100% Whole Wheat Crusty No Knead Artisan Bread

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Introduction: 100% Whole Wheat Crusty No Knead Artisan Bread

Here is a fool proof 100% Whole Wheat Bread Recipe that is very easy to do.  It does require planning ahead, but once you figure that out, you will make bread all the time!  

I calculated the cost for making this bread using high quality ingredients and total cost is $1.81 per loaf, much cheaper than what you pay at the market. 

The day before you want to make bread, you will mix the ingredients to allow for 18-24 hours fermentation time.
 

Step 1: Equipment and Ingredients Needed

Ingredients:

Whole wheat flour
Vital wheat gluten
Salt
Yeast

Equipment needed:

5 quart bowl or container
Baking stone or tiles
Metal broiler pan
Parchment paper
Dish towels
Cookie sheet
Scale

Step 2: Measure Dry Ingredients

Weigh all of your ingredients:  

I listed the ingredients as weighed in grams, ounces and measured in cups.  If you do not have a scale, you can measure the flour using a one cup measuring cup and scooping the flour into the cup with a spoon.  Level off the top of the measuring cup with a knife and don't compact it.

Whole Wheat Flour 910 grams (32 ounces or 7.5 cups)
Vital wheat gluten 35 grams (1 1/4 ounces or 1/4 cup)
Yeast 5 grams (1 teaspoon)
Salt 20-25 grams (1 1/2 tablespoons)
Water, tap or filtered 850 grams (4 cups)

I keep my ingredients in the fridge, so I start out with cold ingredients. Warmer ingredients cuts your fermenting time a little.

Step 3: Mix Dry Ingredients

With a whisk or spoon, mix dry ingredients well. 

Step 4: Stir in Water

Add the water slowly or all at once.  Mix with spoon or spatula.  Continue mixing until there are no longer dry spots.  If after a few minutes you have flour that is not incorporating, add one or two tablespoons of water.  You shouldn't need more than 2-3 tablespoons. 

Step 5: Rest the Dough

Cover and allow the dough to rest 18-24 hours at room temperature.  The dough should double in size. 

I have also found that I can simply refrigerate the dough at this point.   Refrigerating makes it easier to handle and gives better flavor.  

Step 6: Doubled in Size

The dough should look something like this.  Flattened at the top and full of bubbles. 

If you cannot bake the bread at this point, you can refrigerate it, covered for up to 7 days. 

If you refrigerate it, the day of baking, you will need to shape and let your bread raise 2 hours prior to baking.

Step 7: Divide and Shape Dough

Place the baking stone or tiles in the middle of the oven. 

Place the broiler pan below the baking stone/tiles. You will add hot water to create steam for the bread.   If you don't want crusty bread, you can skip this step.

Thirty minutes before you are ready to bake the bread, turn on your oven to 450 degrees.  You can use your oven thermometer to make sure the temperature is reached (some ovens don't reach proper temperature). 

Flour your surface well where you will divide your dough. 

Flip your cookie sheet upside down.  Place the parchment paper on the cookie sheet.  Dust the parchment paper with flour or cornmeal. 

Pour and scrape out your dough to your floured surface.  You don't want to overhandle your dough at this point. 

With a knife, cut the dough in half.  Wetting the blade of the knife prevents the dough from sticking. 

Take each dough half and fold it over itself two or three times to make a square, like you are folding a towel on itself.  Remember minimize handling.  Place the dough on the floured parchment paper. (This should take 1-2 minutes)

Use some dishtowels to give the bread a boundary and prevent it from spreading sideways. 

Allow to rise for 30 minutes (2-3 hours if using refrigerated dough) while your oven preheats. 

Step 8: Slash and Bake

Set aside a cup of hot tap water.

After the dough has risen, take a wet knife, and in one motion, make a 1/4 inch slash on the dough.  

Remove the dishtowels, open the oven door and slide your bread into the oven, parchment paper and all. 

Pour the water into the broiler tray. Close the oven door.  Bake for 30 minutes.  When 30 minutes complete, turn down the temperature to 350 and bake 30  more minutes. 

Step 9: Cool and Store.

Remove from oven. Place on a rack and cool.  If you cut when warm, it will be slightly sticky and difficult to cut. 

I store my bread in the fridge in plastic zip lock.  I freeze my unused bread and defrost when my first loaf is almost gone.

