I’m on a mission to learn how to make 100% whole grain bread. My favorite breakfast is Ezekial toast with almond butter and a low sugar jam but I’d like to learn how to make my own whole grain bread. The thing is, making 100% whole grain bread is not as easy as making refined white bread. Using the entire grain adds some challenges. The germ adds oils and minerals, and although healthy and delicious, can interfere with the rise of the bread. The bran, which is what adds fiber to whole grain bread, can cut the gluten strands which can result in a flat loaf. Whole grain flours absorb more water than white flour, so it’s easy to end up with a dry loaf. I practiced with three different recipes using different whole grains and had success with 2 out of the 3. The No-knead 100% whole wheat loaf, which I’m featuring in this post, is from King Arthur’s Whole Grain Cookbook. It really was easy and fast, producing a nice loaf, perfect for my breakfast toast. The Irish Soda bread was a success as well. This was the only loaf that did not require yeast (I’ll post this recipe later). The Barley bread, although it had a great flavor and crunchy, chewy texture, collapsed in the oven, resulting in a flat loaf which made it difficult to fully bake in the center. Barley flour will take more practice. You’ll notice that most bread recipes provide a weight and cup measure for the flour. I highly suggest you weigh your flour rather than use measuring cups.
No-Knead 100% Whole Wheat Bread
1 cup luke warm water
1/4 cup orange juice
4 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons molasses (not black strap)
2 teaspoons instant yeast*
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk*
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups (340 grams) whole wheat flour
*see tips below
- Heavily spray an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan with a non-stick vegetable spray. This loaf tends to stick.
- Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat the mixture on medium-high for about 3 minutes. You should have a very sticky dough. Scoop it into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers, and smooth out the top of the dough.
- Loosely cover the loaf pan with lightly greased plastic wrap, don’t seal the plastic around the pan. You want to allow the loaf room to rise. Let the loaf rise for 60 to 90 minutes; it should rise just above the rim of the pan.
- When the loaf is close to being ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Uncover the bread, and bake it for 40 to 45 minutes, tenting it with aluminum foil after 20 minutes. The bread is done when it’s golden brown on top, and a digital thermometer inserted into the center registers between 190°F and 195°F.
- Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes, take it out of the pan and place on a rack to cool. If you can fight temptation, cool the bread completely before cutting it.
*Tips: Instant yeast, as opposed to active dry yeast, does not need to be dissolved in a liquid prior to using it. You can add instant yeast directly to the flour. Nonfat dry milk powder is a handy pantry item to keep on hand. You can use it in smoothies, oatmeal, or stir it into fat-free milk for an extra boost of protein and calcium. To store the bread, tightly wrap in plastic, at room temperature for 2 to 3 days; freeze for longer storage.
The recipe was slightly modified from a recipe in King Arthur’s Whole Grain Cookbook.