Whole Wheat Bread

It’s almost time for me to return Mollie Katzen’s The New Enchanted Broccoli Forrest cookbook to the library, so I decided to try one of her bread recipes. I chose the basic whole wheat loaf.

As usual, there were some substitutions involved (FYI – most people advise against make substitutions in bread baking – it can be a very exact science). I began by making the sponge – I mixed a packet of yeast, 2 cups of warm water, and 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour in a bowl. I covered with a towel and allowed it to sit for 40 minutes.

After this initial rising, it was time to add the mix – 1/4 cup of canola oil, 1/3 cup of honey, 1 Tbs of salt. I added this liquid mixture to the sponge and then began adding in the additional flour. The recipe called for 3 cups of whole wheat flour and 4 cups of all-purpose flour. This is where I ran into some problems. First of all, I only had 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour on hand so I had to increase the whole wheat portion. Furthermore, the dough was very dry (perhaps due to the weather or humidity of my kitchen?) and would not take 7 extra cups of flour. I actually had to add over 1/4 cup of water to make the dough workable. Bread is so finick-y! I ended up adding 3 1/2 cups of ww wheat flour and 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour. I kneaded this for a good 15 minutes and then covered and set aside for 1 1/2 minutes.

Bread dough

Once the dough had done its thing for 90+ minutes, I kneaded it one more time (~10 minutes), divided the dough ball in two, and placed it in 2 greased and sesame seed sprinkled loaf pans. I pressed the dough into the bottom of the pan and then flipped it over. This ensured a nicely shaped top and evenly sesame-seeded top. I covered the pans and allowed it to double in volume (I let it sit for 20-25 minutes, but you should probably wait longer). Finally I popped the loaf pans in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. 

Ready to bake

After the loaves finished baking, I carefully popped them out on to a wire rack and allowed them to cool for 30 minutes before slicing.  If you cut the bread when its too hot, the structure of the bread will collapse – you don’t want that!

whole wheat bread with sesame seeds

This bread had a high ratio of whole wheat flour and it was noticable. Whole wheat breads don’t rise as high and are denser than white bread. However,   I really liked the taste of this loaf. It reminded me of rustic peasant bread :-) It’s been delicious toasted and covered with raspberry jam.


There are plenty of variations that you could make while baking this bread. Here are a few:

  • For a thick, crunchy crust – bake the bread at 425 F for the first 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350 F for the remaining 30 minutes.
  • Brush milk, egg yolk, or egg white on the bread loaves just before baking. These glazes will result in slightly different effects on the crust.
  • Sprinkle sesame, poppy, or sunflower seeds into the batter or incorporate them as part of the crust.
  • Play around with the ratios of whole wheat flour and white flour – just keep in mind that whole wheat flour creates a denser, chewier loaf.

5 Responses

  1. See, you need to move to DC. We own that cookbook and you could make all the whole wheat bread you want! You know you want to. :)

  2. looks delish!

  3. Hey!
    I just found your blog today actually and am really excited about it. I’ve been a follower of Kath Eats and others for a while, and one blogroll linked to another led me here finally!

    I live in Brooklyn, and though I’m definitely not as serious a runner as you, I love to run. I just started a blog calld She Runs Brooklyn (only 3 posts :) but you check it out here: http://sherunsbrooklyn.wordpress.com/)

    I’m excited to join in the blog world and read your blog to stay motivated as a NYC girl!

  4. Good job pushing the whole wheat bread! We need to convince people that carbs, especially whole-grain ones, are so good for us! I’m not much of a baker, but when I do, there’s always a warm, cozy feeling in the home. Seeing these pictures kind of makes me want to do it again!

  5. […] was a leftover middle-eastern stuffed pepper and a slice of my homemade whole wheat bread (I’ve been keeping it in the […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: