Sunday, June 7, 2009

Whole Wheat Bread

This week I felt like a baking rockstar.
I've only had my blog for about two weeks, but after receiving such positive responses about it, I just felt like handing out my URL to everyone I saw- "here, look at this, its my blog!" and "did you know I had a blog? well I do! check it out!"

So, i guess i got a little ambitious. I decided to try out Peter Reinhart's whole wheat bread. Even though I don't own any of his books (yet), I already know that Peter Reinhart is the bread baking master, with five books about bread baking published and a huge following.

I found this recipe online, and although the soaker/biga method looks difficult and strange, it is SURPRISINGLY EASY. all you do is mix the biga and soaker separately the night before you want to bake the loaf, and then the next day, mix and knead everything together. Even without a kitchenaid (*sigh, i hate being a poor student), it was simple:

  • 1 3/4 c (8 oz) whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 t (.14 oz) salt
  • 3/4 c + 2 T (7 oz) milk, buttermilk, yogurt, soy milk or rice milk

Mix together in a bowl about one minute, leave at room temp. for 12 to 24 hours covered loosely with plastic wrap. Any longer than that, place it in the fridge.


  • 1 3/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 t (.03 oz) instant yeast
  • 3/4 c (6 oz) filtered or spring water (room temp)

Mix all ingredients into a ball then knead with wet hands 2 minutes. Dough will be tacky. Let rest for 5 minutes, then knead again 1 minute. Place in fridge covered tightly with plastic wrap for minimum 8 hours to 3 days. Remove from fridge 2 hours before mixing dough.


  • all the biga
  • all the soaker
  • 7 T (2 oz) ww flour
  • 5/8 t (.18 oz) salt
  • 2 1/4 t (.25 oz) instant yeast
  • 2 1/2 T (1.5 oz) honey or agave nectar or 3 T sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 T melted unsalted butter or 1 T vegetable oil
  • extra flour
  1. Chop up the biga and soaker into 12 pieces each and place in a mixing bowl. Add in all other ingredients except extra flour and mix together until combined-(if using a mixer- one min on low, then 2-3 mins. on med. low.)
  2. Remove from bowl to a floured work area and knead for 3-4 minutes adding extra flour as needed to get a tacky, but not sticky dough. Let rest for 5 minutes, then knead another 1 minute. Place in an oiled bowl and let it rise for 45-60 mins until it's about 1 1/2 times the original size.
  3. Form into whatever type of loaf you wish. If using a pan, use a greased 4x8 1/2" loaf pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise again 45-60 mins. until 1 1/2 x's it's original size.
  4. Preheat oven to 425° and place loaf pan in the oven. Immediately turn the temp. down to 350° and bake for 20 mins. Rotate the loaf a complete half turn and bake another 20 to 30 mins. or to 195°

wasn't as fluffy as i would have liked- might be because its 100% whole wheat, may be because of my inexperience with this technique... guess ill have to keep on baking to find out!

I'm submitting this to yeastspotting-

yay yeastpotting!


  1. Looking good there, Leah. Not bad for your for your first time with the method. Peter Reinhart has never let me down before!

  2. ..don't worry... you poor student.... you will get your Kitchenaid mixer...

  3. It is very difficult (impossible, really, even with PR's method) to get a truly fluffy 100% whole wheat bread. Very nice loaf there!

  4. I was just as excited and giggly about my new blog, too, and still am! I am glad you popped over and visited mine and brought me to yours. I love discovering new food blogs and getting to know other foodies.

    I am slowly mastering bread baking, too, and I love it. My latest effort, as you saw, was moufleta, which was fun to make, but came out more bread like and less crepe like than I expected. If you make it, I must see how it came out!

  5. And I still dream of owning a Kitchenaid (*sigh* too).

  6. Hi, I am a complete novice to bread making outside a ABM. Now that I have discovered that I can soak-sprout-dry-grind my own flour I am making my very first attempt at baking a loaf of 100% whole yeast wheat bread using my own sprouted grain flour. I found a recipe that was listed in metric units and I have a good scale. I have a soaker dough in the refridgerator since 24 hours, and a biga in the fridg that I started at 10am. Tomorrow morning I plan on making my final dough with the soaker and biga. For the soaker I used sprouted/dried/ground spring wheat berries (prairie gold) and for the biga I have used sprouted/dried/ground spelt. The recipe calls for a double rise which should help with the gluten develpoment? But maybe I should use some VWG - Since I live at high altitude (8895) in Colorado I am thinking I would add some VWG at the rate of 1 teaspoon for every 1 cup of flour tomorrow when I create my final dough. Other than that I was not going to alter anything else so at least I have a starting point for future experimentation. I am hoping for edible bread since I hate throwing away so much hard work and food! Any suggestions advice or ideas are greatly appreciated. I have been watching bread kneading videos on Utube for days! I will let you know how it turns out - wish me luck, I'm gonna need it.

    Q: in step 1 of the final dough, you give times for mixing using a stand mixer, I am a "starving artist" (I don't have a stand mixer) how long would mix by hand in this step?

  7. Very yummy-looking! I bet it smelled delicious and tasted even better!

  8. thanks so much for all your lovely posts!

    in response to the question, i'm not sure that I totally understood your sprouted/dried/ground flour process, but it sounds like you really know what you're talking about! about the kneading- i would say about ten minutes, or until you get a smooth, elastic (tacky)dough. good luck! let me know how it turns out!!

  9. Thanks Leah! It came out great! I am starting my second loaf. I posted pictures of it here:

    The last two images are my loaf.

  10. I got my kitchen aid at a yard sale for $35. It needed a little electrical tape on the cord, but it has worked well for 3 years now. It is a nice solid old one. Look around. You never know who is "upgrading" to a new one.

    Vital Wheat Gluten helps a lot, to make 100% whole wheat bread fluffier.

  11. What a great idea Carrie! wish me luck on my kitchenaid search... :)

    and Tessa- what a nice looking loaf! looks like all your research paid off!!