100% whole wheat sandwich bread: Searching for the perfect loaf

The customer service folks here at King Arthur Flour field requests from customers all day long. Many begin with the words “My mother [grandmother] used to make this thing, it was like a cake, only it had a lot of thin layers of…” Or, “Do you still sell that little twisty whisk thing…?” Or “Can you tell me if you’re giving any classes in Dallas [Des Moines, Decatur, Dothan…] soon?”

And then there are the baking questions. “Why do my cookies burn on the bottom?” “Why does my banana bread sink in the center?” And, perhaps the all-time most-asked question of all: “Why didn’t my bread rise?”

Talk about a loaded question—one fraught with mysterious side paths and dark twists and turns—that has to be it. “Why didn’t my bread rise?” Well, how long do you have? It could be the ingredients; it could be the way it was kneaded; it could be where you set the bowl; it could be whether it’s raining or sunny, for crying out loud. Yeast is a living thing; and when it gets together with flour and liquid and salt (and sugar and whatever else you want in your loaf), it acts like any other living thing, humans included: capriciously. Unpredictably. With a mind of its own.

Luckily, with practice you can become friends with yeast. Become familiar with it, understand its likes and dislikes, its quirky foibles (doesn’t like cinnamon; doesn’t like garlic; who knew?). And, with very little practice, you can become a good yeast bread baker. So long as you don’t insist on baking 100% whole wheat sandwich bread.

Ah, my bête noir… Would that it were as easy to make a soft, moist, nicely sliceable 100% whole wheat bread as it is to attain the same goal using all-purpose flour. Or even half whole wheat, half AP. But 100% whole wheat bread—wow, have I struggled with it over the years. And the struggle continued last week, as I sought The Perfect 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf for a new section on our recipe site, Guaranteed Classics, due to launch in a few months.

I’d spent two weeks trudging through loaf after loaf of 100% whole wheat bread. I knew the goal; I saw the prize out there on the horizon. But, like a mirage in the desert, the harder I struggled toward it, the more it receded. That high-rising, fine-grained, supple loaf, the one that slices like a dream without crumbling, the one that tastes like the best parts of whole wheat—nicely earthy, “nutty,” rich—had been eluding me. I’d made dry loaves; dense loaves; over-risen loaves, flabby with air and collapsing at the sidewalls. I’d made loaves whose overriding flavor was a tannic bitterness. Loaves that tasted like… well, like nothing much at all. I’d come close to despairing.

But as any bread baker knows, hope springs eternal. So long as there’s flour in the canister and yeast in the freezer, salt on the counter and water flowing from the tap, there’ll be bread. And yesterday, I came as close as I’ve come to my Holy Grail, 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread.

And the secret is… I went back to my tried-and-true methods and ingredients. I’d been experimenting with different ways of kneading, different types of yeast, and different varieties of flour. So, like we all do sometimes when our computers go blooey, I went back to all my original whole wheat bread defaults: King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour; SAF instant yeast; and a Zo bread machine, for kneading.

The result? Not unexpectedly, the dough kneaded up gnarly and clay-like, rather than smooth and supple. Whole wheat flour, with its tiny, sharp little bran particles, does an effective job of shredding its developing gluten as you knead. But said dough also showed adequate vigor during its first rise, and was even more cooperative during its second rise, crowning a perfect 1” over the rim of the pan. Thank you, my dear yeast… as you grow and prosper, your mere numbers help overcome the deleterious effects of the bran.

The loaves (I made three) showed good oven-spring as they baked, rising into smooth domes. When I pulled them out of the oven, they didn’t stick in the pans, instead sliding out “slick as a smelt,” as they’d say in Maine. A gilding of melted butter on the crust was a lovely final touch.

And the taste? Surprisingly delicious. Me, I’m a white bread fan at heart. But I can totally see enjoying this whole wheat bread—spread with peanut butter and jelly, toasted and sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar, as part of a BLT.

So here it is, my current state-of-the-baking-art 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread. I’m sure the recipe will continue to evolve; but this is a good snapshot of a moment in time, a stopping place along the path. And hey, fellow bread bakers: if you have a 100% whole wheat sandwich bread recipe you love, one that bakes in a loaf pan and has all the attributes sandwich loaves need—easy to slice, moist and non-crumbly, tasty—let’s compare notes, OK?

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Once I’d finally settled on a whole wheat bread recipe I thought was pretty good, I decided to test it with our three King Arthur whole wheat flours. And now, introducing our contestants: organic white whole wheat flour; traditional (red) whole wheat flour; and white whole wheat flour. All are unbleached 100% whole wheat; white whole wheat is simply a different strain than red, a lighter-colored, less assertively flavored flour. By the way, the “bandage” on the bag on the right is simply to keep its contents safely inside; we often get punctured bags from our warehouse to use here in the test kitchen.
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You can see the slightly different colors of these three flours; the traditional whole wheat (right) is both darker, and more coarsely ground. The speckles are bits of bran.

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Even though I prefer to knead bread in the bread machine, I thought I’d show you a version made in a KitchenAid stand mixer. Notice how “gnarly” the dough is when you first start to knead it…

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…and how it smooths out—though not as nicely as yeast dough made with all-purpose flour. This is a different kind of dough indeed.

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Here are the three types of whole wheat (l to r)—organic white wheat, white wheat, and traditional—kneaded into dough in the bread machine.

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And here they are an hour later. As you can see, they’ve become puffy; but they haven’t come anywhere near doubling in bulk.

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Here they are, shaped and in their greased 9”x 5” loaf pans.

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And here they are, 75 minutes later, nicely risen. The organic white wheat loaf (l) had risen to 1 1/2” above the rim of the pan; the white wheat loaf, to 1” above the rim; and the traditional loaf to 3/4” above the rim.

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Lovely! Forty-five minutes in the oven resulted in three golden loaves. Here I’m running a stick of butter over the hot loaves; it gives them a soft, buttery crust.

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Surprisingly, the organic white wheat (l) didn’t have nearly as much oven spring as the white wheat (center), which had slightly more than the traditional (r). Nevertheless, I’d call them all good loaves: nice texture, moist, easy to slice.

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AND tasty! As much as I always say I don’t like whole wheat bread, when these loaves came out of the oven I couldn’t resist. They really did taste divine, even without the peanut butter and jelly. We were in the midst of a meeting and I brought everyone a warm slice. As Tom, our marketing manager, said, “This is wonderful—it doesn’t even need butter!”

So—I guess I’ll eat my words, right along with this delicious bread! Maybe I DO like whole wheat bread…

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread.

When you bake whole wheat bread at home, not only are you treating yourself to something fresh, delicious, and hot from the oven; you’re saving money. The chart below shows a typical price for three different baked goods you might purchase at the supermarket, and the ingredients cost for you to make them at home.

