The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole Grain Bread for Beginners

Jerry's picture

Whole Grain Bread for Beginners

My wife just brought me a piece of Panara Whole Grain bread. Delicious! I want to make my own.

As a relative new baker with no whole grain experience and only a little with sourdough, I need advice. Do I need another book? What one? Any on-line videos that cover it?

Jerry in Seattle

Floydm's picture

I'm not sure you need another baking book, but right now The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book seems to be the most popular book for whole grain bakers.

Peter Reinhart is working on a whole grain book right now. You can read about his progress in his blog. Folks testing his recipes have been raving about the results. If you can wait until later in the year, it sounds like his book will be a winner.

There is a lot of good information on this site about whole grain baking. I just created a seperate forum for it which you posted the first message in, but people have been posting about whole grains for months. If you poke around a bit and use the search box you might find what you are looking for here.

ron45's picture

Hello I'll second the Laurel's Kitchen book. Lots of info on ingredients and what they do from someone living the Whole Wheat life style.


Teresa_in_nc's picture

I can identify with you, Jerry! Just a couple of weeks ago I bought a loaf of Panera's whole grain and I was smitten as well. Last week I ordered barley flakes, rye flakes, millet, amaranth, flax seed, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and one other I can't remember.

In the freezer was a bag of Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Cereal, so over the weekend I made this loaf - my changes are in [ ].

Seven Grain Sandwich Bread

Source: Rosemary Grimm at


1 cup sourdough starter (fully bubbling and frothy)

1 cup warm water

1 cup white bread flour [or all purpose flour]

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup 7 grain cereal [I used 10 grain and subbed 1 TB milled flax seed for 1 TB of the cereal]

Mix the sponge and let sit in the bowl until bubbly and about doubled. This may take several hours or overnight.


2 TB oil

2 TB honey [I used molasses as I was out of honey]

2 1/2 t. kosher salt

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup white bread flour [used all purpose, only needed about 1/2 cup]

Add the dough ingredients and mix until it becomes difficult to continue. Dump out onto your kneading surface and knead in the last flour plus additional flour to keep from sticking. When dough is smooth and elastic, shape and place in a large buttered loaf pan.


Cover with buttered plastic wrap and let rise until very light and risen above the top of the pan. Slash vertically (split-top style) [I forgot to do this] and place in a cold oven. Turn oven to 400 degrees and bake until done - about 50 minutes.

This recipe will be better when I have the millet and flaked grains to add. I love the crunch of the millet in the Panera bread. This is still a good recipe, just not as rough textured as Panera's. I used a firmer sourdough starter than before based on conversations here, and it raised this heavy dough very nicely.

I've got a photo of the bread I made, but can't seem to add it to this post.


ron45's picture

Hello, I guess I'm a purist when it comes to whole grains. It's the definition of that word `whole' that so many bread merchants and bakers seem to take liberties with or just ignore. I too have added white flours, a time or two, to my breads to see what would happen. Makes wheat bread easy. Nice tall loaves. But it's not whole wheat.

Short Rant follows:

The absence of whole foods from the modern american diet is part of why it's so easy to pick us out in European crowds. It has contributed to the perversion of the american medical system till it looks more like exxon mobile than a calling to help people live healthier lives. In many cases general practitoners are reduced to pimping for the pharm conglomerates. I hope no one minds if I point this out in the whole grains forum. I mean no offense to Teresa.


Teresa_in_nc's picture

Here goes another try to post a photo of the Grain Bread I made recently:


 This recipe uses one of the grain cereals from Bob's Red Mill.Ten Grain Sandwich Bread, Feb. 18, '07: This recipe uses one of the grain cereals from Bob's Red Mill.

Jerry's picture

Thanks for your recipe and photo.  Both look good.

gdubya's picture

Try checking out the Great Harvest Bread Company in Ballard.

Tell Bob and Crystal that Gary from Jax says hi.

They mill their own grain right there in the store.  I think you'll love it.