Whole Wheat Bread

*Update (3/2014): In 2010, I added a 3rd whole wheat bread recipe (Darcy’s recipe) and since then, over the last 4 years, it’s pretty much the only one that I make. The other two recipes are delightful, but if you are wanting to know which one I use weekly to make my family’s bread, it is Darcy’s recipe.

For the last several years, I’ve been making all of our family’s bread. It seemed like a daunting task at first but now it is such a part of my routine that it barely makes an impact in my day (and the bread is done start-to-finish in about 2 hours or so). I make a bread every week or so and freeze it after it has cooled. I’ve found that slicing the bread before I put it in a freezer bag makes my life much easier because I can take out a slice at a time and avoid the dry, crumbly, homemade bread phenomenon that my kids despise when I am making their sandwiches. I simply pull out a slice or two of bread and microwave it for 25 seconds at 50% power. Woila! Tender, fresh bread ready for sandwich making (or for a nice slather of butter and jam).

I know that many of you have your own favorite whole wheat bread recipe. There are so many good ones out there. I’d like to share with you my favorites. I alternate making these and love them both equally. Both recipes produce a light but sturdy loaf, perfect for sandwiches or just for eating with dinner. And don’t even get me started on homemade bread for toast in the mornings. Oh, divine. The first recipe is one perfected by my friend, Mel’s, mom. Her bread has quite a legacy and lives up to it’s fame. I’ve adapted the recipe slightly to fit what I normally have on hand (as in, I never have dough enhancer so substituted gluten and powdered milk). It is a bit lighter in texture than the second recipe, due to a couple cups of white flour. The second recipe is one I’ve had for years and mimics the recipe from the notorious Bosch bread mixer. It has less oil than the first recipe and a few other different ingredients (like honey instead of sugar).

Here are a couple tips I’ve found to help with breadmaking:

  • I follow Bosch’s recommendations and use instant yeast. Because of this, I only ever let my bread rise after shaping the dough into loaves and placing them in the pans. They rise once in the pans and then I put them in a cold oven, turn it on to 350 degrees and bake for 32 minutes exactly. It turns out beautiful, not burned, loaves. (Update 03/14: I’m learning that each oven is different; after moving into a house with a different brand/style of oven, the cold oven method doesn’t work as well for me anymore because the oven “rapid preheats” and is an option I can’t turn off. Most recently, I let the bread rise high above the pans and then put it in a preheated oven for about 25 minutes. The moral of the story is to do what works best with your particular oven.)
  • I have a specific loaf pan that I absolutely swear by: The Chicago Metallic Commercial Bread Pan. I’ve done side-by-side baking comparisons with my other non-stick loaf pans, dark loaf pans, glass loaf pans, and hands down, every time the Chicago Metallic pans turn out a perfect loaf. The edges don’t get burned, the bread slides out perfectly without leaving crusty remnants, and they are heavy and durable. Love them. I use the standard 1-pound loaf pan (which is the equivalent to the 9X5-inch loaf pan).
  • As long as we are talking brands, let me tell you another product I love for breadmaking: these perfect bread bags. I was sick and tired of trying to stuff my loaves in ziploc bags or other ill-fitting plastic bags. These bags are perfect. I freeze the bread right in them and they are the perfect size. (Incidentally, I also order my vital wheat gluten from King Arthur Flour.)
  • I personally like to use white whole wheat flour. I prefer the light texture over red whole wheat but either kind will work in these recipes. I used to grind my flour with a Nutrimill wheat grinder, but now have a Wolfgang Flour Mill. Here is a post on popular wheat grinders and another on wheat/wheat grinding in general for more information.

Granted, bread making can be time consuming but the rewards are worth it when my son heartily exclaims that he doesn’t want to eat the French Toast Sticks at school and would rather have a sandwich on mom’s bread (and this is the kid who hates sandwiches). Hallelujah for the exit of French Toast Sticks in his diet.

One Year Ago: Toasted Orzo with Peas and Parmesan
Two Years Ago: Asian Chicken Salad

Darcy's Whole Wheat Bread {The Recipe I Use Most}

Yield: 5-6 loaves of bread

Darcy's Whole Wheat Bread {The Recipe I Use Most}

I've edited Darcy's recipe yet again! I added back in the Vitamin C pill. I was using powdered milk for a while (and no Vitamin C) but my bread results were sketchy so I used the Vitamin C again and my bread was as perfect as perfect can be. It's really important to help the bread rise and develop the gluten (plus Vitamin C pills are really inexpensive). Two other delicious whole wheat bread recipes are below this recipe, just in case you want to try other versions. I alternate between all three (although I make Darcy's bread the most) and they are all delicious. Also, as with all yeast doughs, I never use the flour amount called for in the recipe as a hard fast rule (unless a weight measure is given and then I pull out my kitchen scale). Because humidity, temperature, altitude and a multitude of other factors can impact how much flour you need in your yeast doughs, I always judge when to quit adding flour by the texture and look and feel of the dough rather than how much flour I've added compared to the recipe. This tutorial on yeast may help identify how a perfectly floured dough should be.

