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

cover-shot-hb5-breads1

(The picture above is another Mark Luinenburg gem; Mark’s done the photography on our new book).  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:

Ingredients:

5 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (can decrease)

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:

2-whisk-together-dry-ingred

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

3-mix-in-wet-ingred

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:

4-cut-off-a-pound-of-dough

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:

5-shape-a-loaf1

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:

7-slash-loaf-after-sprinkling2

Slide onto the hot stone…

8-slide-off-the-peel

…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):

9-add-water-for-steam-to-preheated-broiler-tray

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

Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ArtisanBreadIn5

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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

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

  1. I posted about my problems with very wet dough back in December, and finally found time to get back here for an update. Unfortunately, I still haven’t had much luck with the master recipe. I tried adding 2 more TBSP of vital wheat gluten to my next batch, but it was only mildly better. I also tried the banana bread and it was pretty wet too. The loaf was very dense and felt like a brick. I scanned through the postings here since December and it looks like I’m the only one having these problems. It must the WW flour up here in Canada or something. I’ve looked at a few other brands, but they all have the same protein content, and I honestly can’t afford premium or organic flours.

    Have you heard of any other people with the same problems?

    Thanks,

    Andy

    • Hi Andy,

      Are you measuring your flour with the scoop and sweep method? If you are spooning the flour into the measuring cup you will end up with a very wet dough.

      Thanks, Zoë

  2. I am weighing all of the ingredients, which I thought was the most accurate way to do it. I have a done it several times and confirmed that my measurements are accurate and the same as the metric ones given in the book.

    • Andy: I’m a big believer in weights, but most U.S. users still use volumes. I posted on weights a while ago: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=392

      Honestly, I’m thinking that you should just use more flour until the dough looks like what we get in our videos (click on the tab above). No accounting for why flours are different, but I think you’ll be happy if you adjust the quantity.

      Jeff

  3. Hi! I’m enjoying my HB5 even though I’ve only tried one loaf so far.
    I’m sure I read somewhere in there that you could shape the loaf, and return it to the ‘fridge for 8 hours, then just take it out to rest while the oven heats, and bake as normal. Did I make that up? I can’t find it now.
    Thanks!
    Xan

    • Hi Xan,

      That is absolutely correct. It is in the tips and technique chapter of the book. I am traveling in Europe and didn’t bring a copy of the book, so I can’t give you the exact page number.

      Enjoy, Zoe

  4. I am so very excited to purchase the book and get started. We have a wheat grinder and I just started baking bread at home, but I am looking forward to these recipes and methods. Maybe this question was already asked, but do you have high altitude suggestions/directions in the book?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Lilly,

      So glad you will be trying out our recipes. It does seem that most people have better results with the recipes from HBin5 when they increase the amount of vital wheat gluten when using freshly ground wheat. The courser flour tends not to absorb as much water or develop the same elasticity, so adding a tablespoon or two more VWG seems to help.

      Here is a post and discussion about high altitude baking. I suggest you read the comments from others baking in the same environment. http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=144

      Thanks and enjoy! Zoë

  5. Hi Zoe and Jeff,

    I baked my very first 5-minute bread today, the master recipe from Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes A Day.

    While my kids and I enjoyed the bread very much — the texture was good — I detected a slight bitter taste. It was even worse when we dipped the bread in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, which we normally enjoy very much.

    What could have caused this bitter taste?

    Could it be the VWG (which, by the way, is known in this part of Canada as gluten flour)? I got a generic one that you scoop from big tubs in Bulk Barn. I couldn’t find any of the branded ones in the groceries around here.

    Should I reduce the amount of VWG next time?

    Thanks in advance!

    PS: Here’s a picture of my very first bread:
    http://twitpic.com/2kayg6

    • Hi Lexi,

      Thank you for trying the bread, your loaf is gorgeous! The first thing that comes to mind is that your flour may be rancid? Whole grain flour has lots of oils from the wheat germ and is more susceptible to spoiling. That is the only time I have perceived that bitter taste you described. I have never heard this happening with VWG, but I suppose if you are buying it in bulk it may not turn over fast enough, but I would check your flour first. The flour in the bag should have a sweet, mellow, almost nutty aroma, no sour notes.

