The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

PR's WGB 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf

Mebake's picture

PR's WGB 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf

This is a sourdough version of Peter Reinhart's 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf from his book: Whole grain breads. I spiked it by 2.25 Teaspoons of instant yeast.

The crust was soft due to the presence of Milk, and butter, but the crumb was light soft, and even textured.

I used only Waitrose Organic Strong bread flour with 13.9g of protein. I also baked this bread under a pyrex cover in a grill oven, 30 min. covered, and 15 minutes uncovered.

The taste, well, it was somewhat salty (I HAVE TO STOP USEING SEA SALT! i can't figure out how much is enough in a formula(in this bread it was somewhat salty coz i doubled the amount of salt, knowing that sea salt isn't as efficient as refined salt.) It had a faint acidic taste from the levain (50% of the total dough weight), but was pleasant overall.

I learned something very important here: Always increase hydration with PR's wholegrain breads recipes, from 70% to 75%, as peter apparently prefers tighter crumbed wholegrain breads.

Another thing: Never take shortcuts with wholegrains, as this will adversely effect the resulting flavor. I didn't prepare a soaker with a pinch of salt (spong), so no sweetness to there to counteract the excess salt or the sourdough acid.

Here is the bread:





ehanner's picture

Nice looking WW bread!

Nickisafoodie's picture


Fabulous looking loaf! Try using salt by weight: 1.75% of the flour weight.  The coarseness of the salt affects density, and density determines weight.  So using a scale is a must.  A small 100 gram digital scale can be found online for $20 for lighter ingredients like yeast or salt or seeds.  A larger digital of several pounds may be great for scaling dough, but not likely as accurate as a 100gr scale  if you only need 7 grams of salt (1.5 lb loaf at 70% hydration at 1.75% salt = 7 grams)

Other postings have talked of how a given weight of table salt weighs twice as much as the same weight of flaked Kosher salt given the former has crystal sizes that are about half the size, thus more dense and resulting in twice as much by weight for any given volume.  One tbs of table salt weighs 18.3 grams, and one tbs of flaked Kosher salt weighs 9.1 grams (USDA food equivalents).

If you are using what sounds like a wonderful and special salt and especially if there is not uniformity in the crystal size, methinks a scale is the only way to nail it.  Good luck!!

Lindt makes 3.5 oz chocolate bars in a variety of flavors (3.5” by 7.5” by ¼” size in many supermarkets).  One very hard to find flavor is "A touch of Sea Salt".  They use hand harvested Fleur de Sel sea salt crystals.  This blend is simply amazing, especially when you compare it side by side with some of the other flavors like "70% Dark" which is very good in its own right.  Alas most stores in my area only have the basic milk, dark, Chile (awesome) so the “Touch of Salt” can be elusive… 

If a special sea salt can make chocolate really dance, then I can imagine what it can do for that perfect loaf!  Salt - indeed special salt as yours does add nuances that cannot be experienced any other way so you’ve convinced me to pursue this route going forward!.


arlo's picture

Gosh, this was my favorite recipe from WGB by Reinhart. I remember making this almost four times in one week when I first received this book. I gave those loaves away but kept at it because I wanted to get down the basis of whole grain bread baking.

Your loaf looks wonderful!

BerniePiel's picture

and the crust looks chewy and I can almost smell the wheat.  Great loaf.  As to the sea salt matter, I appreciated the comments from Nick because I am having a very difficult time getting the proper salt content, as well.  I use sea salt and usually its the coarse variety and I've used several different brands, the latest being Ravida Azienda Agricola which is a coarse grind.  Also, I'm in the process of making some of Lepard's Mill Loaf (The Art of Handmade Bread, p. 30) which calls for 2 1/2 tsp of fine sea salt.  I used a mortar to pulverize the salt to a finer grind which I've never done before and I increased the quantify to 3 tsp.  I tend to more salt, than less for my personal taste.  So I'm very interested in seeing how these loaves will taste.  But, back to your loaf, Mebake, it looks like perfection to me.  Great work!

Bernie Piel

Mebake's picture

Thanks to all! I couldn't have achieved this without the help of all TFL members, THANKS.

BYW, i ate some slices for dinner yesterday, and i can tell you it is the lightest 100% wholewheat i have ever baked, and :

1 - It retained the heavenly butter smell from the milk and butter, 24 hrs after the bake.

2- It tasted wholesome, yet crumb feather - light, and laden with bran.

3- The salt was just right, i take it all back. (Double is double from now on)

I think the following made the difference in terms of the outcome:

1- I did not punch the dough, and just shaped it into a boule carefully.

2 - I kind of mastered the french kneading method (Richard Bertinent), so proper gluten development with a sticky dough.

3 - I stretched and folded the fermented dough half way through 2 hrs bulk fermentation.

4- I baked under a cover for 3/4 of baking time, which helped even out the heat round the loaf.

Wonderful bread!  I'd give it 8.5/10


Mebake's picture

Nick, thanks for your elaborate reply, my salt is a cheap sea salt, i found on a grocery isle once, nothing fancy.

And thanks jolly for your valuable info. I guess WGB book appeals to people who are indefferent to an Artisan-styled open crumbed crusty breads. There is a trade off when you try to craft a wholewheat artisanal loaf using Peter's recipes.

Hey Kneady, i hear you! i think as you bake more wholewheat, you'll get to dectate the changes you need and could easily detach yourself from Peter's measurements. I prefer to marry Jeffrey Hamelman's methodes with Peter Reinhart's theories.

Kneady, There is nothing absolute in bread baking, only facts, and once you bake from more recipes, you will eventually get to the point where you are able to judge what is your best methods and ingredients for your loaf.


Mebake's picture

PR's WGB call for 50% BIGA by weight (half of the dough is fermented in the fridge). and i hope you mean fridge when you said freezer, coz freezing a Biga might stall it for quite a long time, or even render it useless.

Your BIGA must also contain very little yeast or levain, or else you will have reduce from 50% to 30% (coz the dough will be overly fermented).