Ingredients

  • 12-15 cups wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1000 mg Vitamin C, crushed
  • 6 1/2 cups very warm water
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 2/3 cup honey or sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt

Directions

  1. In a large bowl (or stand mixer, like the almighty Bosch), mix together 5 cups of wheat flour, yeast, vital wheat gluten and Vitamin C. Add the warm water and mix well. Add the oil and honey (or sugar) and mix again.
  2. Cover the bowl and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. Add the salt and start the mixer (or mix by hand), adding the remaining flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl to form a soft dough. You may not need to add all of the flour! Judge the dough by feel not by the amount of flour you've used. It might be slightly sticky but should hold it's shape.
  3. Let the dough knead for 7 minutes in the stand mixer (or 15 minutes by hand). Form into 5 loaves (for the 8 1/2 X 4-inch loaf pans) and place into greased bread pans. Let rise until the bread is 2 inches above the top of the bread pan.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes (I like to let the bread rise 1 inch above the top of the pans and then put the bread in a cold oven and turn the oven on to 350 degrees and bake the bread for 32 minutes).
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/delicious-whole-wheat-bread-two-recipes/

LuAnn’s Whole Wheat Bread (with my adaptations)
*Note: as with all yeast doughs, I never use the flour amount called for in the recipe as a hard fast rule (unless a weight measure is given and then I pull out my kitchen scale). Because humidity, temperature, altitude and a multitude of other factors can impact how much flour you need in your yeast doughs, I always judge when to quit adding flour by the texture and look and feel of the dough rather than how much flour I’ve added compared to the recipe. This tutorial on yeast may help identify how a perfectly floured dough should be.

*Makes 4 loaves

5 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 tablespoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
2 cups white flour
8-10 cups whole wheat flour

Lightly spray bread pans with cooking spray and set aside. Mix the water, sugar, oil, yeast, salt, gluten and dry milk together in the bowl of an electric mixer or by hand. Add the white flour and mix well. Continue adding the whole wheat flour until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl and the dough is soft but not overly sticky. Knead for 10 minutes until a soft, smooth dough has formed. Using oil or cooking spray to grease your hands and countertops, form the dough into 4 loaves. Place the loaves into the bread pans and cover with lightly greased plastic wrap. Let them rise until the dough has risen about 1 1/2 inches above the top of the bread pan. Place the bread pans carefully in a cold oven. Turn the oven on to 350 degrees and bake for 38 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn out the bread onto a wire rack. Let cool completely before placing in bags to put in the freezer.

Recipe Source: Mel B.’s mom

Bosch Foolproof Whole Wheat Bread
*Note: as with all yeast doughs, I never use the flour amount called for in the recipe as a hard fast rule (unless a weight measure is given and then I pull out my kitchen scale). Because humidity, temperature, altitude and a multitude of other factors can impact how much flour you need in your yeast doughs, I always judge when to quit adding flour by the texture and look and feel of the dough rather than how much flour I’ve added compared to the recipe. This tutorial on yeast may help identify how a perfectly floured dough should be.

*Makes 6 loaves

6 cups warm water
2 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons salt
1/2 cup oil
2/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
12-15 cups whole wheat flour

Mix 8-9 cups fresh wheat flour and 2 ½ tablespoons yeast together in the bowl of an electric mixer (or in a large bowl by hand). Add 6 cups warm water and mix to paste consistency. Cover and let sponge 10-15 minutes. Add salt, honey, oil, and gluten. Mix by hand or if using an electric mixer, turn to speed 1 or 2 as motor bears down and add additional flour until dough pulls away from sides of bowl (be careful not to add too much flour). Let the mixer knead the dough for five minutes. (If using hands, knead for 10 minutes.) Use oil or cooking spray on your hands to form six equal loaves. Take dough immediately from bowl and fill lightly greased (or nonstick) loaf pans ½ to 2/3 full. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap to keep moist. Let the bread rise until doubled, approximately 1 ½ inches above the top of the pan. Place the bread carefully in a cold oven. Turn the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 38 minutes. Let cool completely before placing in bags to put in the freezer.
Recipe Source: Bosch Universal

187 Responses to Delicious Whole Wheat Bread – THREE Recipes

  1. Mel says:

    Suzanne – Darcy’s recipe is the one in the recipe box. I didn’t realize the title had changed – I’ll change it back.

  2. Suzanne says:

    Thanks for the quick fix! Is it the same recipe as before? I didn’t think there used to be pwd milk in it (I made it as recently as last week, but I am tired with a new baby so maybe I am more in the mental fog than I realized).

    • Mel says:

      Suzanne – I included a note above the recipe that explains the adaptations. It didn’t use to have powdered milk but I use the powdered milk now in place of the 1000 mg of vitamin c.

  3. Mame says:

    Hello there! I made your bread today and I was determined to not over-flour … and I think I under-floured?! (when I let it rise in the dough pans, after a first rise in the bowl bc I used dry-active, and I moved the pans, kind of plopped them on the counter, lightly mind you, and the dough fell a good inch!) I only have a kitchen aide, and did half the recipe but used just under the ‘full’ amount … So here is my issue, the edges are the bowl are ‘clean’ at first, but then as the flour gets mixed in it starts clinging again. Bc I have a KA and not a Bosche I thought maybe it was because the bread hook doesn’t scrape so close to the bowl. I know you don’t have one but do you have an opinion about this? Should the dough still be ‘accumulating’ in the middle and pulling away from the sides? Bc I feel like I always add more than the asked for amount!?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Mame – it sound like to me that you do need to add a bit more flour. The dough shouldn’t be sticky on the sides of the bowl as it kneads. Even an extra 1/4 to 1/2 cup flour may help without overflouring the entire thing. Also be careful not to plop the pans at all – when moving, slide them around or gently pick up and put down because even a light pound on the counter can cause them to fall.

    • Erin says:

      I have a Bosch and I get the same results as Mame. I add flour until it pulls away, then after kneading about 4 minutes the dough becomes super sticky. I add more flour, about a 1/2 cup until it’s not as sticky, but still is a little bit. I’ve added too much flour before with bad results. After making this kind of bread every week for 3 months, I have a better sense of when to stop kneading, but I’m often still wrong. I’ve even tried pulling the dough out at 4 minutes before it turns into a sticky mess, and it’s not kneaded enough and doesn’t rise well. I have even tried adding the extra flour in at the beginning, but the dough still becomes sticky usually at 5 minutes of kneading, and then I end up adding too much flour. But I have yet to produce a loaf that doesn’t fall at least a little when I move it to the oven. I also learned that even letting it rise 5 minutes more than 25 minutes (if I forget to put it in) will cause it to fall. I also don’t cover mine anymore, since they fall every time I remove the cover, and I rise them on the counter (my house is about 74 deg) because it would fall when I carried it into the slightly cooler air of another room. it also falls when I put it into a hot oven, but it rises too much on the top half only when I put it in a cool oven. And the bread falls apart in the top half. But even after all this I’m not willing to do a double rise recipe because I love the ease of this one, and even if the texture isn’t perfect when I make it, it still tastes good, and my kids will still eat it.

      • Mel says:

        Hey Erin! Thanks for detailing your experience with this bread. So after reading through your comment a couple of times, I’m pretty certain that the reason your bread is falling so often (and the top half of the bread is falling apart) is because it needs more flour. I’ve done the same thing you described and added too much flour with bad results but I think from what you’ve described, your bread needs a little more flour/structure to help it not fall (and it will give more substance to the bread so the top half doesn’t fall). Have you read the above comments that Marcikae and I were having back and forth? She’s had better luck with the slightly revised recipe (it uses a bit less water which can help depending on the climate you live in). It might be worth a try.

  4. Sheri says:

    Hi Mel! Thanks so much for the recipes and tutorials! I made the recipe that was Darcy’s only with powdered milk and not the vitamin C (I think) because I don’t see that one anymore. It had the exact same ingredients and amounts as Darcy’s only it had powdered milk instead of vitamin C. Do you know which I am talking about? I am wondering how much powdered milk instead of vitamin C because when I made that recipe I loved it and would like to make it again. Thanks so much!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Sheri – sorry about that. I’ve been tweaking this recipe and editing it so I apologize if a prior version isn’t available anymore. It was 2 tablespoons powdered milk.

  5. Isabelle says:

    I always make my bread in my Kitchenaid. I have a Classic Plus, which has a motor that’s a little more powerful than the classic. I only make 2 loaves at a time, and I have to hand-knead it a little at the end, but it works great. :)

  6. Shona Doornbos says:

    Our family loves LuAnn’s – I always make it 100% whole wheat and it’s never failed me. As soon as I buy a couple more loaf pans I am going to give Darcy’s recipe a whirl! Thanks for the recipes!

