The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Coarse whole wheat flour

Hellohoney's picture

Coarse whole wheat flour

Hi :o)

Newbie here, also new to bread baking.  I sent my husband to buy whole wheat flour and he brought home a 20kg bag of coarse whole wheat flour - is this the same as regular whole wheat flour?


I am just using a basic flour, yeast, salt/sugar recipe.



pmccool's picture

If the flour is ground from the entire wheat kernel, it is definitely whole wheat and as "normal" as can be.  The relative fineness or coarseness of the flour will have an effect on texture of the dough and the finished bread but doesn't change the flour's whole wheat-ness.

Some millers produce a finely-ground whole wheat flour whose texture is a fine powder with no discernible flakes of bran (they are ground so finely that they just blend in with the white particles).  Others produce a coarser grind that is closer to the texture of sand, flecked with bran flakes.

If your flour more closely resembles the second description, you can benefit from soaking the flour overnight in the water that the recipe calls for, plus the salt.  Just stir all three ingredients together to make a rough dough, cover the bowl, and go off to bed.  The flour, especially the bran particles, needs time to absorb the water and soften.  At the same time, gluten will develop as the proteins glutenin and gliadin are brought into contact with the water.  Finally, the salt will keep protease enzymes from damaging the dough during the extended soak.  The next day, when you are ready to bake, you can mix or knead in the yeast and any other ingredients, making sure that all are thoroughly distributed throughout the dough.  From that point, you can follow your recipe's directions for completing the bread. 

Afterward, you can graciously accept your husband's compliments for producing a tasty, hearty bread.  You, in turn, can thank him for having gotten the flour for you.


Edit: Thanks to a gracious note from Nicodvb, I have corrected my earlier statement about enzyme attack.  I had initially alluded to the starch-to-sugar conversion, which is driven by the amylase enzyme.  Salt has no effect on that particular enzymatic reaction.  Salt does, however, reduce the effects of the protease enzyme as noted in the corrected post.  Thank you, Nicodvb, for the clarification.

ananda's picture


Paul's 2 grinds are distinct possibilities.

There is also the chance that the flour is ground regularly, but the bran is added back as coarse particles.   This is a very common technique in modern milling.

Remember the flour is milled to white when using the roller milling method.   The bran is added back, but the germ oil is left out [so 95% wholewheat, technically].   It is common to add the bran back as coarse particles to give good texture to the bread.



clazar123's picture

When I first wanted to grind my own wheat berries, I bought a cheap brinder and it ground beautifully but a little coarser than I expected. But it made great bread-as long as you follow the directions about soaking the flour first! 

Any WW recipe needs a little more water than a white flour(AP) recipe. When you first mix the WW flour and water, it will seem like a sticky,poss watery mess but patience! The bran and harder wheat particles will absorb all that over time and the final dough should be a slightly tacky,beautiful dough.

At this stage, if my dough is wetter than I like , I use a little AP flour to bring it to proper handling state.AP flour absorbs water quickly and won't rob the crumb of moisture later.

Have delicious fun!

Hellohoney's picture

Thanks so much for the responses.  It is a regular whole wheat flour, just with a very bran.

I did thank my husband :o)  and made my first ever 100% whole wheat loaf last night.  It looks gorgeous, perfect in every way.  Nice rise, nice shape, nice color. Unfortunately it is not edible, lol.  I need to play around with the recipe, it tastes like it is made with pure yeast.  I will try Pauls suggestion too and see how the texture changes if I leave it overnight.  I quite like the "rough" texture of the ww as is though too.


I used 1.5 tsp of active dry yeast to 3 cups of ww flour, with a little corn syrup to sweeten (out of honey) and salt.  I let it rise for an hour, shaped it and then rise again for another hour.  It rose perfectly.

I am going to try to make it with half the yeast today and see how it goes.

Thanks again for your help - much appreciated!!




clazar123's picture

Try only 1/2 tsp yeast and mix it up the evening before. I did this by accident once (something came up unexpectedly) and it turned out wonderful!

I mix it up the evening before and use a recipe that leaves the dough a  little tackier than usual (ALMOST sticky). Put it in an oiled plastic container that will be big enough for the doubled dough and put it in the refrigerator. Take it out the next morning and let set for 2-3 hours or until double. If it doubled overnight (mine often does), then divide,shape and proof until ready -but make sure you cover so the dough top doesn't dry out. Bake and enjoy!