Breads (Sourdough) - Soft Loaves

Wholemeal Soft Sourdough Bread

April 12, 2020 | Recipe by Bake with Paws
Wholemeal Soft Sourdough Bread
Wholemeal Soft Sourdough Bread

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I rebaked the Wholemeal Soft Sourdough Bread using my  Sourdough Shokupan (Stiff Starter + Yudane Method) recipe.  This bread uses more wholemeal flour (about 25%) compared to the previous recipe which I already deleted where I used about 18.75% of wholemeal flour.  As a result, this bread is less fluffy.  The more wholemeal flour use, the less fluffy the bread.  However, this Wholemeal Soft Sourdough Bread  is soft and moist on the first day and it lasts very well for 2 - 3 days.   

Yudane method is quite similar to Tangzhong (water-roux) method.  Both methods are scalding methods. For the Yudane method, boiling water is used to scald the flour instead of cooking over the stove  

Please click here to see the differences between  Yudane vs Tangzhong Method

I have another Wholemeal Bread Recipe using instant yeast that you may like to try too.

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.  Do tag me on Instagram @Bakewithpaws if you attempt on this recipe.

How To Make Wholemeal Soft Sourdough Bread

Yields:  1 Loaf


Yudane Dough:
70g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
70g boiling water

Sweet Stiff Starter:
60g sourdough starter (100% Hydration), use at its peak 
165g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
20g wholemeal flour
75g water or 90g milk
30g sugar (I used organic brown sugar)

Main Dough:
65g wholemeal flour
All yudane dough (above)
All stiff starter (above)
15g brown sugar (I used organic brown sugar)
1 tsp salt
25g milk powder (omit if SST is fed with milk)
45g cold egg, whisked (from 1 egg), balance use for egg wash
25g water, cold (reserve 10g and add in later if needed) I used total 25g of water
25g butter, room temperature

Egg Wash: (Optional)
Balance of egg wash from the above + 1/2 tsp water

450g loaf pan (21.3 X 12.2 X 11.5 cm  /  8.4" X 4.8" X 4.5")

  1. Yudane:
    1. Add bread flour in a bowl, pour the boiling water and mix well with spatula or spoon until no dry flour.
    2. Cling film and leave on the counter for at least 4 hours or overnight in the fridge.  I prepared the night before.
    3. Use directly from the fridge.
  2. Sweet Stiff Starter:
    1. Dilute starter with water, stir in sugar and mix in bread flour and wholemeal flour to become a dough.  I used electrical mixer with paddle attachment.
    2. Cover and let it ferment until tripled. I prepared a night before and leave it in aircond room (approximately 24 - 25C room temperature) overnight until tripled.  It took about 8 - 9 hours depending on your starter.  It should take around 4 - 6 hours to get triple at room temperature at 28C - 30C.
    3. However, if you feed your starter with milk, the starter will take longer time to proof and very much depend on your stater.  Mine took about 9 - 10 hours to proof overnight.  And the starter did not rise until triple in size compared feeding with water.  It rose almost 2.5 to 3 in size.   It is because natural yeast takes longer time to digest the milk than it does in water.
  3. Main Dough:
    1. Put all ingredients (except butter) into a bowl of stand mixer.  I usually torn stiff starter and yudane into pieces first.
    2. Slightly combine the mixture by hand with the paddle attachment before turning on the machine so that the flour will not splash out.  Using the paddle attachment, mix for 2 minutes or until all incorporated.  
    3. Change to hook attachment and knead for another 3 minutes or until the dough comes together. Add in butter and continue knead for 10 - 12 minutes or until reach window pane stage.  The whole kneading process, I stopped few times to scrape down the dough from the hook to be sure it is evenly kneaded and also to prevent the motor from overheating.
  4. 1st Proofing/Resting:
    1. In the same bowl, let the dough rest for 45 - 60 minutes. Keep it covered with clingfilm or use a lid.  This dough I rested for 45 minutes at 30C room temperature and didn't rise a lot.
  5. Shaping:
    1. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface then divide into 2 equal portions.  Please use a kitchen scale if you want to be exact.
    2. Form each portion to a ball.  Flatten with rolling pin.
    3. Fold right to centre and fold left overlap it.  Roll out with rolling pin into long rectangle shape. Roll up the dough like Swiss Roll until a small log is formed. 
    4. Place all dough in the prepared loaf pan.   
  6. Final Proofing 
    1. Let it proof at warm place until the dough reaches the height of the pan.  This one took approximately 3 1/2 hours at room temperature of 30C.  The duration of proofing depends on your ambient temperature and starter.
  7. Baking:
    1. Preheat oven at 190C (top & bottom heat) for 10 - 15 minutes.
    2. Brush with egg wash (optional) and bake in a preheated oven for 25 - 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
    3. Remove bread from oven and let them cool on rack completely before slicing.

