100% Whole Wheat and Bran Bread Recipe (This bread recipe is a work in progress!)

100% Whole Wheat Bread(Edit: In 2009 I made 100% White Whole Wheat Bread which is an improvement on this recipe from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day by the same authors.)

Recently when I posted about Irish Soda Bread, I mentioned that the authors had sent me a copy of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, along with assurances that I could use the innovative break-making method to make 100% whole wheat bread. This is the bread post I promised was coming, and I decided I should call this recipe a “work in progress,” because I’m still experimenting with getting the ingredients exactly right for bread made with white whole wheat flour, although I was very satisfied with the taste of the bread.

I’m seriously baking-challenged, and I don’t eat a lot of baked goods, but I’ve been wanting a recipe for South Beach Diet friendly bread. This loaf of bread is dedicated to Tanna who has encouraged me to try baking bread, even though I wanted a recipe that was all whole wheat flour, with little or no honey or other sweeteners added. (All the experienced bread bakers are shaking their heads.) It took me three tries tinkering with a recipe from the book to produce a loaf of bread I wasn’t ashamed to write about, and even then a bread-baking expert would probably say this bread didn’t rise enough. Meanwhile, here’s more about this way of making bread and how I managed to make a very tasty loaf of 100% whole wheat bread.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day spotlights a bread-baking method developed by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois that’s even easier than the famous No-Knead bread that swept the country. Basically the method involves mixing water, yeast, and salt, mixing in flour, and letting the bread rise for a few hours. At that point you can refrigerate the dough for up to a few weeks. Whenever you want to bake bread, just take out some of the dough, let it rise, and bake. Lots of other food bloggers (who actually know how to bake!) have raved about the book. I’ll just say this, any book that gets me to bake bread must be pretty darn good. More variations of this recipe and possibly other breads to come.

100% Whole Wheat and Bran Bread
(Makes two small loaves or one large loaf, recipe adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.)

1 1/2 cups + 2 T lukewarm water
1 T yeast
3/4 T salt
1/2 cup wheat bran (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur Flour)
2 cup White whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur Flour)


Get two plastic bowl, one which has a lid (not air-tight.) Combine the wheat bran, whole wheat flour, and white whole wheat flour in the bowl with the lid. In the other bowl, combine lukewarm water, yeast, and salt, and stir to dissolve. With a large spoon, mix the water mixture into the flour. (Of course if you’re a baker, use your Kitchenaid with a dough hook to mix the bread. The book suggests using wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour if mixing by hand.)

Let the bowl of dough sit at room temperature about 2 hours, or until the dough rises and collapses or flattens on top. The dough can be used immediately after the intial rise, but it’s easier to handle if refrigerated. If refrigerating to bake later, dough will last for two weeks in a container that’s not completely air-tight.)

To bake, dust the surface of the dough with flour and break off a grapefruit-sized piece. Dust with more flour and shape into a ball by stretching the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, turning the dough as you go. (I know I didn’t do this correctly!) Form into an oval shaped loaf. Let dough rise on greased plate for 40 minutes.

Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 450 F and place a baking stone on middle rack. (Of course I don’t have a baking stone, but I did preheat the heavy baking sheet I used to bake the bread on.) Place an empty broiler tray on bottom rack.

Sprinkle the dough liberally with flour and slash with a serrated knife. (I did it wrong, but I liked the criss-cross pattern.) I took out the hot baking sheet at this point and brushed it with olive oil. Slide bread onto hot baking sheet and immediately pour one cup water on to empty broiler tray to create steam, then close the oven door. Bake 30-45 minutes, until firm and well browned on crust. (I made a large loaf and baked it for nearly 45 minutes.) Let cool slightly, then cut and eat!

