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

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

    • Hi Doug,

      Cutting it just means you will be handling the dough less. We always suggest handling it as little as possible to maintain the air bubbles from the yeast. It should have quite a bit of stretch to it, which makes it a little more difficult to just tear out.

      Thanks, Zoë

  1. The Whole Grain Master Recipie was absolutely delicious. Can I bake this bread in a loaf pan for 2/3 of the tme and finish it on the stone for a loftier sandwich loaf?
    Thank You,
    Pat

      • Hello Zoe,
        A little more dough in a loaf pan produced a more sandwich-like, cuttable loaf. Baking your whole grain bread in a 3 to 4 quart sized, covered, cast-iron or ceramic pot (a la Lahey), also contributed to a higher loaf. I’ve become obsessed with healthy bread baking and actually grind the whole wheat. The bread comes out very dark and crusty on the outside and tender inside. I use a little orange juice in the water for the recipe, to sweeten the taste of the wheat a bit, without adding sugar. Thank you for those prompt answers and suggestions.

  2. Glad to see someone ditch the honey. I hate sweet bread. I was wondering if you absolutely need a baking stone. Does a cookie sheet do it too?

  3. Is there a way of substituting or completely skipping the vital wheat gluten? If I do skip it, how will it affect the end result?

    • Baigal: There’s no substitute, but you can leave it out if you decrease the water a bit (1/4 cup?). But– the result will be denser, a little dryer, and the dough won’t store as well as in the fridge– it will become over-dense sooner than our stored whole-grain dough with VWG.

  4. I love your artisan bread and have been making it for our family for years now. I have a question though about flours. If I have bread flour, can I use that in place of the white flour, or does it change the consistency significantly? Thanks!

  5. Hi! I tried the recipe today, but the bread came out hard on the outside, is there a way to make it just a tad softer? More water in the broiler pan perhaps? Thanks!

  6. Hi, I made the dough yesterday and today pulled some dough and it ripped right off. I didn’t have to cut it. Let it rest for 90 minutes but it didn’t rise. So I let it rise for more time and then read here that it may not rise. I used the recipe from the video. I am preheating oven now and will bake. I have the first book! Love this method. Thanks for this website.

    • Hi Pastora,

      The whole grain doughs are less stretchy than the all white doughs, so it is not unusual for it to break off. Although, this can also be a sign that the dough is too dry. Let me know how it comes out.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • I took it out just at 30 minutes and realized it was too soon, so back it went. It is crusty just the way I like it with a custard crumb! I won’t be buying bread anymore and can’t wait to get your second book. Thanks for your help.

  7. I made the dough and used some of it a few times. The last two uses from the bucket, in the refrigerator, about 1.5 weeks old, the dough was extremely wet and took lots of flour to shape. Is this normal? It also seemed to stick to my improvised peel as well as to the baking stone. Love the recipe and the books. Thanks

  8. I have made several of your breads from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and love all of that I have made! I have recently found out my kids have to be gluten free. Have you ever considered making a gluten free version of your bread?
    Thanks

  9. I have two questions for you:

    First, can the above recipe be done with no all-purpose flour, just the wheat flour and the vital wheat gluten?

    Second, are the cuts in the top of the loaf solely decorative, or do they serve a necessary purpose?

    Thanks!

    -Luke

    • Hi Luke,

      This loaf will be too dry if you use just whole wheat, without adjusting the water. There are many recipes in HBin5 that are 100% whole wheat if you prefer to bake without all-purpose flour.

      Thanks, Zoë

  10. This bread recipe is delicious- I am ordering your book pronto! I have one question though- my dough turned out pretty wet. I measure my flour- how much should 1 cup of flour weigh for your recipes?

  11. The last photo above leaves me thinking that the loaf doesn’t rise very much. Am I misintepreting? I’d like to try this for whole wheat baguettes, but am a little worried about the rise.

  12. I just made a loaf using the basic recipe that appeared in the Mother Earth News Dec2008/Jan2009 issue. I used nothing but 100% white whole wheat flour, also labeled as “ultra grain” flour. Except for an addition of about a tablespoon of honey for flavor, which I enjoy in whole wheat bread, and an increase of 1/2 cup water, I followed the directions to the letter. The result was a perfectly risen, moist, dense loaf of 100% whole grain slicing sandwich bread with a delightfully nutty flavor with just a hint of sweetness. The crust wasn’t the nice crisp one I get with white flour, but I’m just thrilled to have a moist loaf that rises well and is 100% whole grain! As a previous poster said, I’m never buying bread again. Thanks to both of you. I’m buying your book the first chance I get.

