The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

baking whole grain - heavy bread

floppy's picture

baking whole grain - heavy bread

I've been baking whole grain bread and continually have difficulty getting the bread cooked thoroughly, frequently the exterior is caramelized ( in the pan area). Have used non-convection oven(slide in stove), a convection toaster oven and a non-convection toaster oven. Monitored the temps in the three ovens and all seem to maintain about 350 consistantly. I'm baking the loaves (regular metal bread pans) in the large oven two loaves at the same time or one loaf per toaster oven. Alternatively, rectangular baking pan with 6 small loaves - which fits the toaster ovens perfectly, but likewise the small loaves will caramelize somewhat to get the bread fully baked.

Baking time is about 30 min. or more, as using a thermometer at a temp of 165 the thermometer shaft will contain some sticky dough, where a toothpick may be clean. After cooling/slicing and refrigerating I find quite a bit of doughy consistancy in the bread.

My recipe is 13- 15 cups of freshly ground hard white wheat, 2/3 cup oil, 2/3 cup honey, 5 1/2 cups water, 2 Tbs dough enhancer, 2 Tbs yeast, 2TBs salt + 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds- mixed in a Bosch universal mixer. Also have varied recipe using 1/2 cup cooked millet 1/2 cup cooked rye,barley,triticale- the cup of grains is included in the total flour amount. Dough rises for 1- 1 1/2 hours before baking.


I'd appreciate some input on dealing with this issue.



cranbo's picture

Dough temp should hit at least 190F to be fully baked. Depending on the type of loaf, it may need to go as high as 210F to be done. 

My guess is you're not baking long enough, test the temp thru the bottom of the loaf, I think this one will take 40-50 minutes. 

If the exterior is getting too brown, you can either adjust your recipe to lower the honey; tent the baking loaf; or lower the baking temp further. 


barryvabeach's picture

I agree with Cranbo,   I usually want to see high 190's to 200 before I pull the loaf out to cool.  

Levin bred's picture
Levin bred

and I have run into some of the same things as the OP.

At times the thermometer will not reach 180, but then five minutes later, in a different part of the loaf, it will shoot over 200.  You may want to consider starting your oven over 400 for the first few minutes and introducing steam.  Since you are using loaf pans the surface that the bread is touching does not benefit from the initial spring of an artisan loaf.


I started my last whole wheat loaf at 415 with steam for 7 minutes, backed it down to 375 for ~15 minutes, and finished at 350.  Also maybe consider a better thermometer.

dabrownman's picture

breads bake at 250 C and enriched doughs at 180 C.  Like the others, bake till the inside hits 96 C.

Make sure to let the bread cool completely before cutting so it can redistribute the moisture evenly

Happy baking

holds99's picture

FWIW - In my experience, in order to get good oven spring during the first 10-12 minutes of the baking cycle you should preheat your oven to at least 450 deg. F.  I bake my sourdough/levain loaves on a stone in the top half of the oven on a parchment lined pans sprinkled with semolina (semolina acts as an insulator and keeps the bottoms of the loaves from scorching at high temp.). I bake at 480 F for the first 10 minutes with a big blast of steam.  Then crack the oven door to let the steam out of the oven and reduce the heat to 460 for ten minutes, then, depending on the size of the loaf, I reduce it to 450 deg. F to finish off the baking cycle.  If the loaf starts getting too brown on top, lay a sheet of aluminum foil over it to deflect the heat from the top of the loaf.  I try to get an internal temp. of 204-206 deg. F.  If you are going to continue baking you should seriously consider investing in a stone for your oven and a good digital probe thermometer in order to take a reading of the internal temperature of the loaf.