100% Whole-Wheat Bread


Unfortunately, most 100 % whole-wheat breads are solid-as-a-brick.I never thought it was possible to create a 100 % whole-wheat bread that was deliciously light, soft and airy. I was so dubious that I didn’t believe it until I tasted the end product! 

The recipe may seem a little long winded, but it really is worth it.



Makes 12 dinner rolls or 1 loaf

Adapted from “Whole Grain Breads – New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor”, by Peter Reinhart



For the soaker

  • 225 g (1 ½ c) whole-wheat flour
  • ½ t salt
  • 200 ml (¾ c and 4 t) milk* 

For the biga

  • 225g (1 ½ c) whole-wheat flour
  • 1 t dry active yeast
  • 170g (⅔ c and 2 t) spring/filtered water at room temperature

For the final dough

  • All of the soaker
  • All of the biga
  • 55 g (⅓ c and 1 t) whole-wheat flour
  • ¼ t salt
  • ½ T dry active yeast
  • 3 T dark muscuvado (brown) sugar
  • 1 T butter, melted/olive oil

 * You can use milk-alternative. I use Organic Valley’s unsweetened soy milk



1. Soaker – Mix all of the ingredients together for 1 minute, until the flour is hydrated – then form the dough into a ball. Cover loosely with cling-film (plastic wrap) and leave at room temperature for 12-24 hours. (You can leave it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, just take it out 2 hours in advance to remove the chill before making the final dough).

2. Biga – Mix all of the ingredients together to form a dough. Use wet hands to knead the dough for 2 minutes, ensuring the flour is fully hydrated. The dough should feel tacky. Allow to rest for 5 minutes, then knead again for 1 minute. The dough will become smoother, but still tacky. Transfer into a bowl, cover with cling-film (plastic wrap) and sit in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (remember to remove it from the refrigerator 2 hours before making the final dough).

3. Final Dough – Using a very sharp knife, chop the soaker and biga into 8 pieces each, coating them with flour to stop them sticking together. Place into a stand mixer. Add all the other ingredients.

4. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the ingredients on slow-speed for 1-2 minutes to form a ball. Switch to the dough hook and knead for 2-3 minutes on medium speed, adding water and flour if necessary. Knead for an additional 3-4 minutes on medium, then allow to rest for 5 minutes.

5. The dough should now feel soft, supple and very tacky – form a ball and oil generously before placing it into a bowl. Cover the bowl with cling-film (plastic wrap) and allow to rise for about 60 minutes, or until 1 ½ of its original size.

6. Shape the bread into 12 small rolls, then place them on to two parchment–lined baking tray (pan) or shape to fill a parchment-lined 11 ½ x 21 ½ cm (4 ½ x 8 ½ inch) loaf tin (pan). Cover loosely with a damp tea towel (kitchen towel) and allow to prove for about 60 minutes, or until 1 ½ of its original size.

7. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 215°C/425°F.

8. Spritz the dough with water. Bake the rolls for 10-12 minutes and the loaf for 35-40 minutes or until evenly browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the underside. Transfer the rolls/loaf onto a cooling rack and allow to cool^. Enjoy!

^ The rolls freeze well. Once cool, simply wrap each roll in cling-film (plastic wrap) and place into a bag/container and freeze. Allow the bread rolls to thaw a couple of hours before required.


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