  13. I’m excited to try this recipe! I have one question though – can I mix the wholeseed mixture into the dough instead of sprinkling on top?

  14. Hi,
    I have just been introduced to your fantastic method by a friend and will be ordering the healthy breads book.

    In the meantime, I made the dough in this post but only half the amount to see how it “behaves”.

    I used store bought finely ground and sifted whole wheat flour + regular all purpose. The dough did not fall but it did straighten out and I stored it in the fridge after some 5 hours of resting in room temperature.

    I have 4 questions:

    When storing the dough in the fridge, do I cover it air tight or leave it slightly open?

    Second questions regards the part where I cut off a piece for baking. With the white flour recipe, the instructions are to powder the surface of the dough with flour and then cut off a piece. How do I do it with the WW?
    Do I also flour the surface of the dough? Do I wet or oil my hands?

    Third, should I set the dough I cut off on cornmeal? I am asking because I am referring to WW.

    Lastly, I will be baking the bread on a regular baking sheet on a baking pan + a baking pan with water. Is this the preferred way for WW or is a bread pan a better choice? I don’t have the stone.

    Thank you in advance for your answer!

    Lee

  15. Hi, I have two questions
    1. What is the best way to get the water to lukewarm? I usually leave it out on the stove. Is it okay to heat up the water on the stovetop or will that kill the yeast?
    2. How should I store the bread? I usually take a week to eat it and have currently been putting it into a ziploc bag.

  16. I never use warm water. I use the filtered water tap, which is usually room temperature. I always put the dough in the fridge, so I don’t see the point in using warm water. It still works fine.

    • Hi Kirsten,

      Using room temperature or even cold water will certainly work and some people even prefer it, but it just takes much longer to rise. If you have the time to spare, then by all means it is a great way to go.

      Thanks, Zoë

  17. I am SO STOKED. I have been making your original basic recipe for a few years, sharing it with everyone and getting them addicted too. I usually use all whole wheat flour with the regular recipe….but now am ready with wheat gluten today!!! THANK YOU for your foodie brilliance. You make my life better and my hips fuller! (And yes, I have blogged about your bread.)

  18. I have been making whole wheat bread in the bread machine for months, and just recently perfected my recipe with 100% whole grain (after MUCH experimentation and seeking out the perfect flour – I don’t have my own flour mill). However, using a bread machine takes almost 4 hours on whole wheat cycle, and it only makes one large loaf (or the equivalent of two smaller ones). So I stumbled on your website and I just tried mixing up my first whole wheat recipe last night. Thing is, I didn’t realize that I made a HUGE mistake until this morning. I had to halve the recipe since I didn’t have a five-quart container, but I mistakenly didn’t halve the water (I haven’t made a mistake like that in the kitchen in a long time!). Thus, the dough is VERY sticky. Is there a way to salvage it? I added some more flour to a pound and I’m trying to cook a loaf in the crock pot right now, but I need to know if it’s even worth salvaging, or if I need to try mixing up a new batch.

    Any help would be great, and I’m so glad I found you guys on here! I’m always seeking out that “perfect” bread recipe, since our family uses a lot of whole-wheat bread for sandwiches, and my daughter might as well be addicted to bread, she eats it so much!

    • Hi Dinae,

      Yes, you can absolutely fix the dough, just as you thought, you’ll want to add more flour and probably a touch more yeast and salt. If you don’t have a container to do it all at once, you can break the dough into two batches. Once you add the new ingredients, let the dough sit to allow the excess water to be absorbed.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Thanks so much for your help! The bread was much better when the water ratio was no longer so much more than it needed to be!

        Thanks again!
        Dinae

  19. I’ve just begun baking bread (at age 59!) and can’t thank you both enough for de-mystifying the process and giving me a few master recipes. So much easier than 1 recipe per bread type.

    If I want to mix the whole grains into my loaf, am I correct in thinking that the given measure of 1-2 tbls is PER loaf? Am I also correct in thinking that I can add the grains when I mix the master dough? Next recipe to try – pizza! :)

  20. Duffy, I’m confused. Where did you get 1-2 T per loaf, the recipe on this page has a lot more than that. Which of our books/which page number are you working out of?

