The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Create a healthier bread for me.

mawil1013's picture

Create a healthier bread for me.

I'm trying to create a heathier loaf of bread for my personal consumption.  I have a recipe for 100 % whole wheat with gluten, and a recipe for Cornell bread which uses soy. 

Recently I've been modifying the 100% whole wheat recipe by grinding my own oat meal to suppliment the whole wheat, why? Because I want to fluff up the heavy whole wheat plus get the added benefits of oat flour. The recipe is still too heavy. I don't want to but have been thinking of adding regular bread flour and/or soy.  

Before I waste money experimenting, does anyone have a recipe they can share? I make all my bread in a Breadman machine.

PS: I don't fully understand the rational behind adding gluten other than it's supposed to help the 100% whole wheat rise, nor do I really understand the oat flour and if it will rise easily or not, if it requires gluten too or not. I found little to nothing about 100% whole oat meal bread.


PSPS: You've all given me much to review, I promise to come back ith a recipe and technique when I feel it's working, thanks to all for the great advice and suggestions!





Rocketcaver's picture

I don't believe oats have much if any gluten and therefore will not rise on it's own.  Therefore, the oat flour will not "fluff up" your bread, if anything it will make it a bit heavier.  It is best used as an additive to breads made with wheat flours.  I flake my own oats for great breakfast oatmeal and to sprinkle on top of my breads.  Just my 2 cents.


Ford's picture

What part of health improvement do you wish?  You can add the whole wheat for increased fiber (aka bulk) which will help you to have regular bowel movements.  You can add oat meal to help lower your cholesterol, if it is too high -- remember cholesterol is produced by the body and some IS necessary for good health.  You can substitute milk for water to give added calcium.  Personally, I am in favor of eating a balanced diet: leafy vegetables for the fiber and minerals as well as the vitamins, starch for energy, protein for muscle tone, etc.  Make your bread to get the great flavor and texture that suits you.

Yes, the gluten builds the structure that holds the carbon dioxide bubbles.  Oat flour or meal does not have much of this compound in it and some whole wheat flours can benefit from the added gluten, but it is not necessarily required.

I do not use a bread machine, so I'll defer to someone else on that.  I can give you a recipe for whole wheat bread made with milk  and sourdough starter, if you would like to try that


mawil1013's picture

hi, just trying to avoid white bread but have a light texture. by using whole wheat , i thought i'd make it healthier with some oat in it, my result have been fairly light, i use close to 25% oat flour, i do add gluten as the original whole wheat recipe called for it, i have been removing the machines paddle after the second knead, which allows it to rise through the next knead cycle or punch. i measure my flours with a scale in grams.  i was looking at adding soy to the whole wheat and oat blend but have no idea what that is going to do to it, i was going to follow the cornell bread quantity per cup of soy. 

i was thinking of buying king arthur white wheat instead of the traditional whole wheat but it is so new i figured to wait and see if i can make my other stuff consistantly.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

to your recipe, that might fluff it a little.  Bread flour requires more kneading and may make the loaf heavier than AP.  Normally (Ha!) one doesn't add more than 1/3 of the flour as low gluten.  Oat is a low gluten flour.  Too much low gluten (in a wheat recipe) = low rise.  By cooking the oats in water, a gel is created (think hot oatmeal) some (not too much) combined with wheat flour may give you the fluff you desire.  Stir it into the liquids to prevent lumps.  As far as fiber goes, wheat flour, even whole wheat has very low fiber content, oats too.  Don't know where the idea that grains striped of leaves, shaft and hulls has lots of fiber.  Urban legend I guess.  

Another urban legend would be to assume that fluffy bread is healthier than heavier breads.  Wonder where that comes from?  

I can't ever remember stumbling upon a 100% oat loaf.  Sounds really heavy!   "Oatpernickle?"     How about high % Rye?   :)

MangoChutney's picture

Dieticians distinguish soluble fiber from insoluble fiber.  Insoluble fiber is things like leaves, stems, hulls, and bran.  Both whole oats and whole wheat have bran.  Soluble fiber is what makes oatmeal "slimy" and allows flax seed to thicken things.  Both types of fiber are said to be beneficial.

Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete


Hi Mawi,

For your hydration try 50/50 milk and water and 10% of your flour weight use semolina flour. This gives me a lighter texture in the crumb of the loaf. I will often add rolled oats directly in with the flour (bakers flour) which definitly gives you a high fibre loaf of bread. Guessing from all the ideas you will be given you must experiment to find what appeals to you the most............isn't it fun???

Good luck ............Pete

Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

I make several loaves for 100% whole wheat each week for family consumption.  Like you, I used a Breadman machine until the night it committed suicide, diving off the counter top.  I use a mixer now and/or knead by hand.  It took a couple of years searching for techniques needed to produce lighter loaves of 100% whole wheat.  Here are some suggestions:

1.  Check out Peter Reinhart's "Whole Grain Breads" from the library or purchase it.  His method is to take 90% of the flour and make a biga of half and a soaker of the other half.  The soaker sits on the counter for up to 24 hours, and the biga is in the fridge for up to 24 hours.  These two doughs when brought up to temperature could be stacked, chopped and added to the bread machine along with the other ingredients.  My machine died early in my whole grain efforts, but I have used preferments with the bread machine with success.  I love Reinhart's method.  Most of the loaves are light with the occassional screw-up on my part. 

2.  The type of grain is important as well.  I used King Arthur whole wheat for a year before buying a grain mill.  The second 50 lb bag of grain I bought doesn't make loaves as light as the first batch.  I've found an egg in the recipe helps.

3.  Practice a great deal.  It will come together over time.

4.  I add a variety of nuts and grains when the mood strikes me.  Lately, I've been using spent grains from beer brewing given to me by a friend.  The taste is amazing to me and adds a good deal of fiber.  Rye flour or berries add more fiber than wheat I'm told, and I do add some occassionally.

Have fun - holler if you need help.


mawil1013's picture

An egg?

Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer egg.  A recipe in one of Reinhart's books calls for an egg in a whole wheat loaf.  I reduce the water by 70% of the egg's weight and proceed as usual.  I think it lightens the loaf.


mawil1013's picture

it could work i think, i did that with a cake recipe where the original did not use egg, someone else share they added an egg to fluff it up and sure enough it became more light and cakey vs heavier and brownie like.

rayel's picture

Hi Michael, I need to cast my vote for Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book. The most recent publishing includes a chapter on bread machines. This is the easiest book to follow, has some recipes that use a pre-ferment, also an overnight bread along the same idea. Most of the breads in this book are straight doughs, and almost all  are geared for 2 loaves.  For whole grains, this book excels. No fancy methods, instead the breads (most of them) get three rises. They all work very well. (I have baked many but not all recipes.) For great nutrition and fiber, I think you''ll like the Black Turtle Bean bread. Lots of fiber there, and high protein, plus B vitamins and so on. The two loaf recipe uses 2 cups of black beans, and all ingredients can be scalled down for one loaf. It actually is a raisin bread which I like, but am sure they can be omitted. These breads can turn out light, and high rising, without things like added gluten. I noticed you were contemplating soy flour. In the small quantity that it is used, I wonder how much nutritional benefit it can contribute. I know in larger quantities it is problematic. The book has more than one recipe for bread with oatmeal. I hope you look into the book, and think you'll enjoy using it. If you use the search box, a couple of my black bean breads will come up. Good luck with your whole wheat breads.