The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole Wheat....Biscotti? Not what I had in mind...

Kashipan's picture

Whole Wheat....Biscotti? Not what I had in mind...

Hello all,  I hope someone here can help!

I tried my hand at my first whole wheat bread recipe, and I really don't know where exactly I went wrong.  It's from a Japanese recipe that describes itself as being basic, but I wonder if that might be part of the problem...Could it be too basic?  I can't translate it perfectly, but the ingredient list is:

Strong Wheat Flour (not sure how exactly this translates to English, but I got what the recipe called for)  150g

Regular Whole Wheat Flour (lighter in color)  150g

Salt  6g

Lard  3g

Dry yeast  2g

Water 200g

The recipe required mixing this all for 20 minutes by first mixing by hand, then flattening with a rolling pin, balling up and flattening again several times until it can be shaped into a fairly puffy ball.  Mine didn't really fluff up, and was a little sticky, but I proceeded to just follow the recipe since it was my first time attempting whole wheat anything.  After the initial 20 minutes, it wants you to flatten it one last time and fold it up like an envelope, then let rise at 35C for 50 minutes.

The room was a bit cold, but I turned on the heater a bit to warm the room up and help the dough rise (it usually works with my white breads).  I waited the 50, but it hadn't quite doubled in size.  It asked me to poke a hole through the middle, and if it didn't spring up, it was good to move forward, so I did.

It said to roll it out flat again, and fold it like an envelope again to let rise for another 20 minutes.  It didn't rise terribly much after that, either.

Lastly, you have to roll it out flat again to be able to fit in your loaf pan, and then roll it tightly like a jelly roll and....FLATTEN IT into the loaf pan!....To me, that smelled like trouble, but I did what the recipe said to do.  I waited another 50 minutes, and it hadn't risen a single bit.  In the photo, it made it look like the dough would just spring right up and overflow.  Not a chance when I made it.  Did the yeast just give up?

The room was pretty chilly (about 23C or so) and it was time to go to bed, so I decided to leave it overnight (it probably got down to around 15C during the night) and see how the rising fared in the morning.  When I woke up and checked it, it had only risen a little and was still flat in the pan...

I went ahead and baked it anyway, and it didn't rise and was dense.  I heated the oven to 220C, quickly squirted the sides of the oven with water, brushed the top of the dough lightly with a water/honey wash and sprinkled a little bit of oatmeal on the top and tossed it in.  30 minutes later, the flavor was good, but it didn't rise a bit.  It really resembled more biscotti than anything else in its shape.  Drizzled with honey and a pat of butter while it was still warm was a delight, but it turned out nowhere near like the recipe made it look like it would from the pictures - A puffy, fluffy loaf.

Would anyone know what I can do to help this, or where I went wrong?  I'm afraid to ever try this recipe again because now we have a brick...All I'd like is a light, soft loaf of whole wheat bread, and I haven't been able to find a recipe that's very basic.  If anyone can recommend a maybe better one, or help me troubleshoot this one, I would appreciate it so much.  I'm really not sure what could have gone wrong, since this was my first time working with whole wheat.

Thanks in advance for any help!

rayel's picture

Hi Kashipan, the recipe you used has me baffled. It is so much easier to make a really good 100% whole wheat bread using Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book. Her basic whole wheat is truly basic, much easier to follow, and yields succesful loaves. The Buttermilk, Yogurt, and Featherpuff are all winners. Use the search box to see some excellent whole wheat breads made by others here, add the book's title in your search. If you can make white bread, then whole wheat requires very few  additional adjustments. Good luck, Ray