This is how to make whole wheat sourdough bread the easy way, using water, sourdough starter, salt, and freshly milled wheat flour. This crusty no knead sourdough bread is so soft and chewy like traditional Artisan bread, but healthier using 100% whole grains! It’s perfect for beginners and bakes the same-day!

crusty no knead whole wheat sourdough bread

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If you have been making sourdough bread long enough you know that in the world of sourdough it’s very hard to get that fluffy texture like white artisan-style bread using 100% whole wheat. I’ve tried a few no-knead recipes but none ever met those moist and fluffy results that I love in Artisan bread.

This sourdough bread recipe is amazing over all my sourdough whole wheat bread attempts, my daughter said “this is the best sourdough bread recipe that I’ve made” and that is big coming from an avid lover of white flour Artisan bread!

I actually get so excited over this sourdough recipe and happily feed my sourdough starter the night before knowing that I’m making this bread! It makes a consistently delicious loaf of whole grain sourdough bread every time and it’s not even that hard!

inside of a whole wheat sourdough bread boule

This white whole wheat bread is currently my most-loved bread recipe! It’s very easy to make with a few ingredients and tastes like a sourdough bread loaf you’d buy! The outside is so crisp and the inside is so fluffy, spongy and moist. You will love this bread!

I also love that you can quickly mix the dough with a spoon and allow it to ferment on the counter most of the day, making it a mostly hand-off process and if it doesn’t get baked, the dough can placed into the fridge to bake the next day. This method is ideal for busy moms or beginners!

There are a few things to keep in mind when baking sourdough bread with whole grains.

How To Bake Sourdough Bread using Whole Wheat:

Sourdough wheat bread is different, instead of relying on commercially produced packets of dry active yeast, sourdough bread relies simply on the wild yeasts from your sourdough starter.

That is why it’s so important to start with a mature starter that is full of good bacteria and wild-yeasts coming from the natural fermentation, giving your whole grains a good rise. You can buy a mature starter from us or use an active sourdough starter that passes the float test in a cup of warm water.

fed sourdough starter

I use freshly milled whole wheat flour that I make from hard white wheat berries. I simply run the wheat berries through my WonderMill Grain Mill and use that in this recipe. If you can’t mill your own flour you can buy white whole wheat flour already ground for you. Using this type of whole wheat flour makes fluffy and moist sourdough bread.

a no knead 100% whole wheat sourdough boule

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread Ingredients:

  • Whole Wheat Flour- is made by grinding hard white wheat berries.
  • Active Sourdough Starter- should be fed 4-12 hours before making the dough. It should be active and bubbly before using.
  • Sea Salt- use a good quality salt.
  • Water- that is preferably filtered.
  • Vital Wheat Gluten- is not an enemy. It’s made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starches dissolve. This extracts the protein from the starch and is dried and powdered to make vital wheat gluten. It gives extra gluten needed for a proper rise when baking with whole-grain flours. Trust me when I say it makes a difference in your dough and you only use 2 tablespoons.

How To Make Sourdough Bread with 100% Whole Wheat

To make a round loaf of crusty bread, you’ll need a dutch-oven pot with a lid. You could use a Banneton basket after shaping but I like to dust a little flour over parchment paper and place my dough on that, then plop it all into a mixing bowl about the size of my round loaf to rise. You do need fancy equipment, to create the perfect loaf. In fact, I use a razor blade to score the dough.

  1. Feed your sourdough the night before or 4-12 hours before starting your bread. It should be active and bubbly.
  2. Weigh the grain or flour for consistent results and run through the grain mill if using wheat berries. Weighing your starter will result in more consistent results too as the hydration of your starter, and the flour you use can vary.
  3. In a large mixing bowl (preferably with a lid) combine the water, sourdough starter, whole wheat flour, and vital wheat gluten using your hands or Danish dough whisk (dough will be sticky and shaggy). Cover and rest the dough for 20 minutes. In bread baking, this is called “autolyse” to describe this period of hydration and rest before adding the salt. It’s much needed to hydrate whole wheat flour to improve the texture of the dough.
  4. After 20 minutes mix in the salt and allow the dough to rest for 1 more hour. This will hydrate the dough and make it easier for stretch and folds later.
  5. Remove the lid and pick up one side of the dough and fold it over the rest of the dough, repeat on all four sides of the dough. This is considered 1 round of stretch and folds.
  6. Repeat the stretch and folds every 30 minutes for the next 2 hours. This makes a total of 4 stretch and folds.

