Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

This is my Moms bread recipe- she's been using it for 30 years and its the one she taught me. My Mom is a very talented and dedicated homemaker, I respect her a lot! (She makes bread, keeps her own goats for milk, meat, cheese-but that's all another story for another time!)
You will find it is very different baking with whole wheat flour than with white flour, especially when it comes to bread. Whole wheat will naturally produce a very dense loaf, and there is nothing wrong with that. Many people are used to fluffier bread, and this can only be accomplished by adding things. A little bit of unbleached white flour helps the bread turn out fluffier.Some people also mention "dough enhancers" or "gluten flour" to help the bread rise. I don't know what to make of these products. I do strongly believe the less "weird things" you add to your dough the better it is for you. I get great results by simply making sure the dough is kneaded properly, making sure that the yeast is proofed (see tips) and by using a handful of unbleached white flour. And voila, nutritious, tasty, fresh, homemade bread!

* Start out with 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl.
* Add 1TBS sugar or molasses along with 1/2 TBS yeast
* wait until yeast is dissolved and very foamy
* add 2 cups more water
* gradually add a cup or two of flour (you can replace a cup of whole wheat with a cup of white unbleached flour to make bread fluffier) and 2 TSP of sea salt
* stir
* gradually continue adding cupfuls of flour (up to 6-8 cups of flour total, no more than that) until the dough no longer feels sticky on your fingers (or, if you are using a kitchen aid, until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl, stickiness rule also applies)
* continue kneading the dough for no less than 10 minutes (I usually find it best to set a timer, because 10 minutes feels like a long time when you're doing it by hand!)
* put dough back into greased bowl, cover bowl with a wet towel
* put in a warm, draft free spot and let rise until it is doubled in size (about 1 hour, but it will depend on how warm the spot is)
* once the dough has risen, pre heat your oven to about 350C
* punch down the dough: from here you have some choices. You can form a loaf, put it in a loaf pan, or form little buns- it doesn't matter.
* If you form a loaf, let it rise for another 15 minutes, if you formed buns only let is rise about 5 minutes (basically you're just letting whatever you formed "rest" a little bit before putting it in the oven)
* bake for about 45-50 minutes, only 20 if you made will know when your bread is finished when the crust is golden and when you knock on the front and back of the loaf you hear a hollow sound

-add a little bit of fennel into the dough when kneading. It adds a wonderful flavour and is also good for your digestion. If you love fennel, use up to 1/4 cup seeds, if you're not used to the
flavour use only a TBS or so.
-don't be afraid to
experiment! You can also add ground flax, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds etc to the bread
-I use whole wheat flour in everything I bake-including non-yeast things like muffins, cookies, pancakes. I sometimes mix in just a handful of unbleached white flour when I am feeling a bit more conventional, but its not even necessary to produce tasty results!


Proofing yeast:

Proofing yeast is a quick and easy way of making sure your yeast is still active. This way you don't have to go through all the trouble of getting your bread made, just to find out the yeast didn't rise your bread :(

All you do is measure out the yeast and mix it with the water called for in the recipe. The water should feel barely warm or lukewarm to the touch. Add just a pinch of sugar to give the yeast something to munch on.

Let the yeast and water sit for a few minutes. First, the water will dissolve the dry coating around the granules of yeast, releasing the active yeast inside. The active yeast will go to work on the sugar and a bubbly foam will start to form on the surface. This foam is proof that the yeast is active, and once you see it, you can add the yeast to your bread dough.

I hope to one day make a tutorial with photos and info for making whole wheat bread. Since I myself am not that experienced yet I felt like other more experienced people might have more to say on the subject! So for now, please peruse the following links- I found them quite enlightening.

Here is a website that answers some FAQ on whole wheat bread baking
This is a very helpful tutorial complete with a recipe, videos and photos on making whole wheat bread by hand

Good luck!


  1. Yay for bread! I'll have to try this soon...fennel is a great idea! Do you use ground up leaves or roots?

  2. Hey there, I actually used fennel seed in the bread. Its the strongest tasting part of fennel when dried :)

  3. Hello Anna, I just discovered your blog and bread :). Sounds like a good German bread. I sure would like to try your grain.

    1. Hi Anna! Yes, I guess the recipe could be considered Swiss :) you would be more than welcome to try our grain, do you know we do a share program with our grains?

  4. Of course Swiss :). Yes i did read about the share, but I do not need flour, we have a grinder, and I use a lot more than an LB a week ;). I would really like to come out and see your new farm, than I could see the grain too.