  7. lindsey hall says:

    I went ahead and used my bread machine on the dough cycle, took it out and raised in it the pan and then followed the 32 minutes in the oven like you said. Timing was perfect and this was my best homemade whole wheat bread yet! I was able to slice it thinly and it didn’t crumble like my other whole wheat attempts. I halved it and halved it again (that’s how I do math) to trial it but I think I can fit just one half of the recipe in the bread machine next time. Going to try tomorrow anyways! I love your blog Mel. Dinners are getting compliments instead of complaints these days!!!

  8. Laura Matthews says:

    Wondering if you let the Bosch knead on speed 1 or speed 2 for 7 minutes?

    Thanks.

    Laura

  9. Haley says:

    Mel, thank you so much for the wonderful blog!! I discovered your website a few months ago and it has quickly become my go-to food blog for recipes! I made the recipe for Darcy’s whole wheat bread today and everything looked great until I took them out of the oven. They had slightly sunk (however still tasted delicious!) and I am wondering if my problem is possibly too little flour? (I was a little paranoid abt over-flouring…) I covered the loaves with saran wrap sprayed w/ Pam and they sunk a little when I pulled it off before I put them in the oven so maybe that was it? Do you cover your loaves with anything when they are rising? Thanks so much!!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Haley – I do the same thing you did – cover the rising loaves with greased plastic wrap. If they deflated before you put them in the oven, my guess is what you suggested, perhaps slightly underfloured, but also, sometimes if a dough rises too much before baking, it can deflate easily so keep an eye on the loaves to make sure they haven’t over risen. Good luck! Let me know if you have other questions!

  10. Emily says:

    I realize this is an old post so you might not answer but can I use an organic vitamin c powder in place of the tablet? If so how much? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Emily – I’m not familiar with the properties of organic vitamin c powder so I can’t say for sure but it’s definitely worth a try. Does it have a flavor/taste? The tablets I use do not and I’m not sure if flavored powder would impact the taste of the dough.

  11. Trisha says:

    Mel, I LOVE your blog! I have learned so much from it. I love homemade bread. I would love to try Darcy’s bread recipe, but have a KitchenAid that can’t handle as much flour. I can try cutting the recipe in half (my KitchenAid can do 7 cups whole wheat flour), but have never tried adding Vitamin C. Do you know if I can just crush a 500mg Vitamin C tablet & get the same result?

    • Mel says:

      Trisha, I think even with cutting the recipe in half you should be able to use the entire Vitamin C tablet. Or crush the entire thing and try sprinkling in half? But really, I don’t think the extra Vitamin C will make a difference.

  12. Trisha says:

    I love your blog! I would like to try Darcy’s recipe, but only have a KitchenAid. I can cut the recipe in half but haven’t used Vitamin C in bread before. Do I just use 500mg if I divide the recipe? That simple to get same result? Thank you!

  13. Trisha says:

    Yikes! Sorry! My computer was being funny. I didn’t even see that my comment posted previously and you already responded. Sorry about that! Thanks for the fast response! I am excited to try making the bread now. :)

  14. Marci says:

    Have you ever tried adding seeds of any kind? I like the crunch they give bread

  15. Marci says:

    The pans I bought say Chicago metallic better bake medium loaf pan, 8.5×4.5×2.5. Is this basically the same thing you use? The amazon link said they were the 1 lb but I believe they have the same measurements other wise. I don’t know if it’s that big of a deal but this is my first time making my own wheat bread so I’m following your tips exactly. Also I bought a bottle of absorbic acid (fine granular). Any idea how much I use to equal the pill you crush?

    • Mel says:

      Marci – Yes, those are the same size pans I have from Chicago Metallic; mine are the light aluminum – not a dark nonstick finish in case that matters. As for the pill conversion, I’d use 1/4 teaspoon.

  16. Marci says:

    My bread rose but not enough to get the domed top. My dough was quite sticky and almost impossible to roll up to put in the bread pans unless my hands had some nonstick cooking spray on them. Would not enough flour have prevented a proper rise? It was clearing the sides when I dumped it out. It was still light, chewy, and tasty but looked ridiculous. If it tastes that good now, I’ll definitely have to give this another try so I can get it right.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Marci – it sounds like that if the dough was that sticky that yes, you do need a bit more flour. In answer to your question, under floured dough can definitely have issues rising since it doesn’t have the structural support to rise (usually deflates easily). Definitely give it another try! Flour amount will vary even by day based on so many factors so judge the dough again by feel – even if it clears the sides of your bowl, make sure if you roll a bit between your fingers that it can easily form a small ball without leaving a lot of residue on your fingers (a bit of stickiness is fine but not if it is impossible to form the little dough bit into a ball without using cooking spray, etc.).

