Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Whole Wheat Bread

For years I told my students that 100% whole wheat bread was extremely difficult if not impossible to make.  Well, one year, a student decided to challenge me.  One day after class, she brought up a slice of 100% homemade whole wheat bread that her family makes.  Needless to say, it was quite tasty with a very smooth texture.  I was impressed, but still not convinced.  Sometimes it takes a little more to get some of us to move, change, etc.

I had to make whole wheat bread for a 4-H project I was working on.  I was going to prove my student wrong!  I found the perfect recipe on King Arthur flour website (  It used all whole wheat flour, no white flour, no eggs, no potato, just whole wheat.   I decided to give it a try.  What to my surprise, when the bread turned out just fine.  It raised and I got a beautiful loaf of bread. 

Before you think of me as a little old fashioned and stuck in my ways, I do have a valid scientific reason for believing that you could not make a good loaf of 100% whole wheat bread.  Whole wheat flour contains fiber, which we all need to consume more of.  Fiber is good, but it plays havoc with gluten.  Gluten is the protein that stretches and traps the air, thus allowing the bread to raise.  Fiber pokes holes in gluten, which makes a denser loaf of bread.  So imagine my surprise when I got a good loaf of bread.

My colleague and I decided that maybe the method for grinding whole wheat flour has improved allowing fiber to have less negative effect on the gluten.  I also tried to make this bread with graham flour and it did not work.  The bread was dense, did not raise very much, and the flavor was bad.  Graham flour is the same as whole wheat flour, but has a coarser texture.

For this posting, I made two breads.  One I made according to the recipe on King Arthur flour website.  For the second loaf, I substituted ½ cup of whole wheat flour with the same amount of all purpose flour. 

Give either one or both a try.  Let us know how they turn out.

Left to Right:  Whole Wheat Flour; All Purpose Flour; Graham Flour


  1. You really have the magic touch to make a bread looks fabulous. Nice post

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