Whole Grain Master Recipe from “Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day” using Vital Wheat Gluten!


(The picture above is by Mark Luinenburg; Mark did the photography on Healthy Bread in Five).  Speaking of our new book…

… this has been a long and wonderful road; tomorrow (Tuesday October 27) is the publication date for:

Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day:  100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients

We are thrilled with the early reviews, and already have already been on TV to talk about the book.  On Amazon, the order window has changed from “Pre-Order” to “Order on Amazon”, and bookstores should have it (if they don’t please ask them to order it).  It’s a book we wrote because people posted to us in this website and asked us for it (as in, “can you do something similar with more whole grains?”).

The answer:  Yes, you can, but you have to make some changes. We’ll be talking more about this on our book tour, which starts tomorrow, and teaching classes about the changes you need to make to succeed with stored whole grain doughs (check our Events tab for details on cities, bookstores, and cooking schools).  If you can’t wait, I’m walking through our whole grain Master Recipe here in this post today.  I’ll cut to the chase:  you need more water, and one extra ingredient called Vital Wheat Gluten (sometimes labeled “vital wheat gluten flour”), which is available in most supermarkets, or mail-order/on-line from anywhere…Whole grains can make for a drier results; all that bran soaks up water.  So we increased the water for all the new recipes.  But that was only part of it.  If you want to be able to store whole grain dough, you need to boost the gluten content or the loaves tend to become dense over the life of the batch.  Storing the dough is why our recipes are different (that’s what makes our method different).  Vital wheat gluten makes whole grain dough springy enough to be stored in the refrigerator as a large batch.  We found we weren’t crazy about the result until we started testing our approach with vital wheat gluten.

What is vital wheat gluten?  It’s the protein-rich part of wheat that creates the strands that trap gas bubbles and allow yeasted bread to rise (and stay risen).  It doesn’t take much vital wheat gluten to make a difference in a 4 to 5 pound batch of whole grain dough.  Just 2 to 4 tablespoons are all you need, so while the whole bag or box may seem expensive, it doesn’t add much to the cost of baking (yeast is a more important expense, which is why we recommend that you buy it in bulk from a food co-op or from Costco).

So where do you get vital wheat gluten? Most supermarkets in larger towns and cities carry it.  The two brands in U.S. supermarkets are Bob’s Red Mill and Hodgson Mill, and we tested those extensively.  If your local store doesn’t carry vital wheat gluten, you can mail-order it from Amazon; click for either the Bob’s Red Mill product, or the Hodgson Mill product (you can also order directly from those companys’ websites).  Amazon carries other vital wheat gluten brands but we’ve never tried them.

We are going to publish the basic whole grain recipe here on our website.  Many, many more details are in the book, and we won’t be able to provide all that here on the web.  The book also has plenty of recipes that are 100% whole grain; today’s recipe is about 73% whole grain:


5 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (can decrease). You can use any kind of yeast including: instant, “quick,” rapid rise, bread machine, or a ctive dry. We’ve always tested with Red Star Yeast and they have a new premium product called PLATINUM, which has worked beautifully in our recipes. You can also decrease the amount of yeast in the recipe by following the directions here. Or you can bake with a sour dough starter, see instructions here.)

1 tablespoon Kosher salt (can adjust to taste or health concerns)

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) vital wheat gluten (or vital wheat gluten flour)

4 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees F)

1 to 2 tablespoons of whole seed mixture for sprinkling on top crust:  sesame, flaxseed, caraway, raw sunflower, poppy, and or anise

First, measure the dry ingredients into a 5-quart bucket or bowl, and whisk them together (you can also use a fork, or if it’s lidded, just shake them well).  Mixing the dry ingredients first prevents the vital wheat gluten from forming clumps once liquids are added:


Now add the water to form a very wet dough.  Don’t add additional flour to dry this out:


Cover loosely (leave lid open a crack) and allow to rise for two hours at room temperature (if you decreased the yeast, you’ll need more time).  NEVER PUNCH DOWN or intentionally deflate.  The dough will rise and then begin to collapse.  Refrigerate and use over the next 14 days, tearing off one-pound loaves as you need them.

On baking day, cut off a grapefruit-sized piece of dough (about a pound), using a serrated knife or a kitchen shears:


Now, quickly shape a loaf as you’ve seen in our videos on this website, or on our new Amazon site (but note that the Amazon video leaves out the crucial 90 minute resting time that I’ll talk about in a minute).  Should take less than a minute— still pictures don’t do it justice, but basically, you pull the top around to the bottom, rotating quarter-turns as you go.  DON’T KNEAD or otherwise knock all the gas out of the loaf:


Cover the loaf loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest on a pizza peel covered with cornmeal or parchment for 90 minutes (40 minutes if you’re using fresh, unrefrigerated dough.  This is longer than our 1st book because whole grains take a longer rest than white doughs.  Depending on the age of the dough, you may not see much rise; our loaves depend more on “oven spring.”

