BBA Whole Wheat Bread — In a Word, Meh

I promised myself I wouldn’t let the weekend pass without writing my blog post for BBA Challenge bread #41, Whole Wheat Bread. I think I’ve been putting it off because I found this bread just so-so. It’s easier to write about a recipe when you have strong feelings about it — good or bad. This bread wasn’t bad; but it wasn’t great either.

The problem with most 100% whole grain breads for me is that they tend to be really heavy, and they don’t rise very well. This bread was no exception. The flavor was OK. But the bread was dense and too chewy.

Here are pictures of the baking process. You’ll note that I wasn’t inspired enough by the final product to take pictures of the finished loaves.

The recipe starts with an overnight soaker, for which I used whole wheat flour and wheat germ.

The dough begins with a whole wheat poolish.

The dough is placed in an oiled bowl and allowed to ferment for 2 hours.

After fermenting, the dough is divided and shaped.

The dough is shaped into loaves and placed in oiled loaf pans. After a 90-minute rise, the loaves are baked at 350 for about 45 minutes.

So, that’s whole wheat bread in a nutshell. Onto Potato, Cheddar, and Chive Torpedoes, which are getting rave reviews from those who have baked them: Paul at Yumarama; Oggi at I Can Do That.


  1. misterrios said,

    March 20, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Oh no! This bread is coming up and everyone has been giving it dismal reviews. I can’t wait to get it over with.

    • gaaarp said,

      March 20, 2010 at 6:43 pm

      If you have vital wheat gluten, you might want to add it, even though the recipe doesn’t call for it. Those who have report better results.

      Good luck!

  2. February 28, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    […] starter, yeast Having recently baked one really good (Vienna), two so-so (Pain de Mie and Whole Wheat), and one yuck (Tuscan) breads in the past few weeks, I had high hopes for the 42nd and […]

  3. February 23, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Dense and chewy hmmm? Just my kind of bread. I’ll probably love it. Sorry it was not so inspiring for you. But just think, you have potato chive cheddar torpedos to look forward to!

  4. February 22, 2010 at 11:51 am

    I am a total sucker for whole wheat bread but I am DREADING this after reading all the rough reviews.

    • gaaarp said,

      February 22, 2010 at 5:26 pm

      If you like WW bread, you might like this recipe. Whole grain breads are like beer — an acquired taste.

  5. AnneMarie said,

    February 22, 2010 at 7:00 am

    I have been avoiding this, must do it to move on with the challenge, but really think I have to be in the mood to bake a mediocre bread…

    • gaaarp said,

      February 22, 2010 at 5:27 pm

      Read ahead to the next recipe. That should be enough motivation to bake this bread!

  6. Natashya said,

    February 22, 2010 at 12:44 am

    I love your dough wand.
    I’m planning on making this in a couple of days.. but as hamburger buns. Agreed though, straight whole wheat can be boring and a little heavy.

    • gaaarp said,

      February 22, 2010 at 5:29 pm

      The dough whisks (I have 2 sizes) are among my favorite baking tools. They are definitely on my list of must-have kitchen utensils.

  7. Frieda said,

    February 21, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Uh-oh. Now I’m afraid to try making this bread~ I have a fabulous whole white wheat bread that I absolutely love. I add vital wheat gluten to mine and I believe that makes a difference to the texture of the bread. I also allow my sponge (1/2 wheat flour + all wet ingredients) to sit for 45 minutes before adding the rest of the flours. This softens the bran, which causes whole wheat bread to be heavy or dense. Thanks for the post!

    • gaaarp said,

      February 22, 2010 at 5:25 pm

      I hunted the cupboards for VWG but didn’t have any. If I’d had any onhand, I would have used it to lighten this bread.

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