    • Hi Jeff,

      I got it from the ingredient list on this web page:

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

  21. Yes, it’s really “to taste,” whatever thickness of coating of seeds you like. And alternatively, yes, right in with the dough mix.

  22. Okay, I’m hoping you can help me! I made two loaves of boule from the Whole-Grain Master Recipe. Neither has “sprung up” as much in the oven as I had thought. The second one, on Zoe’s advice, I let rest for an extra half-hour, for a total of two hours of resting time before putting it in the oven, but still, the bread came out fairly flat. What could I still be doing wrong? Thank you!

      • Hi Zoe! I’m using Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Flour, and white flour (just the plain, store-brand stuff). The dough didn’t feel dry, though–if anything, it felt overly wet. I appreciate your help! How great that even with how busy you both must be, you find time to answer individual questions!

      • I just had a thought–it’s very possible that the water I used was too warm. Now that I think back, it was almost certainly a good deal warmer than 100, maybe even bordering on hot rather than lukewarm. Would that keep the bread from “springing up” in the oven?

      • Thank you! I want to share with you that my 20-month-old daughter has been going through a phase of refusing (store-bought) bread. No matter how I gave it to her–toasted, untoasted, plain or with peanut butter or jam–she was just refusing it. Then I made a loaf of the sandwich bread from your first book, subbing about half the flour with white whole-wheat flour. I gave her a slice for breakfast this morning, with a little jam on top, and she devoured it!

      • Okay, sorry–one more (last) update because I don’t want to monopolize the comment stream! But I did want to let you know that I think I figured out the problem. I had been using bleached flour but not adjusting the AMOUNT of flour up or the amount of water down. Also, I’d been using basic whole-wheat flour. I just mixed up a batch using white whole-wheat flour instead of basic WW flour, and upping the amount by 1/4 cup to compensate for the use of bleached flour, and the first loaf is in the oven, springing up like crazy, as I type this!
        Thanks so much for your help!

  23. Just tried your basic recipe. I mixed it up yesterday. I am using my own fresh ground ww flour. I am glad I happened to see your video that said a cup of flour is 5 oz. I weighed mine, and it was only 4 oz, so I went by weight in mixing up my bread. It did seem a bit dryer than yours, but rose beautifully, just like your demo. Today, 4th of July I pulled it out and made a loaf. It broke off without me having to cut it, didn’t seem to rise very much, but I went ahead and cooked it and it was fantastic. Just the right texture and amazingly yummy! Thanks so much, I look forward to the next few loaves. This is definitely the simplest process I’ve ever done and I’ve been making yeast bread for 50 yrs.

  24. I just tried your whole grain master recipe tonight, which was my very first attempt at making homemade bread! The flavor was great but the dough didn’t really rise at all and was extremely dense. Did I do something wrong or is there something I could do to make my second batch more light and fluffy? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    • Assume you used vital wheat gluten but I’m guessing you used a coarse-ground whole grain flour; if so, try a typical commercial product like Gold Medal Whole wheat. Have you been through the tips and techniques in the book (chapter 4)? Much more in there. And be sure to do the full rest– 90 min. Check our FAQ above, on “Dense crumb…”

  25. Just read this & realize that I completely MESSED up the original Artisan Bread in 5 mins recipe. Now that I know what I did wrong, is there anyway to ‘Save’ the ‘mixture’ that I have already created?
    I used 6 1/2 cups of Whole Wheat Flour, zero Vital Wheat Gluten, but followed everything else on the Artisan Bread in 5 mins recipe.
    HELP!!!

    • Hi Danielle,

      The problem is that whole wheat flour absorbs a lot more water and creates less gluten, so the dough will be much too dry and won’t have enough structure to rise well. Your best bet is to add more water to the dough. You’ll want to start with about a 1/4 cup and see where that gets you. You should watch some of our videos to see what the consistency of the dough is meant to look like when mixing and after it has risen.

      You breads may spread a bit, so for this dough I may suggest you use a loaf pan.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Thanks Zoe, will try adding water…is that ALL I need to add? Again, I followed the reg. Artisan Bread in 5 min receipe, the only change I made was using wheat floud instead of white flour.
        Thanks!
        Danielle

      • Hi Danielle,

        Yes, as you know, we generally recommend adding vital wheat gluten to breads made with a high percentage of whole wheat, but it can’t be added after the dough is already made. You have to whisk the VWG in with the whole wheat flour or it doesn’t mix properly. Try just adding water to this batch and next time you can add VWG at the start.