Cost of ingredients
at the supermarket
Butter $2.39/lb.
Sugar $2.69/5 lb.
Blueberries $3.29/lb. frozen
Yogurt $2.39/quart
Large eggs $2.69/dozen
KA AP flour $5.39/5 lb.
KA bread flour $5.29/5 lb.
KA whole wheat flour $4.89/5 lb.
Instant mashed potatoes $1.99/13 ¾ oz.
Dry milk $5/lb.
Yeast bulk $5.50/lb.
Vanilla $2.59/2 oz.
Baking powder $1.79/10 oz.
Baking soda 69¢/lb.
Salt 69¢/lb.
Milk $3.59/gallon
Orange juice $2.69/1/2 gallon
Cost of baked goods
at the supermarket
Bagels 72¢ each
Blueberry muffins 99¢ each (supermarket bakery) or $3.99 (18-ounce package of 6)
Whole wheat bread $3.49/24-oz. loaf
Cost of ingredients
to make your own blueberry muffins
4 ounces butter 60¢
¾ cup (5 ¼ ounces) sugar 17¢
2 large eggs 45¢
2 teaspoons (1/6 oz.) vanilla extract 43¢
1 ½ teaspoons (7g) baking powder
½ teaspoon (2.2g) baking soda 1/6¢
½ teaspoon (3g) salt 1/6¢
2 ¼ cups (9 ½ ounces) KA AP Flour 69¢
blueberries $1.65
TOTAL $4.04 for 33 oz. blueberry muffins averaging 2 ¾ ounces each
Cost of ingredients
to make your own bagels
4 ½ cups (19 ounces) bread flour $1.26
1 5/8 teaspoons yeast
1 ¾ teaspoons salt 2/3¢
TOTAL $1.33/12 bagels
Cost of ingredients
to make your own whole wheat bread
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast 13¢
1/2 cup (4 ounces) lukewarm water
1/2 cup (4 ounces) lukewarm milk 11¢
1/2 cup (2 5/8 ounces) orange juice
5 tablespoons (2 1/2 ounces) melted butter 37¢
1 1/2 teaspoons salt ½¢
3 tablespoons (1 ¼ ounces) sugar
1/4 cup (5/8 ounce) nonfat dry milk 20¢
3/4 cup (1 5/8 ounces) dried potato flakes 24¢
3 3/4 cups (15 ounces) King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour 92¢
TOTAL $2.09/28-oz. loaf; $1.19/lb.
PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Rosa

    All that gorgeous bread is starting to make me hungry! It’s really a pity that we can’t find such a great variety of flours here…

    All three loaves look delicious!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    Reply
  2. PJ Hamel

    Rosa, where do you live that you don’t have a good variety of flours? I feel your pain! You can always order any flour you like from us at kingarthurflour.com. We have all kinds of great flours, for sure-

    Reply
  3. Sarah

    Thanks for the calculations. I’ve wondered how much we really save by baking ourselves.
    Is there any way to substitute fresh or cooked potato for the potato flour or flakes? Also, is potato starch (often available around Passover) the same as potato flour?

    Sarah

    Reply
  4. Badotz

    Rosa,

    After introducing the liquid into the flour and mixing together, let the dough rest for 20-30 minutes. This should help soften the bran.

    Also, I notice you used the beater instead of the dough hook – any particular reason?

    Reply
  5. PJ Hamel

    Badotz, I used the beater just to bring the ingredients together, then used the dough hook to knead for 5 minutes at low speed.
    Sarah, you could probably substitute mashed potatoes, so long as they were unseasoned. You’d have to do some experimenting to know how to adjust the liquid; it would depend on how moist your mashed potatoes were.
    Potato starch is JUST the starch from the potato; potato flour is its starch and fiber.

    Reply
  6. Brenda Becker

    Wow, you guys can get butter in the supermarket @ $2.39/lb.? Here in NYC, it’s often close to $5 lb and I wait for a “two-fer” @$2.50 each! This contributes to my stand as a baker that I bake ’cause it’s better, not necessarily cheaper (although sometimes it is)…my favorite comparison is not the cost differential between my great home-made and supermarket brands, but between mine and the high-end temptations in a “yuppie” bakery here in Brooklyn. There’s a place nearby selling 9″ cakes for $45 and “designer” cupcakes for $5. They’re great. So are mine!!

    Reply
  7. PJ Hamel , post author

    Right on, Brenda! No need to pay $5 for a cupcake, when your own are fabulous… Admittedly $2.39 for butter isn’t our everyday price, but on sale it goes down as low as $1.99, at which point we snatch up as much as we can. And if I’d done the price comparison with fancy bakeries or other high-end retail places, rather than the supermarket, then the differential would have been even greater. So—baking at home yields oven-fresh treats, not stuffed with weird additives and chemicals, that’s often less expensive than buying something ready-made… AND baking is fun… what part of this don’t people understand? (I know, it’s the “my time is valuable and I don’t like to bake” part. More’s the pity!)

    Reply
  8. Brenda Burke

    Thanks for the information about the white whole wheat flour. You have convinced me to try, once again, to make my own whole wheat bread. I buy King Arthur products at my local grocery (Stop and Shop or Roche Bros)

    Reply
  9. Michele

    From: “Michele Pryse”

    Download (untitled) [text/plain 457b] PJ,
    Thank you for sharing this recipe–it’s exactly what I was looking for.
    Grocery store bread prices have risen exponentially! I can’t wait to try
    it. I purchased my Magic Mill DLX from you 11 1/2 years ago (it’s still
    going strong), so I can bake 6 to 8 loaves at a time and freeze the extras,
    pre-sliced! What could more more convenient than that? And I won’t be
    paying $2.99 per loaf, either.


    Sincerely,
    Michele Pryse
    Central Point, Oregon

    Reply
  10. June Curtin

    Any idea how much for the electricity for the oven adds to the cost of baked goods.
    Is it that much more efficient to bake several things in the oven at the same time?
    I’ve been baking with King Arthur flour since the 1970s!

    Reply
  11. Emily

    I do not know where to post this question, so I decided to post it in this comment section. Can you show us step by step how to make macaroons? I don’t mean the normal coconut macaroons that can be found everywhere, more like the french/italian chocolate or almond macaroons. I’d really appreciate it. Thank you.

    Reply
  12. PJ Hamel

    Glad your Magic Mill is still going strong, Michele – those were excellent machines. Have you frozen bread pre-sliced before? I’m wondering if it gets stale, being sliced ahead of time…
    Jane, the types of ovens (gas, electric, brand) and the cost for energy vary so widely I wouldn’t hazard a guess how much it costs to run an oven. However, yes, it’s certainly cost-effective to bake more than one thing at once – or at least in sequence, so you’re not heating the oven up more times than you have to.

    Reply
  13. Joe

    PJ – I have to smirk when I see your price of flour. The SuperTargets in my area (Minneapolis) have raised the price of regular KAF All-purpose flour to $7.09 for 5 pounds!

    Reply
  14. Penny

    I always freeze my bread pre-sliced and it works fiine. I wait until it’s fully cooled before slicing it then package it in about 8 to 10 slice packages since there are only two of us in the family. Even if I forget to take it out for toast in the morning it toasts up just fine frozen and if it’s on the counter during the day the sandwichs are great – no stale taste and I don’t have to worry about keeping it out too long.

    Reply
  15. Donny C

    PJ I saw your flour price comparisons and $5.29 for AP, and Bread flour seem to be the norm in our supermarkets as well.
    Today I was shopping in Walmart, and low and behold saw all King Arthur flours under $3.oo for a 5lb bag. Needless to say I scooped up several bags.
    Just thought I’d pass it on.

    Donny C
    Fort Myers, Fl

    Reply
  16. Mary Ellen

    I can’t wait to try this wheat bread recipe, but could you use oil instead of butter? My doctor said my cholesterol is “not ideal” and I am trying to lower it.

    Reply
  17. PJ Hamel , post author

    Mary Ellen, try substituting 4 tablespoons oil for the butter – that should work out just fine.

    Reply
  18. Rose

    In my humble opinion, it doesn’t matter too much whether baking at home is cheaper or not. It’s the satisfaction of creating something from the most basic of ingredients and knowing exactly what you are eating. I even bake dog biscuits for seven dogs on a weekly basis. I’m going to keep doing it until I’m just too old to do it anymore!

    Reply
  19. PatL

    PJ, when you folks calculated the cost of whole wheat bread vs. store-bought, did you include the energy costs for running the oven, or just the cost of materials? (re: the email that went out to subscribers)

    Reply
  20. PJ Hamel , post author

    Pat, it was just the ingredients. The types of ovens (gas, electric, brand) and the cost for energy vary so widely I wouldn’t hazard a guess how much it costs to run an oven. Also makes a difference if you’re baking more than one thing at once, etc. And, if you already have the ingredients at home and don’t have to go to the store, you’re saving gas money there, too.

