The poufy supermarket bread that claims to be “whole wheat” is stretching the term to the point of meaninglessness. True whole wheat breads like this one — a variation of No-Knead Bread (page 601) — are dense, and so sturdy that some call it “travel bread.” What the loaf lacks in airiness it makes up for with its intensely nutty flavor. Slices are perfect for topping with pungent cheeses, jams, or any spread, and the dough can accommodate all sorts of additional ingredients (see the variations).
You can also substitute rye, cornmeal, oat, or other whole grain flours for up to 1 cup of the wheat flour. For a softer, lighter loaf that’s partially whole wheat, see the 50 Percent Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread variation on page 605.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon instant yeast
- Good-quality vegetable oil for greasing and
- Whisk the flour, salt, and yeast together in a large bowl. Add 1½ cups water and stir until blended; the dough should be very wet, almost like a batter; add more water if it’s too thick.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest in a warm place for about 12 hours, or in a cooler place (even the fridge) for up to 24 hours. The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Rising time will be shorter at warmer temperatures, a bit longer if your kitchen is chilly.
- Use a little oil to grease a 9 × 5-inch loaf pan. Scoop the dough into the loaf pan and use a rubber spatula to gently spread it in evenly. Brush or drizzle the top with a little more oil. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled in size, an hour or 2 depending on the warmth of your kitchen. (It won’t reach the top of the pan, or will just barely.) When it’s almost ready, heat the oven to 350°F.
- Bake until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it or the internal temperature is about 200°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 45 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool on a rack before slicing.
- 100 PERCENT WHOLE WHEAT BREAD WITH WALNUTS AND OLIVES Fold in ½ cup each chopped walnuts and chopped pitted olives (green are my favorite but you can use any kind) before putting the dough in the pan in Step 2.
- HONEY–WHOLE WHEAT BREAD WITH GRAINS AND FRUIT A slightly sweeter take: Add 2 tablespoons honey in Step 1. Fold in ½ cup each cooked grains (like oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, or wheat berries) and dried fruit (chopped if necessary) before putting the dough in the pan in Step 2.
- 100 PERCENT WHOLE WHEAT BREAD WITH PUMPKIN AND SAGE Reduce the water to ½ cup and add 1 cup puréed cooked pumpkin or squash and up to 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage to the dough in Step 1.