~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Friday, January 22, 2010

Peter Reinhart’s 100 % Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Peter Reinhart’s 100 % Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread Ok, so I am in a bread baking mood as of late. I really have come to LOVE bread baking...and the more I bake, the better I get at it. Of course, I am still learning... I can still remember how scared I was of making bread. Actually, I avoided any recipe that listed yeast as an ingredient. I just didn't want to mess around with it....didn't want to be disappointed. So for the longest time, I stayed away from those little packets of yeast. I always figured it was meant for those who were professionals.... or like my mom, who always used yeast as if it was no big deal. My mom made wonderful pizza dough, cozonac, gogosi (Romanian version of doughnuts) and various other doughs. I would see her making the dough, adjusting amounts as she went along. She would add more flour if she felt the dough needed it, or maybe adjust the amount of liquid, and so on. So, when I first started using yeast, I wanted spectacular results...sort of like my mom's:). I mean, I wanted the final product to be perfect! Oh, believe me, it wasn't perfect by any means...but I slowly learned how the dough should feel. I also found out that certain factors can affect the final result ...such as the humidity on that particular day, the right temp. of the liquid(not too hot, not too cold) and the need for the dough to rise in a WARM environment. I also learned that properly mixing the dough was just as important. I started out kneading the dough by hand. That was fun ...for a while. But then my hand would get too tired ...and that wasn't fun. Even though I gained valuable experience kneading the dough by hand, I didn't want it to become a chore, or even worse, disliking it. I wanted to enjoy it. I was thrilled when my husband eventually bought me a Kitchen-Aid mixer. From then on, it was a piece of cake:)!! Well, almost...at least the kneading part was. I am still learning about bread baking to this day. I really like to try a different bread recipe every so often....it just helps me practice my bread making skills.
This post was inspired by Peter Reinhart, a genius at bread baking. Well, I consider him a genius because he came up with a 100% WHOLE WHEAT bread that's TASTY, FLUFFY and TENDER! It slices beautifully. 100% whole wheat?...yes! Trust me, this bread is really good....DELICIOUS! We love it, and the recipe is definitely a keeper. I originally saw this recipe HERE and took the challenge to make it myself. Ok, so the recipe may look long and tedious. It really does involve two days!...yes, two days. But, you really don't have to do too much. The dough just needs to rest and get hydrated. This in fact is what makes the bread so soft and tender vs. other 100% whole wheat breads. It also gets better flavor as it rests... and since I like to bring in whole grains into our diet, I was up for the challenge. The bread was fantastic. Worth the time. Of course, since I was going through all that trouble, I decided to make 2 loaves. Glad I did. Hope you enjoy...

YOU WILL NEED: Just a note, I did measure my ingredients using the scale this time around. I didn't need to adjust anything... Oh yes, I finally got a kitchen scale!:)

~~~~~~~~~~~STEP 1~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For the Biga (Pre-fermented Dough):
1 3/4 cups (227 grams)whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp instant yeast
3/4 cup (170 grams)water, at room temperature

Biga (Pre-fermented Dough) Directions:
1. Mix the biga ingredients until a shaggy ball of dough is formed. Knead the biga for about 2 minutes or until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
2. Place the biga in a bowl and cover.

3. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. Let the biga sit at room temperature for about 2 hours before using in the final dough.

~~~~~~~~~~~~STEP 2~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For the Soaker:
1 3/4 cups( 227 grams) whole wheat flour
1 tsp (4 grams) kosher salt
3/4 cup + 2 TBS (198 grams) whole milk

Soaker Directions:

1. Mix the soaker ingredients until evenly hydrated. Cover and leave at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.


Final Dough Formula:
all of the biga (Step 1), cut into small pieces
all of the soaker (Step 2), cut into small pieces
7 TBS (57 grams) whole wheat flour
1/2 TBS (5 grams) kosher salt
2 1/4 tsp (7 grams) instant yeast
2 1/4 TBS (43 grams) honey
1 TBS (14 grams) unsalted butter, melted

Final Dough Instructions:

1.Mix all of the ingredients until evenly incorporated.