      Thanks, Zoë

  6. I grind my own wheat, so the flour is different from store-bought ‘whole wheat’ flour. The wheat I use is high-protein white wheat for baking breads. What adjustments will I need to make to the recipe? Is the vital wheat gluten still ‘vital’?

    • Christine: It’s impossible to say, because all home-ground wheat is different. Sometimes, no adjustment is needed, other times you need to increase (or decrease) the water. Check out our videos tab to see what the dough should look like. And see my post on fresh-ground wheat: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=1165

      You definitely still need the VWG if you hope to store the dough as in our method. Which recipe are you using, and what’s its source? Jeff

  7. Thanks, I’ll check out the post. It’s good to find a resource for advice.

    Actually, it’s a recipe I created from an AP flour pizza dough recipe my Mom makes. (I don’t have any idea where her recipe came from–she’s been making it for decades and just has it memorized.) My recipe is very simple (water, honey, oil, salt, yeast and fresh-ground flour), and very yummy! It makes great sandwich and toast loaves. I was interested in trying your method as a change of pace–and palate.

  8. I use a very fine grind on my mill, so the resulting flour is similar to, maybe even finer than, the commercial whole wheat flour you have pictured.

  9. Thanks for writing the wonderful books and techniques. My family, friends and I are thoroughly enjoying the results – fantastic bread!

    Two requests I have so that my family will like the bread and I will be happy with the addition of ground flaxseed in our diet.

    1) How can I substitute 4 cups of Canadian AP Flour for some of the WW Flour in the 100% Whole Wheat and Flaxseed Bread. I expect the hydration level will change because AP won’t require as much water. What do you recommend that I do to make this change.

    And I would like to add 1/2 cup ground flaxseed to your Light Whole Wheat Bread that is our family favourite.

    Thank you soooooo much! Kelly

    • Hi Kelly,

      If I remember correctly Canadian AP is actually higher in protein than the AP we buy in the States. I would make the substitution and just add the water slowly, until you have a dough that feels comparable to our regular dough. You may end up having to use slightly more or less water, and adjusting it the next day. There is no hard rule for this, we just test and retest our recipes until we love them. Same is true for the addition of flaxseed.

      Thanks and do let us know what you end up using, Zoë

  10. Just made my first batch of dough and baked a boule. It was a bit dense, but very tasty! I know I could have used more flour. Now that I know making bread can be so easy I will invest in a scale & bread box. Thank you so much!

  11. I’m waiting for my book, and buckets. Would it work to make a 1/2 recipe? That would fit my current bowl better. Thanks!

  12. Excellent – can’t wait to try the whole grain version. Your original version is always in our fridge and a loaf is on our counter now. I’m wondering, how does whole wheat pastry flour substitute for whole wheat flour?

    Thanks for any tips you can provide – I’ve got a bunch of the ww pastry flour on-hand.

    • Catherine: Pastry flour is lower in gluten than regular WW, so the breads may be over-dense and tending to spread sideways. But given that we generously use vital wheat gluten, may not matter. Worth a try, they’d at least make nice flatbreads and pizzas. Haven’t tried this so not certain. Jeff

  13. I just got whole wheat and white whole wheat flour. It says to freeze whole wheat for long storage. How long will it last in the cupboard at 72 deg.? Does white whole wheat need to be frozen – how long does it last otherwise? What about potato flour?

    • Hi Sueonview,

      The whole grain flours (both regular and white) will need to be frozen if you don’t use them after just a month at that temperature, especially if it is humid. Otherwise the oils in the flour will go rancid. It can’t hurt to also freeze the potato flour.

      Thanks, Zoë

  14. Oooh, I had no idea storage at room temp. was so short! . Here I am with 10 lbs of whole grain flours and a small side by side freeze and 2 people, one who is diabetic and watches carbs. I live in Minnesota and it is very dry in the house in the winter (and summer with constant AC. Does that make a difference? Does refrigeration help?

    • Hi Sueonview,

      You may want to freeze some of the dough if you don’t think you can use it all up. You can always make a half batch of dough as well.

      Thanks, Zoë

  15. I’m very late to this party, but I have a dumb question for you. I baked my first loaf of the whole wheat bread today and loved it, but the seeds fall off SO easily. Is there a trick to helping them stay on better?

  16. Does the size of loaf you make (ie, maybe making a couple buns for dinner) change the length you would bake your loaf/loaves at?

