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No-Knead Take 3: Whole Wheat - Lessons Learned

TRexTRex Posts: 2,714
edited 7:40AM in EggHead Forum
Preface: I hope you folks aren't getting tired of my no-knead bread posts. I'm just really getting into this and like to share these experiments as I like to learn and hope that others can learn from my adventures. So, here goes . . .

Last night I mixed up a 50/50 mixture of King Arthur white bread flour and King Arthur whole wheat flour to make no-knead bread tonight. Ideally I'd like to master a 100% whole wheat version, but since whole wheat is much trickier, I thought I'd take baby steps.

What I did differently:

1) I used 50% more yeast (about 3/8 tsp, probably could have gone to 1/2 tsp)

2) I used a little over 1/8 cup more water (total approximately 1 5/8 cups, which is what it took to pull all the flour into the ball)

3) After the first rise period, I noticed that I was getting much less rise than the 100% white bread flour and not many bubbles, so I did the second rise in the oven with the light left on (this kept the oven close to 80 degrees). This tremendously improved the second rise, which was still less than the second rise with the 100% white, but much better.

4) Rise times were different due to my time limitations: first rise: 15 hrs; second rise: 9 hours, final rise: 1.5 hrs.

Otherwise, baking times were the same - which, as it turns out, was a mistake. I needed probably 35 minutes covered and 15 minutes uncovered, as the top overbrowned a bit. I should have gone by my nose, as in hindsight I can remember when the smell changed, but I decided to let it ride. The inside was done just right, though.

Had a bit of trouble this time flopping the dough into the pan - I let the final 1.5 hr rise go in the oven with light on as well and it got huge and was difficult to "flop," hence the more "rustic" shape.

Anyway, here are some pics - I hope these writeups have been helpful and not just starting to annoy you guys.



And sliced:


As you can see, the grain structure is finer because of the whole wheat flour. I have read that you can add some gluten and it will strengthen the dough, thus preserving more of the air pockets - will investigate that further, but I really can't complain about this texture - still very chewy and rather light still, not as dense as I had expected.

I just had a piece with butter and the flavor was wonderful. The overbrowned crust didn't even have an off-taste - just doesn't look as pretty, I suppose. Anyway, hope this has been helpful.




  • Looking good. Thanks for the info. My result today was a lot less spectacular than that. Always ready to learn. Keep up the posts.
  • JeffersonianJeffersonian Posts: 4,244
    I'm not tired of your NKB threads, but I'm just a spectator. I've tried and tried to bake, and each of my creations is either resting on the sea floor with a supertanker chained to it or getting slapped into a net by Sidney Crosby. Grains are not my friend (unless they've been malted :P )
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    From this end the crust doesn't loo all that bad. The texture looks really good. From the looks I bet that is very tasty and a good texture for wheat bread.

    I wonder how the additional glutin would affect the white flour and if you went 2/3 wheat or all wheat.

  • Beanie-BeanBeanie-Bean Posts: 3,092
    Thanks for all the bread-cooking lessons, JF. I've purchased some AP as well as some unbleached bread flour, and a whole bunch of yeast packets so that I could get going with the bread thing. I dusted off my KitchenAid mixer and made some pizza dough this afternoon for dinner, and I'm looking forward to putting together some bread in the next week, depending on the work schedule this week.
  • TRex,

    I'm pretty new to the forum and don't really know the protocol for "non-Egg" posts, but I have to say I love the no knead info you guys are sharing! :woohoo: I hope you'll keep it up. You and Bente have inspired me to make some this week.

    Your wheat bread looks great!

  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,773
    Ahhhhh but the bread IS an egg post. We use our eggs for everything. I even boiled water on it once :ohmy:

    Soon you will be using you egg for everything. ;)
  • BrocBroc Posts: 1,398
    Looking good!

    I find that I use more yeast than you, to start with -- and making whole wheat requires even more.

    I have also found that I need to make sure my wheat is room temp before starting. In winter, with my wheat in a bottom shelf, it gets a bit chilly in there!

    This really makes a difference in the first rise.

    I have also started lowering the temp when removing the lid. Whereas I bake @450F, I have been pulling the temp down as low as 380F -- which still give a well-baked loaf, but doesn't brown the top as much.

    Have you rubbed butter on your top crust, yet, immediately after pulling from the oven/Egg? Then, about 15 min later, when the bread is still warm -- another butter-baste.

    I learned this when I was a wee l'il bairn at a neighborhood Italian bakery. The "Gran'ma" who baked there spoke no English, but she was encouraging even when I was small... but I didn't get around to copying her techniques [those I can remember] until over 50 years later!

    Ve get so zoon ault, und so late schmardt!

    ~ B
  • And I'm glad bread is an egg post - I'm looking forward to trying it.

    Sounds weird to say the egg has changed my life, but it has - I spend a lot more time thinking about what's for dinner and how I can cook it on the egg. I'm having a great time with it. :laugh: :laugh:

    I'm glad I found this forum - my husband enjoys good food, but he doesn't like talking about it. :ohmy:

    Nice to have some like-hearted folks around!

  • WooDoggiesWooDoggies Posts: 2,390
    We're doing a lot more whole grain baking and your step by step answered a few questions I had about this particular recipe.
    Thank you for taking the time to post your results!

  • BENTEBENTE Posts: 8,337
    looks great!! keep us informed of all of your bread making endeavors ;)

    happy eggin


    Anderson S.C.

    "Life is too short to be diplomatic. A man's friends shouldn't mind what he does or says- and those who are not his friends, well, the hell with them. They don't count."

    Tyrus Raymond Cobb

  • eatbbqeatbbq Posts: 81
    Glad to see your experiments with the whole wheat. I made my first no knead yesterday and it was excellent even if I didn't get my egg shoveled out of the snow and had to use a regular oven. I wanted to do whole wheat as well and looked at the experiments that America's Test Kitchen did for Cook's Illustrated and they tried 50-50 whole wheat/white and said it didn't work well as it was overly dense and chewy so they recommended substituting 1/4 of the recipe, or 3 cups white, 1 cup whole wheat. I was going to start with that but may try your formula and see what happens. The problem with the wheat is that the whole grain punctures the CO2 bubbles giving it less ability to rise and less ability to withstand movement and the oven the bubbles grow the wheat punctures them letting the gas out and the bread collapses somewhat. Not sure if extra glutten helps or not, worth a try though. A very interesting topic, I would like to get to 100% wheat as well,and have a good product...keep up the experiments, looks like you are on the right track.
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