Tuesday, August 16, 2011

No - Knead 100% Whole Wheat Bread - Easy And Quick!

 Good Morning! Hope the long weekend has geared you up to read today's really lengthy post! Coz I am waiting to tell you everything in detail about this bread I baked. Thrice in 4 days actually, and again once recently. Yeah the SAME One. Why? First it caught my eye from the pages of the KAF book as a 100% whole wheat no-knead bread. And it said that this is 'the most easy beginners bread if you want to step into the lukewarm water of baking bread'. Its no-knead, one rise. Which means you don't have to wait for hours for the bread to get baked - whole wheat dough takes longer to proof. No knead - but you need to mix the dough in a stand mixer, a point of hesitation for me as I don't have one - yet! But then, I have nothing to lose I thought. I must admit, the no-knead, quick and 100% whole wheat was too good a recipe to not try out. I must also admit, though I have begun to love home-made bread, the thought of clearing space on my over-crowded kitchen counter and kneading the bread dough there is sometimes a put-off. Buying bread has dwindled down and I can't forgo home-baked bread. Time to get my bread machine...

The dough here is quite loose as in all no-knead yeast breads and is mixed in a mixer for 3 minutes. After reading the reviews on the KAF site, I was all set to mix the dough with the dough hooks of my hand mixer. But to my horror, the dough started to crawl up the hooks and gave me an electric shock! Thankfully, I had my wooden spoon ready and I beat the very sticky and very viscous dough 200 strokes by hand. And yes, of course, I had an achy arm and shoulder the next 2 days. The recipe said the dough would take 60 - 90 minutes to rise to the rim, but mine surprised me by rising way over the rim in about 35 minutes in this no-sun weather. I should have seen it coming, considering the amount of liquid and yeast in the dough. Well, I got a nice loaf, but was left wondering if I could have done it better and easier. Would using a little less yeast give a slower rise to just to the rim and give me better bread?

Next day. No mood to strain my arms more. I thought of using the hand mixer for beating part of the flour with all the liquid and then mix in  the rest of the flour as I had made in the No Knead White Batter Bread. Less yeast. The dough took longer to rise, the bread was good, the hand mixer did the work. Good, but the dough in the loaf tin on the site doesn't look very tall, why not make this bread in my 9x5 pan?

Day 4 - I gave a day's break as my house help was beginning to get convinced that I was really crazy, am sure by now she is!! The bread was OK, shorter and flatter, but I liked it better in the 8 1/2'' by 4 1/2'' pan. Long story short, I baked the bread again in the smaller tin with the amount of yeast specified in the recipe, mixed with hand mixer, watched the dough like a hawk while it rose just till the rim. Baked the bread, got a decent loaf.

Before we move further, let me tell you that the recipe also says that the bread is dense and moist and tasty, all of which it is. Don't let the description 'dense' put you off. I have not liked eating my failed dense breads, but this is dense in a different and nice sort of way, think of this as a different kind of bread altogether. Sweetish, with a hint of orange, slices beautifully, tastes good toasted and eaten warm - with a drizzle of honey if you like. And I thought I must tell you about this bread as I liked it, my kids liked it, my neighbor liked it and my friends liked it. Note, hubby is missing the honor of being in this list. Different strokes for different folks :)

 The recipe is from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Book. The recipe in the book has no fat whatsoever. The site and blog have 1/4 cup of oil. I used 2 tablespoons of oil, have added vital wheat gluten, needed to add more water to get the dough sticky, used milk in place of water. Do experiment and see what works best for you and please do tell me about it!

Here is the recipe with the changes I made: You can find the original recipe here. Read the blog and reviews here

  • Lukewarm milk - 1 cup (recipe uses 1 cup water plus 1/4 cup dry milk)
  • Orange juice - 1/4 cup( fresh or from a tetra pack)
  • Melted butter or vegetable oil - 2 tablespoons
  • Honey - 3 tablespoons ( Recipe recommends molasses/ maple syrup / dark corn syrup / brown sugar corn syrup)
  • Instant Yeast - 2 teaspoons
  • Salt - 1 1/4 teaspoons
  • Whole wheat flour - 3 cups / 12 oz / 340 grams, divided use ( I used Ashirwad)
  • Vital Wheat Gluten - 3 tablespoons
  • Grated orange zest - 3/4 teaspoon
  • Water - 3 tablespoons aprox ( If needed)
Procedure : Line a 8 1/2'' by 4 1/2'' loaf pan with baking parchment. Grease like nobody's business as the dough is very very sticky. Measure out all the ingredients.  I have weighed the flour as its simpler and more reassuring to me. With a fork, whisk the zest into the juice. This is to avoid clumping. Set aside. Weigh 135 grams of flour and mix with salt and vital wheat gluten well. Keep the rest of the 205 grams of flour aside.  In a large bowl, add the honey, yeast, warm milk, orange juice and the oil. Add in the flour-gluten mixture. With your hand mixer, using the beater attachment, beat on speed 4 for 3 minutes. I time this. Add the rest of the flour. Mix with a spatula or wooden spoon till the dough is well incorporated. For the flour I used, I have added 3 tablespoons more water. You could start adding one tablespoon at a time. The dough should be sticky and wet, my dough picture below. The dough will neither be pourable or knead-able. You may need to alter the fluid content according to the kind of flour used. I could probably have used a tablespoon water more, but I was not very sure. 