Thirty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C), with a baking stone placed on a middle rack.  Place an empty broiler tray for holding water on any other rack that won’t interfere with rising bread.

Just before baking, use a pastry brush to paint the top with water (we’ve dropped the cornstarch wash) and sprinkle with seed mixture.  Slash the loaf with 1/4-inch deep parallel cuts across the top (or a singe lengthwise cut as in the first picture).  Use a serrated bread knife held perpendicularly to the loaf:


Slide onto the hot stone…


…and carefully pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray (in the book, we give alternatives for creating that steam environment, which is essential for creating a great crust):


After a 30-minute bake, cool on a cooling rack, and serve however you’d like.  You have the basis for a complete, nutritious meal, bursting with healthy vegetable oils (from wheat germ), fiber (from wheat bran), and vitamins.  We look forward to hearing more from you as people have questions about the book.

Zoe and I will be on Fox-9 News in Minneapolis-St. Paul tomorrow morning, at around 8:30am— Click here to view

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If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with others using one of the social sharing buttons above. Thanks, Jeff and Zoë


490 thoughts on “Whole Grain Master Recipe from “Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day” using Vital Wheat Gluten!

  1. I love the breads in ABin5 and love HBin5. I bought 3 of the cookbooks as presents for Xmas.

    Now that I have been making HB breads for a while, I miss some of the old AB breads. I miss the fluffy light texture.

    I tried to make the Oat Flour bread and substituted 1 Cup of APF for 1 C of White WW flour and 1 Tbsp of VWG. The bread was pretty dense.

    Is there a rule of thumb that I can use to swap some WW flour into the ABin5 recipes?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Scott,

      There is no real rule of thumb, just trial and error. To get the lighter texture of the ABin5 breads you probably don’t want more than 50% whole grains. Once you go above 50% the texture of the breads is naturally denser. You will also want to keep the vital wheat gluten at a 1/4 cup even though you have more white flour.

      Hope that helps and please let us know how it goes! Zoë

  2. I made my first loaf for dinner tonight, it was delicious!!!! It was so good, I decided I would rather have a big slice of bread and a plain salad than the leftovers I had intended. It baked up beautifully in my 6 qt enamel cast iron pot, great crust and tender inside! The great thing about this method is I already have the dough to make a few more loaves. In fact I am going to a potluck luncheon tomorrow and may just make up another loaf for that. I can’t wait to get the book for Christmas! Thank you!!!

  3. Haven’t purchased the “Healthy Bread in five Minutes a Day” yet but did copy the master recipe. Found the Vital Wheat Gluten at the Boise Co-op and purchased a package. Finished off my “Peasant” batch from you first book and while that baked I make a “new” batch of the whole wheat bread. After it rose for 2 hours I pulled off a grapefruit sized piece and made my first loaf. I thought the bread from you first book was to die for. “HOWEVER THIS LOAF TOPPED THAT. I still can’t believe how easy and fast it is to make delicious home baked bread from start to finish in about 80 to 90 minutes.
    Thank you both for these delicious and healthy breads. If santa doesn’t leave me you new book, it will be my first purchase after Christmas.

    Thank You Thank You!!!

    Sue in Idaho

  4. Hi Jeff and Zoe,
    I’m really impressed by the fabulous array of recipes in HB5!
    However I haven’t been successful making the master recipe yet – when I make it the dough is really, really wet. No way I could form a free form loaf. I bake it in a tin but the crumb is sticky and gummy (my toddlers still love it though!).
    So I’m guessing my dough is too wet.

    I make it with freshly ground wheat flour which I weigh out. I weigh out the white flour too.
    The white flour I use is 00 so very high gluten so in theory that should make the dough drier rather than wetter ???

    The only other thing I can think of is the water. I use a measuring cup that says it holds 250ml. In HB5 it says 4 cups of water or 900g….am i putting too much water maybe? I thought 1000ml of water weighed 1000g but maybe my measuring cups are wrong? I’m in the UK so it may be that my measuring cups aren’t the right size.

    Does any of your videos show what the dough should look like immediately after mixing?

    Thank you for your time once again

    • Hi Magali,

      The issue is with the type of flour you are using. The “00” flour is actually very low in protein and therefore you will have a wetter dough. It is wonderful for pasta and pizza, but doesn’t have enough structure for breads. You want to use a flour that is hard wheat and “00” is made from soft wheat. Our all-purpose is closer to “plain flour” in the UK.

