The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Simple "French" 100% Whole Wheat Bread recipe?

TheSimpleThings's picture

Simple "French" 100% Whole Wheat Bread recipe?

Hi everyone. I've been baking bread of all sorts (including ones with 100% whole wheat flour) for about 5 years (mostly using a bread machine for kneads and rises before baking on a stone in the oven), but have recently become interested in nutrition and especially low cost nutritious foods of which whole wheat bread appears to be the absolute cheapest. So after experimenting with a few different diets, the next on my list to try is a diet consisting of only raw green leafy vegetables and 100% whole wheat bread (which, in my estimation, should be able to nourish a person with all the nutrients their body needs to maintain perfect health for less than $300/year); and to keep the bread as healthy and cheap as possible my goal is to cut out as many ingredients as possible which means I'm shooting for what I would call a simple "french bread" recipe of water, flour, salt, and yeast (and perhaps even eliminating the salt and learning how to replace the yeast with a homemade starter...but one thing at a time).

So I'm looking for a 100% whole wheat bread recipe consisting of just water, flour, salt, and yeast (that is, I'm looking for some advice on which proportions to try first). All the 100% whole wheat flour recipes I know include other ingredients like honey, but the white french bread recipe I've used in the past is:

1 cup water

2 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Can anyone recommend what adjustments I should make, if any, to bake a loaf with only these ingredients and 100% whole wheat flour? I'd also be extremely grateful if anyone could also explain how I might go about substituting a homemade starter for the yeast (I know how to make the starter...but how to use it in the bread machine?) and/or eliminating the salt I'd be eternally grateful.




P.S. Is this the best subforum to post this sort of query or am I better off asking in the "Challenges" or "Whole Grains" or "Baking for Special Needs" subforums?

dabrownman's picture

100% Whole Wheat into the search box you will ind all kinds of recipes to look through and compare to yours.  Some will be in grams or oz.

barryvabeach's picture

I have been making 100 % whole wheat breads for a year or two.   There are many recipes for bread with the 4 classic ingredients, without any other additives.  For example, ciabatta usually calls for only flour, water, salt, and yeast.  If you search noknead ciabatta,  you will find a recipe that I have followed for 100% wheat.    Most books reccomend using a scale to measure ingredients, and recipes are set out in percentages.  In general, changing from white flour to whole wheat means you want to increase the water percentage a few points.  Here is a noknead ciabatta for white flour   I increased the flour just a little.  For variation, you may want to buy both red wheat and white wheat and try different percentages of each.  Red is the flavor you think of when you think whole wheat. White Whole Wheat tastes more like white flour.  You sound pretty serious about nutritional value of your bread, you may want to look into home milling your flour - the machine will cost several hundreds, but the flour will have much more nuitritional value.

gnumb's picture

I often make bread with just flour, water, and salt:

10 grams salt, 380 grams water, 535 grams whole wheat flour. (Or lately I've been cutting all these numbers in half.) So the weight of the water is about 71% of the weight of the flour. It doesn't have to be exact.

Sometimes I omit the salt; sometimes I add 10 grams dry yeast.

I let the bread machine knead it; bake it on a cookie sheet in the oven. Various thicknesses, from less than 1/4" to a couple inches. Or bake it in a covered frying pan on top of the stove, on low heat. Preferably a no-stick pan. I let the dough cook all the way through, then turn it to brown the other side.

If you leave the dough in the bread machine for hours or a couple days, and don't wash it between batches, you'll develop a sourdough.

I applaud the goal of eating cheap and healthy food, and I think whole wheat bread plus fresh greens (raw or cooked) is an excellent idea.