Sweet Stiff Starter

Yudane Dough

Main Dough



A healthy starter is very crucial as advised by Baking with Gina.   It is advisable to feed your starter regularly if you want your bread to rise nicely and to use the starter (levain) at its peak.  A starter that is fed regularly will be more active in general.  If the mother starter is not strong, the bread dough will not rise a lot even though the starter is used at its peak.  


Gluten forms when flour comes in contact with water.  Hydration of the flour causes the sticky and stretchy protein to form, giving structure to the bread.  This makes your bread trap air and rise. 

Gluten in dough can be developed by autolyse, resting, kneading or folding.

The windowpane test is used to determine whether the dough has been sufficiently kneaded.  By gently pulling the dough (or you may pinch off some dough) and trying to stretch it into a thin membrane.  If you are able to stretch the dough paper thin and translucent  without tearing, then the gluten is fully developed.  However, if you can stretch it without tearing but the membrane is not transparent, then the gluten is not yet fully developed.  

However, from my experience not all the recipe can achieve a thin and translucent window pane stage easily.   For example low hydration and low fat dough.  For such recipes, a reasonable window pane is good enough and it can be left to rest. Gluten will continue to develop while resting.  Exercising restraint to not over-knead the dough prevents the gluten from being overworked and broken.   Some of you may have experienced the dough breaking during the second proofing.  It is because the dough is over kneaded. 

The total kneading time for me is usually 15 minutes at low speeds except brioche dough with high fat percentage or dough using liquid fat which usually takes a little longer (maybe 18-20 mins).

From my experience, I found that high hydration dough with high percentage of fat will be easy to stretch and achieve a paper thin windowpane stage.


Why do I use milk powder?  
  1. Milk or milk powder will enhance the flavour of the bread and makes the bread texture softer due to the fat content of the milk. 
  2. Milk powder is shelf stable and you can have it anytime when you want to use.  Unlike liquid milk you need to finish within a certain time before it spoils.

For kneading, please regard the timing provided as an indication only. It is only meant as a guide.  Timing may differ depending on the brand of flour and electric mixer used. The protein content may vary from one brand of flour to another.


The right flour plays a very important role in bread making.   To achieve fluffy, soft and light bread, I used Japan High Gluten Flour in most of my bread baking.  The protein content is around  12 - 13%.


The liquid measurement given is also a guide.  It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go.  This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency.  This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 


Please note that the proofing timing may also vary depending on your climate, environment, flour and your starter. 

If you are unable to judge by just looking at the dough, you can do the finger poke test:

  1. Lightly press the side of the proved dough with your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation, it means the dough is under proved and needs more time before baking.
  2. If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back, it means it has been over proved.
  3. If the indentation slowly bounces back and leave a small indentation, it is ready to bake. 
  4. There will be a final burst of rising once the bread is placed to bake in the oven and it is called oven spring. 

If your bread collapses or gets wrinkled on top after removing from oven, it could be because your dough over proved during the second proofing. Please proof until the tip of the dough just reaches the rim of the pan, around 80% - 90% in size.


Do also note that the baking temperature and timing provided are what works for my oven and should also be regarded as a guide only. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven.


  1. Hi Yeanley, i decided to bake your wholemeal soft sourdough bread yesteday and prepared the levain around 10pm last nite. This morning around 8am it was reaching double but later it dropped to less than double and never achieve triple raise.
    Looking forward for your advice.
    Btw, wonder i prepared the levain correctly as i'm new in sourdough starter. I took 40g of starter from fridge and mixed in 120g of bread flour + 120g or water, mixed and cover and left on the table.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Melinda,

      Thank you for your question and trying to use this recipe. Your feeding is correct. Looks like the natural yeast is running out of food.

