Homemade 100% Whole Wheat Bread – Swoon-worthy

Since cutting out the grocery store we’ve been making our bread from grain I grind myself. The grinder was the best purchase I’ve ever made. Not only are we saving money by buying our grain in bulk, freshly ground grain has a higher nutritional value since it hasn’t sat around oxidizing for months and I know it’s not rancid because I ground it myself.

Each week I’ve changed one or two things to my bread recipe which I’ve tweaked from the whole wheat sandwich bread recipe in Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor.  This book will explain everything you ever wanted to know about the science behind bread.

Each week we say the bread is amazing, the best yet but it somehow continues to get better each week.  I’ve been holding off posting my recipe until it stopped getting better but I’m just going to post it now and make changes to it as I change the recipe more.

The one thing neither of these books tells you to do is to soak your grains first which I always do. It’s disturbing to me that whole wheat consumption is rising and so is Celiac’s disease so I take the conservative road – one that also makes your bread more flavorful with an amazing crumb structure.

This recipe will make either 2- 9″ loaves or 3- 8″ loaves. You can also reserve one of the loaves for making rolls, hamburger buns, cinnamon rolls or breadsticks. This recipe calls for both a soaker and a sponge. It is a little more work to make two doughs the night before and then incorporate them on bread day but I’ve tried it every which way and the combination of the two takes your bread to a whole new level. It’s well worth the extra few minutes.

One final note before the recipe – I grind my own flour so you may find you need less than these quantities. Store bought flour has settled. By stirring your flour with a fork or whisk before measuring you will come closer to the quantities I am using here.

Soaker 

3 1/2 cups whole wheat bread flour (I use hard red wheat)

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 cups milk plus 2 Tablespoons of whey (or you can substitute buttermilk, yogurt or kefir for the milk and whey but your bread will be tangier)

Mix all ingredients until it forms a ball and cover the bowl until you are done with the sponge. 

Sponge or Biga

3 1/2 cups whole wheat bread flour (I use hard red wheat)

1/4 teaspoon yeast

1 1/2 cup filtered water plus 2 Tablespoons whey

Add all the Sponge ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer and knead using the dough hook for several minutes until it forms a dough.  Let it rest for 5 minutes then knead it for one more minute.  

Place this dough ball on top of the soaker dough ball in the bowl, cover it and let it sit on the counter overnight.  If you won’t be making bread the next day you can put this in the fridge for several days but bring it to room temperature before making bread, which takes several hours to do.

When you are ready to make the bread add:

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 Tablespoons butter (optional)

6 Tablespoons honey, agave syrup, or organic cane sugar (is using sugar add an extra 2 Tablespoons water)

2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

Knead this all in the bowl of stand mixer using the bread hook for about 6 – 8 minutes.  Wait until your dough has been kneading about 4-5 minutes before adding more water or flour to get the right texture.  Your dough should be “tacky but not sticky” according to Peter.

Let the dough rest for 5 minutes. 

Knead it again for 1 minute. 

Check the final dough by taking a small piece of dough and stretching it out to perform a “windowpane test”.  Your dough should be elastic enough to stretch, creating a window you can see light through without tearing.

Shape the dough into a ball and return it to the bowl.  Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave it to rise in a draft-free place until you can poke your finger into the dough and the indentation from your finger does not fill in.  I let me dough rise in the oven with the light on for some warmth.   You can also let it rise on the counter but it may take longer.  Mine takes about 1 1/2 hours for the first rise but my house is about 66 degrees. If this takes too long for you try doubling the amount of yeast – but remember that virtually all yeast is GMO so I try to minimize my use of it.

After the first rise you can shape your loaves (which I will have a later post on) then cover them with the tea towel and let them rise again, about 45 minutes to 75 minutes this time.  Keep in mind they will rise slightly during the baking. 

With experience you’ll figure out how high they should look in your pans before baking.  If you get bread with large holes in the top you know you let them rise too long.  If the crumb is dense you did not let them rise long enough.  You may end up with several loaves that you save to make breadcrumbs, bread pudding or croutons out of but the experience you are gaining is immeasurable. 

