Whole-Wheat Bread

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Dough Yield: About


    loaves at 1.5 lb each

Appears in


By Jeffrey Hamelman

Published 2004

  • About

This Whole-Wheat Bread is Clean Flavored and Light. The comparatively long fermentation and low percentage of yeast help bring out the intrinsic wheat flavor of the flour. Using a small amount of honey helps balance the flavor. The bread has just the slightest sense of sweetness, a nice balance to the strong flavor of the whole-wheat flour.

Pre-Fermented Flour: 25%


Overall Formula

U.S. Metric Home Baker’s %
Whole-Wheat Flour 10 lb 5 kg 1 lb 50 %
Bread Flour 10 lb 5 kg 1 lb 50 %
Water 13.6 lb 6.8 kg 1 lb 5.8 oz 68 %
Salt .4 lb .2 kg .6 oz 2 %
Yeast .22 lb fresh .11 kg, fresh .13 oz, instant dry 1.1 %
Honey .6 lb .3 kg 1 oz 3 %
Total Yield 34.82 lb 17.41 kg 3 lb 7.5 oz 174.1 %

Pâte Fermentée

Bread Flour 5 lb 2.5 kg 8 oz ( cups) 100 %
Water 3.25 lb 1.625 kg 5.2 oz ( cup) 65 %
Salt .1 lb .05 kg .2 oz (1 tsp) 2 %
Yeast .01 lb fresh .005 kg, fresh ( tsp, instant dry) .2%
Total 8.36 lb 4.18 kg 13.4 oz

Final Dough

Whole-Wheat Flour 10 lb 5 kg 1 lb (3⅝ cups)
Bread Flour 5 lb 2.5 kg 8 oz ( cups)
Water 10.35 lb 5.175 kg 1 lb .6 oz (2 cups)
Salt .3 lb .15 kg .4 oz (2 tsp)
Yeast .21 lb fresh .105 kg, fresh .13 oz, instant dry ( tsp)
Honey .6 lb .3 kg 1 oz (1 T + 1 tsp)
Pâte Fermentée 8.36 lb 4.18 kg 13.4 oz (all of above)
Total 34.82 lb 17.41 kg 3 lb 7.5 oz


  1. Pâte Fermentée: Disperse the yeast in the water, add the flour and salt, and mix until just smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic and let stand for 12 to 16 hours at about 70°F. Alternatively, remove a portion from a previous mix for use as pâte fermentée. In this case, refer to “Preparing the Pre-Ferment,”, for correct handling of the pre-ferment.
  2. Mixing: Place all the ingredients except the pâte fermentée in the mixing bowl. In a spiral mixer, mix on first speed for 3 minutes in order to incorporate the ingredients. As the dough is coming together, add the pâte fermentée in chunks. If necessary, correct the hydration by adding water or flour in small amounts (the absorption of whole-wheat flour varies considerably; don’t hesitate to add a fair bit of water if the dough seems dry). Finish mixing on second speed for 3 minutes. The dough should be supple and slightly loose, and the gluten should be moderately developed. Desired dough temperature: 75°F.
  3. Bulk Fermentation: 2 hours.
  4. Folding: Fold the dough after 1 hour of bulk fermentation.
  5. Dividing and Shaping: Divide the dough into 1.5-pound pieces. Preshape lightly into rounds and place on a lightly floured work surface, seams up. Cover the rounds with plastic. When the dough has relaxed sufficiently (10 to 15 minutes), shape into round or oval loaves, place them either into floured bannetons or between folds of floured baker’s linen, and cover with plastic. The bread can also be baked in loaf pans or shaped into rolls.
  6. Final Fermentation: 1 to 1½ hours at 75°F.
  7. Baking: Transfer the risen loaves onto the loading conveyor or peel. Slash the desired scoring pattern with a blade. Presteam the oven, load the bread, and steam again. Bake at 450°F. Open the oven vents after the loaves show color, in order to finish the bake in a drying oven. Loaves scaled at 1.5 pounds will bake in approximately 40 minutes. The honey contributes color to the bread, so if the loaves are darkening too quickly, lower the oven temperature by 10° or 20°F.