      1. How often did you feed your sourdough starter? If you didn't feed for almost a week. It is better to refresh for starter by feeding a small amount (1:1:1) for 2 - 3 times in a day before the baking day.
      2. What type of flour you used for feeding? I usually used unbleached bread flour/high gluten flour.

      I usually feed by starter 2 - 3 times in a week if you can. Just a small amount (8g + 8g + 8g) so that you will not end up with a lot of discard.

      I hope it answer your question.


  2. Hi,hydration can adjust >82% if used yudane method? Will it be hard to shape? I had been tried tangzhong with 82% hydration, dough is not wet as compared to tradition sourdough.

    1. Hi, thank you for your question. Are you referring to the hydration of sourdough starter? Yudane dough contains less liquid as Tangzhong dough. Hence, not required to adjust the hydration of the levain.

      Cheers :)

    2. Hi, my query is on the hydration of the dough. Yundane method looks like the same with autolyze process. Huh?

    3. Hi,
      Yudane is not autolyze process. It uses a method of precooking a small portion of the dough scalding. You can refer here.

      Cheers :)

  3. May I know how do you calculate the total hydration of this loaf taking into consideration the Yudane, levain, dough flour & milk?

  4. Hi, Thank you for sharing the recipe. May I know how to calculate the total hydration of the loaf taking into consideration the Yudane, levain, dough flour & milk. Appreciate it. Thanks.

    1. Hi, Thank you for asking.

      Please add up all the liquid (A) and add up all the flour (B). A/B X 100 = you will get the total hydration in percentage.

      Liquid (70 + 140 + 90 = 300g)
      Flour (70 + 140 + 190 + 90 = 490g)
      300/490 X 100 = 61.22%

      Cheers :)

  5. This is the first time i am making a sourdough soft loaf and it turns out very well. I made my levain with 90g starter, 90 bread flour and 90 took 2hours for my second proof to reach the height of my tin..I used a 20x10x10xm tin..the bread was a little compact but still very soft...Thank you for sharing the recipe !!

    1. Hi, Thank you for trying this recipe and your feedback. Glad to hear that you like it.
      Try to use bigger pan if you can.
      Cheers :)

  6. Thanks for sharing! Going to try this tonight :)
    Just had a dumb question - for the Levain, we use 260g of the 280g we make; what do you do with the remaining 20g of Levain? Sorry if I miss something when I read the steps...

    1. Hi, Sorry for late response. The balance of levain keep as sourdough mother dough.

      Cheers :)

  7. Is there a big difference between this recipe for wholemeal bread and your Basic soft sourdough recipe? I recently made your basic soft sourdough recipe and love it! I wanted to make a bread with more wholewheat flour so I thought the wholemeal recipe would work but besides the yudane method and about 10g more wholewheat flour, I am not seeing a huge difference. I am also curious, why make 3 rolls in this recipe instead of the 2 rolls in the basic recipe. Is there a difference?

    1. Hi, thank you for asking.

      Is there a big difference between this recipe for wholemeal bread and your Basic soft sourdough recipe? No, it is quite similar. The different is I added 18.75% of wholemeal flour in the above bread instead of Wholewheat flour.

      why make 3 rolls in this recipe instead of the 2 rolls in the basic recipe. Is there a difference? I baked these two breads in different size of pans if you read carefully. This wholemeal bread I baked in longer and narrow pan. However, this is individual preference.

      Just FYI - Different of Wholemeal flour and wholewheat flour

      Cheers :)

  8. Hi, I tried your recipe but made some slight changes use soy milk instead of milk and vegan butter instead of butter. The bread’s texture is not bad and not dense and there is a slight tinge of sourness. I would like to check with you what can I do to make it not sour at all? thanks!

    1. Hi, Thank you for trying and your feedback. Usually you will get very mild sourness for sourdough breads.
      You can try to add 40g of sugar when feeding the starter (levain), this is what I learnt from Autumn Kitchen using sweet sourdough starter that produce bread that no sour taste. I have not tried. But, it should work.