      Are you able to find the vital wheat gluten?

      Thanks , Zoë

  5. Thanks Zoe.

    That explains it then!

    When I visited my family some months ago in France I went to a health food shop that sold large packs of gluten. I only bought it bc I have searched for it in the past in the UK and not been successful.
    At the time I didn’t know how happy I would be to have it in the pantry when I received your book!

    Would the 00 flour work for your non-wholegrain recipes?

    Thank you so much for all the help you give us – it makes such a difference.

    • Hi Magali,

      The 00 flour is really too soft for loaf breads, but will make a nice pizza or flatbread. It may be a little sticky to handle, but with enough flour on your hands and the counter you can certainly do it. Our next book is about pizza and flatbreads and we will be developing a recipe using 00 flour. It doesn’t come out for nearly two years so you may want to do some experimenting on your own, or freeze that flour until 2011! 😉

      So glad you were able to get the vital wheat gluten.

      Cheers, Zoë

  6. I tried my first five minute bread from your Healthy Bread Cookbook. The dough did not deflate after two hours. It was set near a wood stove so I am wondering if the temperature of the room is important. After refrigeration my dough came apart easily. I didn’t need to cut it. Any suggestions?
    Can’t wait to try more recipes!

    • Hi Pen,

      It is okay if the dough does not deflate after the 2 hours, just throw it in the refrigerator and it will continue to rise and do its thing. By the morning it will be all set to go.

      The master recipe made with whole wheat is not quite as elastic as the one made with only all-purpose. Perhaps you should take a look at our videos and make sure that your dough is not too dry. If it looks much drier than ours you may need to add a touch more water next time.

      Thanks, Zoë

  7. I’ve been experimenting with whole wheat sourdough bread making for the last 2 years, and haven’t come up with a light airy loaf yet. The bread is delicious, but dense. Needless to say, I fell in love with your technique when I recently found your new book.
    I use organic whole wheat bread flour and organic whole wheat white flour (instead of the all purpose flour) and sea salt, instead of the kosher salt. I buy it all, including the yeast and gluten in bulk at our local health food store. Since I don’t own a stone or pizza peel, I use a non-stick perforated pizza pan. I place the wet loaf directly on it (no parchment, corn meal or oil needed). I bake the bread on the middle oven shelf, on the perforated pan, using the broiler pan with hot water on the bottom shelf. I’ve gotten perfect results each time.
    I will experiment by adding some of my sourdough starter to the basic recipe, to see if I can get that great San Francisco sourdough taste. Has anyone done this, yet?

  8. I have to say how impressed I am that you’ve chosen to post your master boule and master wheat recipes online, which only cemented my decision to purchase both books, once my family gave me the thumbs up on taste. I am having a great time discovering all the things I can make, with the basics. Now to dive into the books and try some new recipes from them. Thanks so much!

  9. On Page 64 of “Healthy Bread”…Whole Grain Garlic Knots, the recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
    I do not see where the cheese is used in the recipe…is it just added to to the top of the bread when it comes out of the oven? (I am sure it is there, I am probably misreading the recipe).

    Really enjoy the new book, have made several of the recipes…easy and always delicious.

  10. Hi Zoe Jeff, just found your site and made my first artisan bread today I am a little dissapointed it didnt get brown and was a bit heavy, but I shall keep trying, I would love to buy your books but live in Margarita Island (Venezuela) and dont seem to be able to locate a bookstore here that stocks it either in Spanish (which I am not fluent in) or english And worse still we dont recieve mail here so I cannot order online great dissappointment , also with regard to vital wheat gluten I cannot find it here can I use any substitute for this if not I am lost please please help, I do make a lot of different breads with the old method but would love an easier life, keep up the good work, Marion

    • Hi Marion,

      Are you trying the whole grain recipe or the one made with all-purpose flour? The whole grain recipe without the vital wheat gluten will certainly be a bit heavy. The vital wheat gluten allows it more stretch and a better rise.

      What kind of flour are you using? Can you find a high protein bread flour?

      Thanks for trying the breads! Zoë

  11. Hi Zoe and Jeff,

    I have both of your books and have loved everything I have made from them so far.

    I was looking at trying the recipe for Banana Bread in your new book and noticed that it called for white whole wheat flour. Would a standard whole wheat flour work in the same amounts? I have limited storage at the moment and don’t really want to add a fourth type of flour to the cupboard.

    Thanks for a great set of books and I look forward to the next one!


    • Hi Drew,

      It will work, but may have a stronger wheat flavor. This bread is not as sweet as the traditional “quick” banana bread, so you may want to add a couple more tablespoons of honey? Depends on your taste and how sweet your bananas are.

