The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Soft whole wheat bread?

molly2004's picture

Soft whole wheat bread?

Hi there.  I've been wondering what makes wheat bread you buy at the store so soft and tender.  I prefer to bake whole wheat bread, though I'm absolutely awestruck with the multigrain struan recipe in BBA.  The whole wheat breads I bake are only soft and tender right after I bake them and they dry out by the next morning, necessitating toasting to make it palatable to my children. I'm assuming that the store bought breads are this way because of preservatives, but not sure how far fetched this is.  If it's possible to maintain this tenderness for longer - a method or storage method?

 Thanks very much!


MaryinHammondsport's picture

HI, Molly,

Look at the thread called Memo's Brown Bread under Highest Rated Stories, on the right-hand side of the front page of TFL.

I think this bread will stay soft for you, or at least softer than what you have been making. It's excellent. Be sure to follow the graham flour recommendation, however.

You might also search the site for Acadian Bread, posted by PaddyL. It's another good one. If you can't find it, say so and I'm sure Paddy will help you find it.

You are correct is thinking that preservatives help keep bread soft. It's not at all far fetched.



fancypantalons's picture

Well, the Amish Bread recipe I use (from tends to stay nice and soft for a good 3-4 days after baking, as long as it's stored in plastic.  That particular recipe uses a fair bit of oil as part of the recipe, which I believe contributes to the softer crumb.  As I understand it, other enrichments, such as milk, can also help.

trekclg's picture

I took a few hints from the King Arthur Flour baking book and use vital wheat gluten with whole grain.  Also adding mashed potato flakes (an old aunt taught me that) and/or nonfat dry milk powder (which boosts protein content)   I swear by vital wheat gluten....even when using Arrow Mills 10 grain flour...makes a nice loaf. Take a look at King Arthur book if you haven't....web site good too.  And alas don't forget about wrapping well.  If you can go to a paper/bakers supply store and buy a box of actual plastic bread size bags you will not regret it...there are about 200 or so in a box and if you cool your bread, put in a bag with a twist tie it will be so much better than ziploc or wrapping with plastic wrap.   And (smile) when you pass along a loaf to a friend they think you are so professional...

tadmitchell's picture

Try this recipe:

Go a little heavier on the honey, 3/8 cup instead of 1/4 cup. My recipe has evolved over time. I used to bake 18 loaves a week and sell to families in the neighborhood. Everyone bought this bread for their kids. The kids would trade for the bread in the school lunchroom.

If you're using a mixer instead of a bread maker to mix the dough, add all the ingredients, mix on low for three minutes, let sit for 15-20 minutes, then mix on medium for 12 minutes. You may need to add a little ice to the water at the beginning if the dough is too warm coming out of the mixer. It should be 80-85 degrees.

The honey and the oil help keep it softer. I find white sugar and milk make it dryer and more bland tasting.

BBA is more oriented to artisan breads. With a sweet wheat bread, the preferment is a waist. Without the honey and the oil, the bread will be dry in a day like you describe. But with the oil and honey, you can't get a nice artisan crust. Both types of bread have their place in the world.

audra36274's picture

It and the white looks like bread my kids would love, and in the big scheme of things, what good is pretty bread that doesn't get eaten!


Becky Schneider's picture
Becky Schneider

I tried clicking on the link to the tad mitchell honey whole wheat bread, but the fractions in the amounts are a questionmark inside of a diamond...  I would have to guess on each fraction and I wonder either what I'm doing wrong, or how can I ask what these amounts are?  I subscribed to this TFL website as well as the blog and there doesn't seem to be any place to ask a question there.

I am from north central Indiana and have been stopping at an Amish store in Fountain City, IN and buying sandwiches, bread, cinnamon rolls, angel food cakes.  (ALL FANTASTICALLY YUMMY) but it made me want to make that kind of tasting bread on my own.  (They won't give out their recipe)   I searched google for "Soft Amish honey whole wheat bread" and tried that recipe.  Family liked it, but it was not nearly as good as "Fountain Acres" the store in Fountain City, IN.  I did buy my whole wheat flour from that same store... I'm ready to bake...looking for a better recipe and sure wish I could try the Tad Mitchell one.  I realize this thread is old...but hope someone can help me out.


thomaschacon75's picture

I hope you have a scale:

  • 592 grams water
  • 22.5 grams gluten (You can buy this here:
  • 15 grams table salt
  • 56 grams light olive oil
  • 85 grams honey (if you go with the 3/8 honey instead of the 1/4, then you need 127 grams honey)
  • 925 grams wheat flour
  • 24 grams active dry yeast
The 925 g of wheat flour gives me pause.I'd probably use a white wheat flour or, more likely, half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat.
ngabriel's picture

Oh no!  :(  I don't use weights, but measurements.. Is there any way to post your recipe here, so that we can see it with the fractions (since it isn't working from the site?)?   I would LOVE to give this bread a try!  I've been trying for waht seems like forever to get a soft wheat bread wth no success..



molly2004's picture

I will try these suggestions.  I'm looking forward to trying out the recipes.  If my family thought I was going to give up feeding them whole grain, they've got a thing or two coming!

Thanks again!

athagan's picture

Add a quarter to a half cup of instant potato flakes per loaf and it will soften right up.


The Prudent Food Storage FAQ

OTRPU's picture

That's what did it for me, adding the potato flakes. Also use gluten and powdered milk.