The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Lighter whole grain bread?

kcinnick's picture

Lighter whole grain bread?

I am looking for a way to lighten up a loaf of whole grain bread made with freshly ground wheat. Currently I use... 5-6 cups of flour, I start with 5 and work my way up until the dough feels right 1 tb of salt 1/3 cup oil 1/3 cup honey 1 TB yeast proofed with 1 cup of warm water an additional cup of warm water. This makes a great roll, but when I tried to make a loaf it is just too heavy and does not make a good bread for slicing. I am looking for something a little lighter like the texture closer to a comercial loaf of bread or that of the honey wheat bread served at steakhouses like outback or lonestar. I would prefer to stick to only my fresh ground whole grain (currently hard white wheat, hard red is available locally also)  Any help?

BTW, I am not a baker and I have very little experience in the baking department, I just love fresh baked bread and there only seems one way to get it, Make it yourself.

pmccool's picture


Here's an earlier thread with some of the same questions that you are asking.  Be sure to scroll all the way through, since there are several links that will branch off to other threads, too.

I found this by using the Search box in the upper left corner of the page and entering "100% whole wheat" (without the quotes).

Hope that helps.



rockfish42's picture

Soaking or the use of preferments seem to help with the texture of whole grain breads.

Yerffej's picture

In a previous thread on sourdough whole wheat I described my method for whole grain bread.  You can find that here:

The techniques apply whether you are using sourdough or yeast.  I hope this helps,


kcinnick's picture

So from my reading... I have these options...

Soak the flour (haven't seen details but seems self explanitory)

Add AP flour or white bread flour (I don't want to do this)

Add Dairy products ( should I substitute milk for water?)

Is there something I am missing?

I also think I may be making the dough too dry.  Should it be sticky to the touch or should it be like a white bread loaf to where you can handle it without it sticking to your hands?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Steak House and tried one of their mini loaves, served with drinks while we waited for our meal.  I can say I was not impressed and the idea of whole wheat did not even pop into my head.  It was a sweet (too sweet for my tastes) loaf of dark colored bread.  I think brown sugar or molasis or fruit yeast was added to a white loaf to create the dark color.  Tasted closer to a Brioche.  So I suggest finding a whole wheat loaf to emulate or switch to a Brioche recipe.


PiperBaker's picture

The Laurel's Kitchen book is an excellent resource for people who are committed to the whole grain project. Their "Loaf for learing" is an great step-by-step, and the recipe is very good too.

When my loaves aren't as light as they should be, it's usually because I didn't knead sufficiently.  Remember, it is nearly impossible to over-knead by hand.  Do pay attention if using mechanical help, though. 

Yogurt or buttermilk somehow condition the gluten and help it rise really high. Kneading in butter (not adding melted) also facilitates the rise. 

You mention fresh-milled.  Are you milling it yourself?  In my experience, the finer the flour, the higher it will rise. 

Finally, Mini Oven is probably right--there's no way what the steak houses serve is whole wheat.  Probably colored with something like molasses (which is common in not-whole "wheat" bread).  It has been many years since I've been near one of those restaurants (literally...I'm in Turkmenistan now), so I can't quite remember the crumb on the mini-loaves, but brioche does seem closer to it than a straight whole wheat loaf.

Happy baking!

SulaBlue's picture

This sounds a LOT closer to the almost pumpernickel-dark (yet cloyingly sweet) bread I remember from Outback.

I'm not sure what's up with the food coloring. It doesn't exactly say when to add it, and it seems to me that the cocoa powder and coffee would be more than enough to color it anyway.

Larry Clark's picture
Larry Clark

I've seen that recipe and think this one is better It is not as sweet and uses rye flour and molasses to achieve that dark color. I don't know which of the two are closest to the original bread but this is very good bread.

                                            OUTBACK BREAD
     3 pk Dry yeast
    1/2 c  Warm water
      1 tb Sugar
      1 c  Warm water
    1/2 c  Dark molasses
      1 tb Salt
      2 tb Oil
      2 c  Rye flour
      2 1/2 -3cups all-purpose flour
  Soften yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Stir in sugar. Let
  stand 6 minutes or till bubbly. Meanwhile in large
  mixing bowl combine 1 cup warm water with molasses,
  salt, oil and rye flour. Beat to smooth batter. Then
  work in all-purpose flour till dough is smooth and no
  longer sticky, very pliable and elastic. Knead a few
  minutes. Let rise till doubled in greased bowl. Punch
  down. Shape into 2 large round loaves placed a few
  inches apart on greased and cornmeal dusted cookie
  sheet or fill 6 mini foil loaf pans, greased and
  dusted in cornmeal, with the dough, dividing it evenly
  between these little pans. Either way let loaves rise
  till doubled in warm place. Bake large loaves 375~
  about 30 minutes or till crust makes hollow sound when
  tapped with knuckles. For tiny loaves place pans on
  dry ungreased cookie sheets, a few inches apart. When
  doubled in size, bake at 375~ for 20 minutes or till
  crust makes that hollow sound when tapped. Bread
  freezes beautifully.
  Source: Gloria Pitzer's Restaurant Recipe Secrets.

flourgirl51's picture

I just sent you a message regarding this.

pancakes's picture

Not sure if someone already mentioned this, but King Arthur has a white whole wheat flour.  I found it in my regular grocery store.  Their site says it has all the same nutritional quality has regular whole wheat, this flour is just made with a white kernel rather than red, or something along those lines.  I used it in a pizza dough recipe and it came out wonderful.  It was not as dark in color or dense at all.  It had a very nice light wheaty flavor.

SulaBlue's picture

And I -love- the light texture. It's noticeable while kneading and especially in "mouth feel."

Yerffej's picture

For anyone in pursuit of a great loaf of bread it would be wise to remember that great bread comes from great bread making technique.  The recipe is, in many ways, secondary.


kcinnick's picture

I only know one thing for sure right now, I have some experimenting to do.

Yes, I just recently started grinding my own flour with an Ultramill. It produces a flour just as fine if not finer than store purchase flour.

The point of mentioning the "Outback bread" was to go for the texture,  I would probably be better off with a sandwich bread type texture, as my goal is to eliminate the purchase of store bought bread.

I definatly need to pick up a book involving whole wheat baking, as I have learned everything I know now off of internet forums, and most of those had main topics other than baking.



PiperBaker's picture

Well, this forum isn't a bad place to pick up lots and lots of tips.  But I second the comment above that good bread is more about technique than the recipe.  Of course, the ingredients influence the texture, but if your technique is off, the recipe won't really matter. 

Welcome to baking--sounds like you're already hooked.

kcinnick's picture

Looks like the "method" I used was a quick method.  This time I am going for a 3 rise recipe starting with a "sponge", wish me luck.  I never knew bread could be so complicated.  Atleast I have something to do while the dough rises.....