100% Whole Wheat Bread Machine

Much “whole wheat” bread is a multigrain blend – 50-90% high protein white flour with whole wheat flour, and carmelized sugar products (e.g. molasses) for wheat flavour, brown colour, a touch of fiber and right to appear to be wholesome and virtuous That kind of whole wheat loaf can be baked in a bread machine with the basic bake program. 100% whole wheat loaves involve the whole wheat program. Formulas that aim for sandwich loaves with an moderately open crumb use a dough with enhanced visco-elastic properties. The dough is enhanced with vital wheat gluten or bread flour. It is enriched with fats – oil or butter – and sugar in the form of molasses, honey, milk, brown sugar or refined sugar.

Bread machine recipes have to be customized; each machine needs a different amount of yeast to ferment to produce enough carbon dioxide to inflate the dough and make the dough rise within the time limits of the program. The best way to find the right amount of yeast for a bread machine recipe is to understand the manufacturer’s recipe for basic bread. The amount of yeast depends on the type of yeast and amount of salt in the recipe. I use instant dry yeast, and I write recipes in tables, such as those displayed below.

The manufacturer’s recipe for the whole wheat program is a suggestion of how produce a goof loaf with whole wheat flour, water, salt, added gluten, sugar, fats, and dry yeast in 4 hour program. Zojirushi’s recipe for 100% Whole Wheat Bread provides medium (1.5 lb.) and large (2 lb.) loaf formulas for the Zojirushi machines with large pans such as the BB-PAC20. I used those recipes to find out how to leaven 100% whole wheat for that device, a precaution to avoid overflowing or collapsing loaves.

 85% Medium85% Medium
Zojirushi50% sodium50% sodium33% sodium
ProgramWheat Bake
IngredientsWeight [V.]Weight[V.]

B%Weight [V]
Weight [V]
Dried Apple[.5 cups][.5 cups][.425 cups][.425 cups]
Cinnamon[.5 tsp.][.5 tsp.][.5 tsp.][.5 tsp.]
"Active" Dry Yeast4.2 g. [1.5 tsp.]
I.Y. BB-PAC203.6 g.1.9 g.1.7 g.1 g.
Whole Wheat Flour420 g. [3 cups]417 g. [3 cups]355 g.355 g.
Gluten24 g.
[3 tbsp.]
24 g.
[3 tbsp.]
20 g. [2.5 T.]20 g. [2.5 T.]
Skim Milk Powder9 g. [1.5 tbsp.]9 g. [1.5 tbsp.]
5 g. [1.3 T.]5 g. [1.3 T.]
Sugar35 g. [3 tbsp.]35 g. [3 tbsp.]30 g. [2.5 T.]30 g. [2.5 T.]
Total flour/dry485 g.100%
Salt8.4 g.
[1.5 tsp.]
4.2 g.3.6 g.2.4 g.
Butter21 g.
[1.5 tbsp.]
21 g.[1.5 tbsp.]
{3 g.}

21 g.[1.5 T.]
{3 g.}
21 g.[1.5 T.]
{3 g.}
Molasses10 g.[.5 tbsp.]
{3 g.}
10 g.[.5 tbsp.]
{3 g.}

10 g.[.5 T.]
{3 g.}
10 g.[.5 T.]
{3 g.}
Water308 g. [1.33 cups]300 g.
254 g.254 g.
Hydration306 g.63260 g.260 g.

Zojirushi medium recipe says this is a 3.5 cups/420 g. of whole wheat flour recipe. The manual recommends measuring scooping flour into a measuring cup which means lightly scooped and less dense. This is a 3 cup recipe by weight. The manual says 4.2 g. [1.5 tsp] active dry yeast. 3 cups of whole wheat flour can be leavened with 3.6 g. of any instant dry yeast [a little more than 1 ΒΌ teaspoons]. It used a teaspoon of salt which is much healthier than many whole wheat recipes, but can be reduced using the usual calculations. Because I try to use 33% or 50% of the sodium (salt), than a recipe prescribes, I have to make a corresponding adjustment to yeast. The rule of reducing salt and yeast in the same proportion by weight works with whole wheat.

