The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

whole wheat

isand66's picture

I haven't made bread with my Yeast Water starter in a while so I figured I would try making a YW levain using my proofer set at 86 degrees F. and see how it came out.  I was hoping the proofer would allow the YW levain to develop better than it usually does and it did not disappoint.  The levain was made in 2 builds with the first one lasting 7 hours and the second about 4 hours.

Since I was not going to use my sourdough starter in this one I figured I would use some buttermilk to give the dough a little bit of tang.  I wanted to make at least a 50 plus percent whole grain bread so I used the Turkey Hard Red Wheat flour again along with some Organic Bread flour from KAF, Barley flour, Wheat Germ for some nuttiness and some Potato flour to round it out.

I picked up some smoked cheddar just for this bread and added some walnut oil to add a bit more nuttiness as well.

I followed a similar time schedule using my proofer as I did for my last bake using my normal bulk fermentation for the dough to develop the flavor.

The final dough came out as good as expected with a nice dark crust with cheesy goodness throughout the tender open crumb.

Levain Directions Build 1

Mix all the levain ingredients together for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled.  (Note: I used my proofer set at 85 degrees).

Either use in the main dough immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day before using.

Levain Directions Build 2

Add all the ingredients listed to the levain from Build 1 and mix well.  Let it sit in your proofer or a warm place about 85 degrees for 4-5 hours until the starter is nice and bubbly and has doubled in size.

Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours, buttermilk and water together in your mixer or by hand until it just starts to come together, maybe about 1 minute.  Let it rest in your work bowl covered for 20-30 minutes.  Next add the salt, starter (cut into about 7-8 pieces), walnut oil, and mix on low for 4 minutes.  Next add the cheese (cut into small cubes) and mix on low-speed for another 2 minute to incorporate the cheese evenly.  Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds.  Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold.  Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold.  (Note: I used my proofer set at 80 degrees). After a total of 2 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours.

When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1.5 to 2 hours.  ( I used my proofer set at 80 degrees F.)   Remove the dough and shape as desired.  I made 1 large miche but you can make 2 boules or other shapes.  Place your dough into your proofing basket(s) and cover with a moist tea towel.

I put the dough in my proofer set at 85 degrees F.  The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature or it will take 1.5 hours in the proofer.  Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees F. and prepare it for steam.  I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf.  I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.

Right before you are ready to put them in the oven, score as desired and then add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.

After 1 minute lower the temperature to 450 degrees.  For the large Miche I baked at 450 F. for 35 minutes and another 40 minutes at 425 degrees.

Take the bread out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.

Alpana's picture

Sorghum & Pearl Millet Whole Wheat Bread

March 4, 2013 - 7:50pm -- Alpana

A nutty and surprisingly not very dense loaf made by using Peter Reinharts's mash for sorghum & pearl millet. Also made a soaker of sorghum & pearl millet flours. The final dough had the mash, soaker, stiff levain, whole wheat flour, bread flour, salt, agave nectar & instant yeast. Loved the result. 

linder's picture

Today's bake was a loaf of Peter Reinhart's 100% whole wheat sandwich bread.  The soaker and wild yeast starter for this loaf used home-milled hard red winter wheat.  In the final dough, I added Sonora white wheat flour milled by Eatwell Farm in Dixon, CA.  The combination produced a loaf of bread that easily filled the 8 1/2 by 4 inch loaf pan. 

We enjoy this bread toasted for breakfast and topped with orange marmalade alongside a cup of hot tea. 


breadforfun's picture

What can I say, I like big loaves.  I have made the Tartine Country bread a number of times in all sizes, from 500 gm to 2 kg, and am always happy with the results.  I refreshed my starter when I returned from a week away with the intention of trying the whole wheat loaf as well.  On my last visit to Central Milling I picked up a 5# bag of Acme Organic Whole Wheat flour, so what better bread to test it on.  I pretty much followed the method in the book, with a small deviation because I forgot to hold back the required 50 gm of water to add with the salt after the autolyse, so I had to add some extra water.  The formula was supposed to be 80% hydration, and the extra water took it up to 83%.  The formula is quite basic:

Levain          200 gm    20%

Water           830 gm    83%

WW flour    700 gm     70%

AP flour       300 gm     30%

Salt                  20 gm      2%

I made a double batch and shaped them into 1 miche at 1950 gm and three smaller boules at around 700 gm each.  The bulk ferment was about 4 hours at a controlled 74˚F with S&F at 30, 60, 90, 120 and 180 min.  After shaping, I retarded the miche and one smaller loaf overnight (about 16 hours), and continued proofing two of the smaller loaves for 3 hours.  Baking was on a stone heated to 500˚F which was reduced to 460˚ when the boules were peeled into the oven.  Steam for 15 min. then turn on the convection to 425˚ for 20 min. more, rotating as necessary.  For the miche, the convection temperature was 415˚ and the convection bake time was 35 min. 