If you do happen to let the bread rise too long you can take a serrated knife and slash the tops before baking to keep them from rising up more.

Bake your bread in a 350 F degree oven for about 40 minutes, until they are deep brown and sound hollow on the bottom when thumped.  An instant read thermometer inserted into the bottom of the loaf should read 185 – 190 farenheit.

Remove the loaves from the pans and place them on a wire rack to cool completely before you slice them.

Homemade bread will last for several days before it might start to mold so be sure to pre-slice and freeze any bread you don’t plan on eating in that time frame.  You can pop it in the toaster to thaw and/or toast it when you want it.

Now you know how to make amazing whole wheat bread that everyone will LOVE.

Homemade whole wheat bread

Homemade whole wheat bread

 

 

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41 responses to “Homemade 100% Whole Wheat Bread – Swoon-worthy

  1. Gorgeous bread! Great directions, too. Thanks so much!

  2. okay, I’ve been sponging for some time now, and your loaves look WAY better than mine! I’m gonna try it your way next time! (mine doesn’t use the whey, so I need to try this)

  3. sustainableeats

    You can use buttermilk or yogurt, or the whey that you drain off your yogurt. I find that whey makes bread less tangy then the yogurt and buttermilk and my family likes bread on the sweet side.

  4. Beautiful bread! I love the smell of freshly baked bread. It’s heavenly.

  5. Annette,
    I was just reading your comment at Cheeseslave’s blog – if you try that sourdough, let me know what you think! I just started your recipe soaking a few minutes ago, can’t wait to hopefully have some success at a 100% ww soaked loaf!
    Kelly

  6. I appreciate hearing your comments about soaking. Since we have a gluten-sensitive member of the family, I sprout our grains before baking bread. Mostly I use spelt. I would like to give your recipe a try and compare soaking with sprouting. Thanks!

    Love, Wardeh
    from GNOWFGLINS

  7. P.S. The bread looks gorgeous!

  8. sustainableeats

    Hi Wardeh – do you have your bread recipe posted somewhere? I am starting a desem soon but trying to get away from yeast altogether. I decreased (successfully) the yeast in here by half and let it rise on the counter overnight the first rise and it was just fine.

  9. My bread recipe is linked from this post:

    http://gnowfglins.com/2009/03/15/a-little-fluffy/

    I started baking it after reading the 5-Minute Artisan Bread recipe in Mother Earth News. I used sprouted spelt. It does call for yeast, and quite a bit. I am curious what it will do for you. Keep me posted!

    Love, Wardeh

  10. Pingback: Bread Shaping « Sustainable Eats

  11. Annette, I am so glad I found your blog!! I’ve been searching for the perfect soaked whole wheat bread recipe, and I’m pretty sure I’ve found it. I’m using your recipe this week!!

    Thanks again,

    Diana

  12. I made your bread today and it turned out FANTASTIC.

    Thank you so very, very much for taking the time to post this step-by-step “labor of love” :). What a wonderful recipe, so easy to follow.

    I’ve been looking for a soaked whole wheat bread recipe that used the least amount of dry flour and yours sounded perfect and now that I’ve tested it, I can say this recipe really is perfect. The crumb is soft and light and not an ounce of white flour is used. What a gem.

    You’ve made us (hubby and I) very happy. No more store-bought bread made with stale flour for us!

    Now that I know I can make amazing 100% whole wheat bread, I can order a grain mill. Can’t wait!

    Again, thank you so very much, Annette. 🙂

    PS: Have you blogged about the type of wheat you use (hard red)? If not, when you have a minute, would you let me know why you prefer it?

    All the best. 🙂

  13. sustainableeats

    Hi Auburn,
    I’m so glad you like it – I was getting worried since no one ever posted back after trying it but I’ve been making it since the beginning of the year with good results. I’ve noticed now that it’s summer I use about a half cup less flour in our crazy Seattle drought.

