The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Wheat bread with cracked rye and wheat berries

Home Baker's picture
Home Baker

Wheat bread with cracked rye and wheat berries



  • 700g all purpose flour
  • 700g bread flour
  • 200g rye flour
  • 150g whole wheat flour
  • 100g wheat germ
  • 100g ground whole grain cereal
  • 100g milk powder
  • 50g cracked/kibbled wheat and/or rye berries
  • 40-50g course kosher salt
  • *1/2 teaspoon citric acid powder
  • *1/2 teaspoon ginger

First, grind, weigh and measure all the dry ingredients, combining them in the mixer bowl.

Let the mixer stir the dry ingredients to an even blend. I use the paddle attachment turning on its lowest speed in the completely filled bowl of a Kitchenaid K5A mixer. Once mixed, you will divide the dry ingredients into two equal parts.

I should mention here that the portions and processes in this recipe were designed to match my own kitchen and my own equipment. The dry measures completely fill my largest mixer bowl, the four loaves are the maximum that my oven can handle in one bake. 


I start building production starter a couple of days ahead, with the aim of having about 600 grams of vigorous starter ready when I plan to start mixing and fermenting the loaves. 

Measure separately for each batch:

  • 250g production sourdough (from whole grain rye, whole grain wheat and unbleached KA all purpose -- all organic)
  • 660g water
  • *2 tablespoons honey (from a local coop)
  • *1/2 teaspoon natural soy lecithin
  • *1 tablespoon organic barley malt syrup
  • *1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Make two batches of wet ingredients. The dough will be mixed in two batches to prevent ruining the mixer by overtaxing its motor and gears. One batch of wet ingredients goes into each half of the dry ingredients mixture. 


Into each of two large mixing bowls, add one measure of the combined wet, then one measure of the combined dry ingredients. Fit dough hook onto mixer and carefully work one measure of wet ingredients into one measure of dry ingredients for only a few minutes, ending with two batches of wet dough. Cover each  bowl with plastic and let it rest for 1/2 hour.


Dump each bowl of wet dough into the same large plastic lidded tub. Stretch-and-fold dough a few times in the tub, then cover tub with lid and place into refrigerator for total of 16-24 hours.

Remove tub from refrigerator for about ten minutes of stretch-and-folds at two intervals, first after 4-6 hours and once more after 8-12 hours. Rest in refrigerator for final, uninterupted 8-12 hours.

Place at least a pint of water into a clear glass or plastic container and place the container the same spot the final rise will occur. A ball of dough will be dropped into water at the same time as the loaves are set in the rise location. By watching for the moment when the sunken ball of dough floats the the surface it will be possible to determine exactly when the dough has reached its maximum rise. The vessel of water is placed in the area where the final rise happens well ahead of time to ensure that the water achieves the same temperature as the air --and the rest of the dough-- in that space. 


Cut a small (50-75g) piece of dough off and shape into tight ball. Cover and set aside.

Divide remaining dough into:

  • 2 pieces @ 950g for smaller (8") loaf pans, and
  • two pieces @ approximately 1125g for large (9") loaf pans.

The process I use is to portion two pieces of dough at 950g, then weigh remaining dough and divide it into two equal portions. The larger amounts can vary somewhat but I find this recipe gives the best result from the standard 8" loaf pan when the loaf is formed from a 950g measure of dough. Shape and pan dough into the greased loaf pans. Place loaves into plastic bags or lidded tubs for final rise, then move to the final rise location. 

Now, retrieve the reserved ball of dough and drop it into the glass of water which had been placed hours before in the same final rise area where the shaped, covered loaves have now been placed. The ball of dough will sink to the bottom of the container of water. The ball of dough will remain submerged in the glasss of water for a long time, but start checking it periodically after about two hours. The amount of time required for the dough ball to float (which marks the end of the final proof) can vary widely, from at least two to more than four hours, depending on temperatures and the vitality of the starter. I have found that capturing the precise moment when the dough achieves its maximum rise (but not a minute more) is the key to producing a really remarkable flavor and appearance from this recipe. Excellent and repeatable results are obtainable by using this method to monitor the final rise: when dough ball floats to the surface the loaves must go immediately into the hot oven.


