The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Basic Wheat Bread from (Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book)

Mebake's picture

Basic Wheat Bread from (Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book)

This is a my first take on a recipe from Laurel’s Kitchen bread book. It is (Basic Whole Wheat bread). The recipe is basically an enriched (Butter/oil , and Honey) 100% whole wheat bread.

The whole procedure from mixing to baking takes roughly 5-6 hours, quite fast! Recipe calls for 1.6 tsp for a 900 grams of whole wheat flour. The hydration is about 70%, but I increased it to 75%.

I used the slap and fold kneading method to arrive at the gluten development strongly advocated for in the recipe. I added the butter later half way through the mixing. I made sure that a window pane was formed.

The interesting thing about the recipe is that it includes deflating the dough twice, there is a first rising, “gently deflating, not punching down!!” and then 2nd rise, deflating again, then rounding/resting  for 10 minutes, and finally shaping. Even the shaping technique for a sandwich loaf is unique in this book (I may illustrate the shaping technique one day).

I used freshly milled white Australian whole wheat.  




    Tall domed loaf using a Pullman look alike french deep pan







   Very soft, tender and light bread.







    Slices toast very quickly, as would white sandwich loaves.







    The crumb was cotton soft. 2Tb of butter did the trick!





I loved this bread, Period. The book has also some wealth of information about wholegrains and baking in general. I really recommend this book to any Home baker who wishes to bake healthy, yet light and flavorful wholegrain bread at home.





sam's picture

Looks great Khalid!    Nice and soft for sandwiches.

Curious, are you sifting the whole grains?    I have not been sifting anything recently, even though I have the fancy sifter.  Too much to deal with because the issue of tempering (for me, at the moment).   (If I had more time, I would try tempering so in the meantime I am not sifting).

Your bread looks great.   I am glad to see you post again.



Mebake's picture

Thank gvz!

No, i did not sift the wholewheat.. Seems white wholewheat bran particles are inherently softer than the regular red wheat variety.


lumos's picture


The whole procedure from mixing to baking takes roughly 5-6 hours, quite fast!

This sentence with probably most of us here agreeing with you just shows how different our concept of breadmaking time table is from more general bread bakers out there in the world! :p

Can't believe it's 100% WW with the light colour and very light looking crumb. Lovely!

Thank you for sharing, Khalid. :)



Mebake's picture

Hehe... True, Lumos.. we are so used to prolonged fermentation, that any 1 day bread is a quick bread!

I couldn't believe it either, Lumos. allowing the dough to rise twice during bulk fermentation really helped alot.

PiPs's picture

Really nice Khalid,

The buttermilk loaf is one of favourites from the book....I usually use Laurels sponge method when I make it.

I went on a tangent a while ago thinking my kids would like the soft pans breads...well, they didn't and my partner didn't care for them either...they all have a tooth for crusty sourdoughs....they could not be convinced...sigh. I thought they were beautiful.

Do you know were in Australia the wheat is from?

Cheers, Phil

Mebake's picture

Thank you, Phil! let me guess, you are an Aussie? :)

Its a shame, as wholegrain panned bread such as yours and mine, are gems... truly awsome breads, and healthy too! try to convince them to try this: tear out the crust surrounding a slice, and put the inner soft crumb into a warm bowl of honey milk, and eat as a breakfast cereal. NO MATCH FOR FLAVOR, YOU WIN!

I don't know the precise source of the wheat, Phil, i have been told by the vendor that it is an australian crop.

varda's picture

Khalid,   You got such awesome results.   I have never used the slap and fold method before.   I saw a video of a young french baker doing it (posted by freerk I think) and it looked exhausting.    I figured you had to be a young french baker to do it.   How long did it take to get good dough development?   -Varda

Mebake's picture

Thanks, Varda!

You don't have to be all that brutal in kneading the dough as such. Have you seen Richard Bertinet's Sweet dough kneading method? it can be done with minimal effort, too, provided that you increase your dough hydration to 75% at least to give your dough the extensibility that helps while slapping and folding it on the bench.

It took me 20 intermittent minutes to get the dough to form a resilient window pane film. i usually knead for 5-7 minutes, rest for 3-5 minutes, and continue so. Resting really helps develop the dough, and allows it to relax enabling you to work it further with improved efficiency.

Crider's picture

Was there any milk in the recipe?