Bulk Fermentation:

  1. After the last stretch and fold, cover the dough with a lid and bulk ferment until doubled in size. Dough should rise no longer than 7 hours from the time you mixed it. Generally, you want to keep it in a warm sunny spot to rise better.


  1. Dust a 12×16 piece of parchment paper, with some whole wheat flour and set aside. Then dust your surface with white whole wheat flour (or oat flour).
  2. Transfer the dough onto the floured surface and fold the dough in half. Then flatten and fold into thirds like a letter. Then from one end, fold dough into thirds shaping it into a ball and giving it tension towards you to form a round shape.
  3. Place the dough seam down onto the prepared parchment paper and let it rise for 1 hour.
  4. Meanwhile, place a dutch oven pot in the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F.
  5. Carefully remove the pot using oven mittens and place the parchment paper with bread carefully into the dutch oven. Cover with the lid and bake covered for 35 minutes. Then uncover and bake at 400°F for 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before slicing.

Here is an Glimpse into My Baking Timeline:

  • Day 1 at 9:00 pm: Feed the sourdough starter with water and flour.
  • Day 2: In the morning before 8 am, combine all the ingredients but the salt and let dough hydrate for 20 minutes.
  • Same-Day 8:30 am: Mix in the salt and allow the dough to sit for 1 hour.
  • Same-Day 9:30-3:00: Do stretch and folds a total of 4-5 times with the first couple of hours. Then bulk ferment until doubled. From the time you mix the dough and start shaping the dough should ferment  a total of 7 hours.
  • Same-Day 3:00 pm: shape the dough. Preheat the oven with the dutch-oven pot and allow the dough to rise while the oven heats up. Score the top with a design before rising.
  • Same-day Baking 4:00 pm: place the dough with the parchment paper into the hot dutch-oven pot and close with the lid. Bake covered for 35 minutes, then uncover and bake 12 more minutes. Cool.

Ways To Use Up Homemade Sourdough Bread:

Sourdough bread benefits are many which is a good reason to make this recipe on repeat. I typically like to make at least two round loaves at a time which leaves me with either freezing one and using up for sandwiches. If you need ideas on how to use up leftovers, then here are some.

  • This whole grain sourdough bread is fantastic for cold sandwiches! We love BLT sandwiches for the hot summer months and this bread is so good and moist un-toasted!
  • Our family eats a lot of bread, we especially enjoy it with a hot bowl of soup! Try it with our Broccoli Cheddar Soup.
  • Dry leftover bread low and slow in the oven to make bread crumbs or croutons.
  • Use in breakfast casseroles (like breakfast strata), stuffing, or as pizza bread. You can even use this dough as pizza crust.
  • We love open-faced sandwiches with cold cuts or this avocado spread over this sourdough sandwich bread!


This sourdough bread stays moist for days! Cool the round loaf completely before storing in a bread bag. Ideally, I’ll keep my loaf of bread out on the counter in a zip-loc bag if I know I will be using it within the next day. Anything longer that, and I prefer to freeze it so it tastes fresh. To freeze bread place cooled loaf in a 2.5 gallon size freezer bag and freeze for 3-6 months.

whole wheat sourdough boule



Is Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread Healthy?

The benefits of sourdough bread are many! However, the process of fermentation helps increase and reinforce the body’s absorption of the nutrients so your body can absorb them better. Making sourdough bread with whole grains is rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

What is Sourdough Bread?

Sourdough bread is a fermented bread that uses natural leaven (sourdough) instead of bakers commercial yeast.

Can I Make This Overnight?

Allow the dough to ferment for a total of 4 hours at room temperature from the time you mix it together until the time you put the dough into the fridge. Refrigerate for 12 hours or more. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. Shape and then bake as instructed.