Enjoy!

FAQ
Do I have to use warm water to activate the yeast?
No.  Using cool water allows for a slower fermentation and better flavor.



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53 Comments

One teaspoon is sufficient unless you are doing a quick (2-3 hour) fermentation (rise). A long and slow fermentation yields less "yeasty tasting" bread.

1 reply

Thank you for your quick response.this is my first attempt at no knead bread making. Can't wait to bake it tomorrow.

I just mixed this bread dough and set aside to rise. But, after looking again at the recipe, I'm questioning whether the yeast amount indicated in the recipe is correct. It says 1 teaspoon. Is that correct or should it be 1 TBLS.?

1 reply

I made it to try out an alternative to all purpose flour. It is absolutely delish and so much bread that I had to share and was very well received.

The wetter breads (no knead) tend to spread out instead of rise. I get the best results if I use a bread pan for tall bread.

The wetter breads tend to spread out instead of rise. I get the best results

Hi, I am sorry to bother but you mentioned that whole wheat flour requires a bit more gluten. How much more? I have use the amount stated in your instructions, but my bred does not go very high. Also, my crust is a bit hard is that normal?

thanks

I notice that this recipe makes several loaves. I don't have much storage space so am looking to make only one small loaf. Do you have any recommendations for how to cut the recipe in half? Thanks!!

My first attempt at bread in 35 years and it turned out great! Thanks.

I apologize, I was on vacation. It sounds like your dough was not wet enough. Home ground wheat acts differently than store-bought. I don't have any experience with home ground wheat. But I do know that the changes the water and yeast amounts needed.

I have tried a couple different recipes now and am ready for a win! I am going to try to wheat gluten however, I am using home ground wheat flour. We bought the hard red winter wheat berries. Do you have any additional recommendations?

2 replies

Good luck! Making 100% whole wheat will always result in a denser bread than white. Sometimes adding some white flour yields a lighter result. Also adding orange juice or honey helps. I insist on 100% whole wheat and wish I had the luxury of grinding my own flour. Winter wheat berries also have a stronger flavor than white berries. In my endeavors, I found making rolls of 100% wheat is much easier and the dough is not as "wet" as the large boules. Happy baking.

I will try those recommendations. Thank you so much!

I'm in Pune, India. I tried this recipe with whole wheat flour and locally available Tower Gluten. The dough after resting was very watery and started to flow all over the table when I poured it out. Couldn't manage to form it into a shape. Had to put it in a mould and bake it. How can I fix this problem? Reducing the qty of water?

Awaiting your advice.

1 reply

Hi! I'm sorry your bread did not result! The mixed dough should be sticky but not like cake batter. When you add the water, there should still be a few dry spots you will have to stir in. The best results come if you weigh your ingredients instead of using measuring cups. Are you certain about your measurements? Did you weigh or measure? Was it runny from the beginning? Or after rising? Sounds like maybe there was too much water in your dough. The dough will spread a bit but not that much. Let me know. Good luck.

Bclog thanks for taking your time to write. I have tried wild yeast but have not been recently successful. Plus the bread gets moldy if not frozen.

Thanks so much for this recipe! I mill my own flour and usually bake sourdoughs (wild yeast), but I was looking for a quick and easy commercial yeast bread to make when I just can't deal. The first time I divided the recipe in half but followed it precisely, except for adding a pinch of vitamin C crystals to help neutralize some of the anti-nutrients. It also helps keep the bread fresh. :) It was almost as good as my Tuscan bread and about a quarter of the work.

This week, I made another half-recipe, still with the pinch of vitamin C, but I substituted 100g of whole rye for whole wheat, and the last 55g with a combination of white popcorn and farro (emmer) (equivalent in the full recipe of 200g rye and 110g corn and farro). I also rounded up the VWG and water a smidge (a few grams) to compensate. I left it sit out a little too long (unexpected interference) but it held its rise, and rose after shaping. Instead of flouring, I used yellow cornmeal on the board. Being so distracted, I forgot to slash, which made it a bit tight. Even so, it's really delicious.

I am impressed with how flexible your recipe is, and it will definately be a standard in my home for everyday bread. Thanks so much!

Is vital Wheat gluten and essential ingredient? do not have it, would it make a difference?

Thanks

1 reply

It's crucial if you want to make whole wheat bread. You don't need it if your are going to make white bread.