        Thanks, Zoë

  26. Just found out about the WW method. Can’t wait to try this. The 5 minute artisan bread was published in the Charleston, WV, Sunday Gazette in, I think, January 2006 and I’ve been using it for all that time. So good, we don’t get a lot of wait time with it. We have been making it into a pepperoni cheese loaf, rolling it out like cinnamon rolls, topping it and rolling it back up from the short side. Of course the cinnamon rolls are heavenly. A question: my younger daughter loves pumpernickel bread. Is there any way to “pumpernickel-ize the WW recipe.

  27. Have been thinking about garlic knots to dip in marinara. What about rolling the dough out like a cinnamon roll, topping it with olive oil, garlic, and parmesan and rolling it back up from the long side, and cutting rounds out.

    • Not a huge deal– the crust won’t be as brown and it won’t really crisp. But these are less of an issue with whole grain breads.

  28. Hello!
    I just made this recipe and it turned out great =) The bread is soft with lots os bubbles after baking, with a crispy crust.
    My only problem was the fact I wasn’t able to “slash” the top because the dough was to soft.. does that mean I need to make it drier the next time? I looked similar to the video.
    Thank you! (Marisa- Portugal)

    • Dust surface with flour, then stabilize the loaf with your other hand. A serrated knife, especially a bread knife, will go through dough even when it’s this wet.

  29. Just trying this recipe for the first time. Followed precisely and found that the dough was very dry, not wet. Fearing changing your recipe, I just left in bowl to rise (doing that now). Will my bread be ok? or should I have added more than 4 cups of water? I used the Vital Gluten as directed too.

    Thanks!
    Matt

    • See our video on this, which shows how wet it should look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDBJkxoNpE8 Other videos on YouTube.com/BreadIn5. If yours looks drier, yes, prob should’ve added more water. Did you use a home-ground or other coarse WW? May want to re-create it with a standard supermarket WW, like Gold Medal or other.

      Can work in a little water after the fact.

      • Thanks for the Sunday reply Jeff! I used a standard flour (King Arthur WW). Too late to add more water now since it has been in the fridge for a few hours. We’ll just have to see how it turns out. Kinda surprised that I followed the recipe to the T and got such dry dough….

  30. How much water should be added to a dough when adding 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten to a recipe?

    Also, with the varying absorption rates of different grain flours, are you aiming for any specific hydration levels in the doughs of Healthy BreadsIn5?

    For what it’s worth, I’ve weighed Bob’s vital wheat gluten about 10 times and keep coming up with 35 grams per 1/4 cup (stirred, scooped, & leveled). His packaging says 30 g per 1/4 cup. I do have a pretty accurate scale (Edlund E-160).

    This is going to be a Veddy Bready Christmas! Thanks to you both for all the time you spend for us Breadheads.

    • Hi Rita,

      The hydration is really going to change a lot depending on the flours you are using. If you are using the HBin5 book, we already have amounts of water for each recipe, so you shouldn’t have to alter that, unless you’re changing the recipes.

      You are getting the same weight for vital wheat gluten that we get, based on our chart on page 36 in HBin5. They may be spooning the vital wheat gluten into the cup at Bob’s, but that’s not how we tested the recipes.

      Thanks and happy baking! Zoë

      • Thank you, Zoe. I must have been thinking of the Bob’s vital gluten bag and got my sources backwards. I think there are more scoopers than spooners out there too.

        Actually, I was asking about the vital gluten/water ratio because I was thinking of playing with the gluten in some older recipes of mine. Can’t help experimenting.

      • Hi Rita,

        You will need more water for whole grain recipes and less for AP. 1/4 is a lot of vital wheat gluten, unless you are going for a multi loaf batch. I think a tablespoon or two is more typical in a single batch and you may want to start with an equal amount of extra water and go from there, depending on flour.

        Good luck, Zoë

      • Thanks so much, Zoë! I typically at least double a batch, sometimes more, so your suggestion will be very helpful to give me a starting point. I’ll take your advice and creep up on it too.

        With baking season upon us, I hope we don’t wear you and Jeff out!

