FAIL Crusty Whole-Grain Bread: Attempt #1

My first attempt at baking Artisan Whole-Grain Bread ended in FAILURE!

But KEY POINT: I learned a lot! How yeast reacts and what each step should look like.

The challenge with Whole-Grain bread is probably that it does not rise as well as white flour or any other high-gluten flour. I attempted to balance that with using some Vital High Gluten Flour  but I definitely did not add enough. In addition to that, I added WAY too much flour so the bread turned out dense and heavy– with little gluten to help the air bubbles created by yeast to hold its shape.

If anyone has some suggestions on how to tweak my initial recipe, please let me know. Attempt #2 will be here soon enough… as soon as I finish this dense, dense bread. (Think soft biscotti) I AM WEEPING. 🙂 hehe!

Sponge: 1 c. Rye, 2 c. WW Flour, 4 tsp yeast, 2 c. H2O (rise 1 hr), 2 tsp honey
Dough: Add 1 c. WW 1/2 c. Rye, Roll, 1 tbsp vital wheat gluten rise (4 hrs)
Bake: 400F, reduce 350F (2nd loaf; 350F for 30min)


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4 thoughts on “FAIL Crusty Whole-Grain Bread: Attempt #1

  1. janemaynard says:

    hi there! just wanted to let you know that you are today’s Featured Blogger on the homepage today. keep up the great blogging! (love that you are reporting on your failed bread! hope the next one delivers!) Jane

  2. sui says:

    that’s enough vital wheat gluten, I think. maybe it was how you proofed the yeast? I used to have whole wheat bread BRICKS when I first tried making it in high school, but somehow lately it comes out pretty well. for artisan crusts, use a dutch oven! and wow that’s a lot of yeast too. hrm. bread making is a pretty exact science, & can be pretty frustrating.

  3. Sponge: 1 c. Rye, 2 c. WW Flour, 4 tsp yeast, 2 c. H2O (rise 1 hr), 2 tsp honey
    Dough: Add 1 c. WW 1/2 c. Rye, Roll, 1 tbsp vital wheat gluten rise (4 hrs)
    Bake: 400F, reduce 350F (2nd loaf; 350F for 30min)

    Sponge: the water: flour ratio is usually almost identical. I’d jump to at least 2.5 cups of water. also, that is A LOT of yeast. I suggest you drop the yeast to 1 1/2 tsp and let it sit for 8-10 hours (overnight) at room temp. Your honey should also be in the dough portion, not the sponge portion.

    Dough: not sure what you mean by roll? Go for a slightly wetter dough than you otherwise would have–wetter doughs usually have more holes in them, making it less dense. Also, don’t let it rise so long. When you use white flour, you usually let it double, but with whole grains, you only want it to rise 1.5 times. It just doesn’t have a tendency to rise that much outside of the oven even with the VWG, which leads to people allowing it to rise longer, which in turn causes it to be over-proofed even though it doesn’t actually look like it (and then die and be a brick). It’ll pop in the oven. So i suggest 1 to 1.5 hours MAX if you’ve got it in a room about 70F.

    If you have questions (or want to clarify what you mean by roll), feel free to e-mail or tweet at me.

  4. oh gosh, thanks so much for the help you two! I’ve been hanging around the Fresh Loaf for a bit lately and reading Whole Grain Baking during breaks at work ha! My proportions are definitely off. I’m going to stay away from rye as I hear it’s just hard to work with for newbies. It’s so difficult! I’m used to cooking where I can add whatever the heck I want if it’s lacking. Baking is definitely something very different. I’m definitely going to try again with an over-night sponge. It’s overwhelming the different pre-ferments, soakers, sponges, and sourdough starters there are. (Unless they’re like almost the same thing).

    ahh I think what I mean to say was KNEAD. HA– but some are saying I haven’t kneaded enough!

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