Light and Delicious Whole-wheat Bread Recipe

Here’s an excellent recipe for whole-wheat bread that was sent to us by a reader.
By Cheryl Long
January/February 2007
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Who can resist the sweet fragrance of bread baking in the oven? Plus, breads made with fresh whole-wheat flours are vastly more nutritious than white breads. Hard to believe how many nutrients are lost when wheat flour is de-germed, bleached and otherwise processed. Don’t believe me? According to the USDA, compared to unenriched white flour, whole wheat contains:

  • 4.5 times as much fiber
  • 3 times as much iron
  • 16 times as much vitamin E
  • 2.5 times as much riboflavin
  • 4 times as much niacin
  • 7.5 times as much vitamin B6
  • 1.6 times as much folate

Here’s an excellent recipe for a supernutritious whole-wheat loaf, sent to us by Michael Rickert of Reinbeck, Iowa:

Rickert’s Whole-wheat Bread
I have baked bread for more than 30 years. I developed this recipe to get as much whole wheat as possible into a light, moist bread. I use coarse-ground wheat and high-protein, high-gluten premium whole-wheat flour from Dakota Prairie Organic Flour Co.

The keys to this recipe are the high-protein, high-gluten whole-wheat flour, the coarse-ground wheat that keeps the bread moist, and the six hours it takes for the dough to rise, absorb the moisture and build a strong yeast.

3 cups coarse-ground wheat
5 1/2 cups fresh whole-wheat flour
5 tsp yeast
6 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup canola oil
3 tbsp ground flaxseed (optional)
5 tsp salt
About 7 to 8 cups white bread flour

First, mix the coarse-ground wheat, whole-wheat flour, yeast and water in a large bowl. Cover and let rise for six hours. Then, stir in the rest of the ingredients, except for the white bread flour. Add the white flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring with a heavy wooden spoon until the dough becomes too thick to stir. Now, knead the dough, adding the remainder of the white flour.

Next, cover the dough with a towel and let it rise until it doubles, about 1 1/2 hours.

Sprinkle a little white flour on the countertop, then punch down the dough and form five equal loaves. Place one dough loaf on each end of a cookie sheet, and three dough loaves lengthwise in the middle.

Make three cuts in the top of each loaf. Let the loaves rise in a warm place until a dimple made with your finger won’t bounce back.

Last, bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes. After baking, place each loaf on a rack and let cool for six hours or more.

Eat one loaf, freeze one loaf and you'll still have three loaves to give as gifts.

If you want to learn more about whole grains and all the secrets to finding the right flours to bake truly delicious whole-grain loaves, I highly recommend the book Flour Power by Marleeta Basey.

Post a comment below.


4/18/2013 8:39:59 PM

4/18/2013 8:39:59 PM

SR Davis
5/27/2009 7:08:18 PM
I'm going to try the recipe in the morning and see how it works - it sounds great.

5/27/2009 6:40:01 PM
This looks like a great recipe but for those of us not planning a feast, if we wanted to make a smaller quantity, would it turn out fine if we halved the recipe? What about 1/4 of the recipe?

J. Wathen
7/23/2008 9:20:44 PM
This looks like a great recipe, but did anyone figure out how much white flour to use? I agree with David D. What is a person with gluten intolerance doing on a wheat bread website anyway? Looking for attention?

Betty League
11/25/2007 12:00:00 AM

David Dunker
6/21/2007 12:00:00 AM
What is all this GARBAGE about "shouldn't add gluten," or "too much white flour," etc.? If you don't want to eat gluten, skip this recipe. News flash: while you don't like this or that ingredient and MIGHT be intolerant to something, there are a million people out there who are NOT intolerant of these things. This looks like a great variation on a bread recipe. It makes more bread than I can use, so I'll cut the recipe in half. If you don't like these ingredients, go someplace else and find another recipe. Stop trying to RUIN IT for others. Jeez!!

