The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

100% WW Victory

ehanner's picture

100% WW Victory

This just came out of the oven and I am really happy about the results. I have had several dense flops in my quest to create a 100% Whole Wheat sandwich bread. I don't remember where I got the recipe but it was from the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book. I had been trying to rise using instant yeast and have not had much luck. This is a Sourdough starter recipe with a little Honey. I added a Tablespoon of Malt powder and a little KA Cracked Wheat additive for some extra flavor. Honestly I followed the method right down the page except I folded 3 times and made a point to work the dough until I had good development. I split the flour 50/50 white WW and Bobs WW. The starter (3/4C)was my white flour starter so I guess technically it isn't really 100% (sorry JMonkey). Anyway, I'm happy to have found a method I can use to get on the Whole Grains bandwagon.


bwraith's picture


If possible, could you post your recipe? I'm always doing boules, but maybe I should try a pan. It would be a better shape for the sandwich makers around here. I'm also curious to see what happens in the 100% whole wheat situation, and I like that you tried 50/50 white/red whole wheat. I've wanted to do a sourdough version, so it would be great to just follow your lead on this.


ehanner's picture

I offer this recipe more as a dialog or diary of my trials in Whole Wheat. After several utter failures this is the first formula that succumbed to my ranting and behaved like I hoped (prayed) for. Every WW beginner should try this so you know it can be done.  100% Whole Wheat sandwich bread1 cup active sourdough starter 3/4 cup water2 1/8 cup Fine grnd whole-wheat flour (1C KA White WW+ 1C Bobs WW)1 T  Briess Light Dried Malt extract powder (see note below)1-2 T Honey Cracked Wheat Bread Base (see note below)1 tsp salt1 1/2 TBSP honey 2 TBSP oil "The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book", Laurel Robertson with Carol Flinders & Bronwen Godfrey, ISBN 0-394-53700-9, p 33 - 69 Pour the starter into a mixing bowl. Add the water, honey, oil. Whisk together. Add the rest of the flour a cup at a time and the salt, and stir. Make sure the dough is well mixed, feeling it to see if the water has been incorporated through the dough Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until it passes the windowpane test, probably 10 to 15 minutes. If you double the recipe, it will take twice as long. Having a scraper handy is a good thing, as you can scrape up the stuff that sticks to the board, so it can be incorporated back into the dough. About half way through the kneading, the dough will get a lot less sticky, even without adding much flour. Try not to add too much flour. (I added about 1/2 cup per loaf in the kneading process.)Form the dough into a ball in such a way as to form a gluten cloak on the outside of the ball. Put a bit of oil in the bottom of a bowl, put the smooth side of the dough onto the oil. Turn the bread so it's lightly coated with oil. Cover the bowl, and let the dough rise about 1 1/2 hours in a covered place. After 30 minutes, remove the dough to counter (Silpat’s great) and do stretch and fold, return dough seams down. When the dough has doubled in size gently deflate by pressing your fist into the ball, then fold over the sides of the ball to form it into a new ball, flip and put back into the mixing bowl. Again, let the dough rise which will take about 1/2 as long the first rise. Again, gently deflate the bread, and form a loaf, and put the loaf into a greased 4 x 8" bread pan. Put the loaf aside to rise in 80-85 degree location (cabinet above refer), which should be a bit faster than the second rise. Don't let it over-rise! Preheat the oven to 350 F. Slash the bread with a single slash down the center of the loaf. Pop the bread into the oven. After 1/2 an hour, look at it. If the loaf is quite brown, reduce the temperature to 325 F. If the bread is pale or pinkish, raise the temperature to 375 F. You may want to use those temperatures for your next loaf. If you are at high altitudes, or you use glassbread pans, you may need to adjust the temperature further. Let it continue baking another 15 minutes. Pull the bread out and check it for doneness. Iremove the loaf out of the pan and stick a quick reading dial thermometer into the bottom of the loaf.  I shoot for 205 F. Let it cool, slice and enjoy! Expect this bread to be light, open grained, and delightful. I'd never have believed I could make a light whole wheat bread if I hadn't seen it! NOTES:Malt Powder:  I get this from Mike Avery at Mikes Breads in Gunnison CO. It softens the dough slightly and I believe aids gluten development. Malt adds a nice taste to anything with a WW component.. Substitute Malt Syrup or molasses if needed. I like to support small business owners who try to serve up good value. Mike also sells the best Bagel knife you ever held for $6.00 Honey Cracked Wheat Base from King Arthur: I was looking for something to add that would give this a little tooth. I’m open to suggestions for things that add flavor and texture and don’t cost $4. for 8 Oz.  As per the suggestions of jmonkey and mountaindog, the folding plays a large part in the success of this bread. Also, the rise and proof temperature I used was 80 degrees F, per jmonkey suggestion. The time required for final rise was just 1-1/2 hrs. I have started using a plastic shopping bag as a cover to allow a “no touch” rise.  If you have a dough whisk, this is a great recipe to discover how to use it. The slack consistency of the rather course flours begs for such a tool. The Whisk makes short and efficient work of an otherwise messy job. After mixing well I did a Frisage on the mass on the counter. This is now standard procedure here and insures a homogeneous dough.  I’m absolutely open to suggestions as to how to improve on this. My wife thought it was a little yeasty at first. I didn’t get that but then I’m still so happy it rose if I found a sponge inside I would overlook it!  