      Thanks, Zoë

  12. Just started my first batch of the Healthy Bread master recipe. Can’t wait to bake a loaf. I don’t buy bread anymore. Love it !!!

  13. I made the 10 grain bread from the December/January issue of Mother Earth news yesterday after searching high and low for “Vital Wheat Gluten” for several weeks. On Bob’s Red Mill’s website, it listed a lot of local grocery stores who were distributors but none of them carried this particular product. I finally found another brand (NOW Foods) in a local health food store which was called “Wheat Gluten Flour” but I wasn’t sure if this was what I was supposed to be using? While the bread had a wonderful flavor and nice, crunchy crust, and the dough did rise during the 2 hour rising period, when I baked it, it pretty much stayed the same shape and size as when I put it in the oven. Can anyone tell me what I did wrong??? This was my very first attempt at making bread at home so any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you! Nanette

  14. Hi! I made the master recipe for whole wheat bread. Thank you for posting it so we could try before buying. I have some concerns about the first loaves before making more. I checked the comments and answers on your site before writing but still have questions.

    When I heard artisanal bread, I expected a browned, crackly, substantial crust with a caramelized taste and springy tasty interiors with medium-sized shiny holes like the whole grain artisanal hearth breads we buy at our bakeries.

    What I got was bland, though salty enough, dull-colored, thin and soft crusted, small-holed, soft like a cake rather than springy–and it staled so quickly.

    We used our co-op’s bulk organic whole wheat flour, which usually is from Vermont’s Lake Champlain area, or could be Arrowhead Mills, depending on the week. I used organic bread flour, which usually comes from Vermont as well, for which I added 2 T extra water, as we had no AP flour. Used Arrowhead Mills Vital Wheat Gluten and filtered water. We did the 2 hour rise. Dough doubled and then fell slightly. We aged the dough a few days in the fridge, shaped the loaves lightly, proofed for a good 120 minutes by our wood stove (our kitchen is very cold, and the first 30 minutes were in there). The dough spread slightly but did not rise noticeably when proofed, which is why we went to 2 hours with it. My oven is definitely working well. We used the preheated pizza stone, the broiler pan with hot water, brushed the crust with water. We got some oven rise on the loaves in that they rose at the bottom and sides, and the slashing marks spread out, but we wanted a more dramatic rise, more crust action, more spring to the crumb!

    How should these whole grain loaves taste and feel?

    Thanks so much,

    • Cindy: Loaves high in whole grain are difficult to get a crackly crust because of the oil in wheat germ. I’ve had my best results with alternative steam methods, like these:,, or See what you think of those. And I’d bet most of the artisan loaves in the store you reference are partly white flour, which it sounds like you don’t want to do.

      About a zingier taste: store this dough for longer and you’ll be much happier with the taste. The loaves you make on day two don’t have much sourdough characteristic yet. Stagger your batches so you always have a four-day old batch to work with. At least that level of aging. Fermentation by-products also help prevent rapid staling.

      But most importantly, you are using a 100% WW approach, so you should use a different recipe; see page 79 of the new book. What you did will yield too dry of a dough for our method to work well. And just to see how it’s supposed to come out, try a batch with commercial WW flour, that’s what we tested with because it’s what most of our readers will have. The result should be moister, have more flavor, and rise nicely. But expect less proofing-rise from our method, and proportionally more oven-spring. Jeff

      When done with the right recipe and flour, I think you’ll find that the taste and feel

  15. Jeff, thanks for writing so quickly and the reinforcement about less proofing rise, more oven spring. To clarify my muddled email: I made the breads with your white and wheat flour ratio of 1/3 white, 2/3 wheat, NOT 100% whole wheat. The dough was moist just as your photos illustrate. Also, the whole wheat was commercial, pre-ground–it is just from New England, if that makes a difference.

    The second baking, when the dough was 5 days old instead of 3, is cooling on the counter right now and I’ll you all know how it came out! And I’ll try the all-white to see what those are like. Thanks for the tips on 100% whole wheat as I’ll try that another time.

  16. I have to 2nd the suggestion posted someplace, especially for those mixing by hand, to mix up the dry ingredients in a bowl and then add that to the wet ingredients in the storage container.
    I had another question though, especially about the master recipes. I often want to bake bread at the same time I’m cooking other items. Tips on this would be appreciated as it does change the moisture content…. and also I’d love to know suggestions for recipes that work best at 350 degrees. I don’t have a 2nd oven but I have been known too cook a few things in the toaster oven so I could reserve the oven to finish my breads, lol. THANKS!