2. Knead 8 to 10 minutes I kneaded mine for 8 using my Kitchen-Aid mixer

3. Rest 5 minutes.

4. Knead 1 minute to further strengthen the gluten.

5. Let rise for 45 to 60 minutes at room temperature, in a lightly oiled bowl, or until 1 1/2 times its size.

6. Shape loaf and place in a greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pan ( I like to use parchment paper on the bottom.).... you can also use a 9x5 loaf pan, though it probably won't get such a high rise. The smaller pan works a bit better.

7. Roll bread dough similarly to a jelly roll style.

8. Pinch the seam so that the dough won't unravel and place seam side down in a parchment lined(or greased) loaf pan/s.

9. Preheat Oven 425ºF/218ºC...you will only need to pre-heat the oven at 425 deg F.... you will bake the bread at 350 deg. F.

10. Final Proof: Let dough rise for 45 to 60 minutes, at room temperature, or until 1 1/2 times its size.

Before baking: Lower the oven temp immediately to 350 deg.
11. Place the loaf on the middle rack and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate pans and bake for another 20 minutes ( I like to loosely cover my loaves with aluminum foil to prevent overbrowning in the last 10 minutes or so). OR until the loaf is a rich brown on all sides and registers at least 195 deg.F in the center. I like to brush my bread with a bit with melted butter...that's why the loaf is so shiny. It won't stay shiny...just softens the crust a bit.

12. Transfer the bread to a cooling rack and allow it to cool for at least 1 hour before serving.
You can definitely freeze the bread....actually, I recommend it. Just wrap it well.


MommaMindy said...

How I told you lately how amazing you are? I love seeing you conquer new talents in the kitchen so I can live vicariously through you!

Seriously, I needed a whole wheat bread recipe. Perfect timing.

Sailaja Damodaran said...

wow!!!!!!! looks like store bought.

Ellie said...

Mindy, You are always so sweet..Thank you for encouraging me, once again:)

Thanks for your kind comment!

Lydia said...


I've been sifting through your blog, I read your "about" page and I am just so excited to read your words! I'm so happy to hear you say you love Jesus Christ and about how close you are with your husband! Praise God! I'm so excited to have come upon your blog and I'm excited to follow your posts, the recipes and pictures are wonderful!


Ellie said...

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I greatly appreciate it.I hope you enjoy the blog and even more so that you find a recipe you like:). Have a blessed day!~Ellie

Anonymous said...

Do you use White Whole Wheat in your recipe?

Ellie said...

Anon,I always use Prairie Gold Montana Whole Wheat.

Anonymous said...

hi! i tried this last night and it came out so light and fluffy for a whole wheat recipe - awesome! the hardest part for me was actually slicing the bread. most of my pieces kind of fell apart or have holes in them :( i'm wondering if i did something wrong in baking, or if it was just the way i sliced it? did you ever have this problem?

Ellie said...

Well, I am glad you tried the recipe and liked the bread. For being whole wheat, I think it is a fabulous recipe.

As for the holes in the bread....my thoughts on what could have gone wrong.
1. The dough was over-risen( which is usually the case, especially if it is crumbly as well.)
2. When rolling the dough(jelly-roll style) before placing it in the pan~it might have been rolled too loosely allowing for air pockets.
3. under kneading
4. too much yeast( though I am sure this is not the case)

Having said all this, I think the probable cause is #1, Over-risen(over-proofed) dough.

The recipe says to let the dough rise 45-60 minutes( this definitely varies according to humidity , temp etc.) or until 1 1/2 its size. Now, I usually just let it rise till doubled( or so)...or where the dough gets to be a bit above the pan. The bread will continue to rise in the oven when it is baked.

I really hope this helps a bit....thanks for stopping by. ~Ellie

Anonymous said...

thank you! i had not even though the problem could be over-rising. and i actually let it rise for 1 and half hours because i got distracted with something else, so that totally could've been it. i'll try again and see if that changes things. thanks again!

