The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sandwich Loaf Day

varda's picture

Sandwich Loaf Day

This morning I baked a sprouted wheat loaf.   I had made my first one the other day and it was an ugly duckling but delicious, so my plan was to make a prettier bigger one.   I succeeded on the bigger.

I will say this though - this loaf rose very nicely both in and out of the oven, and I didn't use any VWG.   I did however use lots of rye sour and starter which had the effect of obscuring the wonderful taste of the sprouted wheat.   Good but not ready for prime time.  Back to drawing board.   Ideas?

No sooner was my sprouted loaf out of the oven when it hit me that I had a pain de mie biga timing out in the refrigerator.   I had not been planning to make a second loaf today but didn't want to lose it, so I gave up on what I was supposed to do and made the pain de mie.    This time, again following Janet, I decided to make a 100% whole white wheat loaf.   I had made one with high extraction flour earlier which tasted terrific but was somewhat disappointingly flat.  

This one was much better behaved.   After mixing my last one for 45 minutes it was still a liquid although a particularly viscous one.    Here, after 20 minutes or so of intensive mixing, the dough came together in a ball, but didn't windowpane.   I gave it a 10 minutes rest, then mixed around 10 more minutes.   This time it was definitively done.

Much to my delight, it did not come out of the oven looking like a cornfield flattened in a tornado but had a pretty nice loft (see above.)   Comparing it to my last (same size) white pain de mie (see below) it wasn't shaped all that differently.

Crumb shot:

Formulas, Methods:

Sprouted Wheat Loaf

Wheat berries362   36259%
KAAP  84 8414%
Rye 83  8314%
KABF80   8013%
Honey27   274%
Salt12   122.0%
Rye Sour150     
Total Flour609     
Total Dough1046     
Preferment %27%     
Sprout wheat (number in final dough is dry weight of wheat) 
Mix all - vigorous mix until dough coheres in loose ball  
Bulk ferment 2.5 hours     
Shape into sandwich loaf and place in pan   
Rest 20 minutes     
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes - add steam at beginning  
Bake at 450 outside of pan for 18 minutes until nutty brown 

Whole Wheat Pain de Mie

 FinalBigaTang ZhongTotalBP
White Whole Wheat10823323365100%
Eggs55  5515%
Butter32 104212%
Yeast31 41.0%
Salt4  41.1%
TZ 58   
Total flour365    
Total dough732    
Heat milk salt sugar butter to almost boiling   
Mix in flour     
Refrigerate for 16 hours    
Mix ingredients for Biga    
Refrigerate for 48 hours    
Mix all but butter - when ingredients incorporated add butter 
Mix intensively in mixer until dough is very strong  
Rest 1 hour     
Shape in pieces     
Proof until almost soft    
Glaze with milk     
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes    



Janetcook's picture

Hi Varda,

We must be on the same wave length only different timing.  I have a sprouted wheat loaf bulk fermenting as I type and today I baked another variation of a Pan de Mie but it uses a 'custard' rather than a roux. POST HERE.  I couldn't resist when I saw the title 'Madame Meng's Soft Custard Loaf'.....

Your loaf looks GREAT!  What do you think made the difference with the loft on this loaf?  My MMSCL was similar to consistency of Syd' trying to hold an octopus with wet hands :- O  and I did get a flattish top again but I think that was due to me putting too much dough into the pan I used which usually holds 350g dough but with this kind of dough, which really rises a lot, I could have dropped at least 50g and it might have been perfect.  More experiments to come with this one....

The sprouted wheat loaf looks good too.  I use a firm ww starter with mine and have never had to use VWG either as long as I develop the gluten prior to adding the whole grains.  I got the formula HERE. (I adjusted for all whole grains and my firm leaven) I will compare the looks of mine with yours tomorrow once it is baked.  What don't you like about yours?  It looks good to me.  Crumb looks as it should when using sprouted wheat - at least that is how mine look - denser and moist due to the grains.  They do hold a lot of moisture - I think....If I remember I will take a picture of mine for you to see but there won't be a crumb shot because I am giving them away...