How Long Does Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread Last?

Naturally leavened bread does not stale as quickly and maintains moisture much longer. Whole Wheat Sourdough bread can keep well at room temperature for up to 3 days, however anything longer should be kept frozen for maximum freshness. My husband loves bread and always wants some sitting out, so often times he put it into the fridge to prolong its freshness so it doesn’t get moldy (we live in a hot climate). This way it can keep longer when cool, up to a week.

How Does No Knead Sourdough Work?

In no-knead bread recipes, the gluten develops during the stretching and folding process. The dough strands get stronger and elastic from this process, making this an easy sourdough bread recipe.





  1. Whole wheat doughs tend to come back from refrigeration longer that white bread dough, which is one of the reasons I do not like to do overnight fermentation. This recipes works great for the same day, and works as an overnight sourdough bread too, however, you’ll just need to keep at room temp longer.
  2. Wet your hands when stretching and folding, this helps from the dough sticking to your hands.
  3. Dust the top of the dough with flour to make the scoring pattern stand out more. If you decide to ferment the dough overnight, the colder loaf makes it easier to score.
  4. Shaping the dough is key so that it doesn’t spread out. If you shape it into a tight ball, the bread can turn out very puffy. Dust the surface well with flour and shape into a ball. This is a sticky dough so flour your hands too.
  5. This is a very basic no knead recipe with the exception of vital wheat gluten. That gives whole wheat flour the extra gluten and stretch to achieve that airy and chewy Artisan loaf.
  6. The same-day baking method makes this a quick sourdough bread recipe.
  7. If using other whole wheat flour, then use a hard wheat variety.
  8. Use a kitchen scale to get consistent results.


No Knead Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 47 minutes
Fermentation:: 7 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 57 minutes
Servings: 1 loaf
This is how to make whole wheat sourdough bread the easy way, using water, sourdough starter, salt, and freshly milled wheat flour. This crusty no knead sourdough bread is so soft and chewy like traditional Artisan bread, but healthier using 100% whole grains! It's perfect for beginners and bakes the same-day!


  • 1 glass mixing bowl with lid
  • 1 dutch-oven pot with oven-safe lid





  • fed sourdough starter
    Prep: Feed your sourdough starter the night before, it should be active and bubbly before starting the bread.
  • mix the whole wheat sourdough dough
    Mixing the dough: In a large bowl combine the water, starter, whole wheat flour, and vital wheat gluten. Rest the dough for 20 minutes, dough will be sticky and shaggy.
  • autolyse: Mix in the salt, cover the dough, and rest for 1 hour for the dough to fully hydrate.
  • stretch and fold the dough
    Stretch and folds: Stretch and fold a total of 4 times within 2 hours (about every 30 minutes). I like to wet my hands so the dough doesn't stick to my hands.
  • Bulk ferment the dough for 4 more hours. (Fermentation should be a total of 7 hours from the time you mix it until you shape it).
  • Preheat the oven to 425°F with the dutch-oven pot. Sprinkle a 12x16 piece of parchment paper with wheat flour and set aside.
  • shaping the dough into a tight ball
    Shaping: Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Fold dough in half then pat to a rectangle. Fold dough into thirds, then turn and fold into thirds from the opposite direction, making a tight ball. Pinch and seal the edges and place seam down onto the floured paper.
  • scoring whole wheat sourdough bread
    Score the top and place the dough with parchment paper into a medium-sized bowl. Allow it to rest up to 1 hour while the oven heats up.
  • Baking: Carefully place dough into the hot dutch-oven pot and bake covered for 35 minutes. Then uncover and bake at 400°F for 12 more minutes. Cool completely before slicing.


  • If you do not have a grain mill, you can use already ground white whole wheat flour
  • I weigh the grain first then mill it for the dough. If using a different whole wheat flour you can weigh the flour for consistent result. The weight stays the same for grains or flour. 

Nutrition per serving

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 129kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 6gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 169mgPotassium: 113mgFiber: 3gSugar: 0.1gVitamin A: 3IUCalcium: 13mgIron: 1mg



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