    • Hi Melanie,

      Yes, if you are baking smaller loaves (buns) you will want to bake them for less time. If you tell us which dough you are using we can help you figure out how long it should be.

      Thanks, Zoë

  17. I LIVE IN BANGKOK, THAILAND AND I CAN’T FIND HERE VITAL WHEAT GLUTEN/FLOUR.
    I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE YOUR HEALTHY BREAD, CAN I DO IT WITHOUT IT?

  18. I’m so excited about your method! I already own the book and am currently letting my very first loaf rest. Wish me luck! This method will be perfect for my busy school schedule.

    I do have one question. I’m a college student with limited kitchen supplies. I was wondering if there is anything I can use instead of a broiler tray- I’d rather not buy one, to save space, if I can use something I already have (and, in fact, use for broiling food). For example, can I use a heavy, large metal baking dish? If the worry here is that anything other than a broiling tray will warp, I think the dish would suffice.

    Thanks,
    Madison

  19. I use King Arthur white whole wheat and bread flour when I make whole grain bread. I also use their whole grain dough enhancer. Could I sub these in your basic ww boule/oblong loaf? I also have their AP, of course.

    • Mary Ann: If you swap bread flour where all-purpose was called for, you might need to increase the water a little. Unless the KAF dough enhancer is a water-absorber, in which case all bets are of. We haven’t used dough enhancers, so not sure how to advise. My guess is that it’s worth trying, their products work nicely in our recipes.

      FYI, only need to post once; we see everything… Jeff

  20. Can I use all ww flour or us ww pastry flour in replace of tha all-purpose? I prefer just to use whole grains. Also, can I make a pain d’epi with this? If so how would cook and rest tes change? Thanks!

    • Sara: We have many more versions with 100% WW in the second book (see on Amazon at http://htl.li/6rbmE). No, you can’t just swap out the AP for WW, requires other adjustments. Haven’t posted any of the 100% WW recipes on the web. Jeff

  21. Greetings, I love your book and the concepts you are using… goes along with ‘Nourishing Traditions’. I haven’t made much yeast bread in 30 years but am living off grid now and back to grinding the flours myself and want to bake all my own bread again. Is there a way to adjust your recipes that call for white flour? That would be a big help. I just tried the 100% whole grain (with wheat berries and rye flakes) It has been sitting in the fridge for about 5 days and the wheat berries are still too hard so I think next time I should run them through my flaker. Anyway the loaf didn’t rise much and is heavy. I know it is me and not the recipe.. I am also getting used to using a propane range/oven. Maybe i should have started with the olive oil recipe. Also what about substituting spelt or kamut for some of the whole wheat… it is my understanding that spelt is more like ww pastry flour and kamut like hard wheat. I hope you haven’t already answered these questions in previous posts.. I did read a bunch but just couldn’t get through the whole batch. Thank you for your help.

    • Janean: Do you have our 2nd book, which deals more directly with whole grains? The flaker will certainly help the wheat berry situation. Spelt is all over that 2nd book too (on amazon at http://bit.ly/3wYSSN ), might prefer our 100% spelt variation with a little less water.

      If grinding yourself— all bets are off on the water content, see my post on that at http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=1165
      Very unpredictable because unlike commercial flour, the moisture content is VERY variable.

      White flour absorbs less water than whole grain; that’s what we did in that 2nd book– you can’t just swap out WW for white; and you do need to use vital wheat gluten if you want to store and use the hydration we specify. Hope that helps! Jeff

  22. Question.
    I made the Whole Grain master dough last night, tonight made a loaf. Round shaped. I baked it at 450 for 30 minutes and found the outside was good med brown crust but the inside wasn’t cooked. I recognize that it may be my oven temperature, or more likely it may be that I kinda stirred the flour before I scoop for the scoop & sweep.
    We still love the bread, I put it back in the oven for another 6 or so minutes, the crust is just quite hard..
    My main question: What can I do for my dough that is in the fridge?

    Thank you so much for your reply, though I am looking forward to going out and buying HBin5.

    • Laura: You’re right, it’s probably your oven. And don’t stir the flour first, that throws off the measurement.

