French Country Bread with 2-stage Wheat Sourdough

In the past I had tried several times to make a pure wheat sourdough bread with only French stone ground flour T80 without the addition of baker’s yeast. My tests repeatedly failed because the acid in the sourdough was too strong!

The strong acidity of the sourdough is quite noticeable in the dough production! Such doughs are difficult to knead and seem to exhibit the qualities of over-kneading (they are difficult to rustle from the side of the bowl, if at all). And in the dough tub, the acid shows its full effect – the dough loses its strength after folding and strong cracks appear on the surface of the dough (the cracks are shiny, watery).

To avoid such a mistake, a multi-stage, mild and strong rising sourdough will help. The starter should either be refreshed or taken from an active sourdough. Both help the sourdough to actively take off in the first stage. The first stage is started with 10% of the amount of flour,  a maturing time of 8-10 hours and a dough temperature of 27-28°C. The sourdough flour quantities are divided into 50% in both stages. With the refreshment of the second stage, the sourdough activity increases and the acidity is kept to a minimum at the same time – this results in a strong and mild sourdough.


Wheat sourdough, stage 1

90gT80 (50% in stage 1)100%
100gWater 40-45°C111%
9gStarter 22°C10%

Dissolve the starter in warm water and the stir in the flour until lump-free. Then allow it to mature for 8-10 hours- target dough temperature 27-28°C.

Wheat sourdough, stage 2

199gWheat sourdough stage 1100%
100gWater 35°C111%

Completely dissolve the sourdough from the first stage in water and then mix in the flour until lump-free. Maturity time for the second stage is approx. 5-6 hours at 27°C.

Main dough

389gMature sourdough100%
600gWater approx.10°C75%

Mix together the T80 and water and let stand to autolyze for 1 hour. Then add in the sourdough and salt and mix on slow speed for 6-7 minutes. Then knead for one minute on a fast speed setting. 


  • Place the dough in an oiled dough tub after the dough is made. 
  • Fold after 60 and 120 minutes. 
  • Then allow the dough to rise until it has increased in volume by 30-40%
  • To work up, turn out the dough onto a floured work surface and divide in the desired size. 
  • Fold all four sides of each dough into the middle with tension. Then let relax for 30 minutes with the seam-side up. After the dough has relaxed, fold each side to the middle again and place in a floured proofing basket with the seam-side up. 
  • Then allow the dough to ferment in the refrigerator at 4-5°C for 12-18 hours.
  • Bake the loaves straight from the refrigerator in the oven preheated to 245-255°C with strong steam.
  • Before baking, turn out the dough onto a baking peel and score several times with a sharp knife (4-5 mm deep cuts)
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 200°C after 10 minutes and bake until well-browned.