Friday, January 14, 2011

Recipe: Soaked Whole Wheat Bread

I've tried many, many bread recipes but never found "the one". I've had issues with using unprepared wheat but I never had any success using sprouted wheat either.

(I do still use sprouted wheat for cookies, waffles, tortillas and other baked goods.)

I haven't ever posted a bread recipe because I haven't found one I've truly liked - no, loved ... until now!

Not only do I love this bread recipe because of its excellent flavor and perfect texture but I love it because it's a bread that is more nutritious than any home made bread I've ever made simply because its been properly prepared by the practically effortless process of soaking the wheat in an acid medium for 12-24 hours.

There is a wonderful explanation of the benefits of soaking grains here or here and here.


"Whole grains contain phytic acid in the bran of the grain which combines with key minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc and prevents their absorption in the intestinal tract. This makes it more difficult to digest properly. Soaking, fermenting, or sprouting the grain before cooking or baking will neutralize the phytic acid, releasing these nutrients for absorption.

This process allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to not only neutralize the phytic acid, but also to break down complex starches, irritating tannins and difficult-to-digest proteins, including gluten. For many, this may lessen their sensitivity or allergic reactions to particular grains. Everyone will benefit, nevertheless, from the release of nutrients and greater ease of digestion."

I truly feel like I've found gold with this recipe. I made my loaves the way I normally make it - one regular wheat loaf and the other a cinnamon swirl loaf. We ended up giving away most of our two first loaves to friends. When something is this good - it's gotta be shared with others!

Here's the recipe (derived from Passionate Homemaking):

Soaked Whole Wheat Bread
(makes enough for 4 loaves)

11 cups of ground whole wheat flour (you can replace 1 or 2 cups with unbleached white flour for a lighter end result)
1 cup acid medium (kefir, cultured buttermilk, or whey; for dairy intolerant you can substitute with 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or lemon juice and 3/4 cup water)
3 cups of warm filtered water
2 cups oats
1 cup honey
3/4 cup coconut oil, or butter melted

1/2 cup water
1 tsp honey
2 1/2 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp sea salt

2-4 Tbsp dough enhancer (I highly recommend this dough enhancer, as it works very well, but you can also replace with any combination of the following: 3 table spoons vital wheat gluten, 1/2 tea spoon soy lecithin, a pinch of citric acid (use sparingly!), and a sprinkling of ginger)

Extra flour, if necessary

(1/4 cup sunflower seeds, millet, or flax seeds can be added to the dough, in the beginning, if desired.)

1. Combine the flour, acid medium, oats, honey, melted oil, and 3 cups of filtered water.

Cover and soak at room temperature for 12-24 hours.

  1. After soaking, in a separate small bowl, combine yeast, 1 tsp of honey, and 1/2 cup warm filtered water. Let sit for 5 minutes or so, until fully proofed.
  2. Combine the yeast mixture, soaked flour mixture, and all the rest of the ingredients in your mixer. You may need to add an additional 1-2 cups of flour. Dough should clean the sides of the mixer.
  3. Knead the dough for 10 minutes until the gluten is fully developed.
  4. Remove to a greased bowl and cover with a towel. Let sit until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Punch down, turn dough over, and allow to rise until doubled again, about 45 minutes. (OPTIONAL, but preferred for best results)
  6. Punch down dough and divide into 4 loaves. Roll out with a rolling pin into a rectangle and roll up into a loaf (this makes the perfectly shaped loaves).
  7. Place in greased bread bans and rise again until doubled, about 30-45 minutes minutes (the best place is the oven! Just turn it on low 150-170 degrees till heated and then turn it off, prior to putting the loaves in).
  8. Turn the oven on to 350 degrees and bake for 30-45 minutes. Bread is done when it is fully browned on all sides! Remove from oven, rest in pans for 10 minutes before removing from pans.

*An extra side note here: I have issues with using dough enhancer - I don't like soy products. (Dough enhancer contains soy oil, soy flour and soy lecithin). However, I did use 1 Tbsp of dough enhancer and 1 and 1/2 Tbsps of Vital Wheat Gluten - and I used these making only half of what the recipe calls for (2 loaves).

But this bread is so good I'm sure it'd be fine if I used the suggested amount of Vital Wheat Gluten in place of the dough enhancer completely.

**Update** I now use an egg in place of any dough enhancer and although it might have affected the quality by a small amount we still love this bread recipe!


  1. This looks great. I just started baking my own bread; I've never tried soaking grains yet, but I've read wonderful things about it. Thank you for the tips!

  2. Your sure welcome! I'm excited to have others try it!