100% Whole Wheat Bread Machine

100% whole wheat loaves may be made with a bread machine in the whole wheat program. High WW flour 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 and enriched with fats – oil or butter – and sugar in the form of molasses, honey, milk, brown sugar or refined sugar.

Much “whole wheat” bread multigrain bread. Multigrain covers many blends made with 50-90% flour being high protein white flour and some whole wheat flour. Loaves with high white flour content may use, and carmelized sugar products (e.g. molasses) for sweet flavour and brown colour. These loaves deliver the energy part of nutrition – starch – like sandwich bread and other processed carbohdrates. A multigrain loaf high in white flour can be baked in a bread machine with the basic bake program.

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 yeast, and I write recipes in tables.

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.

The Zojirushi medium (1.5 lb.) recipe says to use 3.5 cups/420 g. of whole wheat flour recipe. The manual recommends measuring by scooping flour into a measuring cup – i.e. 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 yeast [a little more than 1 ¼ 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.

The dough made with the Z. recipe 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 for a 100% whole wheat loaf in the Bread Lovers Bread Machine Cookbook. The Z. dough 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, lactose in milk powder) i.e. about 9% of dry ingredient weight. The 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. It gets sugar from honey, molasses and milk powder (lactose is milk and dry milk is a sugar) . It may have as much or more sugar than the Zojirushi formula. BLBMC named it for a spa in Baja California that served “Zarathustra” bread; the spa used Zoroastrianism as one its themes. Exotic naming was a staple of marketing several times, in different decades of the 19th and 20th centuries. For an SF reading of the name, consider watching 2001: a Space Odessey, listening to the fanfare of Thus Spake Zarathustra. This could inspire a vision of black monolith. With gluten and adequate yeast the loaf rises and crowns nicely. I adapted the BLBMC source – it uses too much yeast (and is not low sodium). I get a loaf that rises, crowns and holds a loaf shape with just a little less water.

Adding gluten offsets the tendency of whole wheat to produce dense loaves by providing 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.

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 loaf recipe 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 machine, producing a loaf with an open crumb. I have adapted it for the Zojirushi BB-PAC20 for low sodium – this is a work in progress.


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