(5-results) Journey to perfect a 100% WW Sourdough Pullman Loaf

(5-results) Journey to perfect a 100% WW Sourdough Pullman Loaf

Bake #5 was better than Bake #4. But, I think skipping the shaping step isn’t going to work out, at least not with this recipe.


The wife has tasked me to come up with a sandwich bread recipe our family can bake at least once a weak to completely replace our regularly purchased box store sandwich bread.


  • Soft and light
  • 100% whole wheat
  • Recipe must be easily repeatable and easy to execute.
  • Recipe must be designed for a covered pullman loaf pan.
  • My 12 year old daughter must be able to bake the bread from start to finish
  • Sourdough leavening only.
  • From start to finish, the bread must be completable in 1 day.
  • Process must exist to enable the baker to know with reasonable certainty that the loaf is perfectly proofed.
  • Dough needs to contain a few softened chewy seeds, grain berries, etc. for texture and flavor.
  • Don’t use bran flakes as a bread topping.
  • 1.5 out of 10 on the TexasBakerDad sourness scale, whatever the heck that means ūüôā

Summary of the Bake

The Good:

  • Working the dough longer with the ankarsum produced nice results. I used the roller instead of the dough hook and after 8 minutes at medium speed the dough pulled into a nice ball. And to be honest, the dough was dry enough at that point, that in the future I might want to try to squeeze in another 5% of hydration.
  • I worked the dough with the ankarsum for 8 minutes, it stopped showing signs of strengthening at about 7 minutes. Then I let the dough rest 10 minutes, and worked the dough again, it only took 4 minutes the second time around for the dough to stop showing signs of strengthening. I am not sure the 2nd round of ankarsum kneading resulted in any improvement in dough strength.
  • I remembered to remove the baking stone from the bottom rack of the oven this time. And, probably because of that change, the crumb at the bottom of the loaf wasn’t as compressed. My theory had been that the bottom of the loaf was taking longer to bake and this was causing it to struggle during oven bloom.
  • The dough was airier, but it really didn’t get much oven spring, maybe none. But, at least it didn’t shrink in the pan like last time. The crumb was really nice and the bread tasted great.

The Bad:

  • The crust was more dried out compared to previous bakes. I am thinking that might be due to the removal of the baking stone. I think because I hadn’t given the baking stone enough time to warm up, the baking stone was acting as a heat sink and the baking stone was doing a great job interfering with the heat that was supposed to be coming up from the oven’s bottom heating element. I am going to reduce my baking time for the next bake by 15 minutes.
  • In my first 3 bakes, in which I shaped my dough and had a bulk ferment, the resulting loaves had nice oven spring, a nice rounded top and as a result were less dense. These past two bakes, in which I skipped bulk ferment and shaping, have been disappointing with regards to oven spring and loaf density. I believe I was able to develop enough strength with additional time in the ankarsum, but the shaping is going to be necessary to develop that last bit of strength needed… I worry I will still have problems even after shaping, but shaping is the next logical step in the journey.

What to do Next:

  • Reduced baking time by 15 minutes
  • Shape the loaf before loading into pullman

The Final Results


  • 60g (12%) sourdough starter (50:50 hard red)
  • 50g rolled outs
  • 30g (6%) honey
  • 11g (2ish%) non-iodized salt
  • 31g (6ish%) virgin olive oil
  • 475g (95% if you include rolled oats) well water
  • 450g hard white wheat (sifted to remove bran)
  • Sifted bran and butter used to prep pullman


  • 8:37a:¬†In large mixing bowl, add: 475g of boiling water, 50g rolled oats, 30g honey, 10g salt. Mix and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • 8:47a:¬†Mix in 30g olive oil
  • 8:48a:¬†Without kneading, mix the 450g of hard white wheat to combine into a shaggy mess. Let autolyze for 10 minutes
  • 8:58a:¬†Smear 60g starter over the top of the dough mess. Use drum on Ankarsum and knead until dough stops showing improvement (8 minutes elapsed). Then wait 10 minutes for dough to relax.
  • 9:10a:¬†Prepare pullman pan, liberally butter all sides and apply flour.
  • 9:29a:¬†Using the roller (drum), knead with Ankarsum until dough stops showing signs of strengthening (4 minutes elapsed).
  • 9:36a:¬†Transfer dough to pullman pan and massaged the dough into the corners of the pan.¬†Siphon off 20g of dough to aliquot jar.
  • 4:15p:¬†Preheat oven 375dF
  • Aliquot showed a rise of 1.7x, I decided to load at this point.
  • 5:00p:¬†Brush top of loaf with melted butter and sprinkle bran on top of loaf, put lid on pullman and stick in oven for 1 hour 30 min.
  • 6:30p:¬†Pull from oven, transfer loaf to rack. Let rest until cool, probably 2.5 hours.
  • 9:00p:¬†Slice using slicer then put loaf in plastic bread bag to keep it soft.


Aliquot right before loading pan into oven.

Dough in pullman about an hour before I loaded into oven.

Dough right after loading into pullman