Happily Wholesome Wholemeal

wholemeal loafHere's a wholemeal loaf to be happy about. It's 100% wholemeal and 100% easy.

If you've had enough of all that enriched dough, or the fluffy white stuff and you're feeling like something a bit healthier, this one's for you.

In fact, it's for Mr Dough Nuts (probably not his real name) (pictured here in his special baking hat) who has asked me for a recipe for a wholemeal loaf.

Et voila...

Happily Wholesome Wholemeal

500g/17 oz/3⅓ cups wholemeal bread flour
1 tsp instant dried yeast
2 tsp salt
330ml/11 fl oz/ 1⅓ cups water

The method is the same as for the Awesome Everyday Loaf - the difference being that there is no white flour content, so a higher dough hydration is required.

So, all you do is this:

Weigh all the ingredients into a big bowl.

ingredients for wholemeal bread

If you're wondering whose hand that is, stage right, it belongs to my boy. He's making dough balls. Well, sort of.

child making dough

Mix all the ingredients together into a rough sort of dough and tip it onto the worktop for kneading.

wholemeal bread dough

Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. This will probably take about 10 minutes, by which time it will look something like this:

wholemeal dough

Leave it to ferment under the upturned bowl for about 45 minutes, then shape it into a loaf and pop it into the tin.

Leave the dough to prove until it has risen past the top of the tin. Mine took ages today, probably due to the cold weather.

Wholemeal flour doesn't give quite the 'lift' that strong white bread flour can, on account of the bits, so you can't expect it to spring up quite like a white loaf might. Never the less, you want it to be sufficiently proved before you bake it.

Bake at 230oC/450F for five minutes then 180oC/360F for a further 30 minutes, until golden brown and hollow-sounding when you do the bottom-knock test.

Tis done!

And in other news..

You can now share your baking photos with the our new Flickr group.

I'm presuming you've already got your copy of Freshly Baked Bread In 20 Minutes?

And you know about The Recipe Book don't you?

Just checking ;o)


  1. Many thanks, I'll have a go later today but I will probably add a few seeds as well. TTFN, Dough Nuts

  2. Would wholewheat flour be the same or similar to the wholemeal flour used in this recipe? And how come there is no egg or other items needed in this recipe, as opposed to the soft white loaf? (thanks!)

    1. Kate, you can use whole wheat/wholemeal/whole grain flour for this - all names for flour milled from whole grain rather than seived to remove the brown bran parts. You can choose to buy flour with actual chunks of grain and seeds in, or use a more finely milled flour. As for the eggs etc, you could add some if you like. They provide extra protein which gives the dough more strength and a different texture. It's not needed for this particular loaf but you could experiment with flavour and texture. This recipe was for a basic wholemeal loaf without any enriching ingredients. Bread only really requires flour, yeast, a tiny bit of salt and water. Anything else can enrich or add extra flavour to the dough but is not essential.

    2. Okay! Thank you so much. I'm loving learning about this. I didn't know I was a bread maker at heart but I'm just beyond tickled to try all this out! I will try this recipe as is tomorrow, without adding anything, just using the wholewheat flour I bought today with my yeast.

    3. Great! I hope it goes well and I'm happy to help with any queries :)

  3. Hello
    I am going to try and make bread for first time but could i just check what size tin this needs..i only have a small loaf tin! thank you

    1. This is for a 2lb (900g) loaf tin. If yours is smaller, you could half the recipe or choose, instead to bake a free form round loaf on a baking tray. Good luck - I'd like to hear how you get on!

  4. Mmm... Bit of a disaster. First off I had to add about 40ml extra water as 350ml wasn't enough to pick up all the flour from the mixing bowl. I kneaded for 10 minutes but no 'window pane'. I kneaded for another 5 minutes but no difference. After 45 minutes rising the dough had hardly increased in volume so I left it for another hour by which time it had risen somewhat but not doubled in size as I'd expect.
    After 2 hours+ the final prove hadn't risen much either.
    I baked for 30 minutes but by the look of the bread this seemed nowhere enough so I gave another 15 minutes.There was little or no oven spring resulting in a brick rather than a loaf so it was the bin for that.
    I must have gone wrong somewhere but I don't know how.
    I'll try another of your recipes later.

    1. Aww I wonder what happened? Better luck next time!

    2. As I keep trying to remind myself: bread making is not a science. Some days a recipe works fine, other days not. Now today I made a great Malthouse loaf - texture & crumb perfect (IMO). However, a couple of weeks ago, using the same ingredients & recipe it turned out not so good.
      It's surprising that I can bake an eatable loaf at all as so many techniques do not work for me: I've never achieved the much mentioned Windowpane, finger tests just don't work for me, usually 'cos the dough's to sticky & sourdough (best to forget my numerous failures with that). However, I've made dozens of tasty loafs, baguettes, soda bread etc that are very popular with family & friends. So I guess that although bread making for me is rather mysterious I'll keep at it. The enjoyment of kneading, the smell of fresh baked straight from the oven etc just can't be beaten.

    3. Rupert thanks for your reply - I've been off camping in the wilds so I couldn't respond.
      Do you know, for me, the mystery and unpredictability of bread keeps me interested and ever striving for the perfect loaf. I like the fact that yeast is alive and fallible. I feel that I have finally pinned down some processes that work pretty consistently but have yet others to master. It's an adventure :)


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