The Fresh Loaf

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Whole Grain bread is heavy

akhome's picture

Whole Grain bread is heavy

I have been making this receipe in the bread machine on the dough cycle for a year now and and it turns out soft and chewy.   I  have recently had the itch to learn how to make bread,  not just throw ingredients into a machine and bake.  So I  began grinding my own grains and mixing the dough in the kitchen aid and since doing so have thrown out more loaves then kept.  I have triied soaking the wheat and doing a ferment with no luck.  They either don't rise, turn into lead weights at best they rise but are super dense  As a last resort I threw all the ingredients in the breadmachine and let it do the work and again this receipe turns our soft and chewy.   Please help, what am I doing wrong. Suggestions please.  I am looking for a hearty multigrain that is soft and chewy.  I love the holes that form in the breadmachine version. 

Sorry for the length, but I really would like some help as to what i am doing wrong.

This is my breadmachine receipe for 1 loaf.  By hand I double it and adjust with water or flour as necessary.

  • 1      1/2 cup water
  • 2      olive oil
  • 1      ½ tablespoon molasses
  • 1      ½ tablespoon Agave*
  • 2      cups whole wheat flour, less 2 tablespoons
  • 2      cups spelt flour, less 2 tablespoons
  • 4      tablespoons wheat gluten
  • 1      tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 1      tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 2      tablespoon flax seeds
  • 1      tablespoon millet
  • 2      tablespoon quinoa
  • 2      tablespoon dry milk powder
  • 2      tsp salt
  • 3      tsp instant yeast

Put the oven racks on the bottom and middle rack, place a stone on the middle rack.  Preheat oven to 400.  In a empty bread pan (I use a pie plate) fill with 2 cups boiling water.  Put bread pans on the stone and turn oven to 350.  bake for 40 minutes or until internal temp reaches 200.

 1st attempt - mixed all ingredience till well formed, folded and put in it a lightly oiled bowl, covered for 1 hour.  After 1hour, folded 8 times, again covered and let sit for 45 minutes.  Then formed into bread tins and waited till it rose to the top of the bread NEVER did.

2nd attempt

Ferment of 1 3/4c spelt four, 5.2oz water, 1 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp instant yeast.  I got this from a bread book and prepared it the night before.  It was a hard mixture.  This next day, late morning, there didn't seem to be much action but decided to try it and see.  With this attempt I also soaked the seeds for an hour in a little boiling water and suptracted the amount of water from the final receipe.  Added the ferment and soaked seeds to the mixure along with the rest of the ingredience and followed the same proofing and rising steps.  It seemed to rise, slowly, until it went into the breadpans where it pretty much stopped.

3rd attempt.

Did the same ferment, this time adding a little more yeast.  This time though I decided to soak the rest of the wheat.  I added the rest of the wheat and flour in the remaining water, mixed  and then needed for a couple minutes until smooth, then covered and refridgerated overnight. ( I tried this as I have another receipe that uses this technique and it works well)  The idea of this to soften the hard edges of the whole wheat.  Not sure if it actually works.  Added all the ingredients to the mixer and the remainder of the steps remain the same.  Again, the results have been the same, short dense loaves.

today, at the last minute I decided I wanted to make bread, not making the ferment the night before had to find another process.  This is what I did with the same receipe:

Sponge:  3/4c water, 4 1/2 tsp yeast, 1 cup wheat flour  mixed well- cover for 45 min. While that was soaking I soaked the seeds in a seperate bowl. to the soaker  I added, 1/2C w/w flour, 1  1/2c spelt flour and  1 1/2c water.  Mixed well.  After mixing, transfered to the mixer and added the remaining ingredience.  Following the same steps as above.  Each rise process was fantastic, even when transfered to the bread pans, they rose to the top in about an hour and baked beutifully.  They are still dense though.



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Bread machine is doing a good job.  Bread machines also heat ingredients, what is the dough temperature of the hand mixed dough?  

Gluten development...  need more specifics on mixing and kneading.  

Have you tried letting the dough rise more before baking?  

How about moving the stone down to the lower shelf?   How soon does the bread start to brown?  How does the crust look and compare on all sides?

akhome's picture

I'm not sure the dough temperature.  I will make sure to check this next time.  I let the kitchen aid do most of the mixing, 2 min on low until incorporated, then 5 min. on meadium then hand knead till smooth.  I will make better notes next time.  I have attempted to let the dough rise longer, yesterday it was aboit 3 hours and it just stops rising.  If I lower the stone it will be on the bottom rack, leaving no room for water. Maybe I don't need this, but my other loaves turn out good with the water.  The crusts are browned evenly on all sides and look beautiful Though not sure when they start to brown.

clazar123's picture

Whole wheat is a more dense loaf than all white. It is a matter of getting it to the consistency that you will like. Adding gluten flour and 1/2 c (about) of seeds will make it a heavier,chewier bread. FLuffy is probably not possible but with some tweaking, mostly in technique but some in ingredients, you should be able to accomplish a toothsome, delicious loaf.

While gluten flour's purpose is to increase the gluten, it also makes a loaf chewier. If you are using a bread machine, they generally have a timed kneading process that is generally NOT conducive to devloping the gluten in a whole wheat dough so adding gluten is necessary so that the dough quickly develops a gluten structure. With hand kneaded (or mixer kneaded) bread, adding extra gluten may work against you .There is more than adequate gluten to develop in the flours you are using. My first recommendation is to eliminate the gluten flour when making it in a mixer or by hand.

SEARCH: fluffy whole wheat

My second recommendation is to increase the liquids and keep the long soak.. Whole wheat is very thirsty flour and you want the bran bits to absorb water,too, so they don't absorb it from the crumb after the bake and make your loaf crumbye. Add enough extra liquid so that the final, well-mixed/kneaded dough is rather sticky but not wet. Incorporate the long (overnight) hold in the refrigerator and by morning it will be somewhat risen and tacky-not-sticky. That is the correct amount of water for flour. Keep track in a notebook of ingredients and technique for each bake until you get the loaf how you like.This is what I meant about a learning curve. The good news is that I rarely make bricks anymore and this is how I learned.Bake! Bake! Bake!,Notes!Notes! Notes! and keep coming back to the FreshLoaf for everyone's help!!

SEARCH: handling sticky doughs

I'm not sure what spelt flour brings to the party but Mini does and I will hope she comes back on that because I just bought some spelt flour and will read her reply with interest. I suspect (haven't used the  search box yet) that it will also be somewhat thirsty. I just am not familiar with the gluten forming characterisitics.

One of the MOST important things to achieve when you are making a multigrain,seeded, whole grain loaf is to develop the dough! You want to achieve a windowpane BEFORE you add the seeds/nuts/whole grains.

SEARCH: multigrain whole wheat,soft multigrain or even clazar123 (I have numerous posts on whole wheat and this subject).

SEARCH: windowpane

SEARCH: txfarmer whole wheat hokkaido milk bread  (txfarmer is a member)

Consider cooking or  soaking the seed that can absorb water before adding to dough or they will do that after the loaf is baked.

Have delicious fun! It is achievable!