The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

my whole wheat is two heavy

tteddy's picture

my whole wheat is two heavy

I am fairly new to making bread and enjoying it but I haven't quite got it perfected. I would like to be able to replace store bought sandwich bread with home made. my last attempt was using the whole wheat sourdough recipe in the handbook section. It taste vary good but is a little to dense and the crumb is very tight. What is causing this and how can I fix it. I let it rise then retarded it over night before the final rise. any suggestions?  tried to post a pic but cant get it to work.


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.



tteddy's picture

Thanks for the advice I will give some of them a try.  I do retard my dough over night and I use buttermilk as well.  The bread taste grate but it just seems to lack the texture I'm looking for.  I am using a gold medal whole wheat flower.  Next time I think I may try a different brand and see if I get better results.

mrfrost's picture

Here is a very recent thread from another poster, unsatisfied with the texture of a 100% ww recipe. Several solutions and alternate recipes were offered:

In another thread, the recipe is revealed that ended up being the preferred solution for the poster and his or her family members.

Obviously, people's opinions and preferences differ. As such, there are often several methods to address and approach the issue. Try different approaches to make your decisions on the which you prefer.

pjaj's picture

I've been baking bread on and off for many years, and my early attempts at wholemeal (whole wheat) were, to put it politely, substantial. Or as my kids would say, like a house brick! But more recently I think I've cracked it. No fancy ingredients, just flour water yeast sugar salt and some oil or fat.

I believe that my main problem was getting sufficient rise, particularly after shaping and putting in the pan. It wasn't till I found a really warm, draft free place to rise the dough that I started getting the success. In my case I'm lucky enough to have an oven with a proofing setting, but many ovens can be set at about 30-35 degrees C (about blood heat) or kept at about this temperature by switching them on and off.

For 2 off large loaves:-

1500 gr strong wholemeal flour

900-1000 ml warm water.

2 tsp dried yeast.

2 tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

a generous glug of sunflower / rapeseed or similar oil or a tbsp of cooking margarine / butter.

I use a mixer, but any method of mixing should work equally as well. Put all the dry ingredients in the bowl together with the fat or oil and mix briefly. I always have the water quite warm, verging on hot, as it will be cooled by the dry ingredients. With the mixer running add most of the water, maybe reserving a little, and mix. Stop the machine and scrape down any unincorporated ingredients. Continue mixing, adding more water if it seems too dry, until it forms a single ball of dough that mostly pulls away from the bowl leaving it relatively clean. Kneed for about 5 minutes by machine or 10 by hand - only experience will tell you when it's right, but persevere.

Scrape the dough into an oiled bowl, cover and put in your warm place. Note, because the water was quite warm, the dough should still feel a bit warm to the touch. Within 30 to 45 minutes the dough should have risen to about twice its size. Knock down, divide into two equal pieces (about 1260 gr each) and shape. put into pans and back into the warm place for another 30-45 minutes. The dough should have risen to the top of the pans and be nicely domed in the centre. This is the critical point, if they haven't risen this much then your loaf is going to be dense. Bake at 200-200 degrees C for about 40 minutes. Oven spring should rise the loaves another half to one inch.


Obviously you can use more, smaller pans and you could probably get an even lighter loaf if you used less ingredients but still went for the same second rise, but don't over do it. I use a nominal 2lb loaf tin, but my final loaves weigh nearer 2 1/2 lb. The whole process takes bout 2-3 hours from start to finish and if you can't eat all the bread within a day or so, it freezes.

RiverWalker's picture

my personal experimentations with WW for bread had a similar thing as you say, I was never quite happy with how fluffy it came out.

then I tried adding an egg, and BAM.   it came out light and fluffy.

the same recipe adding an egg(it makes it need a little more flour too)   and without,  the egg alone makes it far lighter.