  31. I having been baking bread for 20 something years, and came across your online recipe. That’s generous of you to share. Anyway, I gave it a try, and have to say it is outstanding. I hated kneading, despite getting a good workout, so your approach is especially welcome!

    I have the book on my Xmas wish list, so hopefully Santa will bring it soon. If not, I will buy it myself!

    A couple of minor variations, which worked well for me. One is to proof the yeast using a 1/2 cup of water and reaspoon of brown sugar. The dough rises beautifully. Second is to use bread flour instead of the plain flour. It gives that bit of extra texture I think. Also, my first loaf stuck to the parchment paper I used, so now I use a non-stick silicone baking sheet. Works like a charm.

    Thanks again, and I can’t wait to try more recipes!

    • Hi Roger,

      Thanks for trying the recipe, all your variations sound like good ones, hope you get the book for Christmas!

      Cheers, Zoë

      • I forgot to mention that I adjust the amount of water to account for that used in proofing the yeast.

  32. Made your No Knead Artisan Bread yesterday. Needless to say, it is all gone today. I gave away a couple of loaves and when the family came over they ate the rest. Today I am going to try the Whole Wheat version. Can I use 7 grain flour in place of whole wheat?

  33. Just got your new book last night. LOVE it. Can’t thank you both enough. Going to try out the whole grain master recipe now. One question. I recently purchased a seven grain bread flour (from great river organic milling) in hopes of trying out more whole grain breads. I would like to substitute the whole grain flour for wheat flour in the whole grain master recipe. So my question is: should i increase the water quantity and/or vital wheat gluten amount to get a loaf that isn’t very dense? Thanks again.

    • Hi Deepa,

      I have a feeling it is going to behave just like whole wheat, so I think you can use it in place of whole wheat in our recipes. You may want to try a half batch just in case. If the dough seems to wet or dry you can always make adjustments with no harm to the dough.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Thanks, Zoe, for your reply. I tried the recipe with the 7-grain substitution and it came out okay. Well, one out of the four loaves I made was really good (which was surprising, since I can’t think of anything I did differently with the baking. I was wondering if you could tell me if there are any tricks to making the dough rise better – i.e. more yeast or whether a wetter dough would make the difference? I will keep experimenting. Overall, I love how simple you and Jeff have made the whole bread baking experience so that beginner bakers like me can explore this.
        Thanks again.

      • Those suggestions are all on the FAQs page, the one that reads “Dense crumb…” Those are the tricks. Longer resting time is one I always come back to. The fact that a single recipe is coming out differently all the time suggests it’s the measuring technique, so check the FAQs “Measuring…” and also “Weighing…”

  34. Hi Zoë and Jeff!

    I’ll be working with the recipe for 100% Whole Wheat Bread with Flax (HB5, page 86). I have the following pans and would like to make different-sized loaves depending on the recipients. It’s so much fun to give breads to friends. Could you please give me some guidance as to the dough weight appropriate for each pan? I’m excited about this bread because I used to love the flavor of flax in a favorite breakfast cereal as a child. Thank you.

    (All Top Measurements)
    Standard: 8 1/2 x 4 1/2”

    Standard: 9 x 5”

    Hearth Rye pan (has a rounded bottom and cuts into oval slices): 12 x 7 x 2.5″h

    Long loaf: 12 1/2 x 5” x 3”h

    Would it be helpful for me to measure the capacity of each for you?

    • My best guess, from the top of your list to the bottom (pounds):
      1.5
      1.75 to 2.00
      2.25 to 2.50
      2.25-2.50

      Estimates–but the way I’d really do it is by seeing how high the dough comes. Before oven spring, it should be about 3/4 full if you want it puffing roundly and exuberantly over the rim, and 1/2-full if you don’t.

      • Thank you, Jeff. Those weights will give me a very good starting point. Also your extra tip about the height of the loaves. Love the exuberantly! :)

  35. I have downloaded your most recent version of ABin5 and your Healthy ABin5. I plan to only use 100% White WW flour from Trader Joes. Do I need to use the vital wheat gluten? Many of your recipes in the Healthy book use some amount of white flour which I don’t want to use. Can I substitute 100% White WW?

    • Hi Deb,

      You will still need the vital wheat gluten. The VWG allows the bread to be stored and still get a nice rise over time. If you substitute the white whole wheat you will need to add more water to the dough, since the whole wheat absorbs more water. I would start with 1/4 cup and see if that creates a nice elastic dough. You may want to make it once as written, just so you know what the consistency should be. You can also follow the ratio of water and flour in the 100% whole wheat loaf.