    • Jessica: You can bake bread in the oven with other stuff, and the steam isn’t a problem. In fact, for our crisp-crusted breads, we ask you to bake with steam. Usually the steam dissipates in the first 10 minutes or so– this means that your crust may not firm up as nicely as you’d like, but it’s not a huge big deal.

      All the sweet breads, and anything high in eggs (challah, brioche) bake at 350. You can bake lean breads @350 too, but they won’t develop a firm crust and will take longer to bake. J

  17. Hi,

    I’m writing to you from Australia. I have tried your white master recipe, which was great. My husband said it was the best bread I have made so far. Then I mixed up this ww master recipe and although I do keep it in a covered container (not sealed) in the fridge, I seem to have a little problem with the dough skinning. The first time I baked with this batch (it was roughly 24 hours old) I just ignored it and ended up with really dense areas where the skin ended up. in the loaf Seeing that you tuck it under while shaping, there was a dense “line” running through my loaf. But the taste was good and my husband loved it, too.

    Now the dough is about a week old and has a bit of a sourdough smell to it, which I love. But the skin is even dryer. still relatively easy to form, though. I am giving it an overnight rest in the fridge now, covered with cling wrap.

    I also found that the dough didn’t stretch like in your pictures but just sort of snapped off. I am using an organic ww flour. I havee never heard of white wholewheat. What is that???
    The bread had a adequate crumb, wasn’t as dense as I had feared and great flavour.

    Once I finish this lot of flour, I will purchase ww bread flour (strong flour). Do you think that will give me more stretch?

    What temperature do you bake the bread to? I’m pretty hopeless with the knock and listen method, so I prefer using a thermometre.

    I have ordered you new book and can’t wait for it to arrive. I really want my children growing up knowing bread is more than just the spongy stuff most people buy at the supermarket. I grew up in Germany where we were surrounded by a huge variety of what call “real bread”. I miss it. Well, i did until I started baking myself.

    Thanks so much in advance.

    • Alex: Glad the bread’s working for you. Sounds like the dry environment of the fridge is getting to your stored dough. You can prevent this by limiting venting to the container– just a crack open the first 48 hours, then you can snap it shut. And if you transfer to smaller containers as you use it up, you minimize the “head space” and that should also help. If you really need to, drape a piece of plastic wrap over the dough surface and that should handle it.

      About dough texture and consistency, sounds like the flours you’re getting absorb water differently from ours in the US and that can be a challenge. The AP we use is about 10% protein, see if you can match that. Otherwise look at our videos at and adjust the water so the dough looks like that.

      The white whole wheat discussion is on page 10 of the new book, also see


  18. Hi,
    1. Can I use whole wheat bread flour in the whole grain master recipe? If so, do I use the same amounts?

    2. Do I need to bring refrigerated whole wheat flour to room temperature before I use it in a recipe?

    Thank you.

    • Sandra: You may need a little more water; scale up the water so the result has the consistency you see in our videos, at Assuming you are starting with lukewarm water, I don’t think it’s going to matter that you’re starting with cold flour. It may take a little longer to fully rise since the starting temperature is a touch low. Jeff

  19. Hi Jeff,
    Thanks for your reply. I think the white flour I used had about 9% protein. Not sure about the ww. I will try and find one that is closer to 10%.
    On an Australian web-store that I sometimes order flour from, they state that American flour is often blended with diastatic malt at the mill. This is not the case in Australia. Apparently this is why quite often American recipes don’t work with our flours. Should I add diastatic malt?

    By the way, after I rested the loaf (made with the heavily skinned dough) in the fridge over night, covered with cling wrap, the bread turned out fantastic. The long rest must have somehow re-hydrated the dry areas. No dense line through the bread. And my husband loooved it (that’s saying something as he is a little reluctant to give up his white supermarket sandwich bread).

    Thanks again.

    • Hi Alex,

      How fascinating about the malt, do you remember where you read it? I’d love to see that. Adding a couple of tablespoons of the malt certainly won’t hurt and could be an interesting experiment.

      I love the bread vs cheesecake description! LOL, Zoë

  20. Thanks Jeff. I made a batch of the dough yesterday and baked a loaf of bread – delicious!
    One more quick question – can the Whole Grain Master Recipe be used as pizza dough – if so, how long and what temperature to cook? Does the same method apply – how about baking in a cast-iron pan??? Thanks!

  21. Hi there! I’ve been LOVING the HBin5 book and have already made a few recipes. I’m trying out one from Artisan Bread tonight. I wanted to let you know, though, that I time lapse photographed some of the bread rising when I made the HB recipes. Not super high production value, but kind of fun to watch bread rise in 12 seconds. You can see the videos at:

    Thanks for an amazing book!