The loaves showed lovely bloom and grigne.  I have been playing with different scoring lately, and I like the effect using two interlocking half-circles.  A bit cumbersome to do on the large loaf, but it's a nice look.  I think the bake times could have been a bit longer.  Though the loaves registered over 205˚ and were left in a cooling oven with the door cracked open for 10 min., I didn't get the nice singing and crackling crust like I do on the Country Loaf, which I suppose is due to the higher hydration dough and not being baked out completely. 

The crumb on this bread is sublime - airy and with a fairly soft chew.  The flavor is nutty and wheaty with a distinct tang on the retarded loaves (I didn't get to try the others).  Curiously, the 2% salt seemed a little on the light side.  This photo is the crumb of the smaller loaf - I'll post the miche once I cut it.  The final size of the miche was about 10 inch diameter and 4 inch tall at the dome.


MarieH's picture

There have been a lot of English Muffin recipes posted all over the web. While I yearned for a homemade muffin, I didn’t relish the steps to make them. I don’t have a griddle and cooking them in batches in a frying pan seemed problematic.

I have an English Muffin bread recipe that I have used for years. It is posted here. When I read trailrunners blog post about burger buns and saw how the buns were cut into pieces I thought – hey, I can do that with my English Muffin bread dough. The handling is a bit different because the dough is very loose and sticky, more like a batter.

Success! This was a fun experiment with a great outcome. Try them if you’d like to have homemade English Muffins without all the fuss. Start to finish this recipe took about 1 1/2 hours. I have included step-by-step photos since this is an unusual technique.

Prepare the baking pan and heat oven to 400 degrees. Fit a piece of 11" x 15" parchment paper into a 9" x 13" rimmed baking sheet pan, folding 1" of the paper up all four sides of the pan. Buttering the bottom of the pan before putting in the paper will help hold it in place. Lightly butter the bottom of the parchment paper and sprinkle evenly with cornmeal.


Stir together in a large bowl. Note: the oat flour can be substituted with 3 1/4 oz old fashioned oatmeal, finely ground in a food processor.

3 oz (3/4 cup) whole wheat flour

3 1/4 oz (1 cup) oat flour

1/2 tbs sugar

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

2 1/4 tsp instant yeast

1 oz (1/4 cup) bakers milk powder

Heat until 120-130 degrees and add to the dry ingredients. Beat well with a wisk to make a smooth batter. The batter will be quite thin.

9 1/2 oz water

1 oz orange juice

 Add and stir in until well blended to make a loose batter.

5 oz (1 1/4 cups) bread flour


Spoon the batter over the parchment paper and using a wet rubber spatula, spread the batter evenly to the sides of the pan. Wet the spatula as necessary to smooth the top of the batter. Lightly sprinkle top of the batter with cornmeal.


Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 - 45 minutes until very puffy. It works best to place the pan in a very large, seal-able plastic bag or to use a proofing cover. If using plastic wrap, spray the wrap heavily with cooking spray before placing on top of the batter.

 When ready to bake, score the dough about 1/8" deep into 12 pieces each 3 1/4" x 3". A bench knife that has been sprayed with cooking spray works well.


Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and carefully slide the parchment paper onto a flat rimless cookie sheet. Cut the dough into 12 pieces, following the score lines and cutting all the way through. Spread the muffins out a bit leaving about 1/2" between each muffin. Return to oven and bake another 5 minutes until golden brown. Remove from pan and parchment paper to a cooling rack.


When completely cool, use a fork or muffin splitter to split the muffin squares.


Note: the muffin squares seem large but they shrink a bit in the toaster, so resist the temptation to make them smaller.

jacobsonjf's picture

Locked up indoors while mending from some winter crud, Saturday night I took my recently refreshed liquid levain and made two preferments. One whole wheat and one whole spelt. Sunday morning I added them to some water, then added bread flour, salt, and yeast. Fermented, stretch fold, ferment, shape, proof, bake. Seems no matter what I do, the sharp edges of the spelt bran never soften. Energy bread,s surface I make using spelt, feels like 220 grit sandpaper. I fined nothing wrong with it, but find spelt is the only whole grain flour wwhere I experience  rougher the texture.