    Reply
  21. janet thompson

    Made your whole wheat sandwich bread today. I was intrigued about using orange juice in making bread. I did add 3T vital wheat gluten and dough enhancer to the recipe and used the Gold instant yeast because of acid of the
    orange juice. I also used a little less flour so the dough was a little sticky. Anyway my friends loved it! I turn out very moist,

    Reply
  22. Bobbi

    what does the orange juice do to the bread and could you add a different kind of juice such as pineapple or orange pineapple
    thanks

    Reply
  23. Patricia A. Swan

    Wow. Your local market charges an arm and a leg for the KA flour. I pay about half that at my regular chain (Ingles) in Western North Carolina, and if I get it when it goes on the once-every-six-weeks special that gets a discount with the store card, I get it for less than $2.50 for 5 pounds–I’ve been known to get 35 pounds at a time when it’s on special (I can’t get the commercial bakery suppliers to talk to me cause I’m not a business, so I can’t get the 50-lb wholesale bags, and I have to order the SAF yeast from y’all so I’ve got shipping to add) . Of course, if I was using butter, my butter is almost $5.00 a pound down here. {ouchie}. I use the big Zo bread maker that I got from y’all as a gift for my last-year’s birthday, but my recipe is only vaguely like yours because I’ve got to work around food allergies (no oil or milk products, and citrus is iffy) and sensitivities (no potatoes cause I’m sensitive to nightshade-family foods {my spinal pain dropped sharply when I stripped them out of my diet}).

    I use a variation of the WW recipe in the Zo manual: 2 c. water, 1 tsp. salt, 5.5 c. KA WW flour (red), and 1 yeast spoon (2.25 tsp) SAF yeast. I use the normal white bread cycle and let the Zo bake it Comes to the top of the Zo’s pan and is very light. In fact it’s so light, I’ve been contemplating cutting the yeast to 1 tsp. since the SAF is *so* very energetic, and I actually like a bit denser loaf since I put the bread under soft, soupy beans for supper {breakfast is oatmeal with miso}. I use the Dean Ornish diet which is whole grains, beans, etc., under 10 percent fat, and I’ve lost around 100 lbs. so far.

    Reply
  24. PJ Hamel , post author

    Bobbi, I read in a baking magazine that orange juice reacts with the tannic taste of whole wheat and “tames” it – and it seems to work. Not sure if other citrus juices do the same – give it a try and report back! Certainly wouldn’t hurt anything with the recipe…

    Reply
  25. PJ Hamel , post author

    Sorry, JP, no nutritional info. yet. We’re working on that project. Eventually all of our online recipes will have it, but it’s going to take awhile.

    Reply
  26. Melissa

    I made this recipe twice this morning in my Zoj and both loaves did not rise at all. I used the basic white cycle. I’ve been baking bread for over 5 years now and usually only make the dough in the machine and then bake in the oven. But since I had errands to run I thought I’d let the machine bake it today. Any thoughts or ideas as to why it didn’t rise?
    By the way, this is by far my favorite blog and I always have such great success with KA recipes.

    Reply
  27. PJ Hamel , post author

    Melissa, this bread isn’t meant to be baked in the bread machine. It needs the finer touch you can give it with your eyes, your hands, and watching it rise. 100% whole wheat bread can be very finicky; each time I do it, I don’t go so much by the clock as by what the dough looks like, letting it rise to where it needs to rise, rather than cutting it off once a certain time has been reached. Your bread machine isn’t able to make those assessments. So, while it’s good for baking many loaves, in this case it’s good only for kneading, at which point you should take the dough out and shape, etc. yourself.
    Thanks for your nice comments about the blog and our recipes!

    Reply
  28. Pat Duff

    I would like to bake this bread in a bread machine, but the recipes I use in my machine use up to 3 cups flour. This recipe calls for 3-3/4 cups flour. Is it possible for you to refigure the ingredients to go along with 3 cups flour? My bread machine has a whole wheat setting and gives a longer time for rising – usually works well. Is this possible?

    Reply
  29. Diane Harrison

    I tried the recipe this week and it was great!! I think the citric acid in the OJ is what is also helping. I remember reading that someplace. I don’t use butter – used a soybean margarine and used maple syrup instead of sugar. I use my bread machine only to mix and rise my dough. You need to be sure you set it to the Whole Wheat selection. That lets it sit for a bit before mixing and kneading. I plan to try this out on the KAF oatmeal bread recipe that is on the white flour label. I usually mix 50/50 but would prefer it to be all whole wheat. Thanks again!!

    Reply
  30. PJ Hamel

    Pat, I’m not sure this bread is a good candidate for baking in the bread machine. I suggest you make the dough using your bread machine’s dough cycle, then finish it off by baking it in your regular oven.

    Reply
  31. Diane Harrison

    I found it. The ascorbic acid in fruits like lemons, oranges, etc. helps the yeast to work longer and harder. One site suggested using vitamin C. I like the orange juice though.

    Reply
  32. Kristy

    Those loaves look fantastic!

    I started baking with yeast about 3 years ago when my husband purchased a Bosch mixer and NutriMill for me. I have not purchased a loaf of bread since. I have a simple 100% whole wheat bread recipe that WORKS. I have used it from day 1 when I had no idea what kneading was. PJ, can I share the recipe with you, as you asked in the blog?

    Reply
  33. Sandra Tuck

    I am enjoying the whole wheat bread I recently made using your recipe. I would, however, like to know agood way to store it so that it stays fresh for a week , if it lasts that long.

    Reply
  34. Marge Ross

    Received the spring Baking Sheet today and just learned of the Bakers Banter. This will be my first experience with a blog so I’m excited. I plan to make the whole wheat bread soon and will report on it. We visit our daughter in Hanover, N.H. several times a year(from IN) and a trip (or two) to King Arthur is always on the agenda. Looking forward to visiting you in May.

    Reply
  35. PJ Hamel , post author

    Kristy, I’d love you to share the recipe – would you like to do it right here in comments? If not, just email me: pj.hamel@kingarthurflour.com. Thanks!
    Sandra, the best way to keep this bread fresh is to wrap it VERY tightly in plastic wrap and leave it at room temperature. Now, this won’t work in VERY hot and humid conditions, but it’s your best bet most of the time. Refrigeration makes bread get stale VERY quickly. If you feel you can’t eat it fast enough, freeze half – don’t slice, wrap well in plastic, then in aluminum foil.

    Reply
  36. Lance

    When Mark Bittman wrote about no kneading for baking bread, his recipe was for white bread. I have been experimenting with this using white whole wheat flour. I’ve had to modify his recipe a bit since it didn’t seem to work as well with the whole wheat flour. My current modification: 1 1/3 c water, 1 t salt, 2 t yeast (although smaller amounts of yeast can be used), 3 c white whole wheat flour, 1 T canola oil and 3 T honey: mix (no kneading), let rise twice, then bake in a covered stoneware dish for 35 min at 400 covered, then 10 min uncovered. It seems with the whole wheat flour that the rise during baking is actually better if the dough is a little stiffer (i.e, less water). I have not yet tried the orange juice. Also, I am not clear why dry milk is used. Of course, I would be interested to hear if the King Arthur group has experimented with whole wheat bread using the technique Mark Bittman described and any modifications required.

    Reply
  37. PJ Hamel , post author

    Lance I haven’t tried the Mark Bittman method for 100% whole wheat bread yet. What I was after here was a soft, sliceable whole wheat sandwich loaf – thus the dry milk, which adds to its soft texture. But now I’ll try your method, see how it works out – thanks a lot for sharing!

    Reply
  38. Deanna

    The whole wheat bread looks wonderful. Problem: my husband can’t have either orange juice or potato flakes. Any thoughts on substitutes?