  17. McKenna says:

    Thank you for the wonderful tutorial! I am new to making my own bread weekly (started in January) and each time I try something different. The past few times I have been substituting half of the water for buttermilk. Have you ever tried using buttermilk? If so, do you know if it changes anything, for good or bad?

    • Mel says:

      Hi McKenna – I haven’t used buttermilk in whole wheat bread so I’m not sure what affect it would have. Sounds like a worthwhile experiment though! I know a lot of people use whey for water and that has a similar makeup to buttermilk. As for the flour, I never really go by the cup measure in a recipe – I go solely by the feel of the dough and how it looks (clearing the sides of the bowl, not overly sticky but still soft). It’s ok if your loaves weigh a bit more than mine do as long as the bread is turning out nice and tender. Good luck!

  18. McKenna says:

    Another question :) I add the amount of flour it says in the recipe (6 cups for 2 loaves) and my loaves always weight about 2 + pounds. But I feel if I did less than 6 cups, it would be very under-floured. I grind my own hard white wheat right before using it. What would your suggestion be? Add less than the 6 cups that it says in the recipe?

  19. Marci says:

    Okay, attempt number 2, my bread was perfectly sticky, easy to roll up and put in the pans, and for awhile was raising beautifully. Then suddenly it started deflating and it was no longer the beautiful rounded wheat bread I was hoping for. I baked it up anyways and it’s delicious, just not as tall as I wanted. Theres a Couple things I did that I’m wondering if it could have made them deflate. The bread was sitting on top of the stove and I heated up the oven to cook squash while the bread rose. With the heat under the bread, they suddenly rose very rapidly, and that’s when they deflated. I was also opening and shutting the oven…don’t know if this could have caused the problem. Sorry for all the questions, I just really want to do this right!

    • Mel says:

      Marci – yes, if bread rises too quickly it can deflate just as quickly. A steady slow rise is the very best. The danger of them rising too quickly is that they overrise and deflate…the shutting door may have been an issue but I think it’s probably mostly related to the extra warmth and fast rise.

  20. Marci says:

    Okay, 3rd try. Perfectly floured (I think) but I seem to keep having a problem while rising. This time they were rising perfectly then suddenly seemed to be rising unevenly throughout the loaf (instead of a rounded pretty top). They were about an inch above the pan so I put them in a cold oven as you stated and they never seemed to rise Into the pretty, big loaf I wanted. Any idea where I’m going wrong? The bread tastes So good that I really want to nail it.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Marci – I recently discovered with a new oven (we moved into this house a few months ago) that not all ovens preheat the same. In fact, I need to go update the post. The oven I have now has a rapid preheat cycle that isn’t optional (meaning I can’t turn it off) and so it preheats in just a few minutes which is great…unless I want my bread to rise longer. So I’ve actually started letting my bread rise 2-3 inches above the lip of the pans and putting it in a preheated 350 degree oven and baking for about 25 minutes. It really does depend on your oven but if the cold oven method doesn’t seem to be working, try letting the bread rise 2-3 inches above the lip of the pan and baking in a preheated oven. It’s definitely worth trying to see – I made the best bread of my life last week doing it that way which kind of surprised me because I was such a convert to the cold oven approach. Also, if it is rising unevenly, it could be due to how the loaf is shaped. Just make sure that it is an even thickness throughout – no bubbles or low spots.

  21. Marci says:

    Hopefully I can nail this so I can stop bugging you. I stopped by kitchen kneads here in logan to pick up more flour and picked her brain a little bit. Her thought was that maybe I didn’t have enough dough in the pans and that was why they were small loafs. She suggested trying to make 4 loafs with my recipe. She also said her bread only needs about 30 minutes to rise so my hour and a half may have been too long and that’s why they started to deflate. Any thoughts? I use the rapid rise yeast. I use your same pans and my dough weighed the same as yours when I out it in the pans. How long does your bread rise to get 2-3 inches above the top?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Marci – those are good ideas from the lady at Kitchen Kneads. Remind me what recipe you are using. How many loaves do you normally make? I use the Darcy’s whole wheat bread recipe almost exclusively and always make 5 loaves (between 26 and 28 ounces each). Yesterday I tried splitting it into six loaves because that’s what my friend Darcy does – each loaf was about 22-24 ounces. In both cases, the bread rose well, even with smaller loaves. If you are using the same size pans as I am and using the same weight of dough, you definitely don’t need more dough in the pans, at least based on my experience. If my kitchen is right around 69 to 70 degrees, it usually takes about 45 minutes for the bread to rise an inch above the pans and more like an hour or an hour and 15 minutes for it to rise 2-3 inches above the pan. Bread can definitely deflate if it has overrisen – I’ve had that happen in the oven when I’ve let it rise too long on the counter. It continues to rise a bit in the oven and then it’s like the bubbles burst and it deflates and gets kind of ripply on top of the bread. But that has only happened with the bread is clearly above the 3-4 inch mark above the edges of the pan when I’ve put it in the oven. I would definitely try baking it in a preheated oven (not a cold oven) and since I’m not completely sure which recipe you are using, it might be worth trying 4 loaves instead of 5.

