My 100% Whole Grain Dough Recipe + Printable!

posted by Andrea | 06/14/2019

It’s been roughly 7 months since I got the crazy idea that I wanted to start making my own whole grain bread products using grain I ground myself.

I thought it would be a fun little experiment… but I’m fairly confident I’ve never been more frustrated, annoyed, or down-right angry regarding baked goods in my entire life! I was even brought to tears TWICE because of flopped bread that I was “sure” would turn out based on tweaks I made in the recipe. 

I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of money on grain, specialty ingredients, and kitchen gadgets. 

I’ve woken up early, I’ve stayed up late, and I’ve spent hours pouring over cookbooks from the library and various recipes online, taking notes on what I tried, what I should try next, etc. etc. 

Honestly, I feel like a crazy person now that it’s all in writing!

My quest for delicious whole grain bread has been a hobby, it’s been a labor of love, it’s been a fun “outlet” for me — something I can do in this season of life when I’m working from home with young children.

I do not regret any of the time, money, energy, or effort I’ve spent so far, and I know my family has benefited from my tireless efforts to integrate significantly more whole grains into our diet every day

I’m not sure if I’ll continue baking all my own bread products for the rest of my life; but for the time being, it’s something I am very excited and passionate about, and a skill I hope to continually hone (and share with our children) over the next few years. 

Honestly, just look how far I’ve come already! 

The dough recipe I’m sharing today is the one I’ve been making, almost exclusively, for the past 3 months (after tweaking it for several months before that). I use this dough recipe for ALL my 100% whole grain bread AND for all the other whole grain “dough products” I bake. 

My family gives it 2 thumbs up for sandwich bread, dinner rolls, hamburger buns, cinnamon rolls, mini bread loaves, Stromboli, pizza crust, and more. 

NOTE: I don’t use this dough recipe for tortillas.

Recipe for 100% Whole Grain Bread Dough

{see options to save, print, or download below!}

This recipe can easily be halved or doubled… depending on your mixer capabilities and your need for bread dough; however, as-written, it makes enough dough for: 

  • 4 loaves (8.5″ x 4″ — 25 oz.)
  • 3 large loaves (9″ x 5″ — 33 oz.)
  • 10 mini loaves (5.5″ x 3″ — 10 oz)
  • 48 dinner rolls or slider buns (2 oz.)
  • 24 large hamberger buns (4 oz.)
  • 48 cinnamon rolls 
  • 4 large Stromboli (18″ x 6″)
  • 6 Pizzas (12″)

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 1100 grams freshly ground hard white wheat (roughly 9 cups flour)
  • 4 c. room temperature tap water
  • 1/3 c. lemon juice

  • 1/2 c. room temperature tap water
  • 20 grams honey (1T.)
  • 18 grams active dry yeast (4.5 tsp. or 2 little packets from the store)

  • 170 grams honey (1/2 c.)
  • 56 grams unsalted butter, melted (4 T.)

  • 550 grams additional flour of choice* (roughly 4.5 cups)
  • 40 grams Vital Wheat Gluten (roughly 1/3 c.)
  • 30 grams Rice Bran Extract (roughly 1/3 c.) 
  • 24 grams sea salt (4 tsp.)

* I almost always add additional whole grain Hard White Wheat, but if you want to try something “lighter”, add some unbleached all-purpose flour; or try Rye, Spelt, or Hard Red Wheat for a different flavor! 

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DIRECTIONS: 

THE NIGHT BEFORE you plan to make bread, mix 1100 grams flour with 4 c. water and 1/3 c. lemon juice in a very large container.

The dough will be very rough and “shaggy”, this is fine! Cover the dough and let sit on your counter overnight (it will not rise, this is just to hydrate the whole grain flour.)

Next, measure out all your other ingredients and put them on the counter near your dough.

Set out your stand mixer, any pans you will use, and any tools you will need to make the bread. 

These steps are crucial for me since I usually bake bread early in the morning (when I’m still groggy) or when the kids are eating breakfast (lots of distractions)! I never have to worry about accidentally adding the wrong ingredient or using the wrong measurement. 