About an hour before you think baking will begin, place a shallow metal pan in the bottom of the oven and turn on the oven to preheat to 500°F. As soon as the dough ball floats to the surface of the water it has been submerged in, place a mug 2/3 full of hot water to boil in the microwave. Remove panned loaves from their plasic enclosures and slash each loaf once down the middle, along its longest dimension. Take mug of boiling water from microwave and pour it carefully into the metal pan in the bottom of the oven. Place the four panned loaves on one shelf, set at a height just below the center of the oven, close oven door and reset oven temperature to 460°F. After ten minutes lower temperature to 425°F. After 20 minutes rotate loaves for even browning and turn heat down to 375°F. After 40 minutes begin checking loaves for doneness. I bake the loaves to an internal temperature of 205°F - 210°F, which takes 45-55 minutes. Each of the loaves always seems to need slightly more or less time in my oven. 

Cool loaves on rack for at least two hours before slicing. Flavors don't fully develop until about 24 hours after removal from oven. 

*NOTE ON MEASUREMENTS: Measuring cups and measuring spoons handle thick liquids and small quantities of dry product more accurately and with less waste than my scale does.

Recipe submitted to YeastSpotting page at Wild Yeast.




Mebake's picture

WOW! Those are beautiful looking loaves, home Baker, thanks for te recipe..

Alas, i have no Soy lecithin, nor barley malt...


Home Baker's picture
Home Baker

Thanks Mebake. With this recipe I've been trying to mimic the flavor of a loaf I made almost by accident a few months ago from a package of whole grain breakfast cereal. In fact, the flavor of that accidental loaf was the starting point of months of research and experimentation that led me initially to this web site and then to believe that maybe I could learn to make truly excellent loaves of bread -- a goal which has always (so far) eluded me.

The soy lecithin (or try granules), along with citric acid powder, ground ginger (and milk powder to some extent), was added to the recipe as a dough conditioner. I use it because I think it helps the bread achieve its maximum rise. The article which persuaded me to try it (and which I have since lost) described its effect as a lubricant allowing the particles of the dough to slide past one another more easily as the bubbles expand and the glutinous membranes stretch during the rises. As I understand it, the problem with these whole grain loaves is that the the sharp edges of the large whole grain particles tear the tender membranes (gluten?) thus collapsing gas bubbles which are trying to build the structure of the loaf.

I also wanted as little added fat as possible and, because lecithin is often used as an emulsifier, I thought it might exaggerate the effect of the small amount of butter. I needed butter because the bread tasted "flat" to me without it.

Still, although the bread wouldn't be as close to what I want without the soy lecithin, I could probably get by without it. 

I'm not sure that anything else would really equal the impact barley malt syrup has on the flavor of the wheats in this bread. You could try substitutes (I first used malted milk powder with good --not great-- results). No other single ingredient I tried, other than barley malt syrup, had as much effect on the  flavor of this bread.

Mebake's picture

Thanks for taking the time to post this valuable info, Home Baker! I guess i'll stick to the good old sourdough... it is a natural enhancer!


hanseata's picture

good old sourdough is good enough for me, too.

If I wanted to try a dough enhancer - my whole grain doughs performed all well enough without so far - I would probably rather try an all natural one: 10 g of each honey, butter, orange juice and egg yolk (from "Bread Notes from a Floury German Kitchen") - seems to contain the same lecithin, citric acid etc., but made of things you usually have in your kitchen, anyway.


Home Baker's picture
Home Baker

Thanks for these good ideas. I hadn't thought of trying an egg yolk, or seen the suggestion before. I'll definitely give that a try.

I did try lemon juice in several mixes of earlier versions of this recipe but it just didn't work for me. Rise wasn't as good and the citrus flavor overwhelmed the wheats.

I don't know if my sourdough is getting stronger or possibly I'm getting better at handling it but this week I have finally gotten a few loaves of unadulterated sourdough bread that taste and look pretty good using nothing but flour, water and salt.

What formula/recipe do you use for whole grain loaves?

Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

Tell me about your sourdough starter. 

What is a production starter?

What is the hydration of your starter?


Home Baker's picture
Home Baker

The sourdough starter is 100% hydration. The starter was grown according to the method described at Wild Yeast blog. It's only two or three months old but it works. 

I start with 50 grams of reserved starter from the fridge to which I add 50 grams rye flour and 50 grams tap water. I repeat the process (50 grams @ 1:1:1) with rye until the starter doubles in less than 12 hours. Then I increase to 100 grams and switch to whole wheat flour. When the starter doubles in less than eight hours I increase to 200 grams and switch to AP flour. At this point it helps to watch the temps. When the starter doubles in less than six hours, but ideally around three hours, it's ready to use. With now 600 grams of active starter, there's an extra 100 grams -- 50 to be used as the reserve for the the next bake and a little more in case of mistakes along the way.

I've sort of adapted a "production starter" method of dealing with the sourdough starter which I read about in Andrew Whitley's book Bread Matters (Google books except here).