      If the dough’s too wet, you can work extra flour into it now; let sit for a couple hours before using. Jeff

  23. I HAVE BEEN BAKING BREAD FOR 35 YEARS. JUST TODAY FOR THE FIRST I MADE UP THIS DOUGH AND AM ANXIOUS TO TRY IT. TO THE PERSON WITH DOUGH WHICH IS TOO WET, I FOUND THAT WHEN I MOVED TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FROM NEW ENGLAND, MY DOUGH REQUIRED MORE LIQUID. I BELIEVE HOW MUCH HUMIDITY IN THE AIR AFFECTS THE WATER CONTENT IN THE FLOUR. PERHAPS WHERE YOU LIVE IT IS MORE HUMID THUS YOUR FLOUR DOES NOT NEED AS MUCH WATER.

  24. I’ve been baking your bread since the early days of the first book, and was generally very, very pleased with the results. lately my efforts have been disappointing. I substitute one cup of white whole wheat flour for one cup of white flour in the basic recipe, and use a heaping teaspoon of vital wheat gluten. I do the overnight resting in the refrigerator after shaping. But I’ve been getting bread with few or no holes, a little too dense, and the top crust is not crisp at all. Flavor okay but could be better.

    Any advice?

    • Roz: You’ve adjusted the recipe– often you need to increase the water with VWG to keep the same wet consistency, otherwise it’s not store-able. So try that. Jeff

  25. I was wondering if you posted a recipe for the Gluten Free version. My sister makes your bread all the time- and it smells and looks great! Hoping that I could make it too- just gluten free! Thanks!

  26. I just made my first batch, and.. my dough isn’t as wet as yours..? I did all the measurements, etc.. but it seems a bit dryer. I’m hoping it still turns out okay?

  27. Hello Jeff and Zoe,

    I have really enjoyed your book and site! I’ve been following your whole grain master recipe and video exactly and I just cannot get the dough to have the elastic stretchiness that shows in the video. It rises fine, but when I grab it and pull it out, there is no stretchiness at all… it just pulls right apart.

    In your experience, what would that point to?

    I’m following your recipe exactly including the VWG, etc. I’m using King Arthur unbleached organic white flour and home ground organic soft white wheat flour. I use a fairly course setting on my grinder.

    Any insights or direction would be appreciated!

    Thanks so much!
    Benjamin

    • Hi Benjamin,

      It is the home ground flour, it just doesn’t produce the same gluten strength of a finely ground commercial flour. You can try to up the VWG to get the strength of the dough to the right point.

      Thanks, Zoë

  28. Just a bout to buy your book. Just one question though…I make my bread in a bread machine. Will that complicate matters with your baking recipes?

    • Placid: We haven’t tested our recipes for baking in bread machines, so I can’t vouch for this approach. Our idea was to make it so easy you wouldn’t need the bread machine!

      Our stuff may be too wet for those machines. Why don’t you try our basic recipe here on the web before you buy: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=1616 … Jeff

  29. Hello, I stayed at a Retreat Center in the fall and your whole grain bread was the main bread. I just got the name of your book today from the people who run the retreat center and want to make your bread for myself and my husband. I have made bread in the past, but would like to know how to start with using all your knowledge. I see you have a few books out–I am totally new to you guys, but have loved what I read on your site here. What is your recommendation for atarting–buy your books? try recipes? buy which ingredients? I know I will be hooked, so would like to know-has anyone asked the starting place before? thanks so much for your work and love of whole grains!

    • Chris: First need to decide what breads/pizzas/flatbreads you want to eat. If you’re good with mostly-white breads, it’s the first book (Artisan Bread). If you want mostly whole grains, the second (Healthy Bread). If you want pizza and flatbread in glorious detail, then go for Artisan Pizza in Five.

  30. I’ve tried baking the master recipe a couple times. They always taste good but the boule-shaped ones always crack wider where I slash the cross on top. I just want the slashed crust to spring beautifully where I cut it, not crack wildly. Do you have any tip?

    • Hi Julian,

      You may need to let the dough rest another 15 to 20 minutes before baking and make sure that you are slashing the dough 1/4 to 1/2-inch deep.

      Which recipe, from what book are you baking from and we can help you determine the time to bake the loaves? Some recipes require more baking than others.

      Thanks, Zoë

  31. I have one more question. How much is a variation between the time to bake bread in a loaf pan and in the epi/loosely braided shape? How I can know when my bread being baked is done?