IN THE MORNING, microwave 1/2 c. water + 1 T. honey for 15-20 seconds, or until temperature is 100-110ºF.

Sprinkle yeast over water and let sit for 15 minutes. The yeast mixture should become very bubbly and rise up to the top of the measuring cup. If it does not, your yeast is probably “dead” and your bread won’t rise.

While yeast mixture is proofing, dump your shaggy dough mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.

Microwave 1/2 c. honey and 4 T. butter for 15-20 seconds (or until butter is melted). Add to shaggy dough mixture. Mix for 30 seconds to combine.

Your yeast should be very bubbly by this point (if not, you’ll need to find new yeast). Add the water / yeast mixture to the dough – along with the vital wheat gluten, rice bran, and salt. Mix for 1 minute, or until combined.

Add 550 grams of flour and knead on low for 5 minutes (I use speed #2 on my mixer).

After 5 minutes, check the dough. If it feels too sticky, add 1 – 2 Tablespoons more flour. If it feels very dry, add 1-2 TEASPOONS more water.

Knead again (on low) for 5 minutes.

While dough mixes, rinse and dry your large container and spray with cooking spray. Clean up any messes you made and clear your work surface.

Turn your oven on for ONE MINUTE. Then TURN IT OFF again.

Dump dough out of mixer and back into greased bowl / container (the one you just rinsed out). Cover and place in warm oven for 90 minutes, or until double in size.

Remove dough container from oven and deflate dough (punch it down).

“Fold” dough over itself in half 4 times (top-to-bottom, left-to-right, bottom-to-top, right-to-left). This serves as one last gentle kneading process.

Divide dough up into whatever portions you want, shape it into loaves, rolls, buns, cinnamon rolls, etc. (see printable for LOTS of ideas + step-by-step instructions), and place into greased baking dishes.

Cover and let rise for 60 minutes, or until double in size. 

NOTE: I use 8.5″ x 4″ loaf pans for my loaves of bread.

While dough rises, preheat oven to 350ºF. 

Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until internal temperature is 200ºF (cover with foil for last 15 minutes if the tops are getting too brown)

Rub a bit of cold butter over the top of the crust immediately after removing from oven. Let sit for 2-3 minutes.

Remove loaves from pan and let cool for at least 30 minutes before eating, or cool completely before storing.

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There it is – FINALLY ready for the world to read, and just in time for my birthday! 

 

Download the FREE printable as my birthday gift to YOU! 

Open / save the printable recipe as a Google Doc (no photos).

Open / save the printable recipe as a Google Doc (WITH photos)

Download the printable recipe as a PDF (no photos). 

Download the printable recipe as a PDF (WITH photos).

Read more about my journey to grinding my own whole grains

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If you’re an avid bread baker, I’d be honored if you tried my recipe and gave me a little feedback (and shared it with others!)

If you’re still a wanna-be whole-grain-bread-baker like myself, add my recipe to the list of recipes you’ll try until you find YOUR perfect dough recipe.

And if you have absolutely no desire to attempt your own homemade bread, I’d encourage you to try some of these (non yeast bread) ideas to incorporate whole grains into your daily diet

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Some variables to consider:

Obviously, if I’m sharing a recipe on my blog, I personally have had much success with it. However, the number of variables involved in baking yeast breads is just out-of-this world crazy, so I know this recipe will NOT work for everyone. Sorry! 

Please keep these variables in mind as you try my recipe….

  • I use stone-ground whole grain — so my flour is more coarse than store bought whole wheat.
  • I use unfiltered city water, which is different than using well water or filtered water.
  • I buy Red Star Active Dry Yeast in bulk and keep it in the freezer until the night before I’m going to bake. 
  • I use  all room-temperature ingredients and my flour mixture sits overnight to hydrate.
  • I weigh my ingredients instead of measuring them with cups and spoons. 
  • I use a large-capacity, high-power stand mixer to knead the dough. This was a HUGE game-changer for me and had a very positive effect on the rise of my bread!
  • I use a silicon baking mat to roll the dough out so I don’t need to add extra flour. 
  • I let the bread rise in my oven at around 90º.
  • I use 8.5″ x 4″ bread pans, not 9″ x 5″ pans, so my bread rises higher. 
  • I make enough dough for 4 loaves, which (in my opinion) helps my machine knead it more thoroughly than if I only make enough dough for 2 loaves.  

