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Light whole wheat bread

January 6, 2014


This one might do the trick for you if you’re in the mood for a bread that has a little more flavor than one made with all bread flour.   I like this bread so much I’ve made it 3 weekends in a row  with pretty much the same recipe.  Only the fermentation times have differed.  Using some white whole wheat flour makes a difference.  It gives a lighter flavor and doesn’t impart the bitterness that regular whole wheat flour can.  You can change the recipe and use all white whole wheat or all regular whole wheat in addition to the bread flour.  Or you can change the ratio of the whole wheat flours.  I really enjoy the flavor from this particular combination of the two.  Ok, it’s not as good for you as 100% whole wheat bread,  but it’s over a third of the way there.  I’m curious now what a sourdough version would taste like.

This one makes use of a poolish.   For this recipe I use Peter Reinhart’s poolish formula.  This pre-ferment gives more flavor and structure to the bread.  The crumb is tender and soft and yet does not disintegrate like commercially made sandwich loaves.  I think it also contributed to the nice size holes.  Each of the poolishes  had different fermentation times  only because the days dictated my schedule.  The beauty of pre-ferments is that you can delay your bread making for a few days if needed.  I held one 4 days in the refrigerator with satisfactory results.   The crumb as well as the crust has a full fantastic flavor.



This will make 2 medium size loaves or 3 to 4 small baguettes


2 1/2 cups bread flour

1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

1 1/2 cups water

Final dough:

All the poolish

1 cup white whole wheat flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

1 tablespoon honey (or sugar)

3 to 4 tablespoons water


To make the poolish:

Stir together the bread flour and instant yeast in a medium size mixing bowl.  Add the water and mix until all the flour is wet.  It should look like thick pancake batter.  Cover with plastic and let it ferment until it becomes bubbly,  about 4 hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen.   Put in the bowl in the refrigerator overnight.  The poolish can remain refrigerated for 3 days.  It will continue to develop flavor.

To make the dough: 

Take the poolish out of the refrigerator 1 to 2 hours before you plan to make the bread to take the chill off.

Put the poolish, 1 cup white whole wheat flour,  1/2 cup whole wheat flour,  1 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast,  honey (or sugar),  and salt  in your mixing bowl.  Mix everything well with a spatula or large spoon until it becomes a shaggy dough.  With the hook attachment in place,  mix on the recommended speed of your mixer, usually low or slightly higher.  You will probably need to add some or all of the water to make a smooth and tacky or very slightly sticky dough.   Whether you use honey or sugar will have a slight effect.  Adjust with either water or flour as needed.  It will take about 6 to 7 minutes of mixing. The dough will probably not stick to either the sides or bottom of the bowl.  It should also have good gluten development.

Take the dough out of the bowl and shape it into a smooth round ball.  Put it in a lightly oiled bowl and making sure all sides of the dough are very lightly oiled.  Cover with plastic and let it rise to double in volume.

When ready,  remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface.  Gently degass it,  and divide it into 2 with a pastry cutter or knife.  Shape them as desired. Place them on parchment paper,  cover with plastic,  and let rise to double.  I find it useful to lightly spray the dough with oil or baking spray, especially if it’s a little sticky.  The plastic tends to stick to the dough, and at times becomes difficult to remove without disturbing the risen dough.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

When the dough is ready,  remove the plastic and score as desired.  Put the dough (which has been placed on parchment paper) on your baking stone if using one.  If not,  they could be placed on baking sheets.  Immediately  lower the temperature to 425 degrees.  Mist the oven with water 3 times within the first 10 minutes.  I use a plant mister.

The bread will be done in about 20 minutes.  Keep an eye to see if you need to rotate the bread for even baking.  The loaves will be a golden brown and reach an internal temperature of 200 degrees when done.


A closed face mollete?  These two sandwiches are made of refried beans,  cheddar cheese,  cherry tomato,  and jalapenos on the light whole wheat bread.   The left is made Panini style, the other was broiled in the oven.  Home-made tortilla chips flavored with chili powder round out the plate.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. January 6, 2014 3:50 am

    Your bread looks delicious! I’m learning a lot about making bread by reading your site. Thank you. ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

  2. January 6, 2014 4:00 am

    Thank you! Feliz Ano Nuevo to you as well!

  3. Marcella Rousseau permalink
    January 6, 2014 10:55 pm

    I like white whole wheat flour. I used it this morning when I made pancakes. I usually add 1/4 – 1/2 cup of it to most baking recipes. Those sandwiches look delicious!

    • January 7, 2014 1:34 am

      I’ve grown fond of using white whole wheat flour whenever possible. I’ve never thought of using it in pancake batter though. That sounds good!

  4. January 19, 2014 6:46 pm

    Great recipe. Next time I will add some bread flour to my whole wheat flour, and hope it will make the bread lighter.

    • January 20, 2014 10:55 am

      This bread came out very tasty. I recommend trying out a little of the white whole wheat flour.

  5. March 27, 2014 2:36 am

    This is such a gorgeous recipe. So as I understand, Poolish is a starter? I am still leaning the bread baking basics. A must try…… May be meet with you and some other blogger friends with a sandwich made of our own bread…. You have just put my crazy mind to work….will bug you more Gerard.

  6. March 27, 2014 3:20 am

    Wouldn’t it be great to meet up with blogger buddies and share our food?… I think a poolish can be described as a starter. In my experience though, a poolish, along with biga, and pate fermente are more commonly known as pre-ferments. They usually take an overnight development before using in the dough. But I’ve seen recipes using a “starter” that looked like a poolish to me. Each one uses their preferred terminology. Of course, sourdough starters are another thing altogether. I hope I didn’t make it confusing for you!..Feel free to bug me!…Bread making is a constant learning experience for me.


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