  32. Greetings Zoe and Jeff,

    Saw your sight pinned on Pinterest and had great success with the first batch, We are a whole grain family though so I’m buying the Healthy Bread version of your book. My question is about the pizza flat bread book, are there whole grain recipes in that? Should I get both books?

    Regards,
    Amy

    • Hi Amy,

      Yes, there are a few whole grain pizza doughs in that book. We always give whole grain options. Beyond the doughs, there are many techniques in the 3rd book that aren’t in the other two.

      Thanks, Zoë

  33. I found your HBin5 book in the bookstore one day and got so interested in the healthy bread recipes. I am from the Philippines, just starting to bake and would like to try your bread recipes. But baker’s stone is difficult to find here. Is it okay if I just place my bread in loaf pans with foil? Also, I have been reading about the broiler pan, heat, place water process and am so soared to break my oven glass/burn my hands. Would it also be okay to just place a muffin tray with water underneath, preheat and then bake my bread?
    Thank you so much for any help you can give.

    • Menchie: You can do bread pans, yes.

      We give three alternatives for getting steam in the oven in the HBin5 book– instructions start at the beginning of Chapter 3 (equipment). They’ll all work better than the muffin-tray idea.

  34. I have your “Healthy Bread” book, and have made bread twice, both whole wheat.In the first instance, the crust was great, top and bottom. I’m using a stone and a metal bowl for steam. It was the ww with flaxmeal. The 2nd time I made the ww with olive oil. The bottom was great but the top didn’t get crunchy. Is that because the top is brushed with water before baking.In the first recipe it isn’t. This 2nd crumb is really good. So, the next time I make it, I’m thinking I’ll leave the water step out. What do you think?

    Thanks,

    Carole Fulmer

    • Carole: Olive oil breads don’t get as crisp– oil’s a softener. That recipe doesn’t call for brushing with water but that usually crisps anyway. I don’t think it’ll matter here.

  35. Jeff,Thanks for your response.

    Actually this recipe does call for brushing with water. Page 81.I have more dough in the frig, and, will try again without water to see what happens. So much fun.

    Thanks again

    Carole

  36. Hi,

    Thanks for the master recipe. I wanted to try this first before embarking on other recipes in the book. My dough doubled in size, hence the rising was quite good, but when I took it out of the refrigerator today to bake a loaf, I did not see any stringy-ness. The dough just breaks off on its own. And It did not rise much when I left it out for 90 minutes before baking. I do see air bubbles in the baked bread, but the taste is a bit like sour dough. I am not sure where I went wrong. Do you think I left it out to rise for too long?

    Looking forward to your response – thanks!

  37. I tried it without the vital wheat gluten and it didn’t taste very good. Kind of bland. I’m wondering is that because of the eliminated vital wheat gluten, or something else. For the white flour I used white whole wheat flour.

    • Hi Mary,

      The VWG will have an effect on the way the bread rises and its ability to store in the refrigerator for any amount of time. This batch may have seemed too wet and/or dense? The flavor may have been bland if you baked it on the first or second day. You may also prefer the variation that has a touch of honey?

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Zoe, Thank you so much for replying. Ok, I went out and bought the vital wheat gluten and made the whole wheat bread with honey and eggs. It tastes delicious, but one problem. Even though I used the vital wheat gluten, the bread did not rise much, and it does not have that stretchy texture. I’m wondering why? I carefully followed the directions. Do you think my flour may be too old? The wheat flour I am using is probably 4 months old, but the white flour is much fresher.

      • Mary: Which of our books are you using (recipe, page number)? That flour isn’t stale, 4 mos is OK.

      • Hi Jeff, thanks for helping me out. I’m using the book called, Healthy Bread in 5 minutes a Day. The recipe is the Soft Wheat Sandwich Bread, p.92.

      • Any chance Ur using Hodgson Mills or other very coarse WW flour? If so, try Gold Medal and see if you like it better. If your kitchen’s cool (less than 68 degrees) could try a longer rest. Also check through all our suggestions on the FAQs tab above (Dense crumb…). Keep in mind that relatively more of our loft comes from oven spring rather than rising before you put it into the oven after shaping– that’s normal with this method. But if the overall result is too dense for you, try some of these interventions.

      • Yes, it is a coarse whole wheat flour. I think one is Bob’s Red Mill and the other is Hogdsons. I had a half bag of each so I mixed them together into a gallon size bag. The other problem I have is that I don’t get that stretchy gluten texture and I’m wondering why?