  22. Marci says:

    Correction, if it matters, I use saf red instant yeast.

  23. Marci says:

    It’s is Darcy’s loaf I’m trying to master. It’s that rippled look that it gets when it gets only about an inch above the pan. It starts out looking perfectly domed and then sinks and ripples. I bought new yeast just to see if this might be the problem but do you have any other pointers. The only thing I’ve done different than you is I use a 1/4 tsp of ascorbic acid instead of crushing a vit c tab.

    • Mel says:

      Marci – hmmm, if it is getting rippled like that and it is only 1-inch or so above the pan, I’m thinking it is either how the loaves are formed (not enough structure at the top of the loaf) or like the lady you talked to suggested, perhaps not enough dough in the pan. I would make sure that the loaf is formed solidly instead of any bubbles at the top and it’s probably worth trying to put more dough in the pan. The fact that your bread isn’t rising as high but is still soft makes me wonder if you might need to add more flour. I know I harp on not overflouring but flour can help add structure to the bread (which aids in rising, too).

      • Mel says:

        Hey Marci – I hope you check back here because I had a breakthrough that I think might help you. This morning my friend came over to get a hands-on bread making tutorial. She’s been having some of the very same problems you have described in your comments so I was especially interested to make the bread today. Because my friend has a KitchenAid (a 325 watt motor) and not a Bosch, I altered Darcy’s whole wheat bread recipe. Basically, I halved the recipe except for the water, I brought it down to 3 cups. She made this altered batch in her KitchenAid while I made the same altered batch in my Bosch. The dough was perfectly floured, pulled away from the sides of the bowl – slightly sticky but could easily be rolled into a ball in the palm of my hands without leaving a sticky residue. When we split the dough into loaves (4 total, 2 loaves for each altered batch), we put 32 ounces in each bread pan. That’s more than I usually put in the pan (I usually put about 26 ounces or so). We let the bread rise to 3 inches above the edge of the pan and baked it for 28 minutes in a preheated 350 oven. It was perfection. The most glorious, beautiful bread ever. It’s by far the best bread to come out of my kitchen. In fact, it rose SO high during baking that next time, I think I’ll put it into the oven with slightly less rise on top (the bread was huge). So I think what that lady told you might be true about more bread in the pan. I’m going to be using this altered recipe from now on:
        6 cups very warm water
        2 tablespoons yeast
        1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
        1000 mg crushed vitamin C
        2/3 cup oil
        2/3 cup honey
        2 tablespoons salt
        10-ish cups flour

        Follow the directions for Darcy’s whole wheat bread recipe, except split the dough into 4 loaves instead of 5-6, let the bread rise in the pans about 2 inches or slightly more above the edge of the pan and baking in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25-28 minutes.

        Good luck!

  24. Marci says:

    Okay, I tried it this new way and it worked MUCH better. My loaves were more like 30 oz each and they are a touch gummy so I’m wondering if I needed to cook them longer. I baked them 26 min. But toasted, it is hands down the best toast I’ve ever had. I still had the issue with them falling a little bit. They were about 2 inches above the pan and I started to see air bubbles on top and when I put them in the oven they deflated a little. Not as much as usual but definitely lost some height. Do you think it could be the difference between me using the absorbic acid vs crushing the pill? I’m using a 1/4 tsp. My sister tried to make it today because she also loves it toasted and she also had it sink after putting it in the oven. You’d think I’d just try a different recipe but I love it as toast so much, I hate to give up on it. If you make your way back to Utah, we should really hang out and make bread!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Marci – yep, definitely up the baking time. I made this same batch of bread yesterday and ended up baking it for about 30 minutes. The air bubble thing is baffling to me. I’m not sure why that’s happening or why your loaves are deflating. Usually that speaks to underflouring. My loaves with this altered recipe weigh 32 ounces – if yours are 30 ounces you might need more flour to help keep structure for rising. I really don’t think the ascorbic acid is a factor – many recipes use lemon juice or even a bit of vinegar for the Vitamin C so I think that part is pretty flexible.

