The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

dry whole grain/multi grain loaves

farmgirl41's picture

dry whole grain/multi grain loaves


I hope I've picked the right spot to post this. I've been making several types of multi grain bread , using the same recipe for about 4 years now. They always turn out lovely. But lately- the loaves have been exceptionally dry. My mom thought I was over baking them- however I did not increase my baking time. After that comment I took them out of the oven a few minutes earlier. - it did not help.... The only other change I have made is to start grinding my own flour. Could that make a difference???  The breads are so dry that by the 2nd day, they totally fall apart when slicing.


Thanks for any help.

subfuscpersona's picture

Re your comment (quote)"The only other change I have made is to start grinding my own flour. Could that make a difference???"

Home milled flour IS different from store bought.

What brand(s) of *commercial* flour/whole grain/multi-grain mixes have you been using successfully previously (as you say, for 4 yrs)?

Now that you're milling your own flour, what substitutions to your usual ingredients are you doing?

The more specific you can be about what you're doing, the better the members of TFL can be in assisting you.

You might try posting the ingredients and method for a bread you've successfully made previously that is now failing using your own home milled flour.

Looking forward to your response - SF


clazar123's picture

Actually, changing over to home-milled flour is a large change (for the better in most respects) in how the dough will come together. Obviously the home milled flour needs more hydration so increase the water/liquid amounts and don't forget to build in an autolyse of some kind to allow the flour to absorb all that liquid. Start out with a sticky dough and after it has sat for 30 minutes to overnight (whatever your method calls for), it should be about right for working with.

Sometimes just changing brands of flour will produce a difference in the dough and require adjustments in the hydration level. Going commercial to home-milled is a big difference.

Have delicious fun!

farmgirl41's picture

Start out with a sticky dough and after it has sat for 30 minutes to overnight (whatever your method calls for), it should be about right for working with

Thank you...that helps.



farmgirl41's picture

Ok, I tried to leave the dough sticky and the bread was aweful.

I'll explain more about the recipe and method I use to see if that helps.

It is a seven grain bread. I started by soaking the grains, millet, amaranth, quinoa, oats, bran, cracked wheat, milk powder, flax and pototoe flakes in boiling water. After I pour the water over the grains I add honey, oil and molasses and let it stand for about 30m.

Then I add 1 cup fresh milled whole wheat flour, 1 cup bread flour, salt and yeast..and let stand till bubbly.

I then begin mixing in the rest of the flour with my kitchen aid mixer. 5-6 additional cups of wheat and 2-4 cups of bread flour.

I've been making this recipe for years and its always turned out delicious. The only change I have made is grinding my own flour. Before I purchased whatever wheat flour was cheapest or on sale at the store- nothing in particular.

The fresh milled flour has all the bran in it- does the store bought wholewheat flour have bran?

 Could the extra bran in the bread be drying it out?

Thank you again for any and all help and suggestions!

subfuscpersona's picture

clazar123 suggested an autolyse (combining your whole wheat flour with some - or all - of the water in your recipe). I second her suggestion. You are soaking your other grains, but, take some of the water and combine it with your whole wheat flour (enough to make a very loose dough) and let this mixture sit at room temperature for about one hour. The water mixed with your home-milled whole wheat flour shoud be room temperature.

Since the *only* change you've made is to switch from store-bought whole wheat flour to home-milled whole wheat flour, I'd like to know how soon after milling you're using your home-milled whole wheat flour. If it is within 24 hours of milling, I would stick with the suggestion of using an autolyse. If you *store* your home-milled whole wheat flour and use it *after* about 48 of milling, you should consider aging that flour prior to use. I would be happy to give you more info about aging home-milled whole wheat flour, but it is only relevant *if* you're using home-milled flour that is older than 48 hours (from time of milling).

re your comment...

"The fresh milled flour has all the bran in it- does the store bought wholewheat flour have bran?"

the answer is YES. Whole wheat flour, store-bought or home-milled, contains all the bran from the wheat grain.

martin's picture

I would be interested to hear your advice on the aging of home milled flour. I have a Komo stone mill and mill my own grains for my bread. I do not have any real problems with my bread, but as I said I am interested to hear about the aging of flour. There does not seem to be a lot information on the net about this (important) topic.



Martin Prior 

Miller1's picture

Hi, as a miller the first question I would ask you is.  What kind of wheat are you milling?  Then; What is the protein content of the wheat? Then; What is the moisture level of the wheat prior to milling?  Then; what is the falling number of the wheat? Then; what is the test weight of the wheat? These are all critical to the flour you will produce.  Typically mills buy wheat on the following basis 12.5% moisture maximum, for bread flour we like a minimum 13.5% protein, a 300+ falling number and a test weight of 60 pounds per bushel.  Hard spring wheats are generally used for bread flours, hard red spring and hard white.  Other wheats can be used but these are most common. The falling number is crytical to the absorption of moisture in the dough.  Low falling numbers under 250 are typically not very good for bread flour. Remember there is an old saying something about a silk purse and a sows ear.  You have to start with good wheat to get good flour.

clazar123's picture

The problem you are presenting is actually complex. As you found out, sometimes changing 1 ingredient requires a whole different recipe. Since you changed the main ingredient, it requires a bigger adjustment. I use my own home milled hard red spring wheat all the time and have learned to work with it to produce great sandwich loaves.It can be done.

Obviously, you are experiencing a moisture issue and it may require more of a change in technique than a recipe. One thing I learned about multigrain whole wheat is that you must use more moisture to produce that initially sticky dough. It will seem unnatural but if you then include some soaking period it will allow the moisture to be absorbed and the dough should feel more normal by the time it comes to shaping.(Unless the grains add a lot of starchiness/gelatinazation-then it will remain sticky.See below) Another thing I learned is that it is easier to develop the dough with enough gluten and starch before adding the whole grains. So I generally mix most of my dough first and the grains (usually soaked) are added last. I then hold back some of the bread flour (or whatever flour) and use that after the grains are added to bring it to the correct consistency-slightly sticky. THEN I retard my dough- which is a fancy word for putting it in a covered and oiled plastic container and throwing it in the refrig overnight. It will raise some . I take it out in the AM and allow it to rise to double,shape,,pan.proof and bake. Nice,tasty moist sandwich breads! 

If you write out the actual recipe with ingredients and amounts, I may be able to help you transition it to a different technique.

Take a look at this:

Maybe the comments will help.

In reading this over after reading the other posts, I realized there is an aspect I didn't mention. You mentioned more liquid created a "disaster". I wonder if you were experiencing the stickiness created by the grains. That stickiness is from the gelatinzation/starchiness of the grains (it is what makes oatmeal creamy). If you add flour to get rid of this characterisitc you will end up with bricks. If the dough is sticky after retarding, you can use damp (not wet) hands and a bench scraper to help shape and pan the dough.It takes practice but can be done.