RITIKA NARULA

100 percent Whole Wheat Bread Loaf- Beginner Friendly

“Ritika, just a word of caution. Don’t make ‘best’ enemy of ‘good’ in any sphere of your work, unless it is something like which makes a difference between a gold and a silver medal in Olympics. Shoot off an interim inputs, and correct it as per your convenience. Here quickly post it on Arthapedia and you have many chances to upgrade it yourself”, replied my senior from the service on my email in which i had requested him to give me more time to finesse my draft before i could submit the same for publication on our service portal- Arthapedia.

I have always been a perfectionist. Wanting more preparation , more sheets in paper, more material to study . But his message in the email was an eye opener to me. I had already spent so much time and had draft ready in front of me which was good but i wanted the best. The message resonated with me….I must submit it and not wait for the best ideas to arrive .I always have time to refine it later.

Sounds familiar ? Does this not happen with you too ? Many times we delay the initiative, keep half baked stories or work with us as we want them to be our best . Perfection takes time and practice and we keep waiting for it to arrive. I am definitely not against the best or the perfection but I have learnt to put forward the good / sometimes best in ‘that situation’ and take ACTION!

The nation wide lockdown inspired many of us to bake our own breads. Some of us have found this to be our hidden passion (myself included). You see social media is full of successful experiments of people baking their own breads. You want to do it too but still not able to find courage to take the first step. Though you want to venture into bread baking but something is holding you back. In my opinion, the inertia comes primarily because of the two reasons:-

(1)Baking is said to be a science and everything needs to be precisely measured and bread baking seems daunting. As loads of effort and time has to be spent, you are waiting for the perfect foolproof recipe.

(2)There is a fear of the unknown. Not all the things are known about this mysterious thing called bread baking. Despite multiple blogs, vlogs on bread baking, the basics are not known clearly and there are doubts and questions.

Regarding these issues, I must tell you bread baking comes closer to being an art than science. Ya Ya you need yeast and certain proportions of flour to yeast ratio and all but there are no RULES in bread baking. This is definitely a point in favour of Indians in general and for you to have an upper edge in the matter. We already make loaddds of breads- paratha, chapati, dosas at home . So kneading and dough formation is not alien to us. We already ‘own’ the skill ! Only thing is its adaptation to the world of baking .

I love baking breads with the healthy ingredients but shied away from 100 percent whole wheat bread after trying it once. The reason was the texture and flavour. Therefore i always added some milk powder or fine semolina to my whole wheat to make it more acceptable to my princess and my family.

The recipe that i am sharing here changed that. Now i bake100 percent whole wheat bread without any vital wheat gluten/ semolina/milk powder and still get beautiful texture and flavour. The recipe i developed is more than a year old but i never got a chance to share it here. The recipe is fool proof , easy recipe, beginner friendly as everything is taught from the scratch.

Bread that i baked using the recipe a year back in the plains

The bread uses 6 easily available ingredients from your kitchen-

Aata/ Whole Wheat Flour – chakki fresh or packaged store bought both will do

Salt– common or rock

Khandsari or unrefined sugar– use sweetener of choice

Yeast -used instant yeast . Also yeast is much lesser in proportion to other whole wheat breads.

Oil– any neutral flavour- cold pressed or refined

Liquids– water and a special ingredient.

The special ingredient is a game changer and makes it ‘whey’ better than other store bought breads. It makes it protein rich, helps with the structure, gives better rise . Yes, you might have heard this before and used it in cooking and baking too.

It is whey– a leftover green liquid that is obtained after you make cheese/paneer by curdling of milk (and it is strained). This is magical and will give you better texture, flavour and the rise without having to add an insane amount of butter or high amounts of yeast or any other fancy ingredient.

Even if you do not have a fresh whey with you, you can use leftovers. Or make this ahead and keep whey refrigerated for 3 to 4 days . So when you are ready to use, you can warm that up in a vessel on gas and use in the bread. The whey used here was leftover from my baked rasgulla dish ( see here ) . This was made from half a litre of full fat packaged milk.

The Bread is very soft, no yeasty taste. It is tasty and you can have it like that with butter and tea. Ofcourse, it is fiber rich with the goodness of whole wheat flour. Below is the picture of hot dog buns using the recipe.

An effort has been made to give you a detailed written recipe for the whole wheat bread, still a list of questions and their answers have been listed below to clarify the process further.

A few FAQs that you might still have, have been answered here-

(1) What kind of whole wheat flour is to be used.

Ans- Any . Locally milled or store bought can be used.

(2) How to substitute instant yeast with active dry yeast

And- Use 1tsp plus 1/4 tsp dry yeast in place of 1 tsp in the recipe

(3) How long to knead by hand for the dough

And- 10 minutes to 12 minutes maximum. Look at the dough consistency in the video for an idea

(4) What if even after 10 minutes of kneading, the dough is very sticky and a mess to handle?

Ans- Add 1 tbsp more whole wheat flour at a time and knead again till you achieve dough consistency in the video

(4) Can i bake it without oven

Ans- Yes, use a deep vessel and keep the loaf pan on a stand and cover , Bake . Please refer to you tube videos online for baking bread on stove top. There are plenty.