      Jill – thanks for the input on KitchenAids since I use a Bosch for bread making. Glad the extra yeast helped (Marci, you might try that – I wouldn’t double the yeast to 4 tablespoons, though, try 2 1/2 or 3 tablespoons). I don’t like an overly yeasty taste to my bread and the 2 tablespoons has always worked fine for this large batch when I’ve made it, but it’s always nice to know what works for others. Thanks!

  25. Jill says:

    Here are some specific answers for KitchenAid mixer capacity. I got a new 6-quart capacity KitchenAid for my birthday, and tried Darcy’s recipe in it. I started with a half recipe, because I didn’t want 5 loaves if it didn’t turn out well. The mixer handled that size just fine, but it took FOREVER to incorporate all the flour. The spiral dough hook is not very efficient, in my opinion. Then I tried the full recipe, since the mixer’s instructions said it could handle 14 cups of flour. Disaster! Again, it was so slow mixing the flour in, and by the time I had added about 13-14 cups, the mixer was very warm, and started making terrible grinding sounds. Back to the store it went!

    I pulled my old KitchenAid back out (4.5-quart capacity hand-me-down from the 1970’s with the regular dough hook). I scaled down LuAnn’s recipe to one loaf, and it worked fine. Then I tried making 2 loaves, and it was okay, but my mixer was getting warm. It can normally handle a bread recipe with 6 cups of flour, but I think that whole wheat flour weighs more than white flour and is much harder on the motor.

    So, my recommendations for the amount of whole-wheat bread dough to make in each of these sizes of KitchenAid mixers;
    6-quart: 2-3 loaves, 8 cups of flour at the most
    4.5 quart: 1 loaf, 4 cups of flour at the most

    Another tip for how a good dough should look in a KitchenAid: A perfectly floured dough should mostly clean the sides of the bowl, but I usually stop adding flour when the dough is still sticking to the bottom third of the bowl.

    Also, I had issues with getting a good rise on both recipes. Sometimes they didn’t rise enough, and other times, they fell when I baked them. I was using instant yeast, not overflouring or underflouring, etc. I looked at the other bread recipes I make that work out great, and I realized that these recipes have a very low yeast-to-flour ratio, especially considering they are whole-wheat. Most recipes have about 2T of yeast for 6 cups of flour, but these recipes only have about half that much yeast. So, I doubled the amount of yeast in LuAnn’s recipe and it was absolutely perfect! It rose in just under an hour, and it held its shape when it baked. Hooray!

  26. Krissy says:

    Hi Mel,
    You really are a rockstar in the kitchen! I finally got a bosch and so made the first whole wheat recipe you have listed here just yesterday and my family AND neighbors loved loved it! Thanks so much for sharing your recipes! You have truly made a difference in our kitchen and eating!
    Krissy

  27. Marci says:

    Hey Mel! I’m still completely in love with this bread recipe even though it’s taken me a half a dozen times to get it right. 2 1/2 T of yeast seems to work just right. I tried 3 T and what I ended up with was a loaf that rose well but was more dense on the bottom half and super airy on the top half…kinda weird. So thanks for all your help! I have never been able to get bread right but have made probably 5 of your yeast recipes in the past couple months and nailed all of them! My 3 year old is especially loving the bread varieties gracing our table each week :). Have you ever used a pastry cloth? Since experimenting so much with dough lately, I decided to kidnap my moms pastry cloth she always used when we were kids and I absolutely love it! My sister even did a blog post about it because I told her how awesome it was. Anyways, just wanted to share the love about it because I feel like I should be paying you for all the yeast lessons you’ve given me. You can see her blog post at http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2014/04/how-to-make-a-pastry-cloth-and-why-you-need-one.html. I don’t know if that’s tacky to link you to stuff like that in the comment section, but I just wanted to share with you something that’s made my hectic life with a 3 year old and 1 year old twins a bit easier :). Thanks again!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Marci – so wait, is that you and your adorable daughter in the pictures for that post? If so, you are so cute and it’s fun to put a face to your name (if not, well, just disregard my gushing). I actually do have a pastry cloth…never thought to really publicize about it because I didn’t know if others would find it helpful. Mine came with a circular board – it kind of wraps around it – and I use it for rolling out all my pie crusts, pizza dough, etc. They really are awesome but I think I should make sure I’m pulling mine out more! Thanks for the link – it was fun to see how to make your own pastry cloth – what a great gift idea! And I’m glad that your bread is finally turning out. Is it as perfect as you want it to be?

