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Whole Wheat Flour - Never Works?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I'm an amateur baker.  Really, I haven't had a whole lot of experience with it and I've never had any real instruction as to how to do things.  The few things that I do seem to bake well are pizza crusts, cookies, and one bread recipe.  The pizza crust rises to become really quite thick and delicious.  The bread has irregular holes in the crumb and is fluffy.  The cookies taste like good cookies.  However, all of these recipes call for all-purpose flour.  

 

Recently, I've wanted to switch to using whole wheat flour and so I've looked up a few different recipes that call for whole wheat flour.  Every one of them has ended in... well not disaster, but they haven't been very good.  The breads that I've made with whole wheat are basically bricks that are sometimes not even baked all the way through but burnt on the outside.  The whole wheat pizza crust that I made had an odd texture to it.  And I don't really want to talk about the cookies.

 

Now, I could just blame the recipes.  Unfortunately, the other people who used the recipes online say that they work out well.  This leads me to believe that it's something that I'm doing.  But I don't know what I'm doing wrong.  

 

I suppose my questions are as follows. 

 

Are there any recommendations for whole wheat pizza crust and bread?

 

When using whole wheat flour, is there anything that I'm supposed to do differently than when using all-purpose or pastry flour?

 

Thank you for any and all help.

post #2 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kincaidj View Post

When using whole wheat flour, is there anything that I'm supposed to do differently than when using all-purpose or pastry flour?

 

Do you use 100% whole wheat flour, or a mix of both whole wheat and white flours? I've never had success working with 100% whole wheat (pretty much the same results as you describe), and was always told to mix both flours for a whole wheat product. I'm no expert at baking but since your results reminded me of mine I thought I'd mention that. 

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

When mixing, what is a recommended ratio?  Or would that ratio be completely dependent upon the recipe?

post #4 of 7

When I bake with wholewheat flour I usually mix it with white flour - approximately 1/4 cup wholewheat to 3lbs white flour.  I find that this works for me.  What you may wish to try (I do this to get my bread light and nicely raised when using natural yeast) is after putting yeast in sugar and warm water mixture I whisk the mixture until the yeast is completely dissolved, let is rest covered for a minute or so (until froth forms) then whisks it again and then use. 

 


Edited by SimplyCook - 6/9/11 at 3:20am
post #5 of 7

I'd steer clear of whole wheat flour for most cookies and cakes, unless they're specifically designed for whole wheat, both in flavor and in texture - e.g. some muffins and quick breads are suited to whole wheat versions. 

 

However in bread, you have to be very careful but you can do it.  I've made plenty of whole wheat bread with 100% whole wheat flour, and it's come soft and light - but you have to take precautions.  It's all in the method.  Whole wheat has less gluten, and i suspect that the flecks of bran in it may cut or break some of the gluten layers, not sure. 

 

So, keep in mind these tricks

 

1. keep the top of the dough on top when you let it rise, and turn it so that the top is on the board when you shape the loaf.  In other words, knead the bread, and the smooth side then goes on top when it rises.  Then when you shape the loaf, put the top face down on the floured board.  Then shape the loaf and put that part that you put face down, back on top.  Try not to break it ever - even when you "punch down" the dough, in fact:

 

2.  NEVER PUNCH DOWN THE DOUGH - because you will break gluten strands, which have to hold in the air produced by the yeast.  Instead, separate it gently from the walls of the bowl and GENTLY PRESS it down. 

 

3. If your bread uses butter, no matter what the recipe says, add that amount of butter OR MORE, at the end of the kneading, and NEVER MELTED, it can be cold or room temp.  Otherwise i think what happens is it is absorbed into the flour and the bread will become a brick.  Instead, kneading after the gluten forms seems to make it rise better (probably because the gluten strands slide better over each other???) 

 

4.  Treat your whole wheat dough gently, but knead it a longer time.  Don't break, tear, slam or smash it, just press down, then pull back, never ripping or tearing the dough. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #6 of 7

Like others have said, I never make 100% whole wheat bread.  Tried that for a while and decided that it just isn't good for anything except fiber intake.  Tastes yuckky to me and my family. 

 

I  cut WW flour wih AP at a ratio of about 20 or 25% to make wheat loaf bread. When using a "white" WW like the King Arthur product, I cut the WW with AP a bit closer to 50-50. 

 

I quite dislike WW pizza or muffins so I never do that.

 

No matter, I find all WW baking also requires a considerable amount of additional sweetening to tame the 'bitterness" of the WW.  I also double check each time that my WW has not gone rancid... a trait that leads to really yukky tasting bread.

post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post

Like others have said, I never make 100% whole wheat bread.  Tried that for a while and decided that it just isn't good for anything except fiber intake.  Tastes yuckky to me and my family. 

 

I  cut WW flour wih AP at a ratio of about 20 or 25% to make wheat loaf bread. When using a "white" WW like the King Arthur product, I cut the WW with AP a bit closer to 50-50. 

 

I quite dislike WW pizza or muffins so I never do that.

 

No matter, I find all WW baking also requires a considerable amount of additional sweetening to tame the 'bitterness" of the WW.  I also double check each time that my WW has not gone rancid... a trait that leads to really yukky tasting bread.




You probably had old whole wheat flour, Brian.  The germ will go rancid and make it all taste horrible.  Fresh (or vacuum packed) whole wheat flour tastes nutty and is very good - if the taste is bothering you i think it's the age of the flour you used. 

 

As for the texture, for actual raised breads i guarantee if you use the method i described it will not be a brick, it will be soft and nice.  Not like white bread, of course, but it can get close in texture.  No one wants a brick. 

 

For cakes and stuff, yuck

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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