I do enjoy wholemeal bread, also known as wholewheat bread, and eat some everyday with my lunch. Made with 100% of the grain of wheat, wholemeal flour, is rougher in texture that white flour.
Bread made from wholemeal often contains some white bread flour as well. That provides a lighter texture to the bread. However, for this loaf I wanted to use 100% wholemeal. Knowing that this would make a denser loaf I needed to ensure that I used a flour with a high protein content. Protein in the flour is what creates the gluten, to give structure to the bread. So the higher the protein content the stronger the gluten content, which would allow more lift to the bread, giving a lighter texture than could otherwise be achieved.
So I used a wholemeal flour that had 13.5% protein. That means 13.5 grams of protein per 100 grams of flour. There are wholemeal flours available with greater, or lesser, levels of protein. They can be used too. Just remember that the lower the protein level the denser the loaf is likely to be. In the UK you can always check how much protein is in the flour by reading the nutritional information on the packet.
So, let’s consider the recipe. The dough is very easy to make, if you have a stand mixer. It is not difficult to make by hand, but it is more work as the dough has to be kneaded for quite a long time. It is ready when you have a soft and elastic dough.
The dough has to be proofed, once it is made, until it has doubled in size. This will take between 1 and 2 hours, in most kitchens, depending on the room temperature.
Then, once proofed, the dough has to be de-gassed and shaped to go into a 2lb/900g loaf tin. I used a tin that was slightly larger than that, but 2lb/900g tins will work just fine. Then the dough must be proofed in the tin. That takes about 45 minutes, until the dough has risen above the top of the loaf tin.
As the dough rises in the tin it is time to preheat the oven. Then it is time to bake the loaf.
The heat of the oven will provide an extra rise to the dough. After just about 35 to 40 minutes or so(mine took 38 minutes) the loaf is fully baked.
I baked my loaf for 38 minutes. I had expected it to be fully baked by 35 minutes. However when I tested the internal temperature with a thermometer it hadn’t reached the necessary 90C/190F. So I left it until 38 minutes and tested again. By that time the internal temperature was 94C/108F. So I was sure it was fully baked.
Having risen well in the oven the loaf looked very good indeed. I removed it from the oven and immediately rubbed some butter over the top. That was to ensure the crust was nice and soft.
Then I removed the loaf from the tin and cooled it completely, on a wire rack, before slicing.
The rise had created a wonderful texture, nice and soft. My loaf had that wonderfully nutty flavour that is expected from a good wholemeal bread.
It certainly sliced very well. I used it for sandwiches and enjoyed them immensely. Personally I think this 100% wholemeal bread tastes much better than those made by including some white flour. In fact I rather think that I shall be making this much more frequently in future.
Another very good recipe is Soft White Sandwich Bread.
100% Wholemeal(Wholewheat) BreadCourse: BreadCuisine: InternationalDifficulty: Medium
465g(3 1/2 cups + 1 tsp) wholemeal flour – at least 13.5% protein
307ml(1 1/4 cups + 1 tsp) lukewarm water
54g(2tbsp+2 tsp) honey
7.5g( 1 1/4 tsp) salt
56g(4 tbsp) softened unsalted butter
6g(2 tsp) instant yeast
- Lightly grease a 2lb/900g loaf tin.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer(you can do everything by hand too, of course) pour the honey and water.
- Add the yeast and salt and stir until dissolved into the liquids.
- Put the flour and then the butter onto the wet ingredients and mix with the dough hook, on a low speed, until a shaggy dough has formed.
- Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead until the dough is soft and elastic and clinging to the dough hook, that will take about 10 minutes. If doing everything by hand knead for at least 15 minutes.
- Tip the dough out of the bowl and form it into a tight ball.
- Place the ball of dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.
- Leave the dough in a warm place to proof until is has doubled in size. That is likely to take between one and two hours.
- Tip the dough onto the work surface and gently knock the air out of it.
- Form the dough into a flattened rectangle with the short side being about the same as the length of the loaf tin.
- Roll the dough up, from the short side and then lift it and place it, seam on the bottom, into the loaf pan.
- Loosely cover the loaf tin with lightly greased plastic wrap and leave it until the dough has risen about 1 inch/2.5 cm above the top of the tin.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F.
- Bake the loaf for between 30 and 40 minutes(mine took 38 minutes), until it is well risen and the internal temperature has reached at least 90C/190F.
- Remove the tin from the oven and rub a little butter over the top of the loaf. Then remove the loaf from the tin and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
I baked this loaf as I said when I was here last…and, it was so lovely and tasty…but, am baking a second one today.
Question: Does the top of your loaf become soft and wrinkly looking after about 2 hours out of the oven? I don’t put butter on it in hopes of it staying firm. It looks “Epic” as my sister says when it first comes out, but after a few hours … totally soft and wrinkly.
For today’s I’m reducing the water a bit, putting one less TBSP. of honey and also less butter and trying to see if that will firm it up just a bit on the surface without drying it out like you mentioned whole wheat loaves usually are .. I do want it still to be soft and not a brick…but, a better surface look.
Of course, if it doesn’t work…I’ll just go back to your recipe and make that …it makes the absolute best toast.
I’m in the middle of making this one today Geoff… just waiting for it to rise…. my yeast didn’t seem to foam up much. If anything the water may have been a tad too warm… it is new-ish yeast…guess we’ll see what I get in the end. .fingers crossed. Hope mine is as good as Carolines’ and yours…. it looks great!
Hi Geoff, I have made this loaf three times, given one away and I think I will be making this weekly, it is so tasty and stays soft. Just had some with homemade plum jam yum.
Hi Caroline. That’s great. I am so pleased that you enjoy it. I am jealous of the plum jam.