Dump the dough in the pan. Grease you hands and smooth the top. Cover with a greased plastic wrap. I used a greased aluminum foil. Let rise till the dough rises to the rim or 'perhaps barely cresting over the rim' as the recipe specifies. This took me 35- 40 minutes. Towards the end of the rise time, pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C / 350 degree F.

Uncover and bake the bread for 40-45 minutes or till the top is golden brown.
This is not a very high rising bread, will not dome much, may remain flat across the top. If the bread starts to brown too quickly, tent with aluminum foil.  The internal temperature should read 200 F. The recipe says 195 degrees F, but I have 200 degree F firmly etched in my head! Cool the bread in the tin for 5 minutes, remove and cool completely on the rack. Slice when completely cooled, I liked this sliced thin.

A note on the pan sizes - Use an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 '' pan for best results. You could use a 8″ x 4″ pan, let dough rise till it’s crowned about 1/2″ over the rim of the pan and bake. If using a  9x5 pan, you will have a shorter and flatter loaf. You could try baking in a muffin pan too. 

Take a look at the KAF blog post here if you would like to know how to measure your pan correctly.

You could skip the orange juice and zest and use an equal amount of water or milk, but the orange juice is supposed to help temper the tannic flavor of whole wheat. Try mixing in some chocolate chips or toasted walnuts to the dough for a variation.

First three bread pictures are from the loaf with 2 teaspoons yeast, hand beaten, dough rising way over the rim. Did I like this the best?

Below picture from the one with less yeast, mixed with hand mixer, about an hour of proofing time, dough rising to the rim.

 Did not bother with pics for the 9x5 pan.

The last is from the loaf with 2 teaspoons yeast, mixed with hand mixer, dough risen to the rim in about 35 minutes.

Please note: Nothing drastically wrong happened (at least noticeably!) with the changes here I made.

If you are still reading my post, I must thank you for your patience and tell you my verdict. An easy, quick, tasty, dense, moist loaf with a tender crumb. If you do not have a bread machine, pressed for time and want to eat home made breads and 100% whole wheat ones at that, you must surely try this. If you have a bread machine and can get a loaf of whole wheat bread without kneading effort, the regular 'knead' bread, light and airy, would be the winner. Since I don't have a bread machine now, I will surely be baking this again, a savory version perhaps? Shall update the results of my experiments. And if you have baked this bread or have any tips to offer, you are most welcome to share!

I can surely say - This loaf is so easy, you can bake this whole wheat bread easily with achy arms without a bread machine and FAST!

This bread goes to Susan's Yeast Spotting.


Hari Chandana P said...

Woww.. looks so soft and perfect.. beautiful pictures too.. thanks for sharing dear :)
Indian Cuisine

Divya Kudua said...

I am coming to your place next time when in Blr--you have to teach me to bake bread!!Looks so so good!

Madhuli said...

Looks absolutely fabulous..one question- where did you find the Vital Wheat Gluten. Thanks.

Saraswathi Iyer said...

Hi Suma, Looks perfect will try soon. have bookmarked this recipe. First time here, you have lovely space glad to follow you.

Drop my space when time permits.


Aarthi said...

Yummy one...Do you have any substitute for wheat gluten,since i couldn't find that stuff here

Anonymous said...


Wonderfully explained recipe. I am very interested in doing this bread. It is high time I did it!

One small doubt, where does one get wheat gluten in Hyderabad/India? That ingredient is very necessary?

Thanks for sharing with us.

Suma Rowjee said...

@Madhuli, Aarthi & Gardenrat - You can get Vital wheat gluten from IBCA, please check my resources post for more details. You could try baking with the gluten, the original recipe does not have it. Good luck!

Suma Rowjee said...

oops, meant to say without the gluten..

Priya Kumar said...

Wow! lovely bread. I will try this sometime and let you know how it turns out. I tried making dinner rolls once and I think there was too much yeast, the bread tasted bad :(. I gave up on breads after that. But this one seems simple. I ought to try it!

jayasree said...

Looks perfect..liked the last pic.

chef and her kitchen said...

superb looking bread...perfect txture..
pack me one loaf naa..:)

Sushma said...

Suma looks perfect and yummy..I am new baker in the block so bookmarked and will let u how it turned out

Pavithra Elangovan said...

Wonderful..looks absolutely professional...lovely texture.

Sayantani Mahapatra Mudi said...

even I had this bookmarked...love your version but yet to bake successfully with gluten. dont know why it gives a bad smell to my bread.
looks awesome Suma.

divya said...