Ifrit's picture

Tartine Whole Wheat recipe skips a step!!?

February 17, 2013 - 12:12pm -- Ifrit

Am I missing something or has anyone else noticed that the Tartine recipe for the whole wheat version of the country loaf (on page 114) skips step 4 which is adding 20g of salt and 200g water. The recipe clearly states (after the the first 40 to 60 min. resting period after mixing the levan, water and flour) to go to step 5 through 9. However, the ingredients list for whole wheat includes 20g of salt. If you were to follow the recipe the salt would never get added. Would love to get someone elses opinion on this.

tsjohnson85's picture

This is my first TFL write up.

While I have only made some comments on posts within the last couple of months, I have been stalking the wonderful forums and submissions on this site since I started baking bread regularly, about four years ago.  I think a big thank you to the collective of the website is in order, if not something more.

This particular bread was born out of frustration: I tried a 100% whole wheat miche about a week ago (all whole wheat, except for a rye starter) and it failed pretty miserably.  I know why it failed.  My apartment is cold (around 62 F), especially since it is a NYC basement apartment, and I wanted things to go much more quickly than they needed to.  So, the loaf was under proofed and also, as I found out when I cut into it the next day, under baked.  Out of shame, there are no pictures. 

So, the next day I tried to redeem myself but ended up repeating many of the same mistakes.  I again tried to rush things and was again disappointed.  For this loaf, however, I made two modifications: 15g of toasted wheat germ in the final dough, and instead of going for 100% whole wheat (again, aside from the rye starter) I added 100g white bread flour.  This made the final dough a little more forgiving, and this loaf I was willing to eat.  However, with the high hydration of the dough (around 82%) and an under-floured banneton, the dough stuck when I unmolded it and this shows on the final loaf.  So again, no photos.

The following was my attempt to redeem myself.  I had just gotten back from a research trip in France and since I could still taste the bread the sting of frustration was all the more harsh.


Total Dough

200 g whole wheat flour (Bob’s Red Mill)

100 g white bread flour (Pillsbury—it’s what I had on hand)

15 g toasted wheat germ (Bob’s Red Mill)

100g rye starter at 100% (using NYC tap water and Arrowhead Mills organic rye)

7 g kosher salt

265 g water

Hydration: 86.3%


100 g rye starter

200 g whole wheat flour

15 g toasted wheat germ

215 g water

            Preferment temp was 23C / 73F

Covered and left alone at room temp for 24 hours.  This day the kitchen temp hovered around a whopping 15C / 59F.

The Rest

100 g white bread flour

50 g water

7 g kosher salt

After mixing in the remaining flour and water—water into preferment, then flour—I let it rest for 30 minutes. Before kneading.  I’m a fan of slap and fold and did that for two minutes before adding in the salt.  Then, I kneaded for another 8 minutes before forming a boule and putting in an oiled bowl.  Dough temp: 16.6C / 61.5F

The bulk ferment lasted 5 hours with three-part folds at 1.5 and 3 hours. 

After 5 hours, I turned the dough out and pre-shaped the dough for a boule and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.  I then shaped the boule, plopped it into a banneton—well-floured this time, mind you—and parked it in the fridge for 16 hours. 

The next day I took it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature (again, around 15C) for two hours on top of the oven, which was heating breakfast and then preheating for the bake.

I baked the loaf in my preheated cast iron skillet at 500F with steam for the first 20 minutes and then at 450F with no steam for another 25 minutes.  At the end of the bake the loaf’s internal temperature reached 214F.  I then left the bread in the oven for 1 hour after I killed the gas. 

Oven spring was good, though not as even as I would have liked: again, a part of the dough stuck in the banneton.  This banneton is newer, so this tendency to stick might decrease with use.  I also might just outfit it with a linen liner.

 I wish I had baked the loaf at 500F for the whole time, since I like an aggressively scorched crust and this loaf had only gotten chestnut brown.  I also might need to do a check on the accuracy of my oven temps… 


cman710's picture

Reinhart Whole Wheat Bread - Help Needed!

January 22, 2013 - 12:57pm -- cman710

Hi all,

First, thank you in advance for your welcome to the Forum. I have lurked here for a little while, but this is my first post.  I have already learned an incredible amount from everyone and look forward to learning more. Second, if I have placed this thread in the wrong area, I apologize and do not mind having the thread moved to the appropriate spot.


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