      Cheers :)


  9. Thank you for your kind sharing the amazing recipe, I fell in love with YUDANE method from your clip in Youtube ^^.

    May I ask you a question of this recipe, if I want to use this whole wheat recipe with Fresh yeast or instant yeast, please advise how to adjust the ingredients of the ‘Levain’.

    Thank you very much

    1. Hi,

      Thanks for watching and visiting Bake with Paws. I have this Wholemeal bread recipe using instant yeast. Please click the below link. You can also search under categories at the side bar. There are a lot of bread recipes using instant yeast and also sourdough.

      Cheers :)

  10. Hi,
    Thank you for this recipe.
    I only gave 450g bread pan. How to change the ingredients to this instead of 600g bread pan? Thank you

  11. Hi, My pleasure.
    Please use my Sourdough Shokupan Recipe and change to 135g of Japan High Gluten flour + 70g wholemeal flour instead.

    Cheers :)

  12. Hi Yeanley,
    Thank you for the prompt reply.
    By the way, can I know the texture of the wholemeal flour you are using? If it superfine or coarse?
    Thank you

    1. Hi, I used wholemeal (coarse) and not whole wheat. Thanks

  13. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! :)

    This bread is kids approved. My kids never like sourdough bread before this. I just baked the bread today, using wholewheat, coconut milk, coconut oil, but it ended up soft and fluffy. I asked my kids to try, they ate this bread happily and even asked for more slices. Amazing!

    Btw, I have a question. If I want to do a same day baking, I have to make the levain with ratio 1:1:1, as you stated above.
    But, how it will change the amount of milk/liquid for the dough? How many liquid should I use for the dough with levain ratio 1:1:1?
    I'm new with sourdough baking and hydration, so dont know how to adjust the recipe.

    1. Hi, thanks for trying this recipe and your kind feedback. Great to hear that your kids like it :)

      Different ratio will not alter the amount of levain. We still use the same amount and do not need to change the amount of milk/liquid. It will take short time to get peak. You can use 88g starter + 88g water + 88g flour. You will get slightly more than 260g. But, you will lose some levain stick on the glass.

      Cheers :)

    2. Thank you for your reply. I get it now. :)

      Will different ratio of levain (shorter fermentation) reduce sourness of the bread?

      Your recipe results very slight sour. I wonder if the different ratio of levain will affect the sourness.

    3. Hi, thanks for trying and your feedback.
      The ratio of building levain will not affect the sourness of the bread. It will only determine the fermentation time.

      Please use the levain at its peak before dropping or you can also use the levain/starter when it reaches double before tripple, this will yield less sourness bread. However, please feed your starter regularly too if you want less sour bread.

      Stay tune, I will experiment this recipe using sweet stiff levain. Hope it will yield less sour bread.

      Cheers :)

  14. Thank you so much for your explanation, it gives me more details about sourdough.

    Looking forward for the update of your experiment. :)

  15. can check for the 600g loaf, same amount of egg of 45g?

    1. Hi, thanks for checking. Sorry for the confusion. Actually, I did not use egg in my liquid stater recipe. But, you can replace half of the liquid milk with egg. You can add 45g or 50g.

      Cheers :)

  16. The recipe for 450gm size with yudane and sweet stiff starter, you mentioned yield 2 loaves but when I added all of the Ingredients it's about 700gm in total ingredients weight. Is this 1 loaf recipe instead of 2?

    1. Hi, thanks for reading and your question. I shaped into two separated loaf and baked in one loaf pan as per the above diagram. This recipe is for 450g pan. You can shape into one loaf or 2 small loaves as your choice.

      Cheers :)

  17. hi. I would lile to bake artisan country bread with yudane method. Is it possible ?

    1. Hi, thanks for reading and your question.

      Yes, I think is possible. But, only concern is, it maybe abit hard to mix in the yudane dough with the rest.

      Cheers :)

  18. Hi
    What can we replace egg with in this recipe

    1. Hi, you can replace with milk or water. I noticed that the bread is less sour or no sour at all if using egg.


  19. Can this recipe be made into rolls? Thank you

    1. Hi, thank you for your interest in this recipe. Yes, of course. You can make into any shape that you like.

      For buns or rolls, you can bake in 8 inch square pan, 4 X 4 buns or 3 X 3 buns.

      Cheers :)


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