Bread Reflections:

Next time I’ll increase the water to 1 3/4 cups. I’d also try a small-sized loaf to see if it would rise better. Next time I might try my toaster oven if I could figure out a way to do the water. Any Bread Baking Babes out there have suggestions for the next batch? )

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South Beach or Low Glycemic Suggestions:

Bread made with this recipe is a good choice for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet. South Beach doesn’t recommend butter due to the saturated fat, so if you’re a South Beach dieter, use a trans-fat free margarine or peanut butter on your bread. You may want to read my post about Choosing the Right Bread for the South Beach Diet if you’re buying bread or using a bread machine.

More Whole Wheat or Whole Grain Breads to Try:
(These recipes from other blogs are all ones I’d like to try, although some would seriously challenge my baking skills!)
White Whole Wheat and Oatmeal Irish Soda Bread
No Knead 100% Whole Wheat Bread from Su Good Sweets
100 % whole Wheat Bread Walnut Loaf from Real Baking with Rose Levy Beranbaum (contains a very minimal amount of honey)
100 % Whole Grain Hearth Bread from The Fresh Loaf
100 % Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread from Baking and Books (contains a minimal amount of sweetener, Agave Nectar can be used)
Ten Grain Whole Wheat Bread from Christine Cooks (has 1 T sugar)

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34 comments on “100% Whole Wheat and Bran Bread Recipe (This bread recipe is a work in progress!)”

  1. I’m so ashamed because I keep promising myself I will bake some homebread soon but I never do. Your recipe might work as a trigger…

  2. Very informative post, Kalyn! Thanks for sharing your whole-grain bread experiments as you go along. That loaf looks seriously good.

  3. I’ve been having such a good time with this book, too. I don’t eat bread very often, but I do love to bake bread (not cakes or cookies or pies — just bread), and I love the method of making a shaggy dough and leaving it in the fridge for up to two weeks. I like to slice my bread and then freeze it, so I can pull a slice or two at a time from the freezer, toast it, and the rest doesn’t get stale.

  4. That is one handsome loaf of bread! What did we ever do without that book? You can make just about anything with it.

    Thanks for the link to my Easter Bread!

  5. that looks really wonderful. not like a novice attempt at all. waiting for your future array of breads.

  6. Taking a tip from Lahey’s No Knead bread, I’ve been making all my 5-Minutes breads in a pre-heated Dutch oven, too. I pull a ball of dough from the container and put it on parchment paper. Then the whole thing goes into my Dutch oven to bake. It comes out with a nice crust on it, as being covered keeps it moist and I don’t need to fuss with a water pan.

  7. You guys are so kind about my amateur bread-making efforts! The bread was really tasty though (no credit to me.) Besides the changes I mentioned, I also want to try adding some cracked wheat to the bread.

    Leanne, thanks for the dutch oven idea, I’ll definitely try that since my oven is a bit funky.

  8. Kalyn I so love your passion and thanks so much for the dedication! This is the first time I’ve ever gotten that!!
    I think the dutch oven is an excellent idea and goes some way toward standing in for the baking stone. The hot dutch oven will give the instant heat like a baking stone will and will hold the heat longer time also.
    Before you spend $$$(about 30 to 40) on a baking stone check out Lowes or Home Depot for unglazed terra cotta (4×4 & 6×6 work well and for less than $3 cover one shelf of the oven). One of the best things about the stone or tiles is it holds heat and so opening the oven door will change the temp a little less.

  9. Kalyn, you could’ve fooled me that you’re not a baker. Maybe you don’t bake very often, but when you do the results speak for themselves.
    In my limited knowledge, the sweetener is to feed the yeast, resulting in a higher rise. I would think agave might fill this roll very well and still be low glycemic.
    Thanks so much for the link to my bread!
    Hugs from another non-baker… 🙂

  10. Tanna and Christine, both great ideas! (I can see a lot of bread experiments are in my future.)

  11. Maybe this is because I haven’t read the book, but I don’t understand what you do with the grapefruit-sized piece of dough. Wrap the rest of the dough around it?

    Your finished loaf looks absolutely beautiful!

