybody loved it. Xoxo

  19. This recipe is fantastic! I’ve modified it for altitude and to use mostly whole wheat flour, and it’s always so good. Your videos are so wonderful, too! Thank you!

  20. Hi Amanda,

    What can I substitute for the freshly milled whole wheat flour? Will whole wheat bread flour work? Thanks.

  21. I made this today with my relatively new starter and was incredibly pleased with the results. It is the first time my attempted sourdough has actually held its shape and not ended up falling apart when taken out of the banneton. The instructions were easy to follow and didn’t seem like an impossible process compared to other sourdough recipes. I will surely be making this again, thank you!

  22. Hi,
    Could you give measurements for those who don’t have a scale?
    I just ordered a mill because of the four shortage and am worried that my sourdough will be too dense with this fresh ground flour.

    • Hi Shari! It’s very important to have a scale for making sourdough bread, as that is how the hydration levels and measurements are shared across the world. So 90% of sourdough recipes you find will be listed in grams. This scale is relatively inexpensive and you’ll get so much use out of it.

  23. Thanks for the recipe and video! It turned out great! If I wanted it a little less “sour”, could I shorten the time of the rising in between folds? Would that work? Would the gluten not develop as well if I did this? Or would it not have enough rise time? Thanks!

    • Hi Leigh! So glad your loaf turned out well! Did you do any of the fermentation in the refrigerator? This will increase sour taste. So if you wanted less of that, do both rises on the counter. The stretch and folds are not part of the sourness.
      Another factor is your starter. Use it early on in its peak, so around 4-5 hours after feeding it. This will decrease the tang as wel.

      • I did do the refrigerator part overnight. When I took it out of the fridge the next morning, it took over an hour to warm up. In fact, it was still a little cool when I put it in the oven. Did I leave it out too long? Can I put it in the oven cold? If I were to leave it on the counter and not do the overnight, how long would you suggest to let it sit after the last fold? Thanks for taking the time to reply! It’s really helpful to have someone to answer questions!!!

        • Hello! I bake it cold, straight from the refrigerator after the final rise. This makes it much easier to score, and hold its shape better!
          I do the bulk ferment on the counter, and the final rise overnight in the refrigerator. The recipe will give time estimates for how long the bulk fermentation lasts (which the clock starts as you begin your first stretch and fold.)

  24. Is it okay if it sits in the fridge longer than 10 hours? I’m in the middle of the folding/rising right now and just realized with the timing that it’ll be in there for more like 12-14 hours!

    • Hi Chelsea!
      That should be just fine. Take it out of the fridge as close to 12 hours as possible, and go straight from fridge to scoring to baking. So it will be cold when you score it. (So preheat your oven prior to taking out of fridge.)

      • Thank you for your timely response! I did exactly what you suggested and it turned out great. Thanks for having a sourdough recipe with fresh-milled flour!

  25. Amanda, in step 4 you say “Then shape the dough using this method, into a tight round. ” What method are you referring too? I’ve watched you’re video in the links provided in the “Sourdough you make every week” recipe. Is that what you’re referring too? Since this is Whole Wheat Sourdough I wasn’t sure if you used a different method. Thanks!!

  26. Making this recipe today. Its in it’s autolyse phase! Wish me luck! I’ll let you know how it turns out!

  27. Do you add milled flour into feeding your starter as well or just use all purpose and then add milled flour when making the bread?

  28. Thank you so much for this article. This is the closest I’ve come to photo-worthy sourdough. The local natural food store sells locally grown wheat berries so this is also the closest I’ve come to a locally produced loaf of bread. Thanks again!

  29. I’m going to try the bulk rise and shaping the dough prior to fermentation as you suggest. I’ve been shaping the loaf after the fermentation process. Meanwhile I am wondering if you preheat the Dutch oven? I have been using a pizza stone with steam under it because the Dutch oven kept burning the bottom of the loaf.

    • Hi Cecile!
      I do not preheat the dutch oven, as I did some research on that and it does not affect the rise negatively, however like you said, the bottom of the sourdough loaf can burn. Hope you love this recipe! Let me know how it turns out for you.

  30. Hi there! I’m headed out of town (flying) and I would love to make sourdough while I’m away. Do you recommend bringing starter, making the dough and baking when I reach my destination or just baking the bread at home and bringing it with me? Thanks in advance!

    • Hello! You could really do either. If you plan on eating it a day after fly, it will stay fresh baking whole and carrying on, then slicing when you get to destination and storing in plastic bag. If you plan on it being a few days in between flying and when you’d want to eat the bread, say 3 or so days, you could bring your starter along. However, then you are unfamiliar with the oven you’d be baking it in and the tools available to you. Hope that helps!

  31. As a first time bread maker, this recipe was fantastic! I couldn’t be more excited with the turn out. I was so excited to slice into it and to not only learn that it was soft but that it was edible as well (my friends have told me horror stories.) Thank you thank you thank you Amanda for providing such a wonderful guideline.

    • I’m so glad the recipe was successful for you! I know starting sourdough can be a little intimidating so I try to make the directions thorough. Enjoy your time baking! xo

  32. Hello! I’ve been grinding my own grains ever since I was a kid, but I’ve never tried making sourdough with the freshly ground flour. Have you ever tried making it without the added processed flour? I imagine hard white wheat would be the best wheat for the job. Any thoughts? I never use store bought flour and would prefer not to, but for the occasional magnificent loaf of sourdough, I might be a tad more flexible. 😁

    • Hi Sarah!
      So great that you’ve been grinding your own grains for so long. I am so happy to be doing it in my own kitchen. Bread purpose and all purpose that are organic and unbleached aren’t actually “processed”. I use King Arthur both, bread flour and AP, and the Ap is “Milled from 100% organic hard red winter and spring wheats, this jack-of-all-trades flour is malted; unenriched.” The bread flour is Certified 100% Organic Wheat Flour, 100% Organic Malted Barley Flour, so the protein count is higher and gives the best results. However, if you wanted to do a 100% whole wheat sourdough from your own fresh milled grain, I agree that hard white wheat would be the best. Here’s a recipe that looks like it has pretty good results too: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/54851/100-whole-wheat-sourdough

      • Refined/processed flour is all types of flour that are non whole wheat/whole grain flours. King Arthur unbleached AP and Bread flours, while they are not chemically treated they are stripped of bran and germ leaving you with only the endosperm of the wheat. Which is considered processed or refined.

        Thank you for posting this recipe and I am excited to try it out!

  33. Just to follow up: This sourdough was PERFECTION. I can’t believe how good it turned out! I’ve made sourdough in the past, but always had a problem getting that buoyancy in the crumb. My husband loved it too, and we ended up making grilled vegetable/chicken salad sandwiches with a green sauce. It tasted gourmet because of the bread! Thank you.

  34. I have my sourdough starter on the counter and ready for baking this tomorrow! It looks amazing. I’ve never made a sourdough with whole wheat, so I’m really hoping it isn’t too dense. *Fingers crossed*

    • awesome! i hope it goes well for you. i find that whole wheat doesn’t quite get the same oven spring, but the crumb is so wonderfully soft and flavorful.

  35. I truly fell in love this the mill at the first glance. It’s so beautiful and useful as you have showed!
    I’ve never thought of milling the flour be myself but if I do one day, this is absolutely the first option coming out in my mind!

  36. This looks like SUCH an incredible kitchen appliance for an even more incredible recipe! Lately I have been loving making my own baguette bread but I really want to aim to create an amazing whole wheat sourdough bread. This is going to be such an amazing new project to tackle! I just have to figure out how to make a good starter or buy one!