Thanks for the update on what's been happening in your kitchen :)

Take Care,


varda's picture

Hey Janet,  

That's funny that our baking paths are coinciding.  Great minds and all that.    I have two issues with the sprouted wheat loaf.   One, I find the crust appearance unappetizing.    It is kind of dull and funky.    Second, I think I should not have added the rye sour.  My first loaf (before this one) with sprouted wheat had a really clean fresh taste.   There I just used my regular white starter and not too much of it.   So next time, no rye sour.   It doesn't always add.    That's a simple fix, but not sure how to make it prettier.   The link you include points to a lovely looking sprouted wheat bread, but her percentage sprouted wheat is MUCH lower than mine.    Reinhart includes a formula that I was very loosely working from.    He includes 100% (!) sprouted wheat, yeast and a boatload of VWG.    And his loaf doesn't look all that pretty either.    Since I included a lot of starter/rye sour I'm obviously not at 100% so I think that's why not including the VWG didn't lead to a flat loaf.    Maybe this would look nicer if I slashed this loaf down the middle prior to baking.   It certainly scored itself.  

As for the Pain de Mie, this is different from my last effort mainly in the flour, although I mildly tweaked some of the numbers.    So I'm assuming that using the white whole wheat is what made the dough more cooperative, and so led to the higher loft.    The white whole wheat is from Trader Joe's.   They were selling it for a reasonable price and I have had good luck using it.   Prior to that I made a lot of bad loaves with KA WWW, but that was three years ago, when I was just starting on this baking path.   

That custard bread looks heavenly.   Different from the roux because of the egg.   Interesting.   So many variations on the same theme.  

Thanks so much for commenting.   Always interested in your insights.


Janetcook's picture

Good Afternoon Varda,

I took pictures with this loaf so you can see how my dough and outcome compares to yours...if you are so inclined :)

Interesting in that the mini loaf crust had more color than the boules.  All loaves were baked together in the same oven the entire bake.  Only difference was that the boules were loaded first so maybe their crusts set a bit prior to the steam being added which was added after the minis were loaded....

Sorry, I couldn't resist a flower photo.  Have to keep all my flours/flowers happy :)

Anyway, as you can see in the last photo the boule has a much drier look to its crust.  I am not sure what causes this and imagine Debra Wink would have an explanation knowing the science behind all of this....I do know I get this look with several other loaves I bake.  If they are shaped as rolls I simply egg wash them if I feel like it...otherwise they carry the rustic look which has never gotten any complaints from those for whom I bake.

I preheat at 425° and bake on a stone.  With my new oven this creates a dark bottom crust so I am thinking I will try decreasing the temp. next bake to see what happens at a lower temp.  or I can simply preheat for a shorter period of time.  The rest of the bake was at 365° (conventional bake mode because I didn't want the fan to dry the crust out which I was expecting after seeing your loaf.) for about 30 minutes.  I did crank it up to 375° for the final 10 minutes to see if I would get more color on the boules.  To my eye it didn't really make much of a difference.

As with all things - experimenting will ultimately get you there but your loaf looks okay by my maybe your 'eaters' will simply have to adapt to the color difference?  You can also put butter on it after it has baked which will darken it up as well as soften it.

The End

* - ]

Take Care,


P.S.  Makes sense that the flour made the difference.  Each will drink up different amts. of water/milk.  Drier on this loaf does make it an easier to handle dough though, according to my daughter, the wetter one is softer.  Many tweaks to play with all add a new dimension.  

Have you checked out txfarmer's PdM?  It is made using sd so maybe that would appeal to your people shying away from Syd's version????  It also has less enrichment %'s on the milk, egg and butter.  More like in the 5-8% range if my memory serves me correctly....


varda's picture

and flower too.   Thanks for posting your pictures Janet.   It gives me a good idea.   I was thinking that maybe these type of loaves need a bit of malt in them.   Which is ironic as sprouting is the first step toward malting.   Not far enough I guess.   I think I've gone over Txfarmer's stuff but stopped when I got to the cream.   Not my style.   I'm sure its great.   I don't think I could sell my anti-white bread folks on a sourdough version.   They won't even eat my PAL although they want it.   Virtue, virtue, virtue.  Gets tiring.   -Varda

SylviaH's picture

Nicely done, Varda!

