Khorasan wheat and 100% whole grain wheat sourdough breads with wild garlic

Something really magnificent and totally unexpected happened two weeks ago - My Daily Sourdough Bread blog was selected from a record-breaking pool of nearly 50,000 entries as the one of the six finalists in the Best Special Interest Blog category in Saveur Blog Awards 2015!

I can't describe with words how grateful I am to be in a company of all beautiful and inspiring blogs and how grateful I am for your support in the first round!

The Universe always offers us the opposites, the complementary sides of life.  Sometimes it takes more time and effort to see them, but it is worth it. Without them we could not thrive. How would a colorful and hearth-warming spring feel without grounding winter? How would joy feel without sadness? How would sadness feel without joy? Would we appreciate opportunities without being rejected? It's through the opposites the Universe teaches us not to cling to any of two sides, but to stay in the middle, to be in the balance, to be in the now and  to  feel gratitude - for what it is, as it is, and as it is unfolding in front of us.

I love how the spring gradually unfolds itself. Daffodils, morning bird singing, blooming forsythias. And wild garlic, free and early fresh green herb of the year to harvest. Wild garlic is also known as the bear's garlic, as the bears awakened from the winter hibernation would dig up to the ground to get the bulbs and leaves that would help them detoxify. It's after the bear (Ursus arctos L.) that the plant got its Latin name - Allium ursinum L. In German, wild garlic is called Bärlauch, in French ail des ours, in Dutch beerlook and in Italian erba orsina.

I live in a part of the country which is known for being a brown bear's natural habitat, so picking wild garlic is always a bit adventurous for me. You know, how would the inner calmness feel without the outer excitement ? :) 

Wild garlic (Allium ursinum L.)
Also known as ramsons or wood garlic, wild garlic can be found in deciduous (sometimes also in coniferous) woodlands with moist and slightly acidic soil. If you pay attention when walking through through the forest, the typical garlic-like scent should be present in the air. The smell gets more obvious if you rub couple of wild garlic leaves between your fingers.  This is a good test to distinguish wild garlic from other similar looking but poisonous plants like Lily of the Valley (Convalaria majalis L.), autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale L.) and false helleborine (Veratrum album L.). However, if the garlic scent is on your fingers, avoid picking other plants and testing them by rubbing them between the fingers afterwards. Three other wild garlic features are: convex leaves with one main vein, individual green stem, and long white bulb. It flowers in white in the end of April or beginning of May or even later at higher altitudes.

Wild garlic

Wild garlic growing in woodlands with moist soil.

Wild garlic has antibacterial properties and it also helps to reduce blood pressure, especially when eaten in large quantities. It can be used in salads, soups, eaten fresh in spreads, with pasta, smoothies,... - you name it! I've decided to mix it into bread.

I made two breads, one with white wheat and khorasan wheat flour and another whole grain wheat flour, just to see how the taste and color would be affected. Fresh wild garlic (or pesto) will give your bread a unique (almost salami like) taste, however the color of the dough in whole grain wheat sourdough bread will not be affected (i.e. changed to green). To get greener crumb, use more wild garlic or use white flours to make the change in color more pronounced. When I made my first sourdough bread with (a lot of) wild garlic, it didn't rise. I was thinking if its antibacterial properties affected the bacteria in my starter.

Khorasan and whole wheat sourdough bread

Left: khorasan wheat sourdough bread. Right: 100% whole grain wheat sourdough bread.

Khorasan wheat and 100% whole grain wheat sourdough bread
Yields: one small to medium loaf each

Baking schedule:
Both breads were mixed in the evening, left to rise for 3 hours at the room temperature, shaped and then put in the fridge for 10-12 hours. They were baked in the morning of the following day.

Ingredients for 100% whole grain wheat sourdough bread:
400 g whole grain wheat flour
315 g water + 15 g water (82% hydration)
100 g active whole grain wheat sourdough starter (70% hydration)
8 g fine sea salt
1.5 tablespoon of wild garlic pesto or 2 handfuls of wild garlic finely chopped

Ingredients for khorasan wheat sourdough bread:
200 g white khorasan wheat flour
250 g white wheat flour
300 g water (66% hydration)
100 g active rye sourdough starter (100% hydration)
9 g fine sea salt

Instructions (written for 100% whole wheat sourdough bread but to be applied to the khorasan wheat sourdough bread as well):

1. In the morning of the day you will mix the dough, prepare your sourdough starter. Mix 70 g of whole grain wheat flour with 50 g of water and one teaspoon of your active (or straight from the fridge) sourdough starter. On the photo below you can see my starter in the morning (left) and couple of hours later (right).

Whole grain wheat starter

Left: freshly mixed whole grain wheat sourdough starter. Right: Risen and well active starter after couple of hours.

2. In the evening, first mix 315 g of water, 100 g of active whole grain wheat sourdough starter, and 400 g of whole grain wheat flour. Mix until all ingredients come together. Leave to rest (autolyse) for 30-60 minutes.

3. Observe how the flour has absorbed the water during the resting period. If you don't know how well your flour absorbs the water, the resting period is a good choice to test it. 
Add 8 g of salt and 15 g of water. If the dough feels stiff, add more water. Knead the dough for couple of minutes.

4. Leave the dough to rise for another 2.5-3 hours at the room temperature (if it's too cold, you might put the bowl in a slightly warm oven). If you like, you can apply few stretch and folds to the dough. To make one stretch and fold, grab the dough underneath, stretch it up and fold it back onto itself.
In the meantime, prepare the rising basket and flour it well. I lined my rising basket with a kitchen cloth and floured it with whole grain rye flour and white wheat flour.

