WW Bread Making

I have recently begun making bread for the family. My wife was needing a diet without white flour at the time, so I began making whole wheat breads, at first horribly heavy and almost inedible, but gradually improving until I seem to be making a rather consistent, tasty nutritious loaf.

This recipe originated with my 1970 copy of The Tassajara Bread Book, though I have somewhat simplified it by leaving out the dry milk. The original recipe made 4 loaves, but through trial and error, my recipe makes 3 loaves. I have stuck with the sponge method as outlined in the book, only because that is what I learned and haven't tried anything else.

Oh, and the pancake recipe is really nice as well!

Perhaps my biggest discovery along the way has been the existence of White Whole Wheat Flour. Not White Flour, mind you. This immediately helped to lighten up the bread, finally allowing it to break into the realm of edible. I use King Arthur's because that is what my local store has.

I would not say this is the only thing that helped, nor even the main thing, but it was certainly the first thing. I think the amount of kneading in the mixer, the hydration of the dough (more on that in a bit), and the starting temperature of the water (hotter than I would have thought) all contribute to the success. Oh yes - also make sure you have reasonably fresh yeast!

Also, In an effort to be able to replicate everything, I have just converted to weighing my ingredients rather that using cups. Here is the current recipe:


Mix in the Kitchen aid with the batter beater on 2 until smooth - 5, maybe 10 minutes. This should make a thick batter. Then remove the beater and replace it with the dough hook. Cover and let rise 45 -60 minutes.


Mix until smooth. Dough should be coming away from the bowl, but not completely. Mildly sticky is how I put it. Mix for at least 10 minutes.

Click a pic to get a larger version.

Mix until SmoothMix until smooth, slightly sticky

Turn into large, oiled (Pam) bowl.

Cover. Let rise 60 minutes.

Turn out onto counter. Stretch and fold until the dough firms up. 4 - 6 times, maybe? Divide into thirds - the scale is nice for this! Let rest while you spray the bread pans with Pam.

Stretch and fold again. Finish by rolling the dough into a tube and laying it in the pans. Score the tops. Cover, let rise 45 - 60 minutes.

Bake at 425 for 35 minutes.


I am looking at hydration. By the numbers, I have a total of 1110 grams flour and 950 grams of water, or an 86% hydration, which has been described to me a 'gloppy' - not a description I would apply to the dough I am getting. Even adding for things like flax seed meal, the hydration must be in this range. What do you guess the hydration to be from the pics? How do you square that with the math?

What do you think?