A Few of My Favorite Bread-Baking Essentials. 

Ok, maybe they aren’t all totally “essential”, but the tools below have significantly improved my whole grain breads and rolls! 

These are affiliate links — read my disclosure

Wow — it feels good to get this all out of my head, out of my notebooks, and into ONE spot! 

It’s a lot of information for one post, but I certainly hope it’s helpful for any of you who are interested in baking, eating, or simply learning more about whole grain breads! 

Happy Bread Baking (& Eating)!! 

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Filed under: FoodWhole Grains

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31 comments

  1. Elizabeth

    06/17/2019

    Hi Andrea.

    I’m excited to try your recipe! I was wondering though: what is the rice bran extract for? Also, do you have a kitchen scale that you like? I got one for Christmas and half the time it doesn’t work, so was thinking of buying a new one…..

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Elizabeth!
    My scale is from our thrift store (for $1) and it seems to work well. My advice is to get one that will measure in grams and ounces.
    As for the rice bran extract — it’s a good source of lecithin, which is used in yeast breads (especially those with freshly ground flour) to give the bread a softer texture. Anything labeled “Dough enhancer” will serve the same purpose.

    [Reply]

  2. Jamie

    06/15/2019

    Impressive!! With the exception of a few seasons (like newborns), I’ve been making 95% of our bread from scratch for the last 8 years, most recently with sourdough. There’s nothing better than a counter full of cooling homemade bread! These tips and recipe look great and I’ll be sure to give them a try. Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, I hear you about “seasons of life”… I can’t imagine taking the time to do this with a newborn.
    I’m also starting my sourdough journey — maybe next summer I’ll blog about my “perfect sourdough bread”!!

    [Reply]

  3. Marva

    06/15/2019

    Happy birthday, Andrea! I’m very impressed with your tenacity at accomplishing all the beautiful bread products! I keep whittling down the number of blogs I follow (down to about 5) but yours is the only one I always read. My other 60-something friends probably get tired of me sharing tips from ‘this blogger I follow who has 4 children, the oldest of whom just finished 1st grade’!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Marva 🙂
    I’m SO please to hear my blog “makes the cut” for you! Maybe some of your other friends will start following along too!

    [Reply]

  4. Carol

    06/15/2019

    Happy Birthday Andrea.

    Your bread looks so delicious. I need to get back to making my own again. I was making it a few years ago and this post reminds me how much I miss it.

    When my kids were small and I was at home I made bread every Friday. It was the day I also emptied the fridge of leftovers and made a pot of soup/ stew. It was so good and the flavour of the soup was different every time. Served with fresh homemade bread, we were loving our Friday’s and saving money too.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I love the routine of every Friday with “leftover soup”. I sort of do this on Saturdays right now — make bread and clean out the fridge!
    Once school starts up again, I have a feeling I might switch my baking day to Monday so I can bake fresh bread for the week and clean out the fridge after the weekend 🙂

    [Reply]

  5. J

    06/14/2019

    Happy Birthday Andrea! This is a nice and very thoughtful gift to give everyone, after all your hard work!
    Wow! How is Claire all of a sudden growing up!?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, she’s a “big girl” now!

    [Reply]

  6. Heather Ratliff

    06/14/2019

    Thank you for sharing this. I’ve wanted to try whole wheat, but I’ve been intimidated. I might just try it for our fair this year!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    try it!! It CAN be intimidating, and there are a lot of variables — but it’s sort of therapeutic in a weird way!

