How to Design Your Own Whole Grain Bread Recipes

You can make great whole grain breads! Often it’s as simple as substituting a whole grain blend for part of the flour in your favorite bread recipe. You may need to adjust the liquid a little, but other than that, it can be a straight substitution.

If you want a 100% whole grain bread, start with your favorite whole wheat bread recipe. You can make great whole grain breads by starting with a white bread flour recipe and substituting the whole grains for part of the white flour. The result will be a lighter bread, sometimes an almost white bread, with a high fiber and nutrient content. Of course, you can use part white flour and part whole wheat flour.

What Grains to Add to Your Recipes to Make Whole Grain Bread

It’s simply exciting, what you can add to your bread recipe, items like this:

  • Rolled oats.
  • Rolled grain blends such as Mountain Harvest Whole Grain Cereal Blend.
  • Cracked grains. If you want chewy nuggets in your bread, choose a coarse chop. If you want the whole grains to blend, use a fine chop. Our Western Cracked Wheat is a coarse chop, and our Teton Valley Whole Grain Cereal Blend is a fine chop.
  • Whole grain berries. You will want to soak these overnight before using them or cook them for 30 minutes.
  • Whole seeds and nuts. Everyone loves sunflower seed bread and breads with walnuts or pecans. Consider also pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, and poppy seeds. A blend of these seeds makes wonderful bread.

How Grains will Change Your Bread Recipe

Rolled grains and chopped grains result in very different whole grain breads. Rolled grains almost disappear into the bread. The color changes, usually to a creamy color if you are using white flour, and you can see little flecks of bran in your bread. But what really changes is the flavor and texture. Whole grains add richness to your breads. They are moist and chewy. And they keep exceptionally well and are less crumbly. Chopped grains create chewy nuggets in your bread but the texture and color remains much the same.

How Much Grain Should You Add to Make Whole Grain Bread?

So how much grain do you add to make your whole grain bread recipe? That’s matter of preference. We make these breads professionally, and for chopped grains, we use as little as 1/3 cup per loaf, and for rolled grains, we use a cup or more per loaf.

The following recipe is a nice starting point. It has about 30% whole grain blend but is light enough in both texture and color that picky kids will eat it. For those of us that like a little substance to our bread, this fits the bill. This is a delightful bread.

Experimenting with Your Own Whole Grain Bread Recipes

Use the whole grain bread recipe below as a base recipe for other breads using rolled whole grains. You might try the following combinations, adjusting the flour to make a soft, almost sticky dough of the right consistency.

  • Instead of two cups grain blend, use four. Reduce the flour by about two cups.
  • Instead of white bread flour, substitute half white and half stone ground whole wheat.
  • Instead of white bread flour, use 100% stone-ground whole wheat.
  • Add 3/4 or one cup shelled sunflower seeds. The blend has sunflower seeds in it but at this concentration, it is not many. The seeds will absorb a bit of the moisture so be prepared to reduce the flour slightly.
  • Add 1 1/2 cups raisins and 2 teaspoons good quality cinnamon. Double the honey.

The Basic Whole Grain Bread Recipe

This recipe makes two very nice loaves in 5 x 9-inch bread pans. The loaves weigh about 1 3/4 pounds each.

We have not tested this recipe in a bread machine. If you wish to use your bread machine, cut the recipe in half and use the dough setting.

Ingredients

Directions

Prepare two bread pans by greasing the inside of the pans including the rims.

  1. Combine the grain blend, the water, and the yeast in the bowl of your stand-type mixer. Add the honey and the dry milk. Add about half of the flour and combine with the dough hook until the dough starts to come together. Add the butter and salt. Add more flour in several additions, beating after each, until a soft dough ball has formed. You should use about five cups of flour. Beat with the dough hook for four minutes at medium speed or until the gluten is developed. The dough should be soft (but not too sticky to handle), smooth, and elastic. Water absorption may vary depending on environmental conditions and the flour you use.
  2. Place the dough in a large greased bowl and turn once to oil all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic and let the dough rise until doubled, about one hour.
  3. Turn the dough onto a lightly greased work area. Deflate the dough by gently folding and pressing most of the air from the dough.
  4. Divide the dough in two with a knife. Using your hands, form a cylinder by pulling the dough around the center and tucking the seams together on the bottom, thus gently stretching the surface of the dough. Pinch the seams together to keep them from opening as the loaf expands. Place seam side down in a prepared pan and repeat with the second loaf.
  5. Cover lightly with greased plastic wrap or place the loaves in a large food-grade plastic bag and set aside to rise until doubled, about one hour. Rise times will vary with conditions, especially temperature–yeast is very sensitive to temperature.
  6. While the bread is still rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  7. When the bread has risen, place the loaves on the center rack of the oven and leave as much room for the air to circulate around the loaves as possible. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the bread is done and well-browned. If you have a probe-type thermometer, the internal temperature should reach 190 degrees.
  8. Once baked, immediately remove the loaves from the pans and cool them on a wire rack.

(Updated from May 12, 2014)

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