The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole grain bread

floppy's picture

Whole grain bread


I've been milling my own grains for several years(Retsel Mill) and have slowly gained some experience in the whole grain experience.

Recently, I've been requested hold a demo on my methods and where I usually make a 15 c flour mixture, I'm reducing the amount for a single loaf for the demo.

First batch using sugar in place of honey produced a reasonable loaf but the bread is almost crumbly. Is this because of the sugar? The recipe is 5 C flour( this was 60% white wheat & 40% Triiticale), 1/3c oil(soy), 2 tsp yeast, 4Tbs sugar+1Tbsp &1tsp water in place of honey, 2 tsp gluten, 2 tsp salt, optional 3tsp flaked flax seed.

The next batch was similar to above but with honey and 3Tbs sunflower seeds. The bread has a lot more flavor and better texture. I'm assuming the difference is honey.

Previous recipe has been with white wheat flour, 1/4 cup of cooked millet, 1/4 cup flaked oat,flaked rye, flaked triticale - pre-cooked. The result is a heavy but tasty bread.

I'm also curious of the result of the milling with the Nutrimill as compared to the Stone mill in the Retsel mill. Is there a difference in the finess of the flour? The nutrimill I think is supposedly faster but the Retsel will stone grind 12c of white wheat or triticale in about 12- 15 minutes and is tolerably quiet.

I'd appreciate input on improving my bread and milling machine info.


Thank you.




Mebake's picture

Hi, floppy

4 tablespoons of sugar is a bit excessive for a medium loaf like the one you've baked. Sugar is hygroscopic, i.e it absorbes moisture from the surroundings and may interfere with proper gluten development resulting in an underdeveloped  dough; hence the crumbly texture. If you insist on using so much sugar, autolyse (presoak) all flour and water anywhere from 1 hour to 4 hours at room temperature, then add the sugar , yeast, salt, etc.


floppy's picture

Thank you Khalid for the information.

My calculation was based on using 2/3 c honey in a 14c whole grain(majority wheat) recipe using 2 Tbs yeast. From what I can learn in a web search a 1 to 1 ratio can be used to substitute sugar for honey.


I'd appreciate more input from you.


Thank you, again.

taurus430's picture

Wolfgang Puck uses honey in place of sugar in his pizza dough. I tried it and it did make a difference.

clazar123's picture

I don't see how much water you use (or other liquid) and that can make a difference.

I don't think the sugar vs honey makes a huge difference in texture in the final loaf. Both are hygroscopic but honey can add to the keeping quality of the loaf. The use of oil,dairy or eggs will have a bigger impact on the crumb. You mentioned an improved texture in a similar recipe. But how was it different?

The most important factor with WW bread is to have adequate moisture and give the flour time to absorb it.  This means some form of autolyse or retardation (holding it cold). The other factor is to knead to windowpane. This requires a bit more moisture for whole wheat than for white bread. If you develop the starch by kneading to windowpane, you don't need to use vital wheat gluten. 

The Nutrimill grinds wheat very quickly but you have to make sure you don't allow the flour to become too hot. I freeze my wheat berries ( or at least chill them) before milling so they don't get too hot while milling and cause starch damage to the flour.The mill sounds like a jet plane taking off (even the so called WhisperMill) but it can get the flour very fine when set on Pastry (finest setting).