The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole wheat flour substitution questions please.

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BKSinAZ's picture

Whole wheat flour substitution questions please.

I have a Welbuilt bread machine and a recipe that has always worked wonderfully in the past. The bread machine only has 'french', 'sweet', 'white', and 'manual' modes.

I would like to experiment with flavors. Therefore, I would like to substitue one cup of freshly ground red whole wheat berries for one of the three cups the original recipe calls for.

The original bread machine recipe:

2 1/2 tsp dry yeast

3 cups of flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp sugar

1 1/2 tsp shortening

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp. lukewarm water


Can I just go ahead and substitute one of the three cups of flour for one cup of freshly grounded red whole wheat?

What mode would I use?

Do I have to modify the other ingredients of the recipe to accomidate the one cup of whole wheat flour substitution?


BKSinAZ's picture

Ok... I did not get any answers so I went ahead and gave it a try.

With out changing any of the recipe, I substituted one cup of freshly grounded whole wheat flour for one of the three cups of white flour. As the dough was being mixed, it appeared to be slightly wet. So, while it was still in it's first mix, I added an additional 3 or 4 tbls of the freshly grounded whole wheat flour.

The dough rised excellent. However, during the baking phase, the entire top caved in.

Aside from the dough caving it, the bread had an excellent texture and tasted great.

Can anyone assist me and tell me what I might have done incorrectly?

I also need to mention that the whole wheat berries have been in the fridge about 10 months which was stored in a plastic bag with a twist tie. The berries looked ok when I pulled em out of the fridge and had no moisture on them.

Below are some pictures.

pmccool's picture

That said, I can make a couple of generalizations.

First, yes, you can substitute whole wheat flour for white flour in your formula.  You may have to add additional water because the bran in the WW flour will absorb more water than the white flour does.  If your machine will permit, you may also want to allow the dough to sit for half an hour or so before mixing in the salt and yeast.  This allows the bran to absorb the water and soften.  

Second, it sounds as though the dough may have been overproofed by the time the bake cycle began.  That is a frequent (though by no means the only) cause of a collapsed loaf.  


BKSinAZ's picture

the words 'over proof' means time to let rise? If the water is too hot, could that cause 'over proofing'?

Unfortunatly, there is no pause on my machine to give the ww flour more time to absorb the water.

I also just remembered that the whole wheat berries have been in the fridge about 10 months which was stored in a plastic bag with a twist tie. The berries looked ok when I pulled em out of the fridge and had no moisture on them.

BKSinAZ's picture

Machine.jpgbread.jpgbread Cut.jpg

Deka's picture

From the looks of the loaf, there was too much water in the dough or because of lack of settings on your machine, the WW did not have enough time to soak up the water. WW is like a very slow sponge when it comes to absorbing water. ;>)

My bread machine (Panasonic) has a WW setting which is 1 hour longer to process from start to finish than the white bread setting.

If you do not have the manual, search the internet. I had lost my manual and was able to get a copy.


BKSinAZ's picture

I do have the manual as well as original recipe book. Both do not mention the words 'whole wheat'.

My next loaf, I will try the Manual Mode. It is the only mode/cycle that I've never used before.

Deka's picture

If infact your machine does not have a WW setting, you might take some of the water from the '1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp. lukewarm water' and soak the cup of WW flour to help it along. Say 1 cup water to the 1 cup of WW flour for about 5-10 minutes. This will make a pasty mass that can be added to the machine with the rest of the ingredients.

I've never tried this myself so it is really just a thought for you to try.

BTW: Do you have a nickname for your machine? It kind of looks like R2D2! ;>)


BKSinAZ's picture

Nickname.......?   Well it does now! R2D2 is perfect.

I will try your presoak next round.


Deka's picture

Load the machine as usual, let it go through the first knead cycle then turn it off and restart the cycle from the beginning. (I use this technique to get French bread from my machine. This is a technique from a book called Electric Bread from 1992. I'm not sure if it is even published any more but it does have some wonderful breads.)

This may let the WW flour absorb enough water to get you a better finished product.

I wish you the best of luck with your experimentation. I look forward to future reports on how things are going for your breads.


SCruz's picture

On this site you'll find lots of information for making no-knead bread. It is no more difficult or time consuming than using a machine. You will find yourself baking delicious loaves.

The basic recipe is 3 C/15.5 oz of flour (you can mix WW and unbleached white), 1/4 t yeast, 1 1/2 C water, and 1 1/2 t salt. Mix, don't bother kneading. Let it sit, covered, on the counter for 15-18 hours. Turn it out onto a floured surface, fold it onto self once, form it into a loaf, let it sit 1 1/2 hours, and bake at 450 degrees.

The baking is the only thing that requires any planning. It is commonly done in a dutch oven, though you can find many easy ways on this site to improvise. It should be baked covered for 30 minutes, and then baked another 5-15 minutes uncovered. Internal temp around 210 or just look at it. The color will be beautiful, that's how you'll know.

I make mine 50/50 WW/unbleached flour, and put 1/3 C poppy seeds and 2/3 C sunflower seeds in the dough. Just before putting it in the oven I brush it with egg white and put poppy seeds on top.

If you search this site for no-knead bread you'll find more tips. You'll be successful, I promise, and you'll have bread that is better than anything your machine can make.