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Wholemeal enriched with rye and boosted by a sourdough starter

Whilst making wholemeal loaves I have been experimenting with adding a couple of ladles of wheat sourdough starter to the mix, along with the usual dried active yeast. The sourdough starter enhances the flavour and helps things to rise a bit more. Adding the sourdough starter adds a bit of extra water to the recipe and so this version has added 100 grams of Dark Rye Flour to absorb that extra water and to add to the flavour. The addition of 100 grams of seeded white flour also helps lighten the texture. The following recipe aims to produce two moist and tasty loaves.

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Wholemeal enhanced with rye, boosted by sourdough starter.


800g Organic 100% Wholemeal Flour (205)
100g Organic Dark Rye Flour (603)
100g Seeded White Organic Flour
20g fine salt
600 ml warm water
I tbsp Olive Oil
10g active dried yeast
2 Ladles of Wheat Sourdough starter

To be added before putting into the oven
Poppy Seeds
Sesame seeds

Preparation method

Stage 1

Put 800g Organic Wholemeal Flour in the mixing bowl of a food mixer, and then add the Organic Dark Rye flour the Seeded White Organic Flour and the salt, and then mix together by hand or with a wooden spoon.

Add the olive oil plus the two ladles full of the active sourdough starter mix. It may be helpful if the sourdough starter has been allowed to come to room temperature.

In a separate bowl stir a teaspoon of sugar into 600 ml of warm water and then stir in the dried yeast powder and wait until it becomes visibly active.

Mix the yeasty water with the mixture of flour in the bowl and use a wooden spoon to mix things together and to make sure that some of the liquid reaches the bottom of the bowl before switching on the mixer. Then using a dough hook, mix the ingredients together at a low speed for about 5 or 6 minutes.

Turn the dough out on to an oiled baking board/work surface. Put a little olive oil on your hands and after a little more kneading, shape the dough into a round before putting it into a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with cling film (or a stretchy plastic cover) and leave the dough to double in size. In a warm-ish kitchen this will probably take about 45 minutes.

Stage 2

Grease two medium size loaf tins with some olive oil.

After proving the dough, turn it out onto your work surface, gently deflate the dough before dividing it into two. Shape each half of the dough into a long-ish rectangle. Then fold over one third forward towards the centre and then fold the other end of the rectangle back towards you over the rest of the dough. Then working from the top, roll the dough up tightly back towards you and mould it into a loaf shape with the seam at the bottom. Place the loaves in the greased loaf tins.

Brush the tops of the loaves with a little milk and scatter some poppy seeds and sesame seeds over the top, and then gently press the seeds into the top of the dough.

Cover the filled loaf tins with a plastic bag and leave to rise for another 30 minutes.

While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 250C. Place a baking tray/roasting tin in place before turning the oven on.

Stage 3

Five minutes before putting the loaves in the oven, pour some boiling water into the baking tray/roasting tin which you’d placed in the bottom of the oven. Be careful not to get scalded by the steam!

Before putting the bread in the oven, it is good to slash the top of the loaves gently with a sharp knife or razor blade. You may want to spray a little water on the top of the loaves at this point too.

If possible, as you’re putting the bread into the oven, quickly spray some more water into the oven, to help create the steamy atmosphere which will help the loaves to rise during the first 10 minutes of the bake.

Stage 4 Baking

• Bake at 250C for 10 minutes.

• Turn oven down to 200C and allow to bake for another 30-35 minutes.

• Check if it’s baked all the way through by turning the loaf out of the tin and tapping the bottom of the loaf to see if it sounds hollow. If it still sounds a bit ‘soft’ then put back into the oven for another 3-4 minutes.

• Leave to cool on a rack cover it with a clean linen cloth and then wait until the loaf has cooled before seeking to cut it and eat it.


Added by: Peter Stevenson

Tags: Wholemeal Bread Sourdough

Add comment

The recipe looks interesting and I shall look forward to experimenting with it. On the cooking temperatures, I think some extra 0s have crept in. I an guessing that 250 degrees and 200 degrees were intended. (The steel parts of the oven would melt at 1500 degrees and I wouldn't want to be in your kitchen when you got it up to 2500 degrees!

Rodney Noon 12 September 2019

RE: Typo??

Well spotted! I've amended the recipe so that it suggests a more sensible temperature. Thanks for reading the recipe carefully

Rev Peter Stevenson 12 September 2019


I’m always looking for recipes that combine starter and yeast. Could you be a bit more specific about the weight of starter you use pls? Looking forward to trying this! Thanks.

Mrs Barbara Jephcote 01 July 2019

RE: Quantity

Some guidelines for keeping a sourdough starter active suggest discarding some of the starter before ‘feeding’ it with fresh amounts of flour and water. I’m reluctant to throw stuff away and prefer to use up some of the sourdough starter by blending it into bread recipes which also use yeast as the rising agent. Previously when I used two full ladles of sourdough starter in a recipe for a general wholemeal loaf using a kilo of flour I had to add extra flour to absorb the extra moisture added by the starter. The starter is basically a mix 50/50 flour and water. I don’t tend to measure it precisely, but two full ladles of sourdough starter add about 300g / 300ml liquid. That probably adds an extra 100 to 150ml liquid to the mix. So this time I experimented with replacing 100g of wholemeal with 100g of rye flour as I suspected that the rye flour would absorb the extra moisture. That seems to have worked and I am pleased with the end result. It may also be possible to achieve the same end result by reducing the water used to activate the dried yeast by about 100-150ml? I hope that makes some sense! – Peter Stevenson

Rev Peter Stevenson 01 July 2019

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