    Reply
  39. PJ Hamel , post author

    Deanna, just substitute water for the OJ. And you can leave out the potato flakes – they give the bread a nice, moist texture, but aren’t critical to the bread rising or anything like that. If he can have fresh potatoes, you could try adding 1/2 cup mashed potatoes and leaving out some of the water – you’d have to experiment to see how much. Or you could reduce both sugar and water a bit, and add 1/2 cup applesauce…

    Reply
  40. Brenda

    You were not kidding when you called it the Holy Grail. I have tried easy 100 recipes for whole grain this is by far the very best. I have used red wheat and white wheat. To day I am trying Kamut. Thank you for the excellent recipes.. Brenda Fla

    Reply
  41. Mark

    Recipe calls for “milk.” I’m just starting baking & would appreciate advice on the type of milk. Whole? 2%? Or will skim milk work as well?

    Reply
  42. PJ Hamel , post author

    Any type of milk, Mark – the higher-fat the milk, the softer/more tender your bread.

    Reply
  43. Renee

    Your bread looked amazing!
    I baked this bread bought the extras that it needed, the maze. It did rise in a regular loaf pan. I couldnt get it to rise in the french pan that has a lid and is long. The idea was to give a good crust all the way around. I for sure thought that this recipe would have been a good recipe for that. I couldnt have been more then wrong. Then the other loaf came out “heavy”. Any suggetstions or recommendations.
    Thank you,
    Renee
    Edmond, OK

    Reply
  44. Geoffrey

    I have had problems with the tops of my whole wheat loaves settling when I put them in the oven. I have tried tweaking different steps to try and isolate the problem, but can’t seem to get around the flat tops. Any suggestions?

    Reply
  45. marianne

    The last time I made WW bread it was a crumbly mess only good for toast. I tried this recipe with high hopes and wasn’t disappointed at all! It was the soft, sandwichy bread that I’d been craving. Thanks!

    Reply
  46. Dawn

    I am a new baker. A 5 pound bad of King James All-Purpose flour was selling for $9.99 at my local natural foods store. Has the price really jumped that high? From $5.39 to 9.99 in less than three months?

    Hi Dawn,
    Unfortunately, our global economy is suffering from a world wide wheat shortage now, and the prices of flour have risen quite a bit. You can check out the blog post on this significant issue by typing ‘tough times’ in the search window.

    MaryJane @ The Baker’s Hotline

    Hey, King James is giving us some competition! Just kidding… Actually, $9.99 is EXTREMELY high; I’d go shop somewhere else. Most places, it’s just around $5.00 now… Are you in the U.S.? – PJH

    Reply
  47. Dawn

    Thanks MaryJane. I am well aware of the economic issues affecting our food prices however the jump in price seemd extremed. Especially since other organic flours such as Arrowhead Mills were selling for 5 and change.

    Thanks PJH. Glad to hear that is not necessarily the price everywhere. I am in a more expensive area (Baltimore- Washington DC metro area) but I couldn’t bring myself to pay that much. I wanted to try the King James flour since I had been hearing so much about it but I went with the other brand. I will keep my eyes open for it selling at a lower price but I’m not holding my breath.

    Reply
  48. Leyda

    I am new to bread making… I just got a Bread Machine. I’ve only made one pizza dough that freezed yesterday and was searching for a sandwish bread recipe when I came across this one. Today I bought some of the ingredients, when I got them all, I will give it a try. Does anyone else have whole wheat sandwish bread recipes that can share?

    Reply
  49. marchelle

    Hi! I just got a Zoji bread machine and I am looking forward to making my VERY FIRST loaf of bread ever!! I have been using KA all purpose for a few years now and I love this flour for baking cookies and biscuits and stuff. Will it do good in the machine or should I try the bread flour? It would be nice if I could use what I have. Thanks

    Marchele, that’s why we love our King Arthur all-purpose flour – it’s for ALL purposes, including bread. Go for it. If you’re looking for a recipe, try our white sandwich bread recipe. Use 1 cup of water, and just put everything in the machine. Use milk in place of the water if you don’t have dry milk; if you don’t have potato flakes, leave them out (though they add nice moistness). And when you get used to the bread-baking process, you’ll find it’s fun to make just the dough in the machine, then take it out and make pizza, rolls, calzone, breadsticks, garlic knots – anything and everything yeast. And SO much less expensive to bake your own bread than to buy it these days! Whoops, here I’ve gone off into a sales pitch… but I totally believe in baking bread at home. So delicious; and now, so, uh… fiscally responsible! Have fun – PJH

    Reply
  50. skeptic7

    I tried the bread and played with the recipe, so while it didn’t rise as well as I hoped, I cant complain. Well I can but it wouldn’t make sense. I do have questions about the recipe. I was trying to see if I could get this bread to resemble Peter Reinhart’s recipe with a soaker and a biga.
    A. Thats a lot of mashed potatoes and comparatively little liquid. I used more than 1 1/2 cups liquid to 4 cups of flour normally, and potato flakes can really absorb water. Most recipes only ask for 1/3 cup or so potato flakes. Why so much? I had to add about 1/4 more water just to get the dough together. Of course that could be the reason the bread didn’t rise
    B. Thats a lot of yeast.
    C. When kneading by hand, how do you tell when it is needed enough?

    Hi Skeptic – First, a question. Why not just make Peter’s biga/soaker bread, if that’s what you’re after? Just wondering… Let me answer your questions.

    A. 3/4 cup potato flakes (not buds; use the ultra-lightweight flakes) are equal to just 1/4 cup potato flour, which in my experience barely changes (if at all) the liquid/flour ratio in bread. I’ve never had to adjust the water when adding flakes or potato flour, for whatever reason. That’s my experience, anyway; sounds like yours is different, but I don’t know how to speak to that. Cut back the potato if you like; your bread will simply become drier (stale) more quickly, as potato is starch and starch helps preserve bread’s texture as it ages.
    B. 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast is the standard amount I use for any sandwich bread, one that includes milk and butter and other elements that might start to “age” ungracefully. I often use less yeast in flour-water-salt-yeast loaves, ones that can sit for hours without acquiring any “off” flavors. Hope that explains it?
    C. Knead till the dough is cohesive and fairly smooth, albeit not really supple or springy; it’ll feel more clay-like. With everyone’s different kneading styles and energy, it’s hard to say just how long that takes. Better to be guided by the final product than a stopwatch, eh?

    Hope this helps, if you try the recipe again. PJH

    Reply
  51. Dick

    I tried the 100% whole wheat bread yesterday, and it really bombed.
    I usually have good luck with your recipes, and was looking forward to a good-tasting, whole wheat bread.
    I could not get the bread to rise…..only slightly, even tried the on and off oven with the water bath ….not much luck there either.
    I baked it, and it came out looking like a brown pound cake!
    Taste was pretty poor…..birds refused it too!
    I think my problem was the big dip in our temperature here in the deep south. We went from our usual 75-80′s with fairly high humidity to 45-55 with LOW humidity! I want to give it another shot, but hoped for your input.
    Any suggestions?
    Thanks
    Dick D.

    WOW, Dick could be a lot of issues… What kind of yeast did you use? Instant, or active dry, and if active dry, was it in a packet, or in a jar?

    What brand/kind of whole wheat flour did you use – red wheat, or white wheat? King Arthur? How was it stored? Please go back and taste the flour. If there’s a bitter taste on the back of your tongue after a couple of seconds, it’s old and will make bad-tasting bread.

    Did the dough look like the pictures in the blog at the various steps along the way? If not, when and how did it differ?

    Did it rise in the bowl? In the pan? Or did it simply never rise at all?

