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

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

This bake went well enough, I think I am ready to move onto the next phase of perfecting this recipe… flavor.


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 ­čÖé

Summary of the Bake

The Good:

  • The loaf’s density was acceptable. I might have been able to get the loaf slightly less dense. But I think I am to the point now where if I try to squeeze out better rise results, it won’t be the best use of my time.
  • The 15 minute bake time reduction seemed to be about right. The crumb was strong, the crust color was right. I might have been able to shave off another 15 minutes, but that would have been cutting it real close.
  • I was pleasantly surprised by how the shaping went… I was worried that the dough wouldn’t have enough structure and strength without a bulk rise for the shaping to do much, but my worries were unfounded. I mean, it was very different than shaping after the dough has built up some air pockets, but it was still shapeable and the shaping definitely had a positive effect on the rise.

The Bad:

  • Shaping the dough right after kneading (skipping bulk ferment), was a bit tricky, the dough was quite a bit more sticky. I eventually got the hang of things and once I had some surface tension built up, the dough stopped wanting to stick to everything. My concern now is… can I teach my daughter to pull it off?
  • I really wanted to try shaping the dough into mini loaves and then load them into the pullman side by side, but I TOTALLY FORGOT!
  • Accidentally put flour on both sides of my dough during the final shaping… this doesn’t seem to have negatively effected the final bake, but I figure I should annotate the mistake anyways.
  • I scored the dough. The scoring went fine, but I was surprised by the lack of spreading of the score during the oven bloom. You can see from the crumb shot, that score opened up a little, but what was weird was that the crust to the left and the right of the score rise higher… so, there was definitely some oven bloom, but not in the place where I scored. I don’t know what to think of that… did I overproof a bit? Was I too rough with my scoring? maybe too deep? I guess it is something to think about.

What to do next:

  • It is time to start experimenting with different additives… cracked wheat, seeds, other flours, milk/butter, etc. etc. There are so many direction I could take this, so I am going to create a TFL post getting some ideas on how I could narrow things down and give myself some direction.
  • I will be shaping the loaf as 3 or 4 mini-loaves next bake.

The Final Results


  • 60g (12%) sourdough starter (50:50 hard red)
  • 50g rolled outs
  • 30g (6%) honey
  • 10g (2%) non-iodized salt
  • 30g (6%) virgin olive oil
  • 475g (95% if you include rolled oats) well water
  • 450g hard white wheat (sifted to remove bran)


  • 9:25a:┬áIn large mixing bowl, add: 475g of boiling water, 50g rolled oats, 30g honey, 10g salt. Mix and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • 9:35a:┬áMix in 30g olive oil
  • 9:36a:┬áWithout kneading, mix the 450g of hard white wheat to combine into a shaggy mess. Let autolyze for 10 minutes
  • 9:46a:┬áSmear 60g starter over the top of the dough mess. Use drum on Ankarsum and knead until dough stops showing improvement (record time elapsed, about 8 minutes).
  • 10:00a:┬áDump dough onto bench, siphon off 20g for aliquot, then preshape, then wait 15 min.
  • 10:05a:┬áPrepare pullman pan, liberally butter all sides and apply flour.
  • 10:15a:┬áShape dough and load into pullman.
  • Let dough proof in pullman until aliquot shows 1.70x rise over original volume
  • 5:15p:┬áPreheat oven 375dF
  • 5:55p: Score,┬áput lid on pullman and stick in oven for 1 hour 15 min. Bake covered the entire time.
  • 8:25p:┬áPull from oven, transfer loaf to rack. Let rest until cool, probably 2.5 hours.
  • 10:55p:┬áSlice using slicer then put loaf in plastic bread bag to keep it soft.

Aliquot right before loading into oven.

Crumb comparison of the last 6 bakes. All have the same recipe and weight, just different processes. Bake 4, 5, 6, skipped the bulk ferment. Bake 1, 2, 3 had a bulk ferment. Out of 4, 5, 6, only 6 was preshaped and shaped.