The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Set & forget? I'm trying.....

Crusty Jeff's picture
Crusty Jeff

Set & forget? I'm trying.....


Brand newby here.  I have a West bend Hi Rise machine.  The machine is fine, the problem seems to be with me getting the liquid content right.  It has been a real challenge.  I have a couple of recipe books that said that the way bread works is: three cups of flour (100%) whole wheat in my case, and one cup of water.  Now I know things will vary a bit, but, I seem to miss the water content listed in the recipe (low) by at least 1/4 cup.  If that were consistent, no problem, just adjust for that and drive on. Right?  Well, I don't seem to get the same results even after carefully combining the same recipe repeatedly.  Yes, I am weighing my flour.  I'd appreciate hearing from floks who may have been there, done that....  Best Regards,  Jeff

jcking's picture


If you could list the weights of ingredients you're using that would be a big help


Crusty Jeff's picture
Crusty Jeff

Thanks for the reply Jim.  Here is the recipe and additional info.

1 cup + 2 Tbsp Water

1 Tbsp Honey

3 1/3 cups 100% Whole Wheat Flour,  14.6 oz. on my digital scale

1 Tbsp Gluten

1 1/2 Tsp Salt

1 1/2 Tsp SAF Instant Yeast

1/2 Tsp Dough Enhancer.  That's it....

I'm pretty stubborn but slowly concluding that 100% whole wheat on auto pilot in a bread machine is wishful thinking.  To prove that, Late last night I used the above recipe and just subed 1 1/3 of the whole wheat flour for white bread flour.  Results were a nice loaf, but, only 60% whole wheat.  No Joy.  And still had to add at least 1/4 cup of water to get the dough to come together.  Getting a feel for adding water without overdoing it is a slow tedious process.  I'm guessing that this is all experience based and I'll improve with more experience.  I may bomb on the bread machine idea and move on to traditional methods unless someone here has the formula and would be willing to share it with me. 

My original goal was 100% WW, kinda heavy, dense texture, medium crust.  Add the ingredients to the bread machine, push the button, and walk away returning to find a finished pretty nice loaf.  Thanks for reading this....  Rgds,  Jeff

jcking's picture

Hey Jeff,

You're correct Whole wheat in a bread machine is tricky to say the least, even ones with a ww setting. Whole wheat neads more water than white flour as you've noticed. I've only had luck subbing a quarter of the flour, yet that's not what you're after. Even outside the bread machine 100% Whole wheat is not the easiest bread to make. Peter Reinhart's "Whole Grain Breads" is the book for you. Many different breads with bigas, mashes and soakers; 100% Whole wheat or less, added whole grains, good breads that are good for your health. His 2 part epoxy method makes it one of the easiest methods around. And all the formulas have weights. Don't ditch the bread machine; it makes a nice white loaf for BLT's and great for kneading wet doughs.

There's a lot of info here, and many smart bakers to assist you ~ Happy Baking


PS, I would avoid any dough enhancers.

Crusty Jeff's picture
Crusty Jeff

Thanks for the encouragement Jim and the tip on  Peter Reinhart's Book.  I'm not going to give up on making bread or the machine.  I just underestimated the effort involved to get profecient with the really strong whole wheat bread in the machine.  Thanks again for taking the time to read my post.  Best regards,     Jeff

Mrs Bake Alot's picture
Mrs Bake Alot

This is the recipe I use for my machine. It is from "The All-New Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook" by Tom Lacalamita. I love this book.


100 Percent Whole-Wheat Bread (Large loaf)

1/2 Cup Water

1 Cup Milk

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 1/4 tsp Salt

4 Tbsp Sugar

4 1/2 Cups Whole-wheat flour

1 Tbsp Dry yeast


You can bake this in your machine, but I always choose to put it on the dough setting and then bake the bread in my oven. This recipe makes two 1 lb loafs. Shape your loafs, cover and let rise for approx 45 mins (or until double) I bake them at about 350 for approx 25-30 mins.


dabrownman's picture

flour sucks up water differently from one day to the next.  I wouldn't use cups for measure.  They can weigh differently by 20% from one cup measured to the next - even if you think you .are measuring the same way every time.   You will get the feel for dough, what it should be like when properly hydrated.  If you can shut your machine off half way through the mix to see how it feels maybe you could determine if it needs more water or not.  This defeats the set and forget somewhat though.