    If you can answer these questions, we’ll have a start on figuring out what happened. Thanks – we’ll get to the bottom of this! PJH

    Reply
  52. skeptic7

    I tried the 100% whole wheat bread again, modifying the recipe to use Peter Reinhart’s method with soaker and biga. I was better please with it having realized that part of the problem came with the bread pan, it was 10 x 5 instead of 9 x5.
    I still needed more water than the recipe called for having added about 1/4 cup more and still left out 1/2 cup of flour. The dough was hard to knead, it never did form a good window pane, and took a long time to knead until bouncy. Even when I decided that it was kneaded enough it was more clay like than pillowy. I wonder if this would have improved if I had kneaded it more.
    The bread didn’t seem to oven spring. I often will let dough over proof and not even try for an oven spring.
    I am trying a Peter Reinhart method since it seemed to give a stronger and more resilient dough than a sponge method when I was making whole wheat English muffins. I’ve rarely made a straight dough for ordinary breads since I first learned how to do a sponge so the amount of yeast needed surprised me.
    I don’t know if I’ll try this bread again. The first time, I tried throwing the mash potatoes in the sponge, this time I added them after combining the soaker and biga, perhaps next time I’ll knead the potatoes and butter into the dough after mixing the biga and soaker. Both of the last two times I mixed the butter into the soaker. I think the butter made it hard to get the gluten to form properly. If I first knead the dough without butter until the gluten is formed and then knead the butter into the bread dough it might handle better. This is a little trick I picked up from Laurel’s Kitchen Bread book. The problem with doing it this way is its hard to figure out if there is enough liquid in the dough since the butter is added so late.
    Oh I am using regular non instant powdered milk, so I have to mix it into the water and scald it before using it in the dough.

    Skeptic, this dough will never form a pane, never be smooth and bouncy, and will always feel clay-like. Better to knead less, and give a longer rise; too much kneading allows the bran to cut the gluten strands. But anyway, I congratulate you on all of your experimenting – that’s the way to personalize bread to your liking. Whatever works for YOU is the way to go. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  53. Bill McGonigle

    The intermediate-step pictures are great. I’ve tried a few times now making 100% white whole wheat sandwich bread in my BreadMan Ultimate, and the dough looks just like your “gnarly” photo before it bakes into a nasty lump. I’ll try again with the stand mixer and I suspect I’ll get a better knead. The seemingly simple ingredients list on the factory-made (yet mostly delicious) 100% whole-wheat loaves at the Co-Op are like a siren song, always leading me to disaster, but at $5/loaf in the store, this recipe tempts me back to the high seas. Thanks!

    Bill, stop by the kitchen someday – we’ll chat. About King Arthur organic white whole wheat flour. Do you bake in your Breadman, or just use it for kneading? We can talk about that, too… PJH

    Reply
  54. Lee

    I have been making 100% whole wheat bread for the last five years. My experience has shown that you can’t treat ww flour like white. I never have my dough “clean the bowl” or have a “satin finish” or things like that which are usually given in instructions for white bread. Whole wheat needs more liquid than white and in the initial mixing it is really slack but over time as it is kneaded and rises it begins to resemble a more familiar dough. I make three loaves at a time and use freshly milled wheat – half white wheat half red wheat – in my trusty kitchenaid. Here’s my recipe: 3 cups warm filtered water, 3/4 raw honey, 3/4 cup olive oil (or butter or coconut oil or a combination) in the mixing bowl; follow that with 5 cups of the freshly milled flour and 1 1/2 Tblsp instant yeast; mix with paddle until combined; add 3 more cups of flour, 1 Tblsp sea salt and any extras such as ground flax (sometimes I also add potato flour and/or gluten 1 Tblsp each) and keep mixing with the paddle until combined then switch to the hook and knead on 2 for 10 minutes. After kneading it is still really slack. I just scrape/pour it into a well oiled rising tub and let it rise about two hours. After this rise it is much easier to handle, still more slack than white but you can shape it easily at this point. I weigh out 1 1/2 lb loaves and bake them at 350 for 27-30 min. It works every time with a high, fluffy, moist 100% whole wheat loaf that we use for toast, sandwiches or just eating warm slathered with butter.

    Lee, this sounds wonderful – thanks for sharing. And milling your own wheat makes a HUGE difference. The very best whole wheat bread I egver made was with freshly milled wheat. I’ll have to get out my mill and try this recipe- thanks again. PJH

    Reply
  55. Lee

    I just realized I left off the rising in the loaf pan. Most bread bakers would know to do that before baking but just in case I wanted to be sure to put that step in – rising about 30-45 min. in the pan before baking! :)

    Reply
  56. JS

    I tried the recipe last night and it didn’t turn out good. The bread didn’t rise well, makes it so dense and has that sour taste of yeast.
    Was it because I changed the ingredients a bit? Instead of using 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup water, I used 1 cup low fat milk, unseasoned mashed potatoes instead potato flakes, honey instead of sugar, 1/4 cup of wheat germ instead of 1/4 cup of dry non fat milk. It seems like the dough has too much liquid so it was so lumpy when I took it out from the bread machine (after the dough cycle and rising time).
    Any idea? FYI I used KAF White Whole Wheat.

    Could be the different ingredients – anytime you change ingredients, the final result will change as well. The fresh milk might have soured a bit, due to the long rise. Honey should be OK; wheat germ will definitely help make it denser and slower-rising… Anyone else have any advice for JS here? PJH

    Reply
  57. Michele

    I prefer to weigh my dry ingredients since it is supposed to be more accurate than volume measure (using cups, etc.). The recipe calls for 1/4 c. (1 3/8 oz) Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk. I only have nonfat dry milk on hand and decided to try that. However, when weighing the dry milk, 1 3/8 oz comes to approximately 2/3 cup. I am confused as to whether I should simply use 1/4 c. or if I should weigh it and use the 1 2/3 oz., which is significantly more (by volume). Any suggestions? Thanks!

    Yes, Michele, use the 2/3 cup. The new way we enter recipes online doesn’t allow for two weights for the same ingredient (even when you give 2 ingredient options), so I have to pick one weight. Confusing, I know, but it doesn’t happen often. Nonfat dry milk is considerably “fluffier” than Baker’s Special, thus the difference in weight. -PJH

    Reply
  58. Lee

    advice for JS –
    Make sure the milk you do use is warmed to at least room temp. The mashed potatoes instead of flakes probably contributed to the heaviness as did the wheat germ. The dried potato flakes help give the bread moistness without a lot of weight. The honey shouldn’t have made a difference either way. If you don’t have the dry milk just leave it out. Try again but if you still want to make substitutions only do one at a time, not several. That way you can discover which ones work and which ones don’t.

    Excellent advice, Lee – thanks. PJH

    Reply
  59. Joan B. Bulharowski

    P.J.:

    You and the KA staff are to be commended for “producing” this recipe.

    I’m a self-taught baker of 40+ years. This recipe and its results are STELLAR!

    When I assembled the dough, having observing my finished product, (and after studying the blog) I thought I’d created a poor imitation.

    I used the “traditional” whole wheat flour, and although I’ve got a lot of experience I doubted your guarantee. I shouldn’t have and should have trusted your experience.

    Most of the recipes I’ve made over the years have contained a mix of whole wheat and A.P. flours. My efforts at constructing whole wheat were “marginal,” thus the skepticism.

    To repeat – the results are stellar and I managed to hit the right balance because I live in Arizona, Where ” DRY Heat” isn’t just a saying! Read, …this is a dry climate. I needed to add at least 2 tablespoons shy of 1/2 cup “extra” water. Yet, it worked. This delicious bread didn’t go for sandwiches, it was cut straight out of the oven to accompany some lovely, creamy chili.

    Kudos, KA! AND this comes from a culinary school graduate. Unfortunately, school didn’t teach us very much about the science of baking bread.

    Thanks again – keep inovating, I’ll keep baking, reading, and in touch.

    jb

    Joan, thank you SO much for your enthusiastic comments! I’m very glad the bread worked out for you; 100% ww bread is a challenge for sure, but you succeeded – kudos! And thanks for connecting- PJH

    Reply
  60. skeptic7

    Well I tried again. Still not successful, but I might try again. I had to run an errand and left the dough too long in the first rise. Does the orange juice affect how the dough handles or how the yeast reacts?