      • Mary: All related to the very coarse flour– in my experience, most of our readers (not all) prefer a finer-ground flour once the WW percentage starts going up. Try Gold Medal and see what you think.

  38. Hi Jeff,
    I have used recipes from both bread books and love them! I’m currently using the master recipe from the healthy bread book and love the seed and nut mixture on top. I would like to try adding the mixture to the dough instead. Will that alter the consistency of the bread?

    Thanks, Margret

    • Hi Margret,

      If you are only adding a few tablespoons of the seed mixture it will not effect the results of the bread. If you are hoping to add more than that, it will effect the doughs gluten strength and it will not rise as well. Betsy’s loaf in that book is full of seeds and nuts.

      Thanks, Zoë

  39. I am wanting to try out this master bread recipe, but curious about the type of flour you suggest? I have some regular whole wheat flour which is quite course that I get at Wal-Mart. I could get my hands on some prairie gold whole wheat flour too if that is what you suggest? Thanks for your help!

    • Hi Nicole,

      All of our recipes were tested with Gold Medal flour. Do you know the brand of flour you get from Wal-Mart?

      Thanks, Zoë

  40. Hello!

    I am looking forward to buying your Healthy bread book on my upcoming visit to the States but I have one query: Vital wheat gluten is not available where I live, so I was wondering if I could sub all purpose white flour with white bread flour to get a higher protein count as an alternative in your master whole grain recipe. Any thoughts?
    Thanks!

    • Valeria: It will work, but only partly– can’t make up all the protein difference this way. Worth a try though, but you will have to decrease the water a little. 1/8 cup?

      • Thanks Jeff! Either that or increase the white flour vs whole wheat flour ratio. The good news is that after some research I found a specialty store that sells different types of flour etc and I’m hoping they have wheat gluten as well. I’ll go on a quest tomorrow :)

  41. I’m trying this for the first time. I made the dough last night, and it seemed rather dry. Your doughs look pretty wet in the picture. I have two small loaves out resting now for my first attempt at baking. I noticed when i went to pull a chunk of dough off, it just ripped. Is that a result of it being too dry?

    • Cecily: Sounds too dry, are you using VWG, etc? Any substitutions in the recipes. What brands of flours are you using?

      • Yes thats what I thought, but I was afraid to add more water. I used VWG and didnt change anything. Could it be the climate? I live in southern Ut- northern AZ. i used the meadow gold brands from walmart, and the bobs red mill brand of VWG.

      • Hi Cecily,

        I am not familiar with meadow gold brand flour, it may be a high protein flour, so that would account for the dry dough. You can just add a bit more water, a few tablespoons per batch and it should be fine. It may also have something to do with the weather. Because it is so dry in AZ your flour may just absorb more water. In either case, adding the water will help.

        Thanks, Zoë

  42. Hi, I just made this master recipe for the first time. It turned out pretty well, except the dough was a little too wet, but I think I will try the scoop-and-sweep method next time. However, this bread turned out flat, like in the picture, so I guess that is how it is supposed to be? I was wondering if there was any way to make it taller, using this same recipe, or if it would work in a loaf pan? Thanks!

    • Ali: If you don’t do scoop-and-sweep, the dough’ll be too wet and won’t hold a shape, so try that first. All else fails– dry out the dough a bit.

  43. How long can I keep whole wheat dough in the fridge. I had leftover dough sitting in a Tupperware container and I was wondering if it was still safe to bake & eat?

  44. Hi, I love all your breads, thanks so much for all these recipes. I wanted to know if I can use white whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour? And do I still need to add the Vidal wheat gluten? How about adjusting the amounts of flour and water?

    Thanks,
    Marty

    • Marty: Unfortunately, no– despite what some of the manufacturers imply. Maybe it works for cookies, but not for bread. WWW is a substitute for regular WW, not for AP, otherwise your result will be too dry. It has the same increased water requirement as WW, and it also requires VWG where we specify it.

      You will get a lighter result than with regular WW. If you want something 100% WW, try WWW in our 100% whole grain recipes in http://bit.ly/3wYSSN. If you want to swap WWW into this recipe published above, you need to increase the water– maybe 1/4 cup? Will need to experiment, and don’t try to skip the VWG.

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