    I use hard red wheat simply because the protein percentage is higher with hard wheat which makes for a better yeasted bread. You can also make it with hard white and I’ve made it with half spelt and half hard red with equally good results. What kind of flour did you use?

    The great thing about a grain mill is that you can buy emmer, spelt, soft wheat (for muffins and cakes), hard wheat, corn and grind whatever you want for each recipe. I have big bins of various grains in my utility room that I just scoop out the night before so I don’t have all these bags of rancid flours in the cupboards like I used to!

  14. The recipe is superb. We’ve been white flour bread eaters all our lives but we’ve been buying loaves of “healthy” 12-grain bread from Costco (Inn’s Keeper brand) for years now thinking that it was a good thing. A few weeks ago I discovered the Weston A. Price foundation and, finally, saw the light ;). So I started buying sprouted bread from the health food shop and we sort of liked it, not as soft as the 12-grain unhealthy kind, but still quite “caky” but, since I have been making my own white boule and pizzas for years, why not learn to make my own soaked 100% whole wheat bread?

    I looked at many recipes online and almost settled for one that calls for soaking all the flour at once and then adds just as much dry flower the next day but, if I am going to make healthy bread, I want all of the flour soaked so I kept searching and here we are, luckily! 🙂

    Thanks for telling me about the red wheat. After I left my question here, I went to the site where I will most likely order the grain mill from, they sell wheat berries, red and white. No much info there but it did say that the white berries make a lighter color bread though it says nothing about texture. I wonder if mixing equal parts of red and white would be a good idea. What do you think?

    >> What kind of flour did you use?<> The great thing about a grain mill is that you can buy emmer, spelt, soft wheat (for muffins and cakes), hard wheat, corn and grind whatever you want for each recipe. I have big bins of various grains in my utility room that I just scoop out the night before so I don’t have all these bags of rancid flours in the cupboards like I used to!<<

    Yeah! I can't wait. I will have to learn about different grains. Lots of interesting reading to do. I will also like to start adding sprouted grains to the bread, at some point.

    This bread tastes even better next day. It becomes even softer too. I added a slice to my husband's lunch box; when we spoke on the phone, after lunch, he said: "please, say you'll always make this bread."

    🙂

  15. Somehow my comment got posted with a few paragraphs missing. Weird. Here it is:

    >> What kind of flour did you use?<<

    I used store bought whole wheat flour because I wanted to try your recipe first and see if we liked the consistency and texture of the homemade soaked whole wheat bread and if we did, I'd go ahead and order the grain mill and a pail of wheat berries. And did we like it! My house smelled heavenly yesterday. By dinner time the bread had cooled down completely so I sliced it and WOW. We devoured a couple of slices with butter. Lovely. I'll never buy another loaf of bread.

    And the most amazing thing is that this bread turns out soft and caky without the addition of white flour! I did add 5% (about 30 grams) of vital wheat gluten because I've read that artisan bakers use it to improve texture, that, using half of the honey and kneading by hand are the only changes I made to your recipe.

    Now that I know how the dough behaves after soaking, next time I will make it in the Kitchen Aide.

    I know you buy your grains locally. I'll see if I can get organic wheat berries locally. I'll have to ask because I'm not crazy about paying some $25 shipping for the 45 lb pail of wheat and I would like to start buying locally as much as possible, as well. I will have to get acquainted with the farm situation here. So far I've sourced raw milk (I'm picking up a gallon and some butter next week) and meat products (for this I'll have to place an order for the fall).

  16. sustainableeats

    Hi Auburn, I have experimented adding diastic malt to make the bread softer but as it is it’s so soft that it tears when you spread butter or PB on it so my husband asked me not to. I prefer a more savory loaf myself too but my dh again is the one who wants all the honey. If it were up to me I would add 1/4 cup of rye and no sweetener and call it good!

    I do use white whole wheat flour for pizza dough. It tastes a little less like whole wheat so it doesn’t distract from the flavor of the toppings like the red does. Next time I was going to experiment with the soft pastry flour. I don’t know why I never have before. It probably won’t work for me since I soak our pizza dough and I don’t know how the low protein flour will hold up to soaking.

