The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Need tips to make whole wheat bread less dense like Hillbilly Bread in the store!

burg5657's picture
burg5657

Need tips to make whole wheat bread less dense like Hillbilly Bread in the store!

Hi all,

I just recently purchased a Panasonic Bread Machine and I've made some pretty successful breads from their recipe samples. The problem I'm having is that my husband likes dense bread and I've made some good ones for him, but me and the kids prefer a lighter, airy, less dense bread. I regularly buy Hillbilly Whole Wheat at the store and that's my aim for my own bread. I read that you can add Vital Gluten to the recipe to make it fluffier so I tried that. It did make the bread SOFTER, but didn't do much for the density at all. My goal is to make and freeze bread for my family for sandwiches to cut cost around here. Can anyone point me in the right direction? Thank you!!

 

Steph

jcking's picture
jcking

Steph,

Could you post the recipe you're using now? Wrapping the loaf in a dish towel as it cools helps keep the crust soft.

Jim

burg5657's picture
burg5657

I will sumarize my recipe as I don't have it in front of me. 3 cups whole wheat flour, 1 1/4 tsp yeast, 1tbsp water, 1 tbsp molasses, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tbsp dry milk, water (I think 3/4 cup?), and I added 3 tbsp vital gluten and 1 tsp brown sugar. I you pour it all in the machine (except the yeast that goes in the yeast cup in the lid) and set it to whole wheat sandwich and it does the whole process by itself in 5 hours. I do have a kitchen aid mixer so if I HAVE to mix the dough n let it rest by myself and put it in the machine to BAKE, ill do that if it gives me the results I want but I'm hoping to keep it in the machine. I'm looking to figure out how rot make the CRUMB lighter and more airy and I'm really not concerned about the crust. 

Thanks so much for the reply and I'm hoping this helps. 

Jmarten's picture
Jmarten

I also like less dense wholewheat bread. I substitute 1 cup of brown flour for White. Also, I leave the dough rise a little longer on the second rise.

mini_maggie's picture
mini_maggie

My husband likes his bread dense and my initial whole wheat bread machine recipes were all turning out light, soft and sandwichy, so I've been switching to firmer recipes.

In Canada, Robin Hood Best for Bread whole wheat flour makes a soft sandwichy loaf.   Things I found made the loaf softer include using overnight timer so the whole wheat hydrates overnight in the machine, milk in place of water  (and then omit milk powder, but not when on overnight timer),   using light olive oil in place of butter, using at least a portion of white bread flour (although my 100% ww loaves have been plenty soft), using some unsweetened fruit juice in place of some or all the water  (equivalent to adding ascorbic acid/Vit. C - might need to adjust sugar accordingly).   I've not ever had to use vital gluten but there are enzymes/ improvers in the RH flour.   Buttermilk powder also made for a very soft sandwich loaf that kept well for a week.

My Zojirushi machine came with recipe variations for soft, regular and firm loaves.  The regular recipes have less water, flour and salt, shorter first rise and longer 3rd rise compared to firm.  I haven't actually used the soft recipes but they have a little more water, add 2 tbsp all purpose flour, an extra tbsp dry milk, an extra 1/2 tsp salt, an extra 1/2 tbsp butter (or oil) for the same amount of bread flour and yeast compared to regular recipes, with shorter first and third rise in the bread machine cycle. 

What flour are you using?  Your choice of ww flour will make a difference.

 

jcking's picture
jcking

Not sure about the molasses and brown sugar, try substituting white sugar (2 Tbls). Also 1 1/2 Tbls of butter will help to soften the crumb. I would also add an egg white, mixed in with the water, your bread will rise higher. As the crust dries out it will draw moisture from the crumb making it firmer, wrap it with a dish towel for half an hour when the loaf is finished.

Jim

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

Whole wheat flour needs more water than refined flour, but absorbs it more slowly.  That is because of the fiber and other components that are left in whole flour but removed from refined flour.  The recipe you posted, if it is accurate in volumes, is about 50% hydration which is quite dry.  You could try adding an additional extra tablespoon of water each time until you see what works best.  mini_maggie's post above seems to have the soaking aspect worked out, although I wouldn't worry about the dry milk.  It's probably more sterile than the flour.  If you decide to use either buttermilk or yogurt instead of the dry milk and some of the water, those will both be fine overnight.  They are already "spoiled" but with non-pathenogenic bacteria.  

mini_maggie's picture
mini_maggie

I didn't mean not to use dry milk overnight, I meant don't substitute liquid milk for the dry if using overnight timer (although that would probably be okay too given how many artisan recipes call for milk in overnight room temp soakers etc.).   Dry milk is definitely fine overnight.  

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

Sorry, I misunderstood. I also use liquid milk in overnight recipes, but I've stopped telling people that it's okay after I read about harmful bacterial infections occurring in fresh raw milk left overnight at room temperature. I don't expect that is what most people will be using in their recipes, but it would be a terrible surprise to think you are using only the finest and freshest ingredients and then sicken yourself.

burg5657's picture
burg5657

I really appreciate everyone's comments. I'm getting a bit discouraged though because I JUST started doing this and half of what you guys are saying makes no sense to me. I've never made bread until I got the machine so anything outside of what I do with the machine, is completely new to me (sorry I'm green). All of this sounds so confusing to me, although I'm sure you all know what you're talking about.

mini_maggie's picture
mini_maggie

It can get very complicated if you let it, and some people enjoy that, but it's not rocket science so don't be afraid to try.  I just got a bread machine and started baking bread before Christmas.  I'm no Betty Crocker and there was no baking in my house growing up, so if I can do it anyone can. 

Any decent bread machine cook book should have an introductory chapter on ingredients and their expected effect on bread, and what substitutions you can make and those you shouldn't.  The one I have is 300 Best Canadian Bread Machine Recipes by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt.   Once you understand a few basics, you can experiment away.  I have yet to have a recipe from that book fail, and I'll often make ingredient substitutions, which have been quite successful so far.  It's really satisfying once you try, healthier than grocery store crap and cheaper too.   

More yeast, less flour, longer rise - all will give lighter, airier bread.

More fat, milk, buttermilk - all will give softer bread. 

Check out King Arthur Flour's website - they have lots of tried and true recipes including nice soft light whole wheat sandwich loaves like you're looking for.  Good luck and don't give up.

cgmeyer2's picture
cgmeyer2

you could substitute som whole wheat white flour &/ or spelt flour to soften the bread.