The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Favorite Whole Grain Bread Books

Rosalie's picture

Favorite Whole Grain Bread Books

My ideal bread book is one that doesn't even acknowledge the existence of refined flour.  The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book fits that description (I think - there may be a place or two where AP or bread flour is mentioned).  All other whole grain books that I have found still seem to think that whole grains can't carry a bread.  Even Peter Reinhart's latest book has "transitional" loaves.  He's forgiven because those are in the minority.

There are a number of us whole-grainers around.  Many of us have grain mills, and a few of us would prefer to go 100%.  What books do you use?  Do you bake the transitional loaves as written or do you substitute?  Are there any other "pure" whole grain books around?


Ramona's picture

I also am an "only whole grains" baker.  I have used Laurel's book alot.  It is the only one I have at this point that is for whole grains.  My family loves the Yogurt Bread.  I am still trying to perfect the Dark Rye Bread.  I have not been able to get oven spring from it.  The flavor is there, but not the appearance.  This book has taught me alot.  I use the sponge method for every bread I make, it's a healthier way.  I haven't made many of the recipes, but I have used alot of the tips.  I have been making a Maple Oat Bread, from a recipe from this book, mixed with another recipe.  My family and I like it the best.  It has great flavor and is light and healthy.  I soak my oatmeal overnight with hot water, separate from the sponge and autolyze that I do.  Rye bread is my ultimate goal.  We like rye bread and the darker the better.  Although I don't want it dense.  So, I have a long ways to go.  I have not even attempted my own starter yet, but I would like to soon.

Rosalie's picture

Ramona, if you look at Peter Reinhart's new book Whole Grain Breads, I think you'll find it to your liking.  His typical recipe has you making a sponge (with yeast - or alternatively using your own starter) and a separate soaker (with salt) the night before or so, and then combining them with the rest of the ingredients on baking day.


Rosalie's picture

I knew Ramona would be interested in my post.  But I thought surely there were other whole grainers out there.  Do you give in to the "must have some white flour" mentality (which my body decidedly doesn't like), or what?  If I had my way, we'd have a major protest rally to convince the bread mavens that when it comes to whole grain we need to go whole hog!


KipperCat's picture

I'm sort of on the fence on the white flour issue.  In general I want to make 100% whole grain breads. I'll use white flour for pizza, and occasionally make white bread because DH loves it.  I haven't read enough bread books to recommend any besides the two that have been mentioned.

Ramona's picture

I do want to get Peter's new book, just haven't been able to buy it yet.  I have read several comments on this site about pizza dough and really, I do not like white pizza dough.  I would much rather have whole wheat.  I think alot of people just need to try it made the right way and would be surprised at the flavor.  But it goes with everything else, if you acquired a taste for something, than it is difficult to change.  I don't eat fast food either (if you know what you are eating than it is easy to refrain from)  and make everything from scratch.  Can't beat the flavor of home cooked meals.  The sponge method really helps with the flavor, as well as, the nutrition. 

Rosalie's picture

I found another among my books that is whole grain.  It doesn't call itself whole grain, but I can't find any recipes with white flour.  It's "Breadtime" by Susan Jane Cheney (once of Moosewood Restaurant).  In reviewing it, I realize that this was the woman who said that she put her bread in an ice chest and toted it around all day in the trunk of her car so she could tend to it.

I (very successfully, thank you) made her basic sourdough ww bread.  (I have problems with timing, and, since I cannot use her car trunk technique, my dough spent a lot of proofing time in the refrigerator.)  It looks like a book I need to restudy closely to try more of the recipes.

One BIG complaint:  no weights.  Not only that, but she doesn't say anything about how to measure flour by cups, whether to spoon or scoop.  So you have to use your dough sense.  But I mill my flour in my Nutrimill, and it's nice to know in advance how much grain to mill; I'll just have to use a 5 ounces per cup estimation.


spsq's picture

I just ordered it based on this quote:

 In reviewing it, I realize that this was the woman who said that she put her bread in an ice chest and toted it around all day in the trunk of her car so she could tend to it.


Sigh... and my new years resolution was not to buy any more stuff!

home_mill's picture

I have been baking bread for about 6 months and bought a Nutimill about 2 months ago glad I did. I also have the Laurels Kitchen book but I seem to be in a rut just making WW sandwich loafs. I have also made bagels, Pita, Pizza and cinnimon rolls. I have been using Prarie Gold white wheat and found I like to mix white and red wheat together. I would like to try some sourdough and artisan loaves if that is possible with home milled flour. Peter's book sounds intriguing. I still have tons to learn.



Eldemila's picture

Greetings!  I'm new to the board, and fairly new to bread baking in the ABM as well.

I only want to bake whole grain breads and look for books that deal with whole grain flours - I find so many books out there that claim to have recipes that are whole grain as just having a percentage of whole grain, using bread flour or other refined flours in addition to whatever whole grain flour they are using. 

I haven't found any book that each and every recipe is 100% whole grain, but one book comes very close, and it's one that I seem to use over any others.   

Smart Bread Machine Recipes: Healthy, Whole Grain & Delicious by Sandra Woodruff

I've made the DIJON RYE numerous times - it's wonderful!  I use the pita bread recipe all the time, and use the same dough for pizza.  The challah recipe, I've had a problem with the dough being wet and having to add more than a 1/2 cup of flour, but beyond that's it's been delicious!  I actually wrote the author to ask about the trouble I was having with the challah and another bread that caved in.  She was nice enough to write back - mentioned she has been tinkering with the idea of publishing another book dealing with whole grain breads - told her I'd for sure buy one!

There's a few other books out there that I'm looking at to determine if they are worth getting, one is just handmade bread recipes, but a majority of recipes containing whole grains - need to find the time to check it out. 

Would love to see more books listed.  I've been getting books at the library to see if they are worth buying, but most seem to have only a smattering of recipes that I'd use.

Hope all have a good holiday season! :)

roberte's picture

I usually use the basic sponge WW recipe for Brown's Tassajara book, reducing the yeast in the sponge by half (adding the difference in the final mix.

I checked out PR's Whole Grain Bread Book from the library and have made 3 or 4 recipes - the Rosemary - Potato bread is being devoured as I type. I haven't convinced myself that there is a texture and flavor difference between WGBB method of  soaker and biga and doing just a ~ 8hr biga yet.

cej2's picture

This is one of my favorite bread books. I love the way the basic bread recipe turns out. Have used it for years and years...Have added my own touches at times...Always good.

PaddyL's picture

by Beatrice Ojakangas is one of my favourite whole grain books.  She's got a wealth of recipes in her book, from yeast breads to muffins and waffles, one of the latter being my favourite.

prairiepatch's picture

I too am on the hunt for truly whole grain books, so I have read these comments with great interest.

I only have one book that I have been using since I bought my nutrimill.  The book is by Christine Downs and is titled, "Cooking and baking with fresh ground flour"  I have been enjoying the book, however it isn't just a bread book although there are a lot of bread recipes.  There is a chapter on using fresh ground flour and another on common problems and solutions.  There are quick breads (Everyone loves the pumkin bread) Granola bars, cakes, and sweets and gluten free recipes and even soups, salads and main course recipes. But the bulk of the book I would say is devoted to yeast type breads, buns, rolls etc.  The book has 116 pages, and it does meet the white flour is not even mentioned requirement.