(5) I dont want to use whey what can i use instead?

Ans- Whey is strongly recommended in this recipe. However if you do not want to use it, use lukewarm chaas or buttermilk (same amount)

(6) How does it taste? Does it has yeasty smell

Ans- No. For this , we are using very less amount of yeast. Also, it is very important to use good quality yeast in a bread. I use prime brand. Do not rest / proof the dough more than the recommended time unless you are living in a colder area and dough is not risen fully by that time.

(7) Can i use honey/ jaggery or any other sweetener ?

Ans- Certainly!

(8) Why 2 tbsp sweetener is added

Ans- For structure and better crust. You can reduce it to 1.5 tsp for yeast activation but it will affect flavour.

(9) Can i added other flavoring agents in the bread dough?

Ans- Certainly, add dried oregano, dried coriander any other ingredient/ herb which is dried. You can use other liquids too but then liquids from the bread dough needs to be adjusted and as a beginner you might get confused.

(10) Can i make hot dogs and buns with the recipe?

Ans- This is the basic recipe. You can make any shape or form of bread with this like buns, burgers, hot dog. Shape of formation of dough before second proof will change accordingly and so is the bake time. Reduce it by half for buns- 20 to 25 minutes.

(11) Why my crust is hard?

Ans- Every oven is different. Bake time depends upon oven to oven. Your oven may be hotter . So reduce bake time next time you bake this or place silver foil on top loosely on loaf if your crust turns brown before half time into the baking.

(12) Can i bake in microwave convection?

Ans- Yes

(13) Light went off, I cannot bake my bread ,What should i do about my doudh?

Ans:- IF this happened before proofing then keep the dough after kneading , covered in refrigerator. Once you are ready to bake , take it out and let it come to room temperature (About 50 ,minutes). Proceed as usual.

If this happens after dough is proofed, deflate gently and form shape of the loaf and cover, refrigerate. Once you are ready to bake , take it out and let it come to room temperature (About 50 ,minutes). Proceed as usual.

After second proofing, bake on stove top . Deflate and reshape, refrigerate Once you are ready to bake , take it out and let it come to room temperature (About 50 ,minutes). Proceed as usual.

(14) What is the ideal mode of baking bread?

Ans- Both rods/ filaments should be on or bake it in the convection mode

Here i am sharing pictures of big and small loaves, burger buns, hot dog buns that i had baked using this recipe.

My daughter sharing the crumb of small loaf from our bedroom window
Fluffy Hot Dogs

Hope the FAQs above and the detailed post with the recipe helps you in taking the first step in your bread baking journey. Using this recipe i have baked loaf , hot dog and burger buns and all turned out excellent. Recently i shifted to the hills and i tried the recipe here and it worked excellent. Also with the baby in hand i have baked this bread as per my time schedule. So i make the dough and refrigerate it for 3 to 4 hours or till i have some time in hand and then take it out and rest on bench for an hour ( since it is cold here) and then deflate and shape into the loaf/ buns and proof for second time and baked.

If you have more queries, i would be happy to help. If you tried the recipe, leave feedback- good or bad as it encourages me to share more.

Lastly, read the opening lines of the post again and remember to not make ‘best’ enemy of ‘good’ . Do not wait for the perfect day and perfect recipe for the perfect start. Start Practicing today , you can always improve upon as you bake more and more. Wishing you a happy , gala and good baking time !

AuthorRitika NarulaCategory, , , DifficultyBeginner

A soft , flavorful , easy, beginner friendly Whole Wheat Bread or aata bread

Yields1 Serving
Prep Time2 hrs 20 minsCook Time35 minsTotal Time2 hrs 55 mins

 20 grams or 2 tbsp khandsari sugar or unrefined sugar/ any sweetner of choice
 1 tsp plus 1/8 tsp(two pinches) or 2 grams instant yeast - in plain areas. In hills, i use 3/4 tsp tp 1 tsp of yeast(see notes )
 3 cups or 375 grams whole wheat flour or aata
 1 tsp salt
 1/2 cup lukewarm water (1/4 cup for yeast)
 1 plus 1/4 cup whey - warm ( see notes)
 1 tbsp flour ( only if needed ) see directions.
 2 tbsp more lukewarm water (only if required)
 3 tbsp oil- (i use virgin olive oil)

Preparation :-
1

In a bowl , take yeast and add 1/4 cup of water with 1 tbsp sweetener in it. Mix , cover and keep aside in a warm place for 10 minutes. (I am using instant yeast here which requires no blooming but this step is important if using dry yeast. It needs needs be activated as illustrated before using in the dough. see notes for substitutions)

2

After 15 minutes , the yeast will be foamy . If not , then probably the yeast is not active and should not be used for baking breads. (See notes )

3

Add 1 tbsp sweetener in whey . The whey should be lukewarm. Mix well and keep aside.

4

In a mixing bowl , add whole wheat flour and salt. Mix well.

5

Now make a well in the centre. Now add in activated yeast mixture, