The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

substituting whole wheat flour for bread flour

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lavapen's picture
lavapen

substituting whole wheat flour for bread flour

i would like to try using whole wheat flour instead of the "bread" flour that my recipe book calls for. do i need to make any other adjustments to the recipes (like more yeast, etc.)?


thanks!

ericb's picture
ericb

Lavapen,


I regularly substitute up to 1/3 whole wheat or rye for bread flour in my bread machine. I think it simply tastes better than plain white flour. The loaf will be a bit denser, which I also prefer.


If your recipe calls for 3 cups of bread flour, you might want to start out using 1/2 cup of whole wheat and 2.5 cups of white. Keep an eye on the dough during the first five minutes of kneading. If it looks too dry, add a small amount of water (less than a teaspoon at a time) until it looks "normal."


Good luck.


Eric


 

lavapen's picture
lavapen

have you ever tried replacing all the bread flour? that's what i would like to try .... what adjustments would you make to start?


 


thanks,


michael

ericb's picture
ericb

You should try it and see how it turns out! It might be helpful to add a tablespoon each of honey and oil. Again, keep an eye on hydration during the first kneading cycle. You might find it necessary to add a few tablespoons more water. Give it a try! At the worst, you will be out a few dollar's worth of flour. 


I tried a WW loaf in the bread machine once. It turned out OK, but it was nothing to write home about. 


May I ask why you're interested in 100% whole wheat bread? 


Eric

DoughyIed's picture
DoughyIed

I've had good luck using a 1 cup white to 2.5 cup whole wheat ratio in the bread machine.  The extra gluten in the white flour really helps to prevent baking a brick.


You might also try adding some extra honey and/or molasses to give the yeast some extra food for making air pockets.  However, the bread can end up tasting a little sweet if you do.  I've tried variations of reducing the salt and increasing the yeast and just ended up with a foamy mess on top of the loaf.

arzajac's picture
arzajac

I have found that WW dough has a different texture and therefore has a different oven spring and crumb than white flour.  I experimented and adjusted the hydration to compensate.  I got these three batards to have about the same oven spring, and more or less equivalent crumb (the texture is different) by using more water for WW flour dough.  There are all the same lean dough recipe (flour, salt, yeast and water) with nothing but the hydration changed.


three breads


The 50% WW flour batard on the left has a hydration of 70 percent.  The 100% white  in the middle is 65 per cent and the 100% WW on the right is 100 per cent hydration.


 

Zigs's picture
Zigs

With 100% hydration, how do you develop the gluten structure?  It seems like that much hydration would be like kneading soup.  I've gone up to ~80% before with 100% WW and that has worked out well.  If you let the WW soak for a long time does it suck up all that extra water?

arzajac's picture
arzajac
Zigs's picture
Zigs

I've always wanted to see just how far you could take hydration levels with stretch and fold.... I think you've found my next challenge.