The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Grains in the loaf???

Bas's picture

Grains in the loaf???

Hey guys i'm new to making my own breads. I was just wondering if all grains can be put into a loaf after having been washed. I'm particularly interested in: Quinoa, Millet, Buckwheat, Rye, Cracked Wheat and Barley. Do you gat the full nutritional value from them or do they have to be grinded into flour first? 

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

It all depends on what you are trying to do.


If you want a smooth bread that doesn't have chunks in it, your grain will have to be ground into flour.  You can use a food processor or blender for small amounts, or any of a dozen grain mills for larger amounts.


On the other hand, if you are shooting for a peasant style bread with chunks of grain in it, AND you want to keep your teeth, you will need to prepare the grain.  Most grains are pretty tough in their whole state.  Also, we're not birds, we don't have gizzards, so we can't process whole grains.  So, the answer is to crack or flake the grains.  You can grind the grains more or less coarsely depending on the effect you want.  If you are using a wondermill, nutrimill, whispermill or other micronizer based high speed mills, you really can't grind the grain coarsely.  They turn the grain into fine, finer or finest particles.  Some will make something like cornmeal, which doesn't add much of a visual or flavor note to the bread.  A stone or steel wheel based mill, such as a Retsel or a KitchenAid attachment can do this easily.  And there is the blender or food processor.


Coarsely chopped grains are called chops or cracekd grain.  Millers joke that for every two pieces of grain that goes into the mill, three come out.


Or you can grind the grain more finely.


With most coarsely ground grains, you will need to soak them a bit to bring out flavor and soften the grains.  I'd cover them with boiling water and let them sit until they cool.  Usually around 1 part water to 1 part grain.  You can either drain the grain or use the water as part of the water for the recipe.  One problem is different grains, even different batches of grain, will absorb water differently, so breads made with grain soakers often need liquid or flour  adjustments to get the dough to where it should be.


Seeds and some grains aren't as hard as wheat and may be used without cracking them.  Flax and millet come to mind at once.  These seeds and grains can either be soaked or roasted - either brings out flavors very nicely.


If you don't have a grain mill or the other tools disucssed,  you can also use packaged whole grain cereals.  5 grain, 7 grain, 10 grain - whatever floats your boat.  You may cook them and add the cooked grains, or put 'em in raw.  Or both.


I have a seeded bread recipe you might like at




sphealey's picture

Peter Reinhart's bread books, including his recent _Whole Grain Breads_, have various methods and recipes for incorporating cracked and whole grains into breads. In particular he has published versions of his 'straun' recipe, which incorporates all of the grains you mention, for almost 30 years now - there is a version in every one of his cookbooks as far as I know. Why don't you see if you can get _WGB_ from the library and try a few of those.