    Skeptic, orange juice affects the flavor; it softens the sometimes harsh/bitter flavor of whole wheat flour. PJH

    Reply
  61. skeptic7

    I read once that vitamin C makes the yeast grow faster so I was wondering if the orange juice had enough Vitamin C or sugar to affect the dough.

    Yes, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) does help yeast grow; but I’m not sure the orange juice in here would offer the help your loaf seems to need… sorry. PJH

    Reply
  62. elsten

    Could you please tell us the brand of mashed potato flakes that are comparable to the quality of your flour? I don’t like the idea of using high quality flour and then adding preservatives and artificial ingredients that are in all of the potato flakes I could locate.
    Thank you!

    Sorry, Elsten, I don’t know the answer. I’d suggest using the flakes that have the least amount of added ingredients, e.g., preservatives. Then again, you could purchase the potato flour, and you wouldn’t have to worry about the equivalent substitution… PJH

    Reply
  63. Helen

    Ok, this will be my first attempt at whole wheat! I’ll be doing everything by hand, and I’ve found with other breads that I need 15-30 more minutes of rising time as a result, even in humid Florida. The photos really help, but does the dough need to double in size the first rise? I’ll be using all the ingredients as recommended, except I only have regular nonfat dry milk. Also, I don’t have a thermometer, can I knock on the bottom for the hollow sound to test for doneness?

    Do the best with what you have, Helen. Use a bit more yeast, perhaps, to make up for your hand kneading? Dough doesn’t need to double; just give it a couple of hours or so. And yes, thump on the bottom, if that’s the method you’re used to. Good luck – PJH

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  64. Helen

    I’d give myself a B on the final result. (the recipe is probably an A+) It rose to a nice height,but during the baking process one side collapsed a bit, sort of like the soft spot on a baby’s head! It also didn’t brown evenly. All that said it tastes and smells great. I think one of these reasons may have caused the problem:
    1) I mixed and kneaded by hand, so I let it rise for over 2 hours the first time. Maybe that was too long? The second rise only took 30 min, but it looked great.
    2) I used a brown tinted glass loaf pan, would a metal pan improve the browning.
    3) I tented the bread at 10 min, it was barely brown, should I have waited longer?

    Happy New Year, Helen –
    •Let the dough rise, on its first rise, no more than double, however long that takes;
    •Yes, metal pan would improve browning;
    •Yes, wait till the bread is a nice light-gold brown before tenting.

    Practice makes perfect! Congratulations on your first 100% ww bread. PJH

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  65. Tory

    I made my first loaf ever using this recipe! Thank you, thank you thank you!

    I did have a few hiccups and doubted that it would work. I used a bread machine to knead it unattended – and came back an hour later to find that the power was interrupted. (Typical, in FL) It was sitting there still layered. So I put in dough, 1 lb and watched this time. It chugged – it had a hard time. Apparently some of the oj/water combo was absorbed while sitting there. I warmed up a small amount of water and added it slowly – then used a rubber spatula to help push the dough towards the blades. I barely added any, not wanting too veer off the recipe amounts. I hadn’t yet discovered the blog banter pictures to see what the dough should have look like (that would have been nice)!

    After it completed the dough cycle I shaped it into a log, sort of. Why didn’t it ever look like the beautiful shape I now see in your blog? I put it in a metal 9×5 pan and put it on a heating pad on the low setting on my counter (thanks, KAF Baker’s Companion) for the second rise. It rose!!! I just waited for an inch over the loaf pan. After that, it followed the recipe perfectly. I didn’t have an instant read thermometer but did 33 mins @ 350 and thwacking my thumb on the bottom of the loaf gave me the telltale “I’m reaaaadddyyy!!!!!” sound!! So my loaf wasn’t perfectly shaped (but it wasn’t going in), but it is beautifully browned and soft inside. I did run some butter over the outside b/c I knew I might get my daughter to try it that way.

    Very soft with skim milk, btw, for those who were wondering. I might have even tried 2%, but now why bother? My 4 year old LOVES it!!!! (And she doesn’t like wheat at all)

    Thanks for all of your comments to help me get over my fear of baking, for this recipe and for the KAF Baker’s Companion (Christmas present)!!!

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  66. Taneasha

    I’m looking for a really good 100% whole grain dough recipe for rolls. Has anyone tried this recipe for making rolls? If so, how’d they turn out?

    I’d try the 100% whole wheat pain de mie recipe for rolls, Taneasha. Divide into 24 rolls, put fairly close together on a half sheet pan, bake about minutes at 350°F.

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  67. Bob Galli

    I’ve been using KA’s recipe for 100% Whole Wheat Loaf on page 209 of the All-Purpose baking Cookbook – makes a great loaf with the walnuts and sunflower seeds. While not looking at all of the posts or the recipes on KA’s website, I looked a lot and saw no reference to this recipe. The loaf came out wonderfully, I used my old KitchenAid with “C” hook to mix and knead it. Toasted with real butter is great!! It’s a little ‘breakable’ but worked well with sandwiches – just cut thicker slices or hold the sandwich carefully!! It’s even quite tasty unadorned! Thanks for the great sites and recipes, not to mention products. One question-the recipe calls for whole grain bread improver as an option (I did not have/use it) – just what is it, what does it do and is there a more readily available substitute (other than by mail order)?

    Whole Grain Bread Improver item 1576 will help with the rise and is only available through the catalogue. Joan@bakershotline

    Reply
  68. lolly

    I have been making a soft 100% whole wheat ‘wonder’ bread once a week for a couple years now. It is based on the KA classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread recipe that is found on the KA traditional whole wheat flour package. I have made three changes to that recipe that seem to make it an exceptionally soft sliceable bread. I use whey instead of water and dry milk powder (I also make cheese every week, so the whey is a by product of this.) I use honey for the sweetener and I substitute 1 cup rolled oats for 1 cup of the whole wheat flour. I supose this is technically not 100% whole wheat because of the addition of the oats, but it is 100% whole grain! Also I make this on the dough setting of the bread machine so that I can let it rise as much as it needs to. I would love to find a good recipe for 100% Pan au Levain. I was hoping to find one on the KA site, but I will try to adapt one of the other recipes. Any suggestions?

    100% whole grain pain au levain? You might try checking out our King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book… your library might have a copy. I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t have one in there. (Can’t check right now, I don’t have a copy and am in Florida…) – Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  69. Melanie

    Okay so this is the second time I tried this recipe. I weighed my ingredients and despite thinking the dough was too wet…I did not add additional flour and was glad I read not too. My loaf only rose to about 2-2.5 inches so I was a little disappointed. The softness was perfect and it wasn’t too dry either. I let it rise 90 minutes the first time, and the second time it never came close to the rim of the pan. I let it rise for about 1 hour and 45 min and finally decided to bake. I used SAF yeast, White whole wheat flour, kneaded in bread machine for 7 minutes. Any suggestions?

    Melanie, set your bread machine on the dough cycle, and let it go all the way through your dough cycle. Make absolutely certain your bread pan measures 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″, inside top dimensions; NOT 9″ x 5″. Let us know if this helps – PJH

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  70. Kim

    Wow! This turned out fantastically!

    I did it all by hand, so I added an extra 1/2 tsp of yeast “just in case” — turns out I probably didn’t need it: my dough crowned at about 1.25 inches after 60 minutes into the second rise. Either I had feisty yeast or 2.5 tsp would be enough!

