The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

shrinking wholemeal

doughboy82's picture

shrinking wholemeal

In a recent competition i entered I had to produce the following

  • 2 white sandwich
  • 2 flat breads from a grain or wholemeal dough and
  • 3 products from a seet bun dough

Was fairly happy with the doughs, especially the wholemeal. However once baked off the wholemeal products ( a veinna and a cobb) both shrunk


Wheatmeal recipe:

75% wheat flour

25% wholemeal flour

3% gluten

3% yeast (instant)

1.8% salt

1% improver (soya flour based) Yes im a plant baker, but this comp was produced by hand


other things that may aid in answering why my wholemeal shrunk:

Flour temp:20oC

Water temp 29oC

Final dough temp 32.3oC


Was well developed, even the judges passed a comment about the dough that it was very good.


divded the dough into two 550g and bench rested for 15min, knock back then rest for 15 again.

Proved for about 55-60min and baked off at 215oC for 30min, excellent colour and taste.


Looked great in the oven but shrunk alot once cooling.


I can understand and accept some shrinkage once out of the oven but my wholemeal shrunk to much


Can anyone answer why my wheatmeal shrunk? im a little dumbfounded as to why it happened

LindyD's picture

I don't have an answer since I don't bake much with wholemeal (whole-wheat) flour, but I am curious about the hydration of the dough, since you don't list the percentage of water.

frise1's picture

i would suggest that your dough temp is a bit high,  and your dough might have been toverproofed, which is why it fell

whole wheat has more "food" for yeast and easily oveproofs



doughboy82's picture

i normally work with 32oC doughs from sprial mixers and never have a problem. if it was over- prooved would it collapse in the oven instead of during cooling?

doughboy82's picture

hi there,

sorry bout missed the water percentage

i did use about 70%

clazar123's picture

Were you baking with a different oven than you usually do and if so-perhaps the oven temp is off.

This could casue the loaf to undercook internally. I always suspect that when loaves shrink, the crumb rises internally but doesn't  quite set firmly so it then falls when it is taken out of the oven. Wholemeal takes a little longer to dry out internally when it bakes and actually needs a lower oven temp than refined flour breads. If the oven was hotter than you thought, it would cook externally and appear done when internally it was not. Actually, this could happen with any bread but the wholemeal just adds to the process.

Are you comfortable baking with wholemeal(whole wheat)? There are different techniques for handling it versus refined flour, such as all purpose or bread flour.Did the recipe you used compensate for that?

*EDIT: I re-read your posts and it does sound like the dough was handled fine for a partial whole wheat. I suspect the oven temp was higher than you thought.. Did you by any chance check an internal temp on the loaf?

doughboy82's picture

Thank you

Unfortunately i didnt get an internal temp once baked, its something im not use to doing but will make an effort from now on to take note of internal temps.


As for the oven, well an old guy baker at work has mentioned the smae thing that it maybe an oven problem, but ive used these ovens before and its the only time ive suffered serve shrinkage.


nevermind we have been told that we can re-enter next year so ive got a year to come up with a recipe, or to solve my shrinking wholemeal