Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Wheat Bread Experiment

Last month when I went to the Preparedness Expo, one of the speakers handed out a small paper explaining how to make a loaf of 100% wheat bread, and not have it turn out like a heavy brick, by just following a few simple rules.  So I tried it.

Here are the rules:

1.  Pick any white flour recipe and substitute whole wheat flour for all of the white flour.

2.  Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice for each cup of liquid in the recipe.

3.  Mix all ingredients together except leavening (yeast, baking soda….) and eggs, if using.

4.  Cover mixture with towel, let sit at room temperature (about 75F) for 12 to 24 hours.

5.  Mix in leavening and eggs (if using).

6.  Cook according to recipe.

Now, as most of you know, I am still learning all about this thing called “baking”.  I really enjoy it, but I am self taught so things don’t always go according to plan.   


The first thing I did was grind hard red wheat berries into flour.  This was a new experience.  When we bought the grain mill we tried grinding wheat just as a test, but I don’t think I have ever baked with 100% home ground flour.  I really didn’t know what I was doing so I ran it through the mill 3 times.  Each time at a finer setting. It was nice flour when I was done, but still coarser than store bought.




Then I got everything in one place. I substituted raw honey for the sugar in the recipe.  So here I have  flour, butter and salt, honey, milk, water, and lemon juice.




Everything went into the mixer.




Then I oiled my dough riser.




And added the dough.  It was very moist, even with 7 cups of flour.




I needed a warm place to put it so I put it into the oven with the light on and left it there for about 24 hours.  When it came out it was funny looking.  There was a dark layer on the top and a lot of moisture in the riser.  I think I got it too warm, or maybe for too long.  At this point I’m not sure.




I threw it in the mixer anyway and added the yeast.




It was soft and workable when it was kneaded. Actually, it was too soft.




I divided the dough in half and rolled out a rectangle for each loaf.




At this point they needed to rise for another 30 minutes and I thought they looked quite nice. (And normal).




After 30 minutes they had spread out in the pan but really didn’t rise much. 




Here they are fresh out of the oven.  They look great and smell delicious!



Onto the cooling racks.



I would love to tell you they turned out great, but sadly, they were not quite right.  They were not done in the center so I re-baked them and they still were undercooked inside.  I would have tried again but that “dark” stuff sort of all ended up towards the center of the loaf and the taste was a bit “off”.  I was uneasy about poisoning myself and my husband so I had to call this one a “fail”.  I’m going to try again with a different recipe that doesn’t use as much liquid.  Maybe that will help – I don’t know – I’m still learning :)  Any suggestions?  Do you have a favorite bread recipe that you’re willing to share?


Thanks for stopping by!





  1. I've never tried making bread that particular way either. The whole process seems a bit backwards; usually the yeast is allowed to multiply throughout the dough by allowing it to rise at least twice.

    If you try that method again, one suggestion to avoid the possible food poisoning issue would be to use a recipe without any dairy in it - no milk, no butter. Stick with a recipe that uses water, oil, & salt. You probably will not need such a large container for the long sitting process because you haven't added the yeast yet. It also wouldn't hurt to keep the dough in an airtight container to keep the top from drying out. Once you add the yeast, don't hesitate to add more flour if the dough still seems too sticky. Bread dough will take different amounts of flour depending on weather conditions, humidity, etc.

    I am quite skeptical about the whole promise of having fluffy bread made with 100% whole wheat flour. The most I have ever tried is a 50-50 mix of white flour and whole wheat flour and the bread was still quite heavy.

    There is a basic bread recipe on my blog. I'll have to get back to you on what date it is filed under.

  2. Sorry your bread didn't turn out, but what a neat experience! I don't even know where we'd buy wheat berries locally, but I should probably look into it.

    I should learn how to bake bread like that, too. I just throw my ingredients into my bread machine and let it do its magic. :)

  3. Hi, this is my first time commenting on your newly found blog. I think it's great that you are grinding your own grain! I have found a recipe that works great for fresh ground whole wheat bread at Urban Homemaker. You do add an acid and let it sit overnight but this recipe really works and you will have a high rising, great textured bread! Please give it a try I know you will love it! It's called Marilyn's whole grain bread.

  4. We use Urban Homemaker's recipe here I used to use the 2 loaf "hand" recipe just fine in my KA but now I do the 5/6 loaf recipe in my Bosch. Both work great. At first I halved the whole wheat and white flour but now my kids would rather have all whole wheat freshly ground flour. We have a nutrimill grain grinder and love it!

  5. OMG!look so good-I would love a piece slathered with honey butter on top.
    PS: I love the new look to your blog..

  6. I wish I could bake, but I flub it every time I try. Looks great.

  7. I've recently become aware that I need to develop more than just a stockpile of food in order to Prep effectively. My couponing skills have gained me a substantial stockpile of both food and health & beauty aids. However, what I need are tangible skills...and baking bread isn't currently in my skill set.

    Baking and canning are on my list of "skills to devlop next." I'm currently teaching myself about edible and medicinal plants in my area.

    I hope the next batch turns out!

  8. Hello, I've come this far - why not say hello?
    It's a skill for sure. I've had aunts and grandparents who could just throw it all together. And it always seemed to be good.
    Not tried making bread. I've baken from a box. Hope you find a good recipe for this.

  9. The bread recipe is in this post.

    Hope you find the recipe to be useful.
    You are definitely more ambitious than I am; I hate scrubbing corners in bread pans.

  10. Ditto Mrs S and avoid dairy next time. I suspect the set out is an attempt to change how the wheat absorbs the liquid, which kinda makes sense, but means that you don't need to keep it warm, just not chill it. Next time just leave it on the counter unless your house is really chilly. Its possible the home grind is also affecting it at least some.

  11. Oh, and for the final mix, don't be afraid to sprinkle in a little more flour, and cook them a little darker. I know you probly cooked them for the time the recipe said, but a little darker is a better sign of done, especially with a whole wheat loaf.

  12. Hi Red,
    This is my favorite WW Bread recipe. I have made it many times and it works out great.

    the little bird


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