    My other notes, which will hopefully help others who don’t have a mixer or bread machine:

    1. I added about 1/8-1/4 cup water (it’s a cold, dry day)
    2. I kneaded for about 8-9 minutes until it all came together (it was still very rough and “heavy” feeling compared to when I knead white flour dough).
    3. Mine doubled in 90 minutes, so I didn’t let the first rise go any longer (probably due to me worrying and adding 1/2 tsp of yeast).
    4. After 60 mins, the second rise produced a very bouncy, tall loaf ready for the oven (like I said, crowned 1.25 inches above rim).

    I used a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2″ glass pan (I measured inside top like you mentioned) — is that why it turned out so tall? (your metal pans look wider). Not that I’m complaining about the rise!

    Thanks for the tremendous recipe!

    Good job, Kim – not sure why yours rose so well, except maybe a tiny bit more flour making it a tiny bit stiffer? Our bread pans are 4 1/2″ wide… Thanks for the great input! PJH

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  71. Carolyn Hergenrother

    Just to get back to the cost of flour for a minute. Maybe a year ago (?) I found KAF AP flour at BJ’s Warehouse. I checked the price last week. $6.49 for a 10 pound bag. They don’t carry any other types – whole wheat, bread – of KAF flours. Grocery stores in the area (central NC) seem to offer fewer and fewer types at ever escalating prices.

    Reply
  72. Walter

    Can you make this in a bread machine? What do you do differently? Anything?

    You can try it in the bread machine – use the whole wheat/whole grain cycle. What do you do differently? Pray it comes out! 100% whole wheat often needs more coddling (watching the rise and adjusting it) than white bread. Give it a try, Walter – it just might work. If not, the birds will be happy… PJH

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  73. Walter

    Trying it now, I’ll keep you posted. I just hope it comes out ok. I love whole wheat but so often they are just so heavy, thick and dense.

    Indeed, Walter. The addition of some all-purpose or bread flour makes a huge difference; if you’re not dead-set on 100% whole wheat, you might try some partial whole wheat recipes, as you’ll get a much better result. for instance, try our white sandwich bread recipe using half whole wheat sometime – I think it’ll work out well. Cheers- PJH

    Reply
  74. Patricia

    Hi –
    My son is allergic to many things, but white whole wheat works for him.
    I am no professional baker, but I have used live help.
    I do not know what I did, but it rose quickly – I felt obliged to leave it for 70 minutes for fear that I would mess up. The second rising – maybe 45 minutes. Again, I expected a marathon.
    I used potato buds- I sent my husband to the grocery – that’s what he got – that’s what I used. The only milk I have is non – fat.
    I made two loaves at the same time – one sank somewhat in the middle – the other was fine.
    This is good bread – really good wheat bread. My son lhas pronounced it ‘dessert’. His diet is so limited – you learn quickly to enjoy the little things.
    I guess that is my point.
    I read the comments and the suggestions. To me the joy of cooking on the whole – is about doing something with love that others will love.
    Analysis is fine but don’t forget to enjoy – even the mistakes!

    Great outlook, Patricia – thanks for sharing. PJH

    Reply
  75. PL

    This recipe works great for me & is also the easiest slicing loaf.It keeps better than any bread I’ve ever made….3 days later it’s still good as day it was made. A winner for sure.

    Reply
  76. Peita

    I noticed in one of your replies that you said 1/4 c potato flour could be substituted for the potato flakes. That was to be one of my questions. Another question involves the size pan to use. You don’t seem to offer a 9 x 5 pan and I only have KA 10 x 5 and 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 pans. If I sub bread flour for 3 oz of White Whole Wheat flour could I get by with using a 10 x 5 or should just go with the 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 pan? And would the 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 work for this recipe with all White Whole Wheat flour?
    You should use your 10 X 5 pan-the loaf will not crown as much but is a better fit then one too small. You may subsitute some bread flour if you would like and it will give a higher rise. Joan @ bakershotline

    Reply
  77. David W Spear

    I live way out in the wilds of the Black Hills of SD. Trying to get the right size recipe for whole wheat in a full size pullman pan. Anybody help?

    Try our 100% whole wheat pain de mie recipe, David – should be just what you’re looking for. Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  78. Megan

    I baked this bread today and it JUST came out of the oven. I couldn’t resist having a slice and it was delicious! The most flavorful wheat bread I have ever tasted!!!

    Testifying to the fact, whole grains CAN be very yummy indeed. Thanks for you input, Megan – PJH

    Reply
  79. Angela

    I am so excited about this recipe! Dough is rising and looks good so far!

    I bake quite a bit of bread – nearly all of our family’s, plus most of a few of my family member’s households – but their is one question I am having a hard time getting a definitive answer on:

    When you double (or often in my case, triple) a recipe, how much do you increase the yeast?

    I also have wondered why and when you use wheat gluten – I know what it does, in theory – but am never sure how much to use and have never noticed any discernible difference when I’ve tried it.

    Thanks -I think it’s about time to go form those loaves!

    Great questions…here are the short answers – Double a recipe? Use the same amount of yeast as the original recipe for up to 8 cups flour. More than 8 cups flour, double the yeast. Vital Wheat Gluten helps with the rise of whole grain recipes. These questions are perfect for the baker’s hotline….We welcome you to ask your questions at 800-827-6836. Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  80. Julia Morgenstern Hefner

    (First off, a quick hello to Allison Furbish, we went to college together!) I excitedly bought some KAF white whole wheat flour earlier this week, I’ve been on quite a baking kick as the weather has chilled down already here in Colorado, and I have been looking forward to baking some good sandwich bread with it. After searching the KAF website and several other recipe sites as well as my favorite baking cookbook, I am dissapointed that every whole wheat sandwich bread recipe (whether calling for white whole wheat or regular whole wheat) calls for either milk or butter or both. My son is allergic to milk protein, so none of these recipes will work for me! Can you guys help me at all, or do all whole wheat sandwich breads call for dairy of some sort?

    Hi, Julia. I’ll give Allison your best; I’m traveling with her tomorrow. The milk in the whole grain breads is there as a tenderizer and to help the loaf retain moisture. You can often substitute rice milk, or if it’s a recipe that calls for dry milk powder, substitute an equal amount of potato flour instead. Hope this helps. Susan

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  81. Kuby

    As i type this, I have another bread in the zo now. The first loaf came out okay, but i used the rye bread hearth pan and it didn’t rise as high as I would have liked. In addition, I had something sticking out in the top of my ancient oven which poked the bread as it was rising preventing a good rise.

    Reply
  82. Lisa Cherer

    I tried this recipe after a week of reading this..i prepared my kitchen utensils. Guess what i know how to bake bread now. Thank you very much for sharing your recipe. Great help for me!

    Glad we could help, Lisa – PJH

    Reply
  83. val

    PJ, I’m confused about the pan sizes. In the recipe, it calls for a 9×5 pan. But in one of your replies on this post (March 28 09), you say “Make absolutely certain your bread pan measures 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″, inside top dimensions; NOT 9″ x 5″. Let us know if this helps.” But then later (July 7 09) Joan tells someone NOT to use an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 pan: “You should use your 10 X 5 pan-the loaf will not crown as much but is a better fit then one too small. You may subsitute some bread flour if you would like and it will give a higher rise.”

    I know it’s difficult trying to keep track of this kind of thing, especially when different people are responding and may not have read the entire reply thread, so my apologies if this sounds like a criticism — I don’t mean it that way! :) But can you clarify what the exact dimensions are for the ideal pan for this recipe?

    Thanks so much! I love this blog — just discovered it this week and have been browsing through it, adding recipes to my recipe box!