  22. Love the new WW Master Recipe. I am adding 1 cup of Rye to get the taste I loved with the European Peasant Bread.

    2 Questions.

    1.) I am having problems with excessive spread in the rising. Leads to Flat bread. Is this too much water?

    2.) Anybody know where I can find a non-stick “medium” bread loaf pan? Maybe 7 ‘ by 4″?


  23. I made your bagel recipe using the maser recipe dough but had trouble with the raisins falling out. After you roll out the dough and put the cinnamon, sugar and raisins on it can you just roll it up and cook it like a loaf? How long should you cook it.

  24. Bev: As in the post Zoe referenced, we did that one in a loaf pan, but it would work fine as a free form loaf on a pizza peel. Traditionally, it’s the loaf pan though. Either one’s going to be delicious. Jeff

  25. Received ABin5 for Christmas and we haven’t bought a loaf of bread since – no kidding. It’s been an amazing journey. We will soon order your HBin5 book. Just tried the master recipe from this post last night but I didn’t refrigerate the dough before baking the loaf. What happened was that the loaf simply spread out on the parchment paper and didn’t rise in the oven. It still tasted good, but turned out more like a thick flat bread. Any suggestions for next time?

    I suspect that it might have been too wet and that the flour needed more time to absorb the moisture to be able to hold shape. I did use appropriate flour, followed the directions, etc. I don’t imagine this recipe is meant for a loaf pan is it?

    I imagine you have quite a following in Canada as well and I thought I’d point out that we have an amazing flour mill located in New Brunswick that ships across the country. Amazing products come out of this operation. I count my lucky stars that it’s located in my home province:

    Thanks for everything!

    • Hi Amanda,

      Yes, what you describe is pretty typical for dough that has not had an overnight in the refrigerator. Let me know if the dough keeps its shape better once it has been chilled for several hours. If not, then your dough may just be too wet and you will want to add a bit of flour to the mix.

      Thank you and we’re so glad you are enjoying so much fresh bread! Zoë

  26. I have just made my first wholemeal loaf. I used whey (leftover from making yoghurt), which I have done in the past with other bread recipes. I used the same volume of whey as the recipe said for water. The bread is delicious and has a great crust but is very dense. It had risen a lot in the fridge, but didn’t rise before or during baking. I am keen to continue to use whey and wonder if I should add more yeast? or do you have another suggestion?

    • Nicola: I’m guessing that more yeast will not solve the problem; you are getting a good intial rise. I haven’t tried baking with whey, so I can’ t say for certain… but, if you’re water-based breads in similar recipes are fine, then the whey is the problem. If so, could try cutting down to a mixture of whey and water and see how that does.

      Also, take a look at the dense bread FAQ on that tab, above. Jeff

  27. Jeff and Zoe:

    Great job with your three books – I just stumbled across your website while surfing for cool tools. I have a question: What is the nutritional information for a 1lb loaf of bread?


  28. Hi, it’s me again. I just wanted to let you know that I never had that skinning problem on the refrigerated dough again. I have made it twice since and it was fine for up to 2 weeks.
    I have also finally received my HBin5 book. The vendor had accidentally sent me a book about cupcakes instead – not so healthy 😉 Well, they let me keep it and sent the HBin5, so now I have both. Not that I should be eating any cupcakes, trying to lose the baby fat… Anyway, I now realise I probably should have bought your ABin5 instead or both as I love the idea of European peasant bread… Might have to order that one. I believe it has a few rye recipes in it? I loooove rye breads (grew up in southern Germany where rye sourdough is very common. Not sure if you have heard of Pfister bread (Hofpfisterei), but it is divine, relativley fine crumb, moist but not too heavy).
    Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I’m looking forward to trying some of the recipes in your book when I get back from my German holiday where I’m going to stuff myself with rye bread and pretzels (I come from the pretzel capital of Stuttgart). I haven’t bought a loaf of bread all year 🙂
    The only downside is that with such a relatively large batch, I have to wait too long before I can try out a new recipe, so I’ve been halving your recipes.

    Oh, one thing about HBin5, I would have loved to see more pictures. Especially pictures of the bread sliced open to see the crumb to help me decide on which recipe to try and so i can see what I’m shooting for. But fortunately you have lots of photos on this website.

    • Alex: Others have mentioned about the photos. Our publisher sets the limit on photos, and though there are twice as many in HBin5, people have asked for more. Which is why there are hundreds on this website.

      The other thing is that the website allows us to do video, which we’ve just started to do (see

      So proud that you’re liking our stuff– Germany has about the best in the world, especially the whole-grain stuff. Thanks, Alex.