      • Marci says:

        That is me and my daughter but my sister is the one behind the sewing and photography. I can cook (well, I can use your recipes and make people think I can cook) but I seriously lack in the crafting/sewing department. I would call the bread perfect, I love it so much I have toast every morning! The pastry cloth I stole from my mom has made a permanent home in my kitchen since I’ve started experimenting with all your bread/dough recipes. Made the chewy Italian rolls last night, and well, I nailed it!

  28. Jennifer Kelly says:

    I just went to the store to by the Vital Wheat Gluten and vitamin C so I can attempt to make whole wheat bread. All the store had was Vital Wheat Gluten with vitamin C already in it. So do I not use the vitamin C pill or also use it. Thank you so much. I love your Blog it has changed the way we eat and I love to share your blog with everyone. Thank you.

    • Mel says:

      Jennifer Kelly – It honestly doesn’t matter either way. Whenever I happen to get gluten with Vitamin C I still throw in the Vitamin c tablets because I’m so used to it but you could probably leave them out. Both should work fine!

  29. Kristy says:

    Hi Mel! I’m trying Darcy’s Whole Wheat Bread for the first time, by hand. I’m curious if you know if I leave the knead time at 15 minutes if I’m going to halve the recipe? Thanks for your help! Kristy

  30. denny says:

    i’m not sure where to post this question, so i’ll just do it here. i’ve enjoyed the cook’s illustrated no knead and oatmeal american loaf bread recipes for years. based on your enthusiasm for grinding your own wheat, i’ve just ordered a grinder. my question is: if i use ground hard white wheat, can i still follow the existing recipes? if not, what changes would i need to make? should i add vital wheat gluten?

    thanks,

    denny

    • Mel says:

      denny – Unfortunately I haven’t made either of those recipes referenced so I can’t say for sure what changes would need to be made. Good luck with any experimenting! Usually it takes a bit of experimenting and tweaking when first starting out with home milled flour.

  31. nosh says:

    hello mel, ive tried almost alll your bread recipes and they are all the best!! i want to to try this but i have one question, whenever i meake any bread which has whole wheat it crumbles when i cut it in slices. even when i cut it after a day or after a couple of hours. is there anything i can do to help that and cut neat slices and have bread which doesnt crumble when i make a sandwwich. i just wanted to clear this before i attempt making your recipe. i use strong bread flour and no vital wheat gluten . thanks.

    • Mel says:

      nosh – I’m not sure what strong bread flour is – is it 100% whole wheat? The gluten actually does help soften the bread – also, making sure not to overbake or overflour will help the bread be soft and not crumbly. Good luck!

  32. nosh says:

    Thanks for the reply Mel. Strong whole meal flour or strong plain flour means added gluten here in uk. Its used for bread. I think maybe i overbake it slightly…but i do follow the time written in every recipe. Maybe i should get a thermometer to check internal bread temperature bit early? Anyways thanks . Ur helpful as usual . This is my fav blog !

    • Mel says:

      nosh – I know that a lot of online bread sources say to bake bread until it is 190 degrees F but I usually cook it about 20 degrees shy of that (190 degrees usually creates burned, dry bread for me).

      • nosh says:

        Aaaah yes ! I think that is the problem im having. Will try your recipe n baking time/ way. Thanks a million ! Recently tried your pretzel rolls n my husband couldn’t believe i made them at home ! :)

  33. Kira says:

    Hey Mel, I’ve been making the same whole wheat bread recipe for the last three years and love it, but decided to try Darcy’s recipe today. Have to change things up once in a while. It’s looking beautiful. After reading the comments, I wondered if you are still decreasing the water to 6 cups or if you’re using the 6 1/2 listed in the recipe? And are you making 4 or 5 loaves now? Thanks. I trust your way is the best way!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Kira – I have been changing up my whole wheat bread ways over the last several months and have a new updated whole wheat bread post in the wings (probably posted sometime in January) but here’s an adapted recipe that works great for four loaves:

      6 cups very warm water
      2 tablespoons yeast
      1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
      1000 mg crushed vitamin C
      2/3 cup oil
      2/3 cup honey
      2 tablespoons salt
      10-ish cups flour

      Follow the directions for Darcy’s whole wheat bread recipe, except split the dough into 4 loaves instead of 5-6, let the bread rise in the pans about 2 inches or slightly more above the edge of the pan and baking in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25-28 minutes.

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