There is nothing like baked homemade fresh bread, and this Graham Wheat Recipe uses a starter to help naturally leaven this delicious tasting homemade bread.
Making homemade bread provides some serious affinity for the process. The long waiting hours for the starter to be ready, the rise time, the proofing time, there is a whole bunch of waiting to go on. I’ve found it incredibly interesting as of late to bake it using a natural leavening agent known as a starter or a levain. You may have also heard it called a “sourdough starter.” The sourness depends on if you feed your starter the day that you make it or the night before.
If you are serious about bread baking or want to get serious about it then you have to learn to make a starter which is the natural way to leaven bread, in fact, this rustic recipe uses 3 ingredients, flour, water, and salt, that’s it. Yes, there are a few different flours but that doesn’t take away from the simplicity of the ingredient list. Definitely learn how to make a sourdough starter (levain).
What Is Graham Flour
Maybe you’ve heard of things like graham crackers? Of course, you have! Graham wheat is a dark northern red wheat and relative of modern-day wheat, and the folks over at Bob’s Red Mill make it super coarse, which I am in love with. I feel that when it is ground this way you get to taste more of the full kernel since the chunks are so big.
Since graham is so coarsely ground the bread will tend to be more on the dense side, and while I don’t like super dense bread, I usually cut all my wheat bread doughs with some white flour. Yes, it will still be a little dense but there will also be plenty of air pockets for that delicious light, fluffy, tender bread you are looking for. Check out my Spelt flour bread recipe to see some dense air pocket filled bread as well as the step by step instructions, yes this bread is made in just about the exact same way.
Blending Flours: To make bread interesting I find it fun to blend different flours to bring about all sorts of delicious flavors and textures. Consider combining different kinds of wheat and flours to make it much more interesting. Remember that whole wheat flours need more water so be sure to bump your hydration levels up by 2-3%.
Bread Dough Hydration
When making a homemade recipe you may notice percentages next to the ingredient amounts. A bread recipe is broken down into percentages so that they are easy to make. Most of the recipes that I create use a hydration level of 75% to 80%.
So, for example, this rustic bread recipe uses a total of 1200 grams of flour. This would be equal to 100%, the flour total is always 100%. If I were to use 78% hydration, a.k.a. water, it would come in at 930 grams of water. The starter percentage can vary a bit depending on how mature it is, and commercial yeast can also vary.
- 1200 grams of flour = 100%
- 930 grams of water = 78%
- 32 grams of salt = 2.7%
- 325 grams starter = 27%
Does bread hydration make more sense now? You can actually stick with these percentages for all of your creative bread-making recipes!
How to Make Graham Wheat Bread
Step 1: Feed your levain starter and let sit covered in a warm place for 8 to 8 ½ hours
Step 2: Mix your graham flour, white flour and ivory wheat flour with water and mix until combined in a large container. Cover and let sit for 25 minutes.
Step 3: Add in the salt and levain and completely mix the dough by squeezing and folding and rest covered for 20 minutes.
Step 4: Fold the dough by stretching and folding over 6 to 8 times. Do this every 20 minutes for the next 60 minutes. Cover and rest in a warm place for 10 to 16 hours or until tripled in size.
Step 5: Remove the dough and cut in half. Form to 2 long dough balls and place in a bread loaf banneton. Cover with a towel and let rest for 4 to 5 hours.
Step 6: Transfer to preheated oval dutch oven pots bake at 500°. for 30 minutes covered. Remove cover and bake for a further 25 to 30 minutes.
Step 7: Cool for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
Chef Recipe Notes + Tips
Remember to allow for 8-9 hours after feeding your sourdough starter (levain) before it is active enough to use.
If you’re unsure if you are starter is ready to use, it should have almost doubled in size, have plenty of bubbles and will float to the top in a cup of room temperature water.
You can absolutely swap out the graham flour for Kamut, whole wheat or Spelt flour
Make sure to let your bread ferment overnight for at least 10 hours and up to 16 hours.
More Amazing Bread Recipes
Graham Wheat Bread Recipe with Starter
- 840 grams Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour
- 240 grams of Bob’s Red Mill Graham Flour
- 120 grams Bob’s Red Mill Ivory Wheat Flour
- 930 grams water 90° to 92°
- 32 grams sea salt
- 325 grams sourdough starter (levain)
- Mix the flours and water together just until combined in a large container. Cover and let rest in a warm place for 25 minutes.
- Sprinkle in the salt and add the starter and mix thoroughly by squeezing the ingredients together and folding it vigorously. Cover and let rest in a warm place for 20 minutes.
- Fold the dough by stretching and folding over 6 to 8 times every 20 minutes for 60 minutes.
- Cover and let rest in a warm place for 10 -16 hours or tripled in size.
- Remove the dough from the container onto a floured surface and cut in half equally.
- Form 2 long dough balls and place each into a floured bread loaf style basket. Cover with a towel and let proof in a warm place for 4 to 4 1/2 hours.
- Press the dough and if it springs immediately back up then let it proof for another 45 minutes. The finger press mark should slowly rise and stay indented when it is done.
- Place 2 oval Dutch oven pots into an oven and preheat to 500° and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Remove the pots and place the dough carefully into each Dutch oven. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes or until the outside of the bread is dark brown.
- 1Set on a cooling rack for 30 minutes.
- 1Slice and serve.
- 840 (24.56 ounces) grams of Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour (6 ¾ cups)
- 240 (4.92 ounces) grams of Bob’s Red Mill Graham Flour ( 1 ¾ cup + 2 tbsp)
- 120 (2.846 ounces) grams of Bob’s Red Mill Ivory Wheat Flour (scant 1 cup)
- 930 (28.44 ounces) grams of water 90° to 92° (7 1/4 cup + 3 tbsp)
- 32 (.9 ounces) grams sea salt
- 325 (8.8 ounces) grams starter (levain)
- Remember to allow for 8-9 hours after feeding your sourdough starter (levain) before it is active enough to use.
- If you're unsure if you are starter is ready to use, it should have almost doubled in size, have plenty of bubbles and will float to the top in a cup of room temperature water.
- You can absolutely swap out the graham flour for kamut, whole wheat or spelt flour
- Make sure to let your bread ferment overnight for at least 10 hours and up to 16 hours.