Ellie said...

Anon, You are most welcome! I am glad I could be of help...~Ellie

humaira said...

What if I don't have kosher salt?luv ur blog!awesome

Ellie said...

Humaira, Thanks for stopping by...I am hoping you will enjoy some of the recipes:)

If you don't have kosher salt, you might be able to substitute regular table salt. Use about 50% less table salt. 1 TBS kosher salt=2 tsps regular salt.

So for 1/2 tsp kosher salt, you might use 1/4 tsp regular salt( or just a bit more than 1/4 tsp)

Hope that helps.

Ana said...

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! I have only been baking my own bread for three months, my husband is a body builder and is regularly watching his sodium content. The only bread that we have found with the least amout of sodium is pepperidge farm at $3.89 a loaf and is NEVER ON SALE!!! He goes through the loaf in about a day in a half. Needless to say, I decided to take matters into my own hands. In these three months, I have tried about 15 different 100% whole wheat bread recipes; they have always come out with the consistensy of a pound cake. I came across your blog about a week ago and after reading the comments I decided to give it a go. The bread was PERFECT, just like store bought (without the same amount of sodium), I actually only put 1/4 tsp of sea salt in the soaker only giving roughly 34g of sodium per slice. I am now baking a bread every two days without too much of a hassle. THANK YOU!!!!

Ellie said...

Ana, Aww... SO glad you like the bread!. It really made my day that I could be of help to you. We really, really love this bread...Peter Reinhart came up with a winner! I think the bread is amazing... especially for being 10% whole wheat. It is light and definitely NOT dense. And it tastes good:)...

Yes, good bread can be expensive and the really neat part about making it at home is that you know exactly what goes in it....and you can easily adjust to your preference(just like you did.)

Thanks for stopping by and for your feedback. I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know.

Have a great day!

Amanda said...

Thanks for such a fantastic recipe! It's the only one I make now.

I like to substitute the milk in the soaker with kefir. It gives the bread a taste that is almost identical to sourdough bread. You can also reduce the amount of instant yeast, since the kefir has wild yeasts in it.

The bread I baked used to be so flat and dull and tasteless. Now that I make this recipe, my family asks eagerly, "Are you going to bake more bread? Is it cool yet? Can I have some?"

Ellie said...

Amanda, You are welcome! I am so glad you and your family are enjoying it. So kind of you to stop by and let me know...I really appreciate it as it makes my day to know that someone else is benefiting.

What a great tip in using the kefir... I think that's a fantastic adaptation. My mom uses kefir in different recipes that ask for milk ....and she loves the outcome. So I am glad it works in this recipe as well...love the idea of reducing the yeast amount as well. So, thank you for sharing!

The bread truly is delicious...tasty and light. Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a great day!

Jan said...

I am new to making bread and could use some help. What kind of instant yeast do you use for this recipe? Also, do I understand the directions correctly... we are to mix the fermented dough with the soaked mixture and the other remaining ingredients?

Ellie said...

Hi Jan, I've adjusted the recipe a bit to make it more "readable" ...spaced things out a bit, labeled a few steps so that it's not so compact. Hopefully that helps a bit.

I use SAF instant yeast...you can see how it looks it here...http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/saf-red-instant-yeast-16-oz
I LOVE using it for all my baking...I noticed that our local Super Wal-Mart now carries it as well:)

And yes, you mix the fermented dough(Biga Step 1), with the soaker(Step 2) ... and the rest of the ingredients... all part of Step 3.

I hope you have success with this bread...it does take a bit of time ...but it is worth it in the end:).
Let me know if you have any other questions...

Tina said...

That looks wonderful. Perhaps I can use some of your information to convert it into a Gluten Free bread for my family.

Ellie said...

Tina, Do let me know if you ever do convert it to a GF bread....I would love to hear how you made it. It would be helpful to many!

Unknown said...