  12. Ana, not only did I not do it that well, but I didn’t explain it that well either. No, you take a grapefruit sized piece of dough and put the rest back in the refrigerator for another time. Then you pull the dough into a ball, taking the sides and pulling it down underneath (I assume this is to kind of stretch a flat surface on the dough, but what do I know?) When it’s stretched into a round shape, you squeeze it into a kind of loaf shape or leave it round, then dust the top with flour and cut slits.

    I found the dough pretty easy to work with considering I’m such a novice.

  13. that looks so, so good. i made a 100% whole wheat loaf last weekend and it tasted great, but the bread was so heavy that it caved in on itself a little bit! so i will have to tinker with that recipe — it was so delicious though! i think really good wheat bread has a much better flavor than white, so it’s worth testing until you get the recipe down just right!

  14. As another novice bread baker who is on a mission to never buy another loaf in the store again, I would recommend buying vital wheat gluten (which I found at Whole Foods, and should be in the baking aisle of any health food store)… whole grains tend to have lower levels of gluten and this helps make the dough more workable (1 tsp per cup of whole grain). I also sometimes add 1/2 tsp more of yeast to assist in rising. Also, using a tiny bit of agave nector, which is super low on the glycemic index can act as food for the yeast when you proof it in the water.

    Hope it helps!

  15. Katy, hear, hear!

    LeeAnn, thanks for both those suggestions. I’m definitely going to keep tinkering with the recipe until I have just what I want.

  16. That bread looks good. Fresh homemade bread right out of the oven is one of my favorite things. The aroma, the texture, the warmth, the taste and the melting butter…mmm…

  17. I love the look of your bread – not to mention it looks like its been made by a pro, and it is so healthy to boot…will want to try it out soon 🙂

  18. Awesome job! You inspire me!


  19. That loaf looks delicious – not like a novice at all! In fact, you have me craving now.

  20. Seems that I am one of the few bakers who don’t care for that kind of baking! But the bread looks great!

  21. Ulrike, that’s because you’re such a good baker you don’t need an easy method like this!

  22. Home-made are always beautiful to see. We can imaginethe so nice smell its baking have given to your kitchen.

  23. What a loaf Kalyn, I’m impressed!

  24. I don’t suppose you have any bread recipes for the bread machine?

  25. Ymget, I’ve only made bread in the bread machine with a mix. I talked about it in this post about Choosing bread for the South Beach Diet.

  26. I am inspired to try this recipe. I am on my 2nd week of Phase One. Not craving bread so much as realizing it would make breakfast choices a bit more varied. I tried the 5 min artisan bread a month ago with regular flour and found it fairly easy once I got through the wet dough factor. I am glad to see someone using whole wheat with success–I was afraid to try it.

  27. Anonymous, if you check the recipe archives on the left, there are some other whole wheat bread recipes, but just to be clear, none of these are for phase one. Great to look forward to though!

  28. Do you think a bread made out of 100% wheat bran would be successful?

    Does wheat bran have enough gluten to hold together?

  29. I don't think it would work and the bread would taste like sawdust.

  30. This is really not good bread at all- it is so dense and tastes like fermented yeast and sawdust and cardboard. I had to slather it with apple butter and peanut butter to try and get it down.

  31. Psul I am wondering why you ignored the note at the beginning where I linked to a better version, especially since I said this was a work in progress.

  32. hey… this is currently rising right now for that last 40 minutes before entering the oven..
    im quite excited and nervous to see the end results..
    i did exactly as stated but only added sunflower seed.
    just out of curiosity, how many calories is the whole loaf??

    • I don't count calories, but if you need that information I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count.

    • okay thanks.. will give that a try..
      just finished baking this and we had it for dinner with veal stew, im so happy with the end result.. been searching for bread recipe for days now..
      after my first attempt which was a complete fail, felt like i was eating raw clumped dough which was uncooked..
      still practising, and i have a long way to go.
      Think the only mistake i had today was, i kneaded the dough for 10 mins because it was too sticky, maybe i shouldnt have
      honestly didnt know how the dough should be after mixing it, cause you hadnt mentioned.
      will try it again once this loaf is finished
      Again, thank you so much..

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