The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Using Soft Wheat with Hard Wheat in bread recipe

ChristineH's picture

Using Soft Wheat with Hard Wheat in bread recipe

I am wondering if using a small amount of soft wheat berries in my current wheat bread recipe that calls for hard wheat, would make the bread a little lighter.  Might I need to alter any other ingredient as a result?  My 2 loaf recipe calls for approximately 7 cups of whole wheat fresh ground flour (I use Montana hard red) I'd like to swap out 2 cups of the hard wheat and use 2 cups of soft wheat. 


Do you think this will this work? I don't want to try and fail. 8-)

BettyR's picture

A wetter dough may help a bit but it has been my experience that 100% whole wheat bread is going to be dense...cutting the amount of protein is not going to make a lighter loaf. The only way I know of getting a lighter loaf is with bread flour. Most recipes for whole wheat sandwich bread that I have seen use half or a little more bread flour.


Hope this helps...good luck.



lindasbread's picture

Hi Christine,

I have a bread recipe on "The Whole Grain Council" webpage. It is a little sweet, with butter, and very light. We like it with butter and marmelade for Breakfast. It is called Breakfast Bread   here the link

mrfrost's picture

In spite of their names(or descriptions), in general, hard wheat makes lighter, fluffier (yeast)breads than soft wheat.(Because of the higher protein/gluten levels). They can be chewier though, when the protein gets "too high".

clazar123's picture

I worked to develop a recipe for whole wheat bread that will still be fluffy, at my husbands request. He just doesn't like the dense chewiness of the typical WW loaf. What I have discovered is that there are several things you can do to soften it up. Try one or all of these ideas to get the level of softness you want.

1. Use up to 1/3 the flour amount as soft whole wheat flour/pastry flour. So if you use 6 cups ww flour,make that 4-5 cups hard red spring wheat and 1-2 c soft wheat flour. It makes it less chewy and more feathery.

2.Use milk,buttermilk,kefir or yogurt in the recipe

3.Add egg (1 per loaf).This really makes a difference.You need to compensate a bit on the liquid and it makes the dough a  little sticky.

4. Use AP flour (not bread flour as that justs makes it chewy) in some amount. Sometimes I use 1-2 cups per loaf or I might just use it as the flour to add to get the proper dough consistency when kneading/mixing as it absorbs the water faster and you don't have to worry about it getting properly hydrated.

5.HYDRATE THE DOUGH! At some point, rest/autolyse/retard-whatever method you want -but let the WW dough rest for 30min or longer to allow the bran in the WW to get fully hydrated. It's like trying to re-hydrate dried vegetables-you have to give it time to soak in fully.This prevents it from absorbing the moisture out of the crumb of your finished loaf later.My best loaves are usually the ones I have mixed and put in the refrig overnight to bake the next day.

6.Use some oil or butter in the recipe.It doesn't have to be much but even 1 tbsp per loaf makes a difference.

7.SOme people use potatoes or potatoe flakes. I just don't have any experience with that but I guess they swear by it.

So use a favorite recipe and try substituting some of these ingredients to see what you like.

I'm sure someone is going to suggest using vital wheat gluten.In my experinece, all this will do is make your  bread chewier.Your hard red spring wheat has plenty of gluten in it.




ChristineH's picture

You've all been very helpful and have given me qite a few things to try.....THANKS!