    [Reply]

  7. Jen

    06/14/2019

    Happy happy birthday! And congratulations on achieving a beautiful loaf of bread!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Jen 🙂

    [Reply]

  8. Karen

    06/14/2019

    Happy Birthday Andrea! Thanks for the recipe!!! Since I won’t be grinding my own wheat ~ do I buy the flour that says white wheat or 100% whole wheat? I’m not sure what “hard” wheat means…..than you

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I would buy King Arthur’s stone ground white whole wheat flour.
    Hard wheat just means that it has a higher protein content and is better for yeast breads. Soft wheat is lower in protin and better for pancakes, waffles, quick breads, etc. All-Purpose flour is a mix of both.

    [Reply]

  9. Jessica Canny

    06/14/2019

    Whew! I got exhausted just reading this-but good for you for sticking with it! I’ll definitely try it (one day)!

    [Reply]

  10. Julia

    06/14/2019

    Wow! You rock, Andrea! I am impressed with your determination, and am totally going to give this recipe a try.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — determined (or maybe just stubborn!)

    [Reply]

  11. Casey

    06/14/2019

    This is amazing! So much wonderful information packed into one post. Thank you for putting this together. Our family doesn’t eat much bread—more often than not, the one small loaf I buy each week goes bad. However I love the idea of making it. I’m thinking my love of the pioneer life/Little House books has something to do with that. I’ve certainly bookmarked this post for the day where I have the motivation and money to do so. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Casey!
    Also, in regards to your bread going bad — you might consider putting a few slices in the freezer (like the ends) right when you get home from the store. That way, you have less fresh bread to use up, and you can use the slices in the freezer for stuffing, french toast, quiche, croutons, etc.
    And yes, I TOTALLY “get” the allure of pioneer living! With all our modern conveniences like a stand mixer and a gas oven 🙂

    [Reply]

    Casey Reply:

    That’s a great idea! I’ve frozen whole loaves before but for whatever odd reason never thought of just freezing half. Thanks for the tip!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, I’m super good at coming up with ways to “preserve” and use up extra bread that we might not eat fresh — I’ve had LOTS of frozen bread to deal with over the past 7 months! 🙂

    [Reply]

  12. Linda Tenhage

    06/14/2019

    Happy Birthday Andrea! Enjoy your day!

    [Reply]

  13. Christine Meurer

    06/14/2019

    Happy birthday to you! (A day late) I’m sure this was a good gift after months of hard work. You make me want to pull my grain grinder that I’ve never used down from the shelf and find some whole wheat berries. That’s what’s always stopped me – I guess i just need to order some!! I love that it’s soaked overnight. I have been wanting to learn to bake with yeast for a long time, and i think this will be it. Now I’m excited for you to teach me all about sourdough! 😉

    [Reply]

    Christine Meurer Reply:

    I dont know why i thought this was yesterday’s post…hahaha, happy birthday TODAY!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    what — you have a grain grinder and you’ve never used it! You should sell it — they are much more common these days and I’m sure someone would buy it!
    As for the grain, I buy all mine from Country Life Natural Foods

    [Reply]

  14. Annette Silveira

    06/14/2019

    Congratulations! When my kids were little I made four loaves of bread every week and I KNOW how frustrating it is when a batch you worked so hard on doesn’t turn out. My husband and I don’t eat much bread so I won’t be pulling out all my gear to give it a try, but your recipe sounds delicious. Your slices are perfect! Do you have a special knife? My mom bought me a beautiful serrated knife with a guide so I could slice each loaf uniformly.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Annette! Yes, it can be SO frustrating, but so rewarding when a “perfect” loaf comes out of the oven!
    As for the knife — I linked to it in the bottom of this post. It’s just a normal bread knife but it works REALLY well. I love it!

    [Reply]

  15. Lee Cockrum

    06/14/2019

    Happy birthday!! I am not in a place to try this right now, but I am DEFINITELY going to try it at some point!! I can’t recall if I’ve seen in the past….do you have a kitchen aid stand mixer? And if so, did you try it originally?

    So cool that you have done all this research and work! Very impressive!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    no Kitchen Aid — I never liked how heavy they were. So it was either by hand or with my new mixer — obviously the new mixer works significantly better! That said, I know tons of people who knead dough with a Kitchen Aid!

    [Reply]