bwraith's picture


Thanks for all the details on this recipe. That's really what I was hoping for when I asked for the recipe anyway. It's all those little details of how each step goes that turn out to be so helpful to getting the result you want.


ehanner's picture

Sorry about the continous paragraph. It was formatted when I clipped it in.

KipperCat's picture

Eric, your bread looks great!  I'll be trying a 100% whole wheat soon, and I hope mine looks that good.

I saw your apology above.  I think you can edit your post.

JMonkey's picture

Looks fantastic! And congratulations -- feels great, doesn't it, to have been working so hard without result to finally get the bread you were looking for.

And, heck, no apologies needed for me. I've got a loaf of 100% white flour sourdough rising right now .... ;-)

pumpkinpapa's picture

Thanks for the recipe ehanner!

I too have been playing with a 100% WW recipe, I am using Peter Reinharts which uses both a soaker and a WW poolish. My first try was too dense as I accidentally left it to rise for too long and was too dry. So for the second I added a 1/2 cup more water for the poolish and 1/2 cup for the final dough and this worked much better. I also used kefir milk for another poolish and soaker and this worked well too.

I am using all organic stone ground hard spring wheat which makes it very dense, so I am actively looking for another organic WW in another grind. If I can't find one I will have to buy a mill.

I should try your recipe using my WW starter. 

hovis's picture

Hi all, after trying for some time to get the ultimate 100% whole wheat sandwich bread this is what I have come up with and it is fantastic.

  1. Start with a sponge made with: 360g whole wheat flour.
  2. 10g instant dried yeast(the one you add direct to the dry flour) or 20 g fresh yeast.
  3. 390g fresh milk warmed to 90-95 degrees fahrenheit.

Mix together in a bowl and leave until rising and bubbly which is usually about 45-60 mins.

Meantime get ready:

  1. 240g whole wheat flour.
  2. 48g white sugar.
  3. 64g unsalted butter at room temp.
  4. 2 medium egg yolks at room temp.
  5. 12g fine sea salt.

Mix the flour sugar salt together, add to the sponge when ready and then add the eggs and butter. begin with a scrapper and mix all together then finally using your hand, left or right, mix together all the ingredients in the bowl until it leaves the sides of the bowl clean.

Tip out and knead the dough for about 7-10 minutes, try not to use flour when kneading, if you do keep it to a minimum, you dont want a dry dough.

When the dough is nice and smooth place in an oiled bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough and cover with plastic film.

Switch on oven to 230c

Leave till double in size, next turn out and divide into two, degass slightly and form into boules. leave on bench, lightly spray with oil and cover with a towel for 20 mins.

Now to make tin loaves flatten the boule and fold in three like folding A4 paper into an envolope and finally fold in half and press down on seam firmly with the heel of you hand and put each into a greased 1 pound loaf tin. Spray lightly with oil and cover with a towel.

Wait until dough has risen above tin sides and bake at 180c for 30-35 mins.

I am sure you will have sucess.