Hi, Thanks so much for this recipe! You are amazing. I am just letting my first loaf do it's first rise and I am soooooo excited. I was looking at a few other websites that use this recipe but they don't roll the dough. What effect does this have on the bread? I love learning about bread baking!

Ellie said...

Unknown, I am thrilled that you are trying your hand at bread baking... glad I could be of help.
Rolling the dough is a form of folding where it helps the sought to eliminate some of the gasses from fermentation...
So you won't have too many holes in the final bread....
Here's a bit of info that helps explain it more thoroughly...

" Folding drives out some or all of the gasses that have been generated by the fermentation process and rearranges the dough so that the yeast has access to fresh nutrients. The build up of gas in the dough can act as an inhibitor on the yeast, a chemical brake on its activity, so when we get rid of the gas, we insure that the yeast can continue to develop and flourish."

Hope your bread tastes delicious!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the info. I made the bread and it is AMAZING - the only 100% whole wheat that wasn't a brick. Thank you so much again for this recipe. I think I should go out and buy the book!

Ellie said...

Unknown, You are welcome! So glad you liked the bread...
Thanks for stopping by again... and sharing your feedback. PR has some great recipes, for sure!

Anonymous said...

I tried this exact recipe (but from a different blog) yesterday and I'm afraid it was a failure:(
The inside of the bread was still damp/wet (as if it didn't cook long enough)so I thought I'd bake it longer. I think I made it worse. The inside was still the same but the crust got pretty hard from over baking.

I am not quite sure what I did wrong but here's what happened:
1. My soaker and biga were quite sticky while yours didn't look so.
2. For the final dough, I didn't use all 7 tbsp of flour, maybe 2-3 tbsp.
3. For the final proofing the dough didn't crown out of the pan but I didn't wait; I just put it in the oven after 1hr.

I would like to bake my own bread as everyone in my family eat bread everyday. I think I'd give this recipe another try, maybe you could advice.
Thank you.


Ellie said...

Menaka, I think when making this bread, it is best if you weigh the ingredients and use the exact amounts called for in the recipe. Using less flour than what it's called for will affect the bread...

It also helps to know a bit about bread making.... as you need to let the dough rise sufficiently... and even though the recipe may say 45-60 minutes rising time, this can vary form house to house. You need to focus on the fact that the dough should have risen maybe about 1 1/2 inch above the rim of the pan.

Not allowing the dough to rise sufficiently, not using all the flour called for in the recipe, or not cooking the bread long enough are all reasons for having a gummy wet dough. And cutting into the bread before it has cooled will definitely make for a gummy interior.

It really helps to have a scale( to weigh the ingredients properly) and a thermometer( to check and see if the inside of the bread has reached a proper temp of ( 195F- 205F)

But I think you already know what went wrong as you stated the reasons yourself:)... hopefully you will have success next time:).

But hope this helps a bit.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to try this, but am wondering if you think this could be adapted for use in a bread machine? Perhaps after the biga and soaked ingredients are combined?

Ellie said...

Anon, You know, I don't own a bread machine, so I couldn't tell you if it would work. But it's worth giving it a try... I think you are on the right track, working with it after the biga and soaker are combined.
Sorry I couldn't really be of help.. but would love to hear if it works for you:)

Mary Weibling said...

My step 1 hasn't risen at all in the fridge. Should I continue?

Ellie said...

Mary, The biga doesn't necessarily rise too much in the fridge... I would continue. But then again, I really don't know if your yeast is viable. If you know the yeast to have been fresh, then I would probably continue. Wish you success... And hope you have a well-risen bread!

Mary Weibling said...

i made the recipe a second time and it came out picture perfect.

Ellie said...

Oh, that's wonderful, Mary! Glad it came out for you... and thanks so much for coming back and sharing the good news:). Appreciate it!

Pamela said...

This was the third whole wheat recipe I tried in my search for a less dense loaf. It turned out perfect. It tasted great. This is also only the 5th loaf of bread I have ever made. I think that speaks volumes as to the quality of the instructions you posted and pictures. I will likely never buy another loaf of store bread. Thanks.