By the way, I saw another Bertinet youtube video of him making brioche and he illustrates the slap and fold method in greater detail.

Mebake's picture

thanks, crider! No milk here.

nice video btw... thanks for posting the link, Crider :)

wassisname's picture

That's a beautiful whole wheat loaf, Khalid.  I haven't thumbed through Laurel's book in a while, but after this post I might just have to!  It really is a great resource for all things whole-grain.


Mebake's picture

Thank you Marcus! the book is really comprehensive when it comes to baking with wholegrains... though, you'd want to put more effort into kneading to compensate for the lack of preferments.

Janetcook's picture


Great looking loaf!

The first bread book I ever owned was Laurel's first book.  Her whole wheat loaf was a favorite here and the only bread I baked for years and years!  As my kids got older and our lives more hectic my baking slowed down which my kids didn't like.  Due to   their nagging  insistance, a little over a year ago I decided to get back into baking and just happened to find Peter Reinhart's book Whole Grain Breads when searching for books that used whole grains exclusively.  I got a copy at our local library and was instantly hooked. 

After using his book for awhile I discovered that Laurel had published another book which I hadn't know about so I bought a copy knowing she does a top notch job with her loaves too.  I wasn't disappointed but I had just begun to fall in love with baking with sourdough so I began to convert her recipes into ones that I can use with sourdough.  I used PR's method of soaking the grains and his proportion for the sd starter too and the results have been wonderful using any type of freshly ground grain - even hard red whole wheat!  I like to use a variety of grains in the loaves I bake so my family gets the benifits of each of the different grains. 

I know that for some Laurel's technique is time consuming.  You have to have time when you are available around home to tend to the dough during fermenting.  That was one of the things that got harder for me to do with soccer games and ballet lessons filling up a lot of our weekend days....By combining her recipes with PR's techniques there is more flexibility to fit into hectic schedules so now I have a choice as to how I want to bake her loaves.  I also like to give my whole grains a lot of wet time to get rid of the phytic acids - the soakers and a sd leaven accomplish this for me!  THe best of both worlds and most I have learned from people here!  I never would have figured it out on my own...

Syd's picture

Looks delightfully soft and tender: just like sandwich bread should be. Nice baking Khalid. :)

ananda's picture

Fine work Khalid!

The purpose of the double rise is to even out the fermentation in the dough.   Looking at the lovely crumb on your bread, I'd say it worked very well for you.

All good wishes


leocwa's picture

how about printing out the recipe here so we can all try it

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

I've been using her books for decades, and I like not only the recipes, but the commentary, too. She looks upon baking as a very personal and meaningful thing.

Mebake's picture

Thank you, Janet! and yes, Reinhart's Epoxy method reduces the pre-baking stress, and allows the dough to develop without much kneading.

Thank you Syd! it wouldn't have been so soft if not for all the 2 Tbl of butter  i used in the recipe.

Thank you Andy! I'am glad you liked it!

Leocwa, I'll see if i can post the recipe soon.

True, Barbara! It is such joy to read the book. You get inspired from her devotion to baking.

rayel's picture

Hi Khalid, your whole wheat bread looks great. I have used that recipe many times with predictably good results. I usually use Red whole wheat flour, but recently tried  66% White whole wheat, the balance of flour was Red whole wheat. Both were organic, Neither was home ground. I have no mill to grind wheat but sometime ago I aquired some that had been freshly ground, it was the finest stuff I have ever seen, almost powder, not the whole wheat flour texture I had become used to using. Grinding  ones own probably has many advantages. Your bread looks delicious.  What were the dimensions of that pan please?

I too love this bread, the entire process makes perfect sense to me. I use my Kitchen Aid to knead, and never reach a window pane, (probably a place to improve) the machine time is usually short, mabey 10 or so minutes. Sometimes I stretch and fold durring the first rise, and most times don't. I rely on that second rise to achieve a ripe feeling dough. I tend to make dough that is too wet, sometimes resulting in a muffin top effect. Ray

Mebake's picture

Thank you Ray, been missing your contributions of late :)

I would have to measure the dimension for you, Ray.

Thanks, again.

rayel's picture

I haven't contributed recently, but have been checking out the site sporadically.  Misplaced or lost my password for one thing, and thanks to the help from Floyd M. have been able to restore it. So I am back in business. Ray