The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole Wheat Bread Does Not Rise

Terry Piano's picture
Terry Piano

Whole Wheat Bread Does Not Rise

I have a West Bend bread machine and can make excellent white bread that rises just up over the top of the pan perfectly every time. However, when I make whole wheat bread - and I've tried several recipes - it never rises - oh, it may rise 40% of the pan height at most, but that's it. My 1.5 lb. wheat bread load is less than half the height of my 1.5 lb. white bread.

Any suggestings on where to start looking for the cause? I have all fresh ingredients.

Thanks oodles!

Terry Farrell

Tampa, Florida

gbramwell's picture

Do the recipes you're using have a lot of sugar or other sweet ingredients? I've got a bag of SAF instant yeast that I use that is zippy for regular dough, but takes forever to proof a sweet loaf. If the bread machine is using a fixed amount of time for the proof, that might be why the whole wheat takes longer. Beyond that, I don't know - I'm still a novice around these parts.

Terry Piano's picture
Terry Piano

 Thanks for your response. Yes, the whole wheat recipe has 4 table spoons of honey for a 1.5 lb. loaf.

What is a "proof"? The bread machine has about ten different bread cycles. The white bread cycle I use is 3.5 hours long and the wheat cycle is 4.5 hours long. The wheat cycle just sits there for quite a long time before it even does anything.

Any other ideas?

Terry Farrell

fancypantalons's picture

This is just a guess from a complete amateur who probably doesn't know what he's talking about, but:  It could be a lack of gluten development.  During the kneeding process, the bran likes to run around cutting up the lovely strands of gluten, which means your dough will lose structure, and it's that structure which helps trap the CO2 to make nice bubbles.  Maybe try adding additional gluten to the dough, or spike the dough with some hard, white bread flour.  Oh, and, of course, make sure your whole wheat flour is a good, strong bread flour.

 Personally, I just avoid 100% WW doughs entirely, instead sticking with something like 60% WW.  That way, you still get the structure from the white flour, but at least it's a bit healthier. :)

charbono's picture

WW will require 10-20% more water and time to absorb it.  Make sure you're not using soft wheat.




swtgran's picture

Try mixing on the dough cycle for 10-15 minutes then turn it off for 20-30 minutes.  Then select the cycle you usually use and turn it back on to do it's thing.

swtgran's picture

Oh, I forgot to mention, add 1 tablespoon of gluten/cup of ww flour.

staff of life's picture
staff of life

Either of those brands has a higher protein content--around 14%, which is better for making whole wheat bread rise.  But it will never have the volume of white bread.


suelynn's picture

First, I don't like WW bread :)  However, I find that some recipes call for more than one tsp of salt.  I NEVER use more than 1 tsp of salt.  The sugar feeds the yeast and the salt retards the yeast.  It is a tit-for-tat. When I do make WW bread I never substitute more than 1/2 of the flour with WW.  

I also do not cook in my bread machine.  I use the dough cycle only.  I do not like the texture of the bread in the machine. I am on my 4th bread machine in 14 years.  :)  I do not have the strength to do the kneading and this works great for me.   Just wanted to put in 2 cents worth :)   SueLynn

Eldemila's picture

I usually don't have a problem with my 100% whole wheat breads rising in my machine.  I only use WW flours, and always add vital wheat gluten to the mix. 

 Are you using stone ground ww flour, graham flour or just a flour listed as ww flour?  I only use KA ww or white ww flours.

Does your machine have a ww cycle on it??


Kevin B's picture
Kevin B

Try adding 1/4 or maybe 1/2 a cup "Vital Gluten" flour, to your mix, the extra gluten will enhance the dough:  I have added POWDERED buttermilk to my Whole Wheat breads, both in the Oven & in my bread maker.  


You might be able to find "DOUGH-ENHANCER". which is "malted" Barley flour, & Vital Gluten Flour, & buttermilk ( and sometimes xanthan gum, a conditiner).  this combanation of flours, ( very much like "Bread Flour") may help also.  


The more Whole wheat flour you use, the heaver the dough, = the "harder"the Yeast must work. 


I also turn the power off, during the final "RISE" to get an extra Boost. for maybe 20 minutes, then turn the power back on.  ( my machine will let me do this).  You may have to hit "pause".


Hope this may help some.

Howard Johnston's picture
Howard Johnston

I have the same no rise problem, recipe or flour does not seem to matter. Rye bread and french loaf baked in the oven does not rise up but sideways and does not fully rise. White bread, 1 1/2 pound loaf done in a Proctor Silex breadmaker does not even rise 1/2 way up the pan. The top is very rough and cratered. Being new here, any suggestion would be of help. Can flour go bad in storage, if so what is shelf life of flour. I use mostly Robin Hood flour