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I’ve been loving this little formula I put together to figure out water and sourdough % when working with wholemeal flour

The basic assumptions are that as you add more wholemeal, you also add more water but you use less sourdough.


Well we covered water already, wholemeal flour really likes to suck up water so to be fully hydrated, you use more water than if you did only bread flour.

Why less sourdough?

A few reasons.
1) you’re using more water and wetter doughs move quicker as the yeast and bacteria can move more easily through the dough (not quite that simple but you get the picture)
2) the more wholemeal flour you use, the more wild yeast is around so you don’t need to add as much sourdough. Probably not a huge factor, but noteworthy.
3) arguably most important, there’s less for the sourdough to eat.

Remember a couple posts back how I talked about white bread flour being basically all endosperm, and wholemeal flour being the whole grain, including the bran and the germ? And remember how when when you make bread flour, you lose about 40% of the grain when you ditch the bran and the germ? Annnddd remember how endosperm is basically just starch. Annndddddd (putting it all together here), starch is what is broken down into sugar by the enzymes, and that sugar is what’s fermented??

So if you have 2 buckets, 1 with 100g of bread flour, 1 with 100g of wholemeal flour. The 100g of bread flour is basically 100g of bread food and the 100g of wholemeal is only 60g of food.

If you gave both buckets the same amount of sourdough, the sourdough will eat through the 60g faster than the 100g. So if you want them to finish at the same time, you give the wholemeal one less sourdough.

How much less? I’m glad you asked. 😄

Here are the functions that have been working well for me. Check back a couple posts for how to calibrate for your bread.

Water% = 0.2*(wholemeal%) + 70
sd%= 22 – 0.1*(wholemeal%)

More wholemeal = more water & less sourdough

I love math 🤓

Comment if this is making sense!
And if it’s not, ask!

75% water
75% bread flour
25% whole meal
1 hour autolyse
3% salt
19.5% sourdough
5 hour proof
1 hour bench rest
16 hour cold proof
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