    Glad you’re having fun, Val. I must have been dreaming with that comment – the pans I used are definitely 9″ x 5″, I can tell by the pictures. Thanks for picking that up; my usual advice for folks wondering why their bread doesn’t rise high is to check their pan size, as even 1/2″ difference (9″ x 8 1/2″) makes a big difference in rise. Bottom line – use the 9″ x 5″ pan for best results. And welcome to the blog! PJH

    Reply
  84. Val

    PJ, thanks! I ended up using my 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 (my other pan is 9 1/2 x 5 1/2) and it rose high very quickly — was already 1″ over the rim by 20 minutes into the rise! So I went ahead and baked, and got quite a bounce in the oven — I’d say it’s a good 2″ over the rim. It’s cooling now. I’m waiting until it’s completely cooled before I cut into it. It doesn’t feel overly heavy, but if it seems too dense once I cut, I’ll try the larger pan next time. Or maybe I’ll just have to spring for the 9 x 5 pan! :D

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  85. Virginia

    I think this recipe sounds great. My one concern is that 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt is too much for my diet. I’m on a strict low-sodium diet that requires the intake of the least amount of sodium possible. Can I cut back the sodium to 1/2 teaspoon so that the per-slice amount of sodium would be (hopefully) less than 100 mg.? I would think that it wouldn’t affect flavor since there’s plenty of flavor coming from the orange juice, melted butter, milk and potato flakes. I’ve purchased whole wheat and whole grain bread with only 10 mg per slice but the texture is too crumbly and sometimes mealy tasting and I would really like to make my own considering the cost of these breads – sometimes nearly $5 per loaf.

    Also, does anyone know of the additive used in commercial loaves that makes their bread low-carb? It’s some kind of enzyme added that keeps the body from absorbing most of the carbs but I don’t know what it is or how to get it. It’s also used in Dreamfield’s pastas. I would greatly appreciate any help you can give me (and so does my diabetic husband). Thanks.

    Hi Virginia,
    When reducing the salt in yeast breads, a good general rule of thumb is that you can cut the salt measure in half without losing the benefits of the salt. Salt plays more than just a flavor role in yeast breads. It helps strengthen the gluten and it keeps the yeast from over-consuming the starches resulting in sluggish yeast and poor browning. There are some great salt free bread recipe out there. You might want to check out Bernard Clayton’s recipe in his “Complete Book of Breads”.
    As for the additives, any suggestions out there from our fellow bakers? ~ MaryJane

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  86. Merryish

    Thanks so much for this recipe and the clear instructions! I just tested it out today, followed the recipe to the letter, and the bread came out fantastic. It’s definitely the best wheat loaf I’ve ever made – before, all mine turned out short, dry, and dense. This has a lovely soft texture and a great flavor, rose beautifully, and cuts into sandwich slices like a dream. I think I have a new go-to loaf for sandwiches now!

    I’m also trying out the no-knead recipe – it’s in the fridge now. I’ll hold out as long as I can before baking, but I doubt it’ll be more than two or three days before I crack. =)

    Thanks for sharing your success here – always good to hear from someone who’s successfully scaled the rocky heights of 100% whole wheat bread! PJH

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  87. Chris Maciel

    Does anyone have experience baking whole wheat bread in a dutch oven?
    I have tried it twice now, using Jane Brody’s recipe, which I can name if anyone’s interested.
    I like having a sturdy crust which baking in covered dutch oven gives.
    The first time it was perfect, the second time texture was off, too crumbly. Another change is that I used the regular whole wheat bread rather than the usual white whole wheat flour.
    I will add a hint about whole wheat bread that is very helpful. Mix all ingredients together, then let the dough rest for 1 hour before attempting to knead.
    Whole wheat flour absorbs liquid more slowly than white flour; the dough is very sticky so hard to knead. I find that it will rise anyhow with as little as 2 minutes kneading. Just be patient.
    I will try this recipe next time.

    Thanks for the tips, Chris. Please call our Baker’s Hotline, 802-649-3717, and they can talk through the Dutch oven whole wheat bread with you. PJH

    Reply
  88. Shirley Blas

    I am a new bread maker, and have been trying to find a good whole wheat bread recipe for sandwiches. I tried your recipe, and all went well, until it baked in the oven. The middle part of the loaf looks as if it fell. Since I am a novice at this, I am not sure what I did wrong. The dough appeared doubled in size, after the first rise, and it appeared to rise high enough over the pan edge for the second rise.
    I didn’t get it covered with foil intil it was almost done. Would that have affected it?
    Each end of the bread is higher than the middle, causing it to look as if it has a saddle. Help!

    Don’t give up, Shirley – 100% whole wheat bread is a real challenge for a new bread baker! Sounds to me like you might have let the bread rise a bit too much once it was in the pan. Next time, put it in the oven a bit before you think it’s ready – maybe when it’s just risen about 1/2″ over the pan edge. Also, this is kind of advanced for a new bread baker, but in summer your bread recipes will require a bit less liquid; try reducing the water by 1 tablespoon. That should help, too. And – you can always call our Baker’s Hotline for help! 802-649-3717. Cheers – PJH

    Reply
  89. Mary Sacco

    Great recipe! I’m not a fan of whole wheat, but decided to give it try. It was wonderful! Nice texture, great flavor, and not dry. I subbbed 3/4 c. cooked potato, run through a rice mill for the flakes. Also I used 1/4 c. dry nonfat milk, because it didn’t seem to weigh out correctly. In the end it was perfection. Thanks for another great recipe.

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  90. Cheryl Nelson

    I have taken the plunge into Bread Baking!!! I tried the receipe on the back of the dry milk from King Flour….It called for 3 cups of all purpose flour, and I changed it to 1 cup of Whole wheat flour, and 2 tablespoons of honey, and 2 large eggs. I followed the receipe, accept for thos changes. That Bread was OFF the Chain. My son and niece is in love with my Wheat bread…. I love it too! So THANK YOU King Flour, you are my Baking Gurus!!! I like to toast it, spread it with butter and Strawberry preserves….YUMMMIE!!! Now I am going to try the Baguettes receipe….

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  91. Megan

    I’ve started baking my own bread too!
    My first try was pita, and the last one I made was AMAZING, but the others in the batch weren’t given enough time to puff up, and came out dense (my fault)

    It’s hard to find good bread, especially when vegan. Let’s face it, the packaged inexpensive stuff is gross- I mean, how many ingredients should be in bread, really? The fresh stuff is good, but does run a bit pricey, relatively.

    So, why not bake it yourself!

    You’ve got that right, Megan – there are all kinds of great reasons to “bake it yourself,” including being able to control your ingredients; price, and enjoying something just minutes out of the oven. As for pita – oven temperature makes a huge difference. If the oven’s just 10°F to 20°F too cool, the pita won’t puff. So be sure your oven is right up to temperature for each batch, not just the first batch. Good luck – PJH

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  92. Halo

    i live in New Mexico, where the ambient humidity rests somewhere around 10% on a good day. i am wondering if i can substitute actual liquid milk for some or all of the dry milk, since i will have to add extra liquid anyway? what purpose does the dry milk serve?
    Yes, you can use liquid vs. dry. We recommend scalding milk first and cool before using. Replace the liquid in the recipe with the scalded milk. You could also omit the powder all together and just proceed with the recipe. Any milk product adds nutrition (calcium, Vitamin D). Milk also adds tenderizers to the dough, flavor, color. Baked goods made with milk will stay fresher longer! Softer! Elisabeth

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  93. annaeidson

    I’m vegan. I can figure out substitutes for the milk and butter, even for the flour, but am flummoxed by what to use as a non-dairy substitute for the nonfat dry milk. Any thoughts?

    Just leave it out – it’s there for texture, and your bread may be a bit drier, but should be OK. You might try adding a bit more butter substitute to make up for it – PJH

    Reply
  94. geet

    i have just woken to the idea of healthy whole wheat bread, but after a couple of disasters i was quite fed up n the futility got to me,but ur lovely blog n wonderful bakers on helpline ,namely amy (the patient listener)! have helped me pull myself together n i will keep u posted amy,the minute my loaf s off the oven!thanks again………

    We look forward to hearing about your success! Practice makes perfect, so keep up the good work- PJH

    Reply

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