I really enjoy having sandwich loaves with their softer texture and yours look delicious.  WWW is wonderful and I love the way it bakes up so light and tasty.  Nice crumb with the TZ addition.

I've have some spouted wheat flour.  I hope to use it, when things aren't so busy.  I also have a couple of new books on sprouted baking.  My daughter just did a whole body clense and eating vegan and gluten free..even though she's not gluten all this about turning grains into vegtable by sprouting has me interested health wise too.  

Have you thought about drying/dehydrating your sprouts and then grinding them in you mill to make flour? 


varda's picture

Hi Sylvia, 

I just started selling loaves (very low volume) and can't get them to try my white pain de mie.   They feel guilty enough just eating bread, let alone white bread.   So I wanted to develop a whole wheat pain de mie, to just get them used to the concept, but didn't want it to look squat.   So I'm very happy this domed properly.   And now I hope I'll be able to entice my very health conscious friends/customers to try it.   

As for the sprouts, I just think sprouted wheat is delicious.   If I can find some sprouted wheat flour, I'll try that, rather than trying to make it myself.   Wonder how that will be different.    Thanks for the tip and for commenting.


dabrownman's picture

starter ever again - only the rye and would build the levain to what ever I was baking using 10- 20 g of rye.  But, after stumbling into Mini Oven's trap of a WW dough ball covered in flour for 7 days to save a dead starter, I have gone back to having a WW starter too.  I like the WW one better than the rye now.  For multi grain breads I mix the two.  I think you could just take a small amount of rye starter and build the levain using Sprouted WW only if you wanted to just have 1 starter but if you are baking a lot of ww then a ww starter wouldn't be too bad have aroiund .

We like the sprouts but usually just add them to the dough whole for the chew and make malts out of some at the same time.  Will have to try them out as flour now.

One thing I don't get is that you are baking the Sprouted WW 20 minutes after panning and only at 350 F.  The only thing I bake that low is an enriched dough like your pain de mei.  That might have something to do with the color?  I don't think I could get any WW SD to rise enough in 20 minutes to bake - maybe an hour and a half but not 20 minutes.  I would start if off at 450 F w / steam  and then turn it down ton 400 F or so and turn on the convection until in hit 205F in the inside.

Maybe I am missing something since I recently saw a Frako post with a low temp baking temperature too.

We like both of these breads a lot.

Happy baking


varda's picture


By George I think you've got it, or part of it anyhow.   I was loosely following Reinhart in WGB and he does the 350 thing.   So I did it, thinking it had something to do with using the sprouts.   Higher temperature might help a lot.   Thanks for pointing this out. 

I am not using Sprouted wheat flour.   I am sprouting the wheat --soak in double water for 12 hours, then rinse and shake out - let go for another 8 hours keeping it in a place (jar for me) where it stays moist until the tail starts forming) then grinding/chopping it in my food processor until it is a coarse wet mess.   You above all know that if you kept going with the soak and wait thing you'd have malted wheat instead of sprouted wheat.

Also, I keep a rye sour (80-82% hydration) and a white starter (KAAP, 67% hydration.)   Feed both daily, use both of them frequently.  Here I used both, and regretted it.   Should just have used the white starter.   I did have a whole wheat starter a few months ago but gave it up.   Hard enough keeping two happy let alone three. 

Thanks so much for your comments. 


isand66's picture

Very nice baking and experimentation.  I have used sprouted wheat flour I bought at whole foods and liked it a lot.  I have yet to sprout my own but it's on my list right after smoking some flour.  I agree with DA and think a higher temperature may solve your problem.  Rather than using a 100% white starter why not do 1 simple build and mix in 15-20% WW in your levain for some added flavor? Just a thought but I agree leaving the rye sour out is probably a good idea in this type of bread.



varda's picture

Hi Ian,  I think a mild starter will be best for this, as the flavor of the sprouted wheat is terrific.   Maybe even yeast although I am using the starter as a source of gluten to strengthen the dough.   What have you used your sprouted wheat flour for?   As an add in or as the main flour?   The texture of the ground sprouted wheat is nothing like flour, although I suppose with drying it could be crushed further.   So it gives the loaf a lot of body.   But a bit tricky to work with so far.    Thanks for your comments.  -Varda