Margaret Weston
2/11/2007 12:00:00 AM
I think that the flavours of olive oil and wheat bread are very compatible and I use olive oil often in yeast cookery. I agree 100% with SDennis about the non-toxicity of canola oil and its wide-range of uses. However does it really matter if butter is preferred as the fat when it is such a small amount? Surely the degree of saturation of the spread (including the addition of trans-fats) and the amount of that spread used has more bearing than the amount present in the whole loaf. M Weston

Margaret Weston
2/11/2007 12:00:00 AM
I think that the flavours of olive oil and wheat bread are very compatible and I use olive oil often in yeast cookery. I agree 100% with SDennis about the non-toxicity of canola oil and its wide-range of uses. However does it really matter if butter is preferred as the fat when it is such a small amount? Surely the degree of saturation of the spread (including the addition of trans-fats) and the amount of that spread used has more bearing than the amount present in the whole loaf. M Weston

Luc DeRoche
2/10/2007 12:00:00 AM
K Johnson beat me to it, how is it that this recipe is called "whole wheat". By the way, my first experience in baking bread in a very long time. The results were interesting, I need practise.Might I suggest that in the instructions, the loaves should be given another hour or so to rise before baking.Other recipes would be welcome.Luc

2/1/2007 12:00:00 AM
Canola oil is another thing that many people who are sensitive to gluten soy peanut or lactose cannot tolerate for whatever reason. It's been known to set off allergic reactions in people with food sensitivities. In that regard it's the most offensive oil out there, affecting a fairly broad range of people. Not everyone is bothered by it, but people should be aware that a reaction to Canola oil is commmon.

Margaret Weston
2/1/2007 12:00:00 AM
Have been using canola oil for 40 years and don't seem to have developed suggested side effects. What volume of canola oil is required in daily use to present these adverse conditions? (One can get poisoned if they drink 12 bath fulls of floridated water at 1ppm dilution in one sitting).

BOB Broyles_1
1/31/2007 12:00:00 AM
White flour??? I don't see it anywhere in the recipe! Thank you for an excellent recipe that I'm going to bake this weekend.

1/31/2007 12:00:00 AM
In regard to the comment that canola oil is toxic, I'd like to point out that according to Wikipedia and many other authorities, canola was developed from rapeseed, but is its own plant now. It is a hybrid plant and the oil is highly refined. Canola oil is one of the better oils out there, having one of the lowest rate of saturated fat to unsaturated fat, making it an excellent healthy choice.Even the snopes website debunks the myth that canola oil is toxic. It is a great oil with a relatively high smoke point making it wonderful for stir-fry's (although we prefer peanut oil which has an even higher smoke point). I use canola oil in baking all the time. It also has little or no flavour thus it does not affect the taste of your baked goods.

Conrad Zydervelt
1/31/2007 12:00:00 AM
Great sounding recipe but canola oil is in fact RAPE SEED OIL which is toxic to animals including humans. Just do a google search on canola oil and read about it. I will try the recipe using another oil that is healthy like olive oil!

Conrad Zydervelt
1/31/2007 12:00:00 AM
The geneticly modified plant yields are higher but are still toxic and on the USDA ban list for anilal feeds. Canola / Rape oil is best used in machinery as the body does know that to do with it. Peanut oil would be more sensible to ingest as it is digestible and not just passed through like mineral oil in the intestines.

Kris Johnson
1/31/2007 12:00:00 AM
Anyone who thinks conola oil is a helathy oil should read carefully the information at this website fashioned saturated fats like lard, butter or coconut oil would be a much better ingredient in this recipe.

Kris Johnson
1/30/2007 12:00:00 AM
I hate to say it, but how can you call this whole wheat bread, when it is half white flour?

1/30/2007 12:00:00 AM
Talk about a killer recipe. For anyone with Gluten Intolerance, getting as much whole wheat into a recipe as possible is a bad thing. A really bad thing. The estimates range from 1 in 113 to over half of the people in this country suffering from some level of gluten intolerance or wheat sensitivity, most of them without knowing the cause of their digestive problems. There are other ways to get fiber into your diet without gorging on wheat. I wonder if the day won't soon come when we discover that wheat is extremely bad for everyone's digestive and immune system.

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