5. After 2.5-3 hours, the dough should look slightly puffed. Take the dough out on a lightly floured working surface and shape it into a ball by pinching the ends of the dough together in the middle and then transfer the dough to a rising basket. Sprinkle some more flour on the top and cover it with the rest of the kitchen cloth. Put the basket in the fridge. Let the dough ferment until noticeably risen in volume and when the indent you make with your finger springs back slowly and not all the way up. It usually take my dough 10-12 hours.

Whole wheat sourdough bread

Left: whole grain wheat sourdough bread ready to be put in the oven. Right: Baked whole grain wheat bread.

6. When the dough has risen enough, put the dutch oven (or a baking stone) into oven and heat it to the maximum temperature of your oven for at least 30 minutes.

Left: Baked khorasan wheat sourdough bread. Right: khorasan wheat sourdough bread ready to be put in the oven.

7. When dutch oven/baking stone is preheated, take it out. Put a piece of parchment paper and a chopping board over the rising basket and turn everything upside down. Score the bread and transfer it to a dutch oven.

8. Bake the bread for 20 minutes with the lid on (or with steam - to create steam, throw couple of ice cubes onto the hot pan at the bottom of the oven) at 240°C/465F°F and 20-25 minutes with lid off at 230°C/445°F and until bread gets nice golden color. Cool on a cooling rack before cutting for at least 1 hour.

Whole wheat sourdough bread

Left: Khorasan wheat sourdough bread crumb. Right: 100% whole grain wheat soudough bread crumb.

What's your favorite spring harvest?

9 thoughts on “Khorasan wheat and 100% whole grain wheat sourdough breads with wild garlic

  1. Natasa! Love your blog and can’t wait to try to do a sourdough! Thank you for sharing your technique with all of us appreciative fans! A couple of questions: I’m particularly interested in whole grain breads. If you don’t want to add salt, does the recipe/proportions/time etc change in any way? How would the whole grain khorasan behave differently than whole wheat? There’s no need at all to add wheat gluten? The final rise in the fridge doesn’t dry out the dough? Thanks for your insights here!

    1. Thank you so much Cathy, I am so happy to hear that :)

      Smaller quantities would definitely effect the taste (not so tasty :)) and as I have read in the literature, the decreased quantities of salt could effect the gluten forming. Without salt the dough would be slacky and you might notice the dough doesn’t rise properly as the dough isn’t firm. I could once try to forget to add the salt (make an experiment), so I would write from my own experience :)

      From my experience, (whole grain) khorasan flour absorbs more water than (whole grain) wheat flour. Where are you coming from? European flours usually absorb less water than American. The best thing you could do if getting familiar with new flour is to try with autolyse or the resting period. I usually start with about 60-65% hydration (or more if I see the flour is really thirsty) and then leave the dough to rest for one hour. After one hour the dough relaxes and you can see how well the flour absorbed the flour. In general, khorasan is rich in proteins and there is no need to add wheat gluten, the dough is easy to work with.

      The final rise in the dough would dry out the dough if the dough is left uncovered or if it is really cold in the fridge. There is probably 5-6°C in my fridge and I always cover the dough with the kitchen cloth. You could also put a proofing basket in a plastic bag to really prevent the dough from drying out.

      Thank you for your questions, Cathy. Happy sourdough baking :)

  2. Natasa! Your wholesome and delicious recipe, especially with the wild garlic, is certainly an incentive to get your own bread-baking going. :) I was thinking that it would also be really nice to try this with some home-made herb salt instead of fine sea salt. I am not sure what kind of salt you used (since we all know that not all salt is “good” salt), but I was thinking of substituting it with Himalayan salt, which isn’t processed and devoid of many important nutrients, and mixing that with home-grown herbs such as thyme, fennel, sage, rosemary or lemon leaves. Looking forward to hear back from you!

    1. Hi Desiree!

      Thank you for your kind words :)

      Yes, your idea is perfect! I’ve never tried it in loaves, but I used it with focaccias and it’s great. Making your own herb salt is a great idea in general, it can fit to so many baking projects.

      I’m mostly using Himalayan salt and local sea salt. Luckily we have a high-quality salt here in Slovenia – two big salt pans sites, so I love to use it too.

      Wish you a nice weekend,

  3. Hi!
    I have just found your beautiful, beautiful blog! I’ve been baking sourdough for about 1 year now, and have been baking yeasted bread for several. Sourdough has become my fast favourite – in fact I can’t remember the last time I baked a yeasted loaf.
    I’ve still got heaps to learn with sourdough, and because I bake with 100% whole spelt flour I find it hard finding tips and advice relevant to my bread. But this makes the success feel all the better!
    I’ve just subscribed and am looking forward to reading along :-)

    Sarah x

    1. Hi Sarah and welcome!

      Yes, I totally agree, sourdough baking is something special and once you’re in, there’s no way back :)
      I also bake with whole spelt flour from time to time, so we might share some experiences from what we’ve learned. And if you need any help, just drop me an e-mail ;)


  4. After making your sourdough doughnuts, and also after making whole grain sourdough bread for almost two years with only partial success, I tried this recipe. It’s been my best effort yet! Thank you so much. I used freshly milled khorosan wheat this time, and I plan to try it with freshly milled spelt next.

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