Homemade Whole-Grain Bread: You Have to Try This Amazing Recipe

Learn techniques to save time and money while boosting flavor and nutrition in homemade whole-grain bread. All it takes is adding whole-grain flours and sprouted grains.

| December 2012/January 2013

Most of us know that homemade loaves taste far better than supermarket fare. And we know that whole-grain breads are much more nutritious but sometimes suffer in the flavor and texture departments. With this versatile recipe, we’ll show you the best of both worlds: how to make breads that taste even better than white-flour homemade breads and are super-nutritious.

If you want to jump straight to the recipe, check out Homemade Whole-Grain Bread Recipe. When the editorial staff tested it, everyone was blown away that 100 percent whole-grain bread could taste this good. Not only does it have exceptional flavor and texture, but it delivers more fiber, vitamins and minerals than store-bought breads. After you’ve made the basic homemade whole-grain bread, try incorporating our sprouted grain and multigrain suggestions in Amp Up Your Bread With Sprouted Grains and Multigrains.

The Bread-Making Method

Our recipe uses time-tested techniques from bakers past and present, especially the methods of whole-grain baking expert Peter Reinhart, author of Whole Grain Breads. The method is made up of three parts: a sponge, a soaker and the final dough.

Sponge. Bakers around the world use sponges to start their breads. Many people have heard of the sourdough levain. The Italians favor a biga, which is 65 percent flour to 35 percent water by weight (our sponge is a biga). The French use a poolish, which is equal parts flour and water. The function of all of these sponges is to contribute flavor and superior texture to the finished bread. A small amount of yeast (wild yeast in sourdough, commercial yeast in bigas and poolishes) is given a long time to work, which allows enzymes in the flour to convert tasteless starches into flavorful sugars. These yeasted sponges are usually refrigerated to allow the yeast to ferment slowly.

Soaker. The soaker is a mixture of whole or coarsely ground grains or flour soaked in water, buttermilk or yogurt. Soaking softens grains and activates enzymes that release sugars. If the grains are left whole, the soaker helps germination begin. Whether made with milled or whole grains or flour, soakers sweeten dough and create a more satisfying crust.

Dough. The sponge and soaker are combined with additional flour and yeast in the final step. This is easiest if done using a stand mixer, fitted first with a paddle for about five minutes; then switched to a dough hook after the dough has begun to come together. A few minutes of hand-kneading will finish the dough.

7/28/2014 1:26:24 AM

Nice article and a very dense amount of information is provided here. Although the info is not that much but how much it is, all is very bold and right to the point. Every line tells something new and I really like that. Keep this up!

1/5/2013 12:02:21 AM

When I made the bread recipe from the magazine, it truly was a light and delicious whole wheat. I was so inspired by the bread and the descriptions of the way the chemistry works together that I created a slightly modified version for my food blog. The only critique I would add is that the recipe was a bit confusing switching back and forth between cups and seemed like their were a number of confusing misprints with the recipe. Since I was familiar with making bread, I read between the lines, but the confusing points may deter new bakers.

Jeff Sigetich
12/5/2012 1:12:03 AM

Where's the fabulous recipe promised in the headline?

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