Whole Wheat Bread

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I usually shy away from 100% whole wheat breads as they are much too dense for my tastes, but I was intrigued by the methodology  of this bread chosen by Aparna for this edition of We Knead to Bake. A soaker and a biga/sponge was prepared ahead of time before actually making the bread dough. This addition to making the bread added to the softness of the bread which I find missing in many wheat breads. I followed Aparna’s recipe exactly, but if you are not a whole wheat bread fan, you may want to sub in some all-purpose flour. The vital wheat gluten in the recipe gives a slight lift to the loaf. A perfect sandwich loaf for my chicken salad sandwich.

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Original Recipe From Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads
This Adapted Recipe From My Diverse Kitchen

100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

(Adapted from Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads)


For The Soaker:

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 to 1 cup water at room temperature

1 tbsp vinegar (apple cider or plain)

For The Biga/ Sponge:

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour

1/4 tsp instant yeast

3/4 cup milk (or a little more)

1 tbsp vinegar (apple cider or plain)

For The Final Dough:

All of the Soaker

All of the Biga/ Sponge

1 1/2 tsp Vital Wheat Gluten (optional)

1/2 to 3/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup whole wheat flour (and a few tbsp. more if required)

2 tsp instant yeast

1/8 cup oil (or melted butter if preferred)

2 tbsp honey


First make the Soaker. Mix all of the Soaker ingredients together in a bowl until all of the flour is hydrated. I found that I needed more than the original 3/4 cup of water suggested and used a little over 1 cup but this can change from flour to flour. So I would suggest using 3/4 cup water and then adding a little at a time, until you have the desired consistency. Your Soaker should be somewhat

like reasonably firm bread dough in consistency. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 12-24 hours.

Now make the Biga/ Sponge. Mix all of the Biga/ Sponge in a bowl and knead together well till a soft ball forms. Again you might need more than the originally suggested 3/4 cup of liquid; I needed a little more. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. This will keep for up to 3 days.

Two hours before you plan to mix your dough for the bread, remove the Biga from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. You might find your Biga rising a little during this time.
Divide the Biga and Soaker into small pieces (about 12 pieces each) using a sharp knife or scraper and put them in the food processor bowl (or stand mixer). You can knead this by hand too, but the dough will be tacky and a little difficult to manage. Do not be tempted to add more flour, when it is time to, than necessary.

Add the remaining ingredients for the dough, except the 1/3 cup flour) and knead for about 3 minutes. Let it rest for 5 minutes, then add as much flour as needed (if necessary) to the dough and knead for another 3-4 minutes. Your dough should now come away from the sides of the bowl but still be a little sticky but somewhat manageable. It’s really important to not add too much extra flour during this step.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and let rise until almost doubled (about 1 1/2 hours). Then turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat the dough out into a rectangle with a width that just a bit less than your loaf tin. See that you do not tear the dough. Roll it up and shape into a loaf.  If you need help on shaping the dough, see How to Shape a Sandwich Loaf.

Place your loaf in a greased and floured loaf tin (I used a 9” by 4” loaf tin) and let it rise until it is just higher than your loaf tin. Bake the loaf at 180C (350F) for about 40 to 45 minutes until the top is a nice deep brown colour and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
Let the loaf cool completely (at least for about 2 hours), before slicing it. Refrigerate the loaf if not using immediately


Please do not use images or text without my permission.

1 Comment

  1. Roshni
    October 25, 2013 / 12:04 pm

    good bake. love the sandwich you have made

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