    Here is the recipe we use for pizza dough and then I add whey to the liquid and soak overnight or longer: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/001506.html. I hope you like this one too, even though it’s not mine. What part of the country are you in? Most wheat is grown in Montana or Washington regardless. Be sure it’s organic, otherwise it’s been fumigated in addition to the pesticides and petroleum based fertilizer. Like eating bug spray and tires!

  17. >> If it were up to me I would add 1/4 cup of rye and no sweetener and call it good!<<

    I used the honey because I thought it was necessary. I don't think I ever had whole wheat bread that wasn't sweet. I shall try the unsweetened version of this recipe then. You add the rye just for flavor/nutrition, right?

    I will order hard red and hard white berries. I really love my white flour pizza dough but I'll try making it with the white whole wheat and see if we like it. Thanks for the link! 🙂

    I am in southern New Hampshire (50 minutes from the coast and Boston, MA) and had no idea that wheat is not grown in New England. Well, I'm sure some farmers do but not commercially. I'll do some more research but I'll probably wind up ordering online.

    Have you heard of Azure Farm, in Dufur, Oregon? They sell their own hard red berries for $15.55 / 25lb. Sounds like a good deal, doesn't it? They also grow a lovely multicolor popcorn and a nice variety of grains. The farm has been organic for 25 years, I think, and I read somewhere on their site that they are going beyond organic and into biodynamic farming.

    After I read this article http://www.westonaprice.org/modernfood/wheatyindiscretions.html, I googled all over and finally landed on the Azure Farm site. But it would be great if I could buy the wheat locally or at least regionally, wouldn't mind driving a couple of hours to get to a good farm. No Amish or Mennonites around here, I'm afraid. Maybe upstate NY? That would be more than a couple of hours from here, though. Sigh.

    Have you ever made the bread mixing equal parts of red and white wheat berries?

  18. sustainableeats

    Hi Auburn,

    I do get quite a few things from Azure, including dried corn, legume and popcorn. I’ve gotten their wheat berries in the past but there were molded berries and berries that still had the outer husk on them in there so I’ve fed the grain to the chickens. I’ve ordered bulk from Bob’s Red Mill (also organic) and great quality but my favorite source is Bluebird Grain grown organically in WA state. It’s spendier but amazing quality and if you form a wholesale buying club you can get wholesale pricing which evens the playing field.

    The rye rounds out the flavor nicely. If you make an all rye dough it needs different treatment but you can simply add 1/4 to 1/2 cup to this replacing red wheat to get the flavor. If you soak with kefir it will be a nice sour rye to boot! You may still need a tablespoon of sugar to boost the yeast.

    If you make it with half red and half white whole wheat let me know how it comes out!!!

    If you make this with

  19. Hi again, Annette!

    Yesterday I made my first 100% whole wheat bread with home-milled flour and OMG the difference in flavor, consistency and aroma is simply amazing. Bread made with even the very best store bought ww-flour has a bitter after taste. The bread I made yesterday with freshly finely ground hard red whole wheat had no after taste, it smelled sweet and fresh and the crumb was lighter in color and silky soft. Hard to believe this is 100% whole wheat bread. 🙂 We try to eat only one slice of bread with breakfast, let me tell you, it was very hard to do that this morning…

    Thanks for the heads-up on Azure. I wound up ordering the grain mill (L’Equip NutriMill) from Amazon and the grain from Bob’s Red Mill and I am extremely happy with both purchases.

    The mill works flawlessly (fast and easy) and the organic grains arrived quickly, nicely packaged and the price was just right (shipping is high, still, I can’t find bulk organic wheat grown locally and organic store-bought ww-flour costs more than twice as much, comparatively, and now I know it doesn’t anything like freshly ground).