  29. hi jeff and zoe! i tried the master recipe last week (just got the book) and i loved it. i made the whole wheat master recipe 2 days ago and i just went to pull the dough out to make tonight. my dough is definitely not stretchy. when i pulled some out, it came out in a big clump…so sad. any idea what i’m doing wrong? the dough had a really nice rise out on the counter and i can see lots of holes through the side of the bowl. i used the scoop and sweep method (arrowhead mills organic ww flour and king arthur unbleached white flour). everything seemed to go fine until there was no stretchiness! how can i fix that? do i need to fix that? thanks!

    • Hi Elana,

      Does your dough seem like it is drier than what we should in the videos? If so, you can add more water and let it sit for a while while the flour absorbs the additional water. I think that will result in a dough with more stretch.

      If your dough seems wet, but just doesn’t have the stretch then maybe you need to add more vital wheat gluten to the next batch of dough. The Arrowhead Mill flour is ground more coarsely than many other brands and therefore doesn’t produce the same gluten strength.

      I hope that helps. Thanks, Zoë

  30. thanks, zoe! it seems a little drier but definitely less stretchy. i’m baking a batch now so i guess we’ll see! where would the baked difference be…the taste, the texture or something else?

    if it’s just dry, can i add some water now even though i made the dough a couple of days ago?

  31. Elana: You may be able to get away with that, worth a try. Generally, we try not to handle the dough much once it’s aged a bit; you can knock the gas out and end up with something dense.

    Another approach I’ve used is to float some water on the surface and wait for it to absorb, usually over 12 to 24 hours. This has sometimes worked, sometimes not. Jeff

  32. thanks jeff. it must have come out okay since we finished the loaf!

    my whole wheat dough is definitely significantly less sticky than the dough i made with the original master recipe (that was too sticky, i think). it was much easier to shape and spread out a lot less. do you think i should still add more water when i make the recipe the next time? it’s hard to tell if my original recipe was too sticky and this one was too dry or if this one was right!

    • Hi Elana,

      If you loved the bread and it was nice to work with I’d leave it alone. If you think it was a touch dry or dense then perhaps add a little bit more water.

      Thanks, Zoë

  33. Since people are asking for nutrition info and I was curious myself, I went ahead and figured out what the data was for this recipe. I’m counting it as 32 slices of bread in the entire recipe, and this is per slice:
    102 calories
    0.5 g fat
    0g saturated fat
    0g trans fat
    220mg sodium
    19g total carbohydrate
    2.5g dietary fiber
    0g sugars
    5g protein
    vitamin A 0% vitamin C 0%
    calcium 1% iron 7%
    Hope this is useful to you all!

    • Re: Adriana’s post. We haven’t checked the math here, so can’t vouch for these numbers. Can also use the USDA tool you’ll find through our FAQs page. Jeff

  34. wasn’t sure where to ask this, but i just finally read through your first book and i had a question (by the way, thank you for answering all my questions!) about the 100% whole wheat sandwich bread: i have a 4 year old who is allergic to milk. any thoughts on whether i can substitute rice milk for regular milk in the recipe? do you just heat the milk on the stove to warm it up?

    last general question: i’ve been using parchment paper in place of cornmeal on the master recipe. can i use parchment paper in place of cornmeal or flour in all the recipes in the book?

    • Elana: In general, our recipes are very forgiving when you swap one liquid for another. I can’t think of any reason why this won’t work, unless rice milk develops off-flavors when baked into food. You’ll have to experiment.

      Parchment paper can be used anywhere cornmeal or flour lining is used, yes. Jeff

  35. This is a great new experiment that I am trying here at 1:35am! (I’m a 3rd shift paramedic – on days off, all I do is bake through the night!)
    I just made the ww master recipe – I’ve been searching and searching for a good ww recipe.
    Bread is becoming my new frontier for baking – not too familiar with it yet to play around with recipes, just trying to find a few good, solid base recipes to branch out from, ya know?

    Just one question:

    Is there a minimum amount of time that I should refridgerate this batch before I bake my first loaf with it?

    Thanks in advance,


    • Hi Ashley,

      You sound like Jeff and how he got started with this whole bread baking endeavor!

      I’d allow the dough to chill for at least 3-5 hours before using it. This will allow it to firm up enough to make handling it easier. If it is flavor you are going for then let it sit for at least 24 hours to allow some fermentation to happen.

      Thanks! Zoë

    • Anke: Oatmeal Date/Raisin can certainly be baked freeform and that would be close to what you’re looking for. But it has oatmeal in it. Whatever you do from HBin5, it’s going to have more whole grain in it than what I’m seeing at that website– bet that’s mostly white flour by the look of it.