Ellie said...

Pamela, Thank you for your kind words... it made my day! I am thrilled the bread was a success. Glad I could be of help through the posted pictures. I know it helps me tremendously when a recipe has photos attached. But thank you so much for taking the time to share your feedback... I so appreciate it.

jjflamingo said...

Oh, I have such high expectations for this bread! I have been looking for a recipe that not only uses whole wheat but has no added gluten or other dough enhancers. My son used to love white bread (store bought). Now he actually asks for whole wheat unfortunately, also store bought.)But the reason is because he says my bread is like a brick :( So if this bread works, it will be worth the extra time that goes into making it. It sounds like it has a lot of potential, and doesn't have many things that could go wrong, like some other recipes I have read, and tried. This is the first I have seen that said it was actually soft and tender like store bought. I am almost giddy. I feel a squeal coming on, and I.do.not.squeal. Thank you so much for posting this!!! May the Lord bless you!!

Ellie said...

Jjflamingo, The recipe may take a bit more time than a regular bread recipe, but the result is totally worth it.
And I too like the fact that it uses the simple ingredients without other extra gluten or enhancers. I truly hope the recipe will be a winner for you as well. It's worth trying at least once or twice:). Wish you success! And thanks for stopping by... Have a blessed day!

jjflamingo said...

Just wanted to update and say WE LOVE THIS BREAD!!! Since it does take awhile to make, and only makes one loaf at a time, I decided to get my two children involved and teach them to make it, so now we make 3 loaves. We had a contest/experiment to see how closely you had to follow the recipe and still have it work (one person added too much flour, and another person added a little too much liquid) Happily, they all turned out GREAT. My kids were even claiming their own loaf as their personal loaf when it was done. I had to remind them that I always shared the bread I made with the family, and they needed to do the same, lol. I am glad that not only are we working together to do this, but they are perfecting something they will be able to use in the future and hopefully pass down to the next generation. Thank you again; I thank God for you and your post!

Ellie said...

jjflamingo, You don't know how much your feedback touched me today... I thank God for you... you simply made my day!

SO, SO happy that this bread recipe is a learning tool for the whole family. Loved how you took the bread to teach the children baking skills... but even more importantly, teaching them to share with everyone(even if it's dear to them).

We all have so much to learn from one another and I pray your day will be blessed!

David said...

Many thanks for this recipe. I left the biga in the fridge for 3 days without a problem and doubled the ingredients to make two loafs. Both loafs came out perfect but with a very strong taste - not unpleasant in the slightest. I''ve cut up the loaves and frozen some and will be making these regularly. Might try leaving the biga in the fridge for just 12 hours instead of 72! Thanks again! David

Ellie said...

Oh, you are very welcome, David! Thank you for stopping by and sharing your feedback... glad you like the bread. I personally haven't tried leaving the biga for 3 days... normally leave it overnight only. But I can see how the flavor could change, the longer the biga sits.... I'm glad you still enjoyed the bread! I love freezing my breads as well... and am always grateful that I can defrost a good slice of bread:).
Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

This is great bread. Thank you!

Ellie said...

Anon, Oh, you are welcome! I am so glad you like the bread!

Thank you so much for your feedback... and for stopping by.

Lydia Romanin said...

Ellie, is this recipe for 2 loaves or just for one?

Ellie said...

Lydia, The recipe makes 1 loaf... hope that helps.

I didn't mean to be confusing... the first time I made the bread I decided to make 2 loaves since I was baking anyway. But the posted recipe makes only one loaf.

Thanks for stopping by...

Jeremiah H said...

I just made this last night. Great bread and it taste amazing. thanks for the nice tutorial.

Ellie said...

Jeremiah, Oh, that's wonderful to hear! Glad you enjoyed the recipe... it always makes my day to know other people have success with recipes I post.

Really appreciate you stopping by and sharing your feedback.