Wednesday, June 17, 2009

MY FIST LOAF OF BREAD EVER! 100% Whole Wheat Sandwhich Bread (recipe by Peter Reinhart)

Really I should have called this blog "My first ever attempt at baking bread in the oven, 100% WHOLE WHEAT bread, using flour that I ground myself from spelt berries and spring wheat berries which I sprouted,dried then ground to a fine texture."   But that title was too long.  And also I have other experiments in the kitchen that I'll share.

But that is for another time....

Here is my first ever loaf of bread baked in a basic conventional gas oven.   I followed Peter Reinhart's recipe for 100% Whole Wheat that I came across on the internet searching for a recipe for honest to goodness 100% whole wheat plus other real food ingredients - buttermilk (I used raw milk) honey, salt, flour, baker's yeast.  I had previously given up bread, not because of a gluten intolerance, but because our choices for bread here in a small resort town are limited, and expensive.  I also got my hands on a copy of Sally Fallon's cookbook "Nourishing Traditions" from the library and read it cover to cover.  Then I read about 1/3 of Dr. Weston Price's book "Nutritional and Physical Degeneration". 

So now I am hooked on this adventure. I even have this here new blog to share my attempts to create truely nutritious food.  So I went to the trouble of first soaking wheat berries overnight, then sprouting them for 24 hours, then drying them before grinding them into flour using my new grain mill. 

I used a bread recipe that calls for creating a soaker, a biga and a final dough which is proofed twice and baked in a loaf pan.  It was surprisingly easy! I found the recipe online, and although the soaker/biga method looks difficult and strange. All you do is mix the biga and soaker separately the night before you want to bake the loaf, and then the next day, mix and knead everything together. Even without a kitchenaid it was simple and the results where extraordinary.  I used a scale to weigh my ingredients and a thermometer to test for doneness.

  • 3/4 c + 2 T (7 oz) buttermilk :could also use milk, yogurt, rice milk, soy milk (I used very fresh raw whole milk)
  • 227 grams [or1 3/4 c or (8 oz)] whole wheat flour (I used hard spring wheat berries,soaked, sprouted, dried and ground pretty fine.
  • 4 grams (1/2 tsp) salt or 1/2 t (.14 oz) (I used Celtic Sea Salt)

Mix together in a bowl about one minute, leave at room temp. for 12 to 24 hours covered loosely with plastic wrap. Any longer than that, place it in the fridge.


  • 227 grams [or 1 3/4 c] whole wheat flour (I used spelt)
  • 1 gram [1/4 t (.03 oz)] instant yeast
  • 170 grams [3/4 c (6 oz) ]filtered or spring water, at room temperature

Mix all ingredients into a ball then knead with wet hands 2 minutes. Dough will be tacky. Let rest for 5 minutes, then knead again 1 minute. Place in fridge covered tightly with plastic wrap for minimum 8 hours to 3 days. Remove from fridge 2 hours before mixing dough.

Final Dough:
  • all the biga
  • all the soaker
  • 56.5 grams [or 7 T (2 oz)] ww flour (I used spelt for this)
  • 5 grams [5/8 t (.18 oz) salt
  • 2 1/4 t (.25 oz) instant yeast
  • 42.5 grams [2 1/2 T (1.5 oz)] honey or agave nectar or 3 T sugar or brown sugar
  • 14 grams or 1 T melted unsalted butter or 1 T vegetable oil
  • extra whole wheat  flour for adjustments.
Chop up the biga and soaker into 12 pieces each and place in a mixing bowl. Add in all other ingredients except extra flour and mix together until combined-(if using a mixer- one min on low, then 2-3 mins. on med. low.) if mixing by hand 10 minutes or until you get a smooth elastic/tacky dough.

Remove from bowl to a floured work area and knead for 3-4 minutes adding extra flour as needed to get a tacky, but not sticky dough. Let rest for 5 minutes, then knead another 1 minute. Place in an oiled bowl and let it rise for 45-60 mins until it's about 1 1/2 times the original size.

Form into whatever type of loaf you wish. If using a pan, use a greased 4x8 1/2" loaf pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise again 45-60 mins. until 1 1/2 x's it's original size.

Preheat oven to 425° and place loaf pan in the oven. Immediately turn the temp. down to 350° and bake for 20 mins. Rotate the loaf a complete half turn and bake another 20 to 30 mins. or to 195°. 

It turned out perfect. Beyon my wildest imgination!  I have already started my second loaf,  I hope it wasn't just begginers luck!


  1. Valerie, I too have been searching for recipie's using sprouted grain flour. Did I understand correctly that this recipe was for whole wheat bread and you simply substituted your sprouted flour straight across? My bread has fallen every time (2 times) I have tried. AAARRRGGG. Janice

  2. Hi, yes I did just substitute the flours. Are you weighing your ingredients? That is crucial. If you do a comparison weight vrs volume you will see a big difference! Also, an oven thermometer is really key too.

    I am no expert on bread, but perhaps your loaves are falling cause they are over proofed? I had this happen to me too and my baker friend said to watch out for over proofing, if you over proof the bread has no more umph and can collapse in the oven. I also spray water onto the walls my oven right when I put the bread in to get the "oven spring".

    Maybe try this PR recipe. I am getting great results. I cheat b.c I use some Vital wheat gluten but oh well!

    Good luck and thanks for the post.

  3. Thanks for the tips, I will try them on my next loaf--I am a total newbie on this but agree with you 100% through my own research that sprouting and/or soaking all flours are critical. Have you tried sourdough bread or other baked goods recipies for sprouted flour? Do indgredients need to be weight for everything... muffins, cakes etc.? Sure am glad I found this blog, I expect to follow a long time with my learning curve! Janice

  4. Thanks! I have not tried sour doughs - but it is on my list!! As for weighing ingredients, it is crucial. The hyrdation rates are so different that the formulas are way off with sprouted flour. It is small investment and well worth it. I don't think you can get by without one and they are affordable. I think it is how I managed to go from knowing nothing about bread to good loaves right off the bat. (also I think it is the recipe from PR that made a big difference too). Good luck and PLEASE post pictures of your progress! I can't wait to hear how it goes.