The Fresh Loaf

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whole grain bread without bread flour

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dwdanby's picture
dwdanby

whole grain bread without bread flour

Hi! I'm new to bread baking, and have just bought a bread machine. I would really like to find a recipe for whole grain bread that doesn't use any white flour, including bread flour. I looked up some whole grain recipes that mentioned seven-grain cereal, and I wasn't sure what that meant; does it mean I buy something like Kashi seven-grain cereal and crush it, or something else? I'm looking to eat very healthy, and I really just want one recipe for now, as I'm trying to lose weight (40 down, 35 to go). Hence the desire to avoid white or bread flour. The bread doesn't have to be light, dense is fine. Just a basic whole-grain bread. I figure something with whole wheat flour and the whole grains? 

Bread Engineer's picture
Bread Engineer

Check out Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads (I initially borrowed it from my local library, so its worth a check if you don't want to purchase; I don't have the "plain" whole wheat recipe with me, but you may be able to search it out on the site). I would start with whole wheat without the added 7 grain cereal, until you worked the kinks out, then add it, if you want. 7 grain (or 9 grain) cereal is a mixture of either cracked/very very coarsely milled grains (Bob's Red Mill is one source) or puffed grains (the Kashi product I'm familiar with is this variety, but they may make both). The former is more typically used in breads, although you could use the latter, especially if you gave it a few pulses in the food processor to make it more floury.

PR's whole grain method involves mixing part of the flour and water with a little salt, part of the flour and the rest of the water with a little yeast, letting them both sit, then mixing them together with a little more flour. This can be adapted to the bread machine - the first two mixtures just need to be stirred together to combine, and you can do this with a bowl and spoon, then put them in the bread machine with the remaining ingredients, then start the machine on its whole grain cycle. If it rises too high, reduce the yeast 1/2 tsp in the next batch.

dwdanby's picture
dwdanby

I looked the book up on Amazon, where you can look inside. Great info, but still the whole-grain recipes call for at least 1 1/2 cups bread flour. Is there any way to substitute for this? Does whole wheat flour not work? What did people in the olden days use, before white flour? I'm trying to avoid white flour for health reasons. What happens if you bake bread with just whole wheat flour, no bread flour?

Bread Engineer's picture
Bread Engineer

He includes both "transitional" (i.e., supplemented with bread flour) and 100% whole grain breads.

This post includes a link to the 100% whole wheat sandwich loaf recipe. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20099/peter-reinhart039s-100-whole-wheat-sandwich-loaf

ehanner's picture
ehanner

The recipe linked to above is for the 100% whole wheat bread. That is the Master formula to which multi grains or other add in's can added. In the formula, the soaker flour can be swapped for 7 or 9 grain mixes of equal weight. Just make sure the grains are soft after the soaking. If you add things that don't soften easily like steel cut oats and millet, you can cook them first to soften. Reinhart's WGB is a great book and I highly recommend it for learning the process which is unique. Let us know how it goes and if you have questions.

Eric

dwdanby's picture
dwdanby

I read the link to the recipe and it looks wonderful. However I'm still stuck on the bread machine issue. I bought it because I have a bad hand and am not really up to making bread by hand (tried it one-handed - didn't work). So the question may not really be fair on such an authentic site as this, but: can I make a whole grain bread like this, with only whole wheat flour, no bread flour, in a bread machine?

JollyGreenMidget's picture
JollyGreenMidget

I hear you, dwdanby!  Been trying to sort this out myself since I'll eat whole grain 99% of the time (once in a great while though just gotta have cake!)  I was just looking up online to find out if whole grain bread flour was even a thing.  Apparently it is, but there aren't many manufacturers.  I just found some on Amazon, a company called Great River Organic Milling. They have a 25-lb bag or a 4-pack of 5 lb bags available labeled specifically as whole wheat bread flour.  Their products have very good reviews and looks like their customers have successfully used them in bread machines, sometimes adding a bit of vital wheat gluten (available at many health food stores) to make the finished product a bit lighter and fluffier.  Their stuff isn't cheap but you get a very large amount.  I'm going to try it out myself in my breadmaker, I also might try mixing it with some whole wheat white flour (King Arthur brand).  Good luck!

spsq's picture
spsq

Your machine should have come with it's own recipe book.  Try the whole grain bread in there.  It'll probably be denser, but you said you don't mind.

Starting with whatever recipe that may be, try subbing some of the liquid with potato water (water drained off of boiled potatoes) or add an egg - two methods that soften the crumb a little of ww bread.

Once you gain confidence, try kneading the bread in the machine, then, right after the second knead, shape it into a loaf and do the second rise in your oven (door closed, not preheated - bread machines tend to to warm the dough enough).  That way, it should rise a little higher than it would in the machine.

Congrats on your weight loss!

Bread Engineer's picture
Bread Engineer

Based on my experience (with my mom's ancient bread machine, and baking myself without), adapting your bread machine to the spirit of the PR method will improve your results (although there may be a few duds in the process, we all have them). Depending on your physical abilities, this could mean stirring the initial mixtures together by hand (they are intended to be stirrable with a spoon, but you could even hold back a couple of tablespoons more of the flour to add in the final mix, if that made it doable for you), then dumping everything in the machine for the final mix, rest, and bake, or, if you need all of the mixing to be mechanized, try using your machine to just mix all of the ingredients except the yeast (kind of like for quick breads - just until the flour is moistened), ignore it on the counter overnight, then add the yeast and start the bread making cycle from the beginning.