    I think I have enough wheat to make at least 50 loaves. I’ve already vacuum-packed all of it; making some room in the chest freezer will be a bit complicated, though. 😉

    Now back to this marvelous bread – I’ve got a question:

    It’s hard to tell by looking at the picture, but do you know what your bread dimensions are? My bread looks exactly like the one in this post but it’s had to tell by looking at the pic if they are the same hight and width. Perhaps we could compare slice size as a way for me to know if I’m giving my loaves enough time to proof? What size are your slices? Mine are 3.5 inches tall by 5 inches wide.

    I also ordered hard white wheat berries, rye and spelt.

    My next loaf will be half hard red and half hard white. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

    After that I’ll experiment substituting 1/4 cup of rye and I may try substituting spelt also later on (also 1/4 or so?).

    Soon I’ll try the pizza recipe with the hard white ww (have always made pizza with white flour so it might take a little getting used to, I think).

    Thanks again for the great advice. I am paying it forward by sharing your recipe and web site address with everyone I know who’s interested.

    Big hugs. 🙂

  20. Hi Auburn – I’m so glad you got your grain mill! Someday I’ll have that one. The family mill works just fine for bread or dough but for things like muffins or cakes where I want a really fine grind it just doesn’t cut it. I finally broke down and bought a bag of pastry flour to keep on hand for those but it smells rancid to me now that I’m used to fresh flour!

    The Azure grains are not as high quality as Bob’s in my opinion, there are some molded grains and some still with sheath on.

    My bread slices are roughly 4.5″ wide and 4″ tall. I use a 9″ bread pan since my dh likes his bread big. It sounds like maybe you have a 9.5″ bread pan which would explain your slices being shorter.

    I’ve used up to 50% spelt before – we love the flavor and it seems to make me less gassy. It’s possible that I’m becoming gluten intolerant in my old age so I’m glad I discovered Weston Price this year!

    I just toured the bakery where we used to buy all our bread today with my son’s kindergarten class so I plan on tweaking this recipe the next time I make bread. I also want to start experimenting with sprouting the grain then dehydrating and drying it. Wardeh convinced me it’s so much better for us.

    Right now though I’m fully immersed in putting up fruit. The neighbor just brought down more plums & Asian pears tonight plus I have one last box of apples waiting and 25# of tomatoes for ketsup & bbq sauce coming tomorrow night. YIKES!

  21. Hello, hello! 🙂

    You wanted to know how this recipe comes out with half red and half white whole wheat. Well, it’s even better!!!!!! 🙂

    The crumb is so soft, a tad lighter in color, lovely aroma. I made a loaf yesterday (I half your recipe), let it cool completely, bagged it and this morning when I sliced it, well, it was just wonderful.

    You’ve got to try it!

    I also made pizza with the white whole wheat and, well, I’ve got to be honest, it was nicer than I had anticipated but we prefer white flour pizza. However, in a few days I will make a boule with the while whole wheat. I’m sure it will turn out lovely.

    Bob’s customer service is fantastic. I emailed them today because I was about to vacuum pack some of the organic rye berries and when I got them out of the box (ordered a box of four 1 lb bags) the berries looked greenish/blueish and there was some powdery stuff in the bag. Didn’t open the bags so I don’t know if they smell funny but, compared to the spelt and wheat berries (both plump and wheat-colored), these looked weird. Anyway, I emailed them and Elizabeth, from Costumer Service, replied within the hour (!). She apologized for the bad experience and offered to replace the rye.

    Thing is, now I’m not sure if these berries are molded because I’ve been looking at photos of rye berries online and some are the same color as the spelt berries and some look blueish/greenish like the ones I have here.

    I know you are very familiar with rye berries so you’ll be able to tell me how they should look.

    Oh, and you were right about the size of my bread pan, it’s 9.5″.

    BTW, this half red/half white whole wheat bread proofed beautifully but, once in the oven, it lost some height. Any idea why?

    You said you were planning on tweaking the bread recipe. Did you? What changes did you make?

    I have slightly tweaked it by using slightly less water and milk in the soaker and sponge and now I don’t have to add dry flour to the dough. For this last bread I did the kneading by hand, the dough was very sticky at first but after 8 minutes of kneading it was elastic and tacky, just perfect. 🙂

    Off to read your blog… 🙂

  22. sustainableeats

    Hello Auburn – rye berries do have a bluish color that darkens when added to bread dough .