      So expect a different result, though delicious. Jeff

  36. Just last week, looking for a bread recipe, I came across your videos on Youtube, then found your website.

    Made my first batch of dough and have baked several loaves. Oh, this is GOOD STUFF!

    Definitely have to buy the Healthy version book as I do mill my own grains.


    • Jill: Be sure to read about my experience with fresh-milled wheat, look under our FAQs tab. Note that in the case of the stuff I used (someone else freshly milled it for me), it measured and baked up just like commercial whole wheat. Other readers have written in to say that coarser-ground WW doesn’t behave that way and they needed to adjust the water based on the appearance of the dough. See our videos to see how wet/dry the dough should look, and check back with us if you have trouble.

      Bottom line– commercial flours, uniformly ground, work more predictably because they’re always the same. Not so for fresh-ground stuff. But I did think it was delicious. Jeff

  37. Zoe,
    You may want to revise your comment to Ashley on Feb. 28, 2010. I have enjoyed reading the posts and appreciate the laugh:)

    • OMG Proof Reader,

      My only hope is that you got to that before Ashley, otherwise she may never come back!? That will make me laugh for a very long time! 😉 The problem with answering questions late at night!

      Thank you, thank you, thank you! Zoë

  38. Hi, just found your website today and baked my first loaf!

    The taste and texture were wonderful, though it didn’t rise much during baking (my fault, I forgot to dust my hands when tearing off a chunk, forgot to dust the plastic during the last rising, and didn’t have a serrated knife).

    I baked it in my dutch oven : 15 min @ 500F (covered) + 10 min @ 450 (uncovered), and it was perfect.

    After reading through all (well, most) of these comments, I don’t recall anybody asking what is the best way to store the baked bread?

    Thanks for sharing this technique and recipe… off I go to buy the book!

    • Hi Jenn,

      Wow, you found us today and already baked a loaf! That is fantastic.

      We generally suggest just placing the cut side of the loaf down on the cutting board and not covering it. This will prevent the crust from getting soggy. The loaf will last about 24 hours this way, some say longer!

      Thanks, Zoë

    • Kris: We need more information— which book are you working from, there are whole grain sandwich breads in both? Did you use vital wheat gluten? Common problems can be found by clicking on our FAQs page above. Typical problems:

      1. Are you using the wrong measuring method? Must use scoop and sweep (not spoon-and-sweep).
      2. You have to use unbleached all-purpose flour where white flour is called for (not bleached)
      3. Consider a longer rest time, first book specifies shorter times than 2nd and many people prefer the longer rest time


  39. Hello,

    I tried this recipe and followed the instructions precisely, but must add that I am not sure what you mean by vital wheat gluten. I did use wheat gluten. I couldn’t find any labelled “vital.”

    It didn’t turn out very well at all. The yeast was active, but perhaps the climate here in the Pacific Northwest is too cool and humid for a 2 hr rise? Should I try it with an overnight rise instead? I was left with gloop that did not spring at all in the oven.

    I should also add I have had success with the standard white flour recipe, but the housemate prefers wholegrain, and really it is better for you….

    Any advice? I did use unbleached organic white and fresh organic whole wheat flours. The yeast is good, I used the scoop and sweep. Thanks for your time!

    • Hi MousE,

      I think the issue is the fresh ground flour that you are using. It is tasty wonderful stuff, but tends to be a coarser grind and therefore behaves differently in our recipes. Some people who are baking with this type of flour have had better success when they added a couple of extra tablespoons of wheat gluten flour.

      I hope this helps! Enjoy, Zoë

  40. thank you for responding, Zoe. I have mixed up another batch, altering it very slightly – 5 cups ww and 2 1/2 cups unbleached, and added the extra gluten as you suggested. It did mix drier, and looks more like the pcture above. I’m going to let it sit out overnight, as it is cool and damp here, and will refrdgerate it for the day tomorrow. Will let you know how it goes! Thanks again, great book BTW.

  41. Well, I am very disappointed, again it took forever to double in size – more than 10 hrs -and I tested the yeast first – and no oven spring at all. I ended up with a very flat loaf that was too yeasty and too salty; neither of us liked it… As I said, I know the unbleached flour I am using is fine as I have had good results before making the white artisan bread. And I made banana bread with the whole wheat flour, and it was heavy but fine with a good rise. For some reason I just can’t get this to work at all. Suggestions? I really appreciate it!

    • Hi MousE,

      All of our recipes are tested with Gold Medal flour and I would recommend you try a batch with that flour and see if you are still having issues.

      Thank you, Zoë

  42. ps

    It must be the whole wheat flour I am using; have whole wheate Red Fife. Is it just too hard a flour? Is there a specific type of whole wheat I should use?

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