There are few smells that can send the kiddos scrambling to the kitchen like the smell of soaked whole wheat bread. The smell alone makes you feel like you’re in a bread shop or a fancy French Cafe.
This recipe will definitely not take you to France but it will make your house smell like the local bread shop and prompt the littles to run for the kitchen. I’m not going to lie here – this is still breadmaker bread, soaked whole wheat breadmaker bread…but it’s yummy toasted with raw honey. (I highly recommend baking in the oven after the breadmaker does the kneading work, but the recipe is still written for 100% bread machine if that makes life easier for you!)
Why Soak Whole Wheat?
I had an awful time finding a soaked whole wheat bread recipe online, so I made my own by adapting the standard whole wheat recipe in the bread machine book!
You might wonder: mushy bread? Soaked? That sounds too weird – why soak bread?
For the long and technical story on soaking grains, you’ll need to read this.
For now, the short of it is that soaking the flour takes the undigestible part of the grain and makes your body recognize it more like a vegetable. Not only that but it also maximizes the nutrients that are available in the grain so that your soaked whole wheat bread ultimately packs a healthier, more nutritious punch. If you are new to soaking grains, this is a great recipe to start with, especially with the added help of a breadmaker.
Get Some Tips on Bread-Making
If you’re new to bread-making, be sure to check out my basic bread making techniques. While it is not an exhaustive list, I have turned out quite a few tasty loaves using these tips. If you prefer a crustier loaf, you can bake this bread in the oven at 350F after you’ve run the the dough cycle on your bread machine.
Once you try this bread and love it, I think you’ll be surprised to find out how many tasty goodies you can soak. In no time, you’ll be soaking apple cinnamon oatmeal, pumpkin muffins, and granola bars too.
- 1⅓ cups water
- 1 Tbs + 1 tsp olive oil or melted butter
- 3 Tbs honey
- 2 heaping Tbs yogurt or whey (or apple cider vinegar or lemon juice or cultured buttermilk)
- 3 cups whole wheat flour plus ¼ c, divided
- 1¾ tsp active dry yeast
- 1½ tsp salt
- Mix by hand the water, oil/butter, honey, yogurt, and 3 cups flour. You can do it right in the bread machine bucket/pan.
- Carefully make a mound of ¼ cup whole wheat flour on top of the wet ingredients. Make a well in the middle and add yeast and salt. The idea is not to let the yeast touch the wet ingredients. The salt will inhibit the breakdown of the phytates and enzyme inhibitors, so you want that mixed in last too.
- Soak overnight or longer at room temperature, then start the bread machine using the whole wheat cycle. If your machine has a delay timer, this is an easy soak and can be ready in the morning for breakfast.
Adapting a Breadmaker/Bread Machine Recipe for the Oven
Any loaf will gain improved taste and texture by baking in the oven. Enlist your breadmaker to reduce the work by following these steps:
- Put all ingredients in the breadmaker as per your recipe (ensuring that yeast is kept separate from water) and run the whole wheat dough cycle.
- Always check the dough during the kneading cycle to make sure it is sticky and pliable. Dough should be slightly sticky and definitely not hard or firm. If it is too wet or still sticking heavily to the sides of the pan, add a little flour, 1 teaspoon at a time. If it feels hard, is not a glossy ball, or does not stick a bit to your fingers, add a teaspoon of water at a time (NOT MORE than 1-2 tablespoons).
- Once dough cycle is complete, punch bread down while still in the breadmaker, scoop out onto a floured surface, shape and place in a greased pan. Cover and let rise until doubled. To rise, you could also stick it in a warm oven (my friend heats up her oven until it feels like 80 degrees, then turns it off).
- Lastly, bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes until the top is lightly golden brown. Watch your bread closely as some recipes might take longer.
Troubleshooting Your Fallen Loaf
The wisdom below is garnered from the comments section of this post where many wonderful women have taken part in the time honored tradition of helping each other make a great loaf of bread. I hope our collective knowledge will help you turn out your best loaf yet!
My loaf fell and/or is concave in the middle…
- Most likely there is too much liquid. Start by reducing the liquid by 1-2 tablespoons. Location and temperature can also cause fallen loaves. During summer, try reducing your total liquid by 1-2 tablespoons of water. In winter, add 1-2 tablespoons of water.
- If your loaf continues to fall, reduce the amount of yeast by 1/4 teaspoon.
- If you still encounter issues with fallen loaves, try adding 1 1/2 tsp. of Vital Wheat Gluten per each cup of whole wheat flour. This is in addition to reducing the water and yeast.
- Lastly, make sure you are using the whole wheat dough cycle and not the regular cycle. I’ve made this mistake before!
My bread did not rise very much…
Solution: Ensure that your yeast and salt are safely placed in the flour well (small finger-made well atop the other ingredients). If your yeast touches the liquid ingredients, the result is often a decreased rise.
My crust is too hard/tough…
Solution: Once bread is done and still warm, lightly rub with a bit of butter or coconut oil.