    If your bread lost height in the oven it was likely overproofed. If you suspect it may be close to over then you can slash the tops to help with that. I am guilty of doing that all the time since breadmaking fits into my schedule but doesn’t drive it. I try to be there for the second rise but I often get distracted and forget. The first rise you can overdo no problem. If I have to leave the house during the second rise I put it in the fridge. If loaves don’t come out they make great bread pudding, bread crumbs or melba toast!

    I’ve been trying to get to 100% spelt but so far no success. I noticed the red wheat is making me gassy after not making bread most of the summer. It was last winter as well but I think my body had adjusted to it. I have no problem with the spelt so I usually sub 50% spelt for the wheat. This makes the bread even softer though, which my husband doesn’t like.

    I’m working on getting the loaf denser & the crust softer but only made bread a few times now that fall has hit.

    I just got a new order of rye berries though and I’ve been hankering for a really savory loaf so I’ll be trying that out. Now that I’m driving kids to school, from school and to after school activities it’s really throwing a wrench into my bread baking days! And since I’m the only one eating the savory loaves I need to get the plain jane sandwich bread done.

    In the next few weeks sometime I will be making the Swedish limpa of my youth – savory but sweet, perfect with cheese for breakfast with just a touch of rye. I can’t wait! Please keep me posted with any discoveries. I love having a “bread buddy”.

    I’ve also been on a bread forum lately called the fresh loaf. You can google it since I need to go get orders done and it’s late. I made the soft pretzels and the kids LOVED them. They each got to roll out whatever they wanted and the littlest one painted on the eggwash. You could sprinkle sesame seeds or kosher salt but I was also thinking this dough would make good breakfast pretzels with a yogurt dip.

    Happy baking!

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  25. Trying Again

    I’m anxious to try your recipe. I’ve been looking for a recipe where all the flour is soaked in an acidic medium, because I’ve been reading about how that helps neutralize the phytic acid in the grain.

    But I see you include salt in the “Soaker”. The Nourishing Traditions cookbook warns that if you add salt to the flour you’re soaking, you’ll inhibit the neutralization of the phytic acid.

    Have you ever tried leaving the tsp of salt out of the soaker and adding 2 tsp of salt on day 2?

  26. Hi Trying Again,

    I haven’t tried doing it that way since I never noticed where SF said that. There is so much info in NT it’s easy to miss stuff so thanks for pointing that out. My guess is it would work just fine, the salt helps inhibit some of the enzyme activity so the bread doesn’t get too tangy. If you try it please let me know how it went and I’ll try it that way too next time.

  27. Trying Again

    I tried your recipe with a saltless soaker and with 2 tsp salt added with the yeast. And the resulting bread totally exceeded my expectations! (But of course, I can’t compare it to the same recipe with salt in the soaker as I haven’t tried that. So if you do try it, please share a comparison.)

    Oh I want to thank you soooo much for this recipe! I’m thrilled! I’ve made dozens of whole wheat bread recipes and they’ve all come out like bricks and I’ve had to cut them with an electric knife and even that is hard. But these two loaves were not at all brick-ish. They were tender and sliceable and delicious.

    Some of the slices were a little crumbly, but I definitely let my first rise go too long, so maybe that’s to blame.

    Wow, I’m so delighted to finally have a light sandwich-bread recipe with 100% whole wheat flour, soaked (and without salt), and without the addition of vital wheat gluten. Yay!

    Not sure what I did wrong, but my dough never formed a ball. It was too wet. But that didn’t seem to be a problem in the end.

    The only real challenge I had was that I tried to mix the yeast, etc. in with the KitchenAid dough hook and it wasn’t really mixing well, so I switched to the mixing attachment and that definitely helped, but the dough wound itself up over the top of the attachment onto the oily metal spring-loaded prong of the machine. I saw that the Nourishing Traditions sandwich bread recipe recommended using a food processor, but I would think cutting the gluten strands would be a no-no.