      Enjoy, Zoë

      • Hi Zoe,

        So I baked my first 100% whole wheat loaf. I used the VWG exactly as outlined in the recipe. The bread was good but I would like a bigger crumb. I know I could do it if I used one of your recipes with a mixture of wheat and white flours but can I get a larger crumb if I add more VWG? If so how much do I increase it by? What if I increase the water?

      • Hi Deb,

        You can try increasing the VWG by a couple of tablespoons and the water by about the same or up to 1/4 cup. You want to becareful not to add too much VWG or the bread will get a rubbery texture.

        Cheers, Zoë

  36. I have been using your healthy bread in 5 min. a day master recipe with slight modifications. I have reduced the whole wheat flour to 590 grams and added 120 grams of rye flour and increased the vital wheat gluten to 40 grams.
    I really like the bread as does the whole family. My only concern is that I haven’t been getting much of a rise in my cloche.today my wife suggested making a ring like a spring form pan out of parchment. The object was to contain the broule and encourage rising rather than spreading. She took to two four inch wide strips of parchment, layered them and stapeled them together to form a ring just slightly bigger in circumference than the 1 and 1/3 pound broule. We let in proof for 90 minutes on the stove top. It was on parchment on a pizza peel. Meanwhile the cloche was preheated to 450 degrees. I placed the broule with the parchment base and ring into the cloche and baked for 30 minutes covered and removed the cover for an additional 5 minutes. It is the tallest loaf to date. The parchment ring worked perfectly and will now be the standard method in our kitchen.

    • Hi LeRoy,

      This is a great solution. I have done this with our panettone recipe, but had never tried it with the master recipe.

      Cheers, Zoë

  37. About shaping the loaf into an oblong rather than round shape:

    Do you recommend the letter folding method or stretching & rolling method for this whole wheat recipe?

    Thanks, Sharon

  38. Hi I don’t have a grinder yet to make the flour but I as wondering how the glycemic index of fresh ground whole grain bread is compared to others.. can you comment on that?

    Thank you
    Maureen

    • Hi Maureen,

      I asked Jeff, who is a Dr, and this is what he said. “We can’t find any evidence for an important difference. That doesn’t mean that a difference doesn’t exist or that someday evidence like that will emerge.”

      Thanks, Zoë

  39. I am sooooooo excited to have found out about your books. Hopefully the Easter bunny will leave them for me next month. Until then I have been busy making LOTS of things with the basic master recipe. I yesterday made the whole grains recipe from this post, but ran into a problem…after refrigerating the dough overnight I went to make a couple loaves. The dough is not stretchy at all. It did rise a lot during the 2 hours before refridgerating. I was able to form it into a loaf but is this ok? Could older gluten have caused this(I had some from previous recipes a about 8months ago)? Thanks for your help :)

    • Probably not the 8-mos old gluten, I think that should be OK. Are you using typical supermarket flours? If that’s not it, just increase the hydration a bit, maybe a quarter-cup?

  40. Just made and tasted this bread and it’s the best yet. I have been baking ABin5 for about 4 months and just got the HBin5 book. Instead of 5c of whole wheat I use half KA white whole wheat and half Kamut flour. The Kamut flour adds a really great taste, beautiful texture and what a nice lighter brown crust. Thanks for your great approach to baking, I always have one or two “buckets” of dough in the frig and bake a loaf every day. Can’t remember when we bought bread at the store last.

  41. Wow… I love this recipe. I have made the White Bread one and the Whole Grain is now in the oven… and it smells amazing… I never thought making my own bread could be this easy!! Thank you so much!

  42. I have made the Master Recipe for the Multigrain and it has turned out fine. 2 questions: 1. Can the dough sit on the counter longer than 2 hours for the initial rise in the bucket and 2. Can I substitute whole wheat bread flour for the whole wheat flour without changing the composition of the bread? Thanks!

    • The bread flour should be fine, but you may need to increase the water a bit (not sure, depends on how much more protein your brand of WW Bread has compared with ordinary). You might need to increase the water by 1 or 2 tablespoons.

      About the counter-rest, see our FAQs tab above and choose “Left the dough on the counter overnight! Can I still use it?”

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