This dough is enhanced with vital wheat gluten at a ratio of 1 tbsp. to 1 cup flour (8 g. to 139 g.). This exceeds the often generous prescriptions of Beth Hensperger in the Bread Lovers Bread Machine Cookbook. It is enriched with sugar – >43 g. for 417 g. of flour in a medium loaf (35 g. refined sugar, 7.5 g sugar in 10 g. molasses, minor amount of lactose in milk powder) i.e. abouy 9% of dry ingredient weight.

The source recipe bakes into a denser bread than I like, which is fixed by reducing the water by a few teaspoons to get a loaf that rises, crowns and holds a loaf shape. Bakers hydrate whole wheat flour more intensely that bread flour to get suitable dough. Some of the water comes out in the baking. Whole wheat loaves have to be left to cool and dry out a bit. I find that in a machine, I can just leave out a little water. I can happily bake and eat this bread. I haven’t tried to toast it.

I have baked Beth Henspergers “Tecate Ranch Whole Wheat”, BLBMC (p. 126), a 100 % whole wheat flour loaf enriched with canola oil, honey, and molasses a few times. BLBMC named it for a spa in Baja California that served “Zarathustra” bread; the spa used Zoroastrianism as one its themes. Exotic naming is a staple of marketing. For an SF reading of the name, consider watching 2001: a Space Odessey, listening to the fanfare of Thus Spake Zarathustra. The BLBMC source has to be adapted – it uses too much yeast (and is not low sodium). It gets sugar from honey, molasses and milk powder. It may have as much or more sugar than the Zojirushi formula. I get a loaf that rises, crowns and holds a loaf shape with just a ittle less water and a tiny bit of lactose (a sugar) in the form of skim milk powder.

 MediumMedium 85% of Medium85% of Medium
50% Sodium
50% Sodium33% Sodium
ProgramBake whole wheat
IngredientVolumeWeight [V]
B %Weight [V]
Weight [V]
Poppy seeds1 tbsp.[1 tbsp.][2.5 tsp.][2.5 tsp.]
Instant Yeast High1 tbsp. [8.4 g.]4.2 g
I.Y. BB-PAC 202 g.1.7 g.1 g.
I.Y. Low
Whole Wheat Flour3.25 cups417 g. [3 cups]355 g.355 g.
Gluten2.5 tbsp24 g. [3 tbsp.]20 g. [2.5 tbsp.]20 g. [2.5 tbsp.]
Wheat Bran.33 cup
Wheat Germ16 g. [4 tbsp.]14 g. [3.5 tbsp.]14 g. [3.5 tbsp.]
skim milk powder14 g. [3.5 tbsp.]5 g. [1.3 tbsp.]5 g. [1.3 tbsp.]
Total flour/dry100394
Salt1.5 tsp. [8.6 g.]4.3 g.3.7 g.2.4 g.
Canola Oil3 tbsp.[3 tbsp.][2.5 tbsp.][2.5 tbsp.]
Honey2 tbsp.40 g. [2 tbsp.]
{8 g.}
[1.7 tbsp. (5 tsp.)]
{7 g.}
[1.7 tbsp. (5 tsp.)]
{7 g.}
Molasses2 tbsp.42 g. [2 tbsp.]
{9 g.}
[1.7 tbsp. (5 tsp.)]
{7 g.}
[1.7 tbsp. (5 tsp.)]
{7 g.}
Water1.33 cups [315 g.]294 g.
240 g.240 g.
Hydration311 g.65255 g.255 g.

The two loaves both offset the tendency of whole wheat to produce dense loaves. Added gluten provides enough additional elasticity to use the CO2 produced by fermentation to provide some crumb and lift. The sugar weakens the gluten slightly, which enhances pan flow.

It probably not necessary to use this much (I tablespoon per cup of whole wheat flour) added gluten in multigrain loaves and loaves with less sugar.

Organic stone ground flour doesn’t require changes to recipes. It seems to lead to slightly more open and rustic crumb. I am not able to find a flavour difference.

I have a Flax seed multigrain with 2 cups of bread flour and 1 cup of whole wheat flour for a medium loaf. I am adapting my sister’s Flax Seed Whole Wheat bread with 2.5 cups of whole wheat flour, 1 cup of white flour, oatmeal, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, poppy seeds, flax meal, and 1.75 cups milk.  It works in her medium (1.5 lb.) loaf machine, producing a loaf with a fairly open crumb. I am trying to have adapt it for the Zojirushi BB-PAC20 for low sodium.

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