    So my next goal is to figure out how to efficiently make 6 loaves at a time. I want to make a bunch and freeze it, because we go through bread too quickly for me to keep up with only 2 loaves at a time.

  28. Hi Trying Again, I’m so glad you liked it! Too long a rise can definitely make it crumbly but it also might be related to the dough being too wet. I’m creeped out by vital wheat gluten too. I have tried it and you get a slightly higher loaf but the texture is no different than this so I don’t get the buzz. I think folks just don’t know how to treat whole grains (ie the acidic soak overnight)

    I would NOT use a blade on the bread. I get ideas from NT and info from NT but I’ve not been happy with any of the baked recipes I’ve tried from it. I love the lacto fermented recipes though and all the info.

    This is enough dough to make 3 smaller loaves, my loaves are pretty big (9″ pans) since that’s what dh likes. I think you just eat more bread that way though. Unless you have a Bosch I’m not sure how you can make up enough dough for 6 loaves at a time unless you mix in 2 batches and put in a big tub in the fridge to use at your leisure, which isn’t a bad thing to do.

    You can also use this bread to make cinnamon rolls or swirl bread or hamburger buns. It’s very basic. Enjoy!

  29. Trying Again

    I made this recipe again and still love it.

    Here were my experiences…

    This time I (accidentally) added salt in the soaker and, in answer to my own question, I couldn’t tell the difference from the loaves that I made when I reserved the addition of salt for day two. So assuming I remember, I’ll do the latter for future batches.

    I made sure not to let the dough over-rise this time and the result was definitely not as crumbly as my original loaves. Note to self: no napping while rising bread.

    To keep dough out of my KitchenAid mixer springs, this time I kneaded half a recipe in it at a time. This indeed kept the dough from climbing up over the top of the hook and making a mess, yay! But since I was making a triple-recipe, I had to do this six times, which was not an ideal use of time with my kids. 🙂 And the mixer was definitely getting pretty hot. I’ll have to learn more about the Bosch.

    I’m still in shock to have found a sandwich-bread recipe that uses 100% whole wheat flour and no vital wheat gluten, yet doesn’t bake up into a heavy doorstop. What makes it come out so light? Is it the soaking or the incorporation of milk and butter?

  30. sustainableeats

    Hi TA – it’s both the overnight soak and the addition of dairy. Are you using buttermilk? Or what are you using? I use whey in the water for the biga and buttermilk in the soaker (non-yeasted part). I find the hard red wheat agrees with me more when I treat it this way but it also makes the loaf nice and light and helps it to keep well. I am making another batch now since it’s our go-to bread although I like to make more artisan loaves since I get bored as a cook making the same thing all the time. My family just loves this bread though. And it is pretty good when you turn it into cinnamon rolls or swirl loaf so I mix it up that way. I’m so glad it’s working out for you! It was a major breakthrough for me as well. I have tried so many other whole wheat sandwich recipes and they just don’t come out like this one despite the milk and butter.

    I even soak my pancake batter the night before now – it’s really the secret!

  31. Trying Again

    After reading NT, I too just recently started soaking my pancake batter the night before in buttermilk, but I used it all up.

    So for the milk in your bread recipe, both times I just used the regular milk we have on hand (skim).

    For both the pancakes and the bread, I’m a little nervous about leaving the milk/buttermilk at room temp over night. What are your thoughts on this?

    I am intrigued by raw milk and raw buttermilk, but I’m still not comfortable with consuming them yet. Also, I can’t stomach the price of them.

    I need to do more reading on the science behind bread-making. What are the pros and cons of different kinds of milk in bread recipes? I’m sure with regular milk, whole would be preferred over skim, and I assume buttermilk has some further advantage?

    For the whey in your recipe, I used the liquid from straining a large container of plain whole milk yogurt in the fridge the night before. Is that true “whey”?