Woww.. looks so soft and perfect.. beautiful pictures too..

Cooking Foodie said...

The bread looks so good... Just need some butter and marmalade - yummm

Neha said...

It looks so soft and spongy...perfect..

Rose said...

looks wonderful.....gotta make this :)

notyet100 said...

Bread looks so delicious :)

Zareena said...

OMG!!! this looks so soft and so moist and doesn't require any butter and less oil. Its too amazing. Bookmarked.

Unknown said...

wow, that looks just perfect :)

Archana said...

Awesome...your post and Sayantani's is making me want to bake bread right now !! I have the gloripan yeast now, but no vital gluten, will try without that ! Great pics Suma !

Luv'n Spoonfuls said...

Hi Suma! I just had to leave a comment as I see we are 'neighbors' on WildYeast/Yeastspotting...and we both posted a recipe for no-knead bread! I agree so much with you about the word 'dense'...it is a GOOD thing! Cheers!

Divya Shankar said...

Neat creation :) Awesome !!
I have few questions -
1) I use Eagle brand active dry yeast and I must say it is pathetic even for Kulchas/Naans etc , any other better brand & frm where to get it in Bangalore?
2) Where do I get the vital wheat gluten from ?
3) And can I omit - grated ornage zest?

Unknown said...

Perfected to the core...looks so soft n yum with a extra tag of healthy...yummy looking. Bookmarked to try

Suma Rowjee said...

@Divya - Thanks! Yes, those brands don't really work...do try this brand called as Gloripan (at IBCA and Gen Additives), wheat gluten from IBCA again. Yes, you could omit the zest, but then the orange flavor will not be highlighted.

Unknown said...

HI.. My first time here, but would love to your blog friend. Do visit me sometime at my spcae..
Leaving as a Happy follower!!
Love Ash.

Srirupa Gupta said...

HI! wanted to know if the orange juice can be substituted with any other fruit juice in the recipe.

Suma Rowjee said...

@Srirupa - You could just use water in its place.

Sweeya Sidharth said...

This looks so good. your blog is very nice. Did you do this in the microwave conventional oven?

ashesnroses said...

Just wanted to know is there a substitute for wheat gluten??

Anonymous said...

Hello Suma , i am a big fan of ur blog ! ur recipes and pics are awesome ! u put so much efforts in ur blog and just love reading all the prose and ur sense of humour makes it all the more interesting !
Few dys back i tried this bread (without OJ and gluten )and was happy with the results ;) thanx a ton ! but plz tell me ..how to keep the bread with same fresly-baked texture next day too (till i find vital wheat gluten ) though only 2 slices were left for nxt dy i want to knw .
looking forward to ur nxt recipe :)
-Jyothi P

meenakshi said...

hello mam , living in delhi, dont get vital wheat gluten , can i make your recpies without gluten or any substitute for that. i have tried some of your breads recpie and they have turned out awesome.mam i have one suggestion that please tell that breads or cakes should be baked on which rack ?
thanks mam hope that u will give answers to my stupid questions.

meenakshi said...

still waiting reply from your side. your advise will be a great help to me.

Suma Rowjee said...

Hi Meenakshi - Thank you very much! For recipes which have gluten in them and if u are baking without the gluten, you could try kneading for a couple of minutes more. If baking in an OTG, bake on the lower rack. If baking in a microwave, bake on the shorter rack. Hope this helps!

meenakshi said...

thanks mam for your reply i followed your guideline and the bread has come out perfect. one more question can i use bread flour instead of gluten and what should be the ratio?

ramani said...

I made this bread today.The bread came out well.It was a bit dense but soft and the aroma was awesome.We enjoyed it.Thank you.

Priya Kumar said...

Hi Suma,

I tried this bread without the "Vital Wheat Gluten", I used gloripan yeast, the dough rose well, but on baking, it turned out very dense and almost flavourless. Can you please let me know what could have been the problem with my preparation?

Suma Rowjee said...

@Priya - Sorry, real late in replying! If you have used enough good zest or any other flavoring, and followed the recipe, I am not sure why the bread was tasteless.

Unknown said...

Cd u plz tell me why is vital wheat gluten used for? I have no words to thank u for ur wonder ful recipie, as I Alz wanted to make whole wheat bread and every body discouraged me , telling that onlyAPflour can give good results

Thanks agn !

Unknown said...

Could u plz tell me why is vital wheat gluten used for, ? I
have no words to express my happiness when I found ur recipie which I was looking from ages!

Suma Rowjee said...

@Jisha - Thanks! Gluten helps your loaves rise higher by providing extra gluten to whole grains, improves the texture.

Ann said...

I made this bread..super easy to make. I used gluten ++ from ab mauri since i didnt have vital gluten, but it turned out beautiful..not sure how to post pics of it here...thanks suma for your awesome blog and great recipe. Love your adjustments and tweaks to help us in India bake stuff using available ingredients!