    Another “aha” for me as I’m making notes here on the recipe… I ground my flour for your recipe in a Wondermill and used the “bread” setting which is finer than the “coarse” setting I have sometimes used in other recipes. I believe coarsely-ground flour is healthier (since it’s less processed and likely doesn’t get as hot during the grinding), but that is surely another culprit for the brick-ish-ness of many of my prior recipe attempts. Have you experimented with a coarser grind in this recipe?

  32. sustainableeats

    Even pasteurized dairy overnight is fine in a baked good – it will be heated to 190 when the bread is baked. The full fat milk would improve your bread texture that much more.

    Buttermilk will help further reduce the phytic acid (reg past. milk will not do that so an overnight soak in plain milk is not helping make the bread more digestible for you.) You can easily culture your own buttermilk using a small amount of starter from plain organic yogurt or buttermilk from the store. Put 1/4 cup of starter in 1 cup of milk overnight on the counter and depending on room temp the next day you should have buttermilk you can use in baking.

    Yogurt whey is perfect since it is cultured with live bacteria that will reduce the phytic acid in the grain.

    I don’t use ultra finely ground flour, I have a stone grinder so it’s akin to the stone ground flour you buy in the store. It works great and makes a more toothier (but still soft) loaf. It just depends what you are going after. I prefer stone ground whole wheat but if I’m trying to make a white flour baguette or something then a finer grind would be better (although you would then have to sift out the bran and germ which is hard to do when you use a fine setting. What you could do is grind coursely then sift through a sieve and then grind the starchy bits once again on a finer setting.)

    The courseness is not what causes the brickishness, it’s the ratio of flour to water, the kneading, the shaping, the proofing and the overnight soak. You need to knead the dough long enough to fully develop the gluten, by shaping the dough you are developing a good crust that will help prevent overproofing, the ratio will give your dough enough structure to rise sufficiently rather than just allowing the co2 to escape,by not overproofing but proofing long enough you get just the right amount of co2 trapped in the bread to get it light and the overnight soak and dairy in the recipe help to tenderize, improve the crumb, develop the flavor and give your bread keeping quality so that it doesn’t get tough upon cooling or mold after a day or two. Maybe too much info for you but I’ve become a bit of a bread geek.

  33. Any thoughts on how this could be done without a bread maker? Just stir it rather than kneading with the dough hook? I tried to do a standard kneading but the dough is just far too wet…lol. I wound up adding several more cups of flour so I could actually knead it, but I’m sure I’ll get bread that’s far denser than the recipe should make.

  34. Hi Rachel, it shouldn’t be too wet to stir but it would be tricky to knead by hand. Please let me know how it comes out when you bake it and we can try to troubleshoot from there.

  35. I came across this post in my attempts to find a good soaked bread recipe. I’m glad I did, it turned out great! I cut the recipe in half to only make one loaf, and used hard white wheat, and it turned out great. I never knew I could get bread to be so soft 😉 The crust was chewier than the non-soaked breads I have made, but I don’t have a problem with that. I typically always get gassy when having non-soaked homemade bread, and haven’t had a problem with this bread so far, so the soaking worked!!!! I did like someone else suggested and didn’t add the salt until after the soaking. Thanks so much for sharing, I’ll be making it again!

  36. Hi Gretchen – I’m so glad you enjoyed it! If you brush the loaves with butter after you pull them out of the oven that should help the crust and will make them shinier as well. xo, Annette

  37. I’ve been looking for a more sandwich-friendly NT bread than the heavy sourdough I usually make and was filled with anticipation on finding this recipe……..but alas!…….no stand-mixer in my life. Guess I’m still looking…

  38. What is the altitude you bake at?

  39. Hi Ev – I am at 400′

  40. Peter Reinhart’s books are the best. Thank you for posting about soaking the grains and how to adjust the recipe. This looks great and I can’t wait to try it!

  41. This is THE bread recipe for wonderful whole grain flour, especially if you grind it yourself. It works every time, and after you make it a few times, mixing up the night before is easy! Thank you very much for posting it! I am experimenting with making a good, light seed bread, using this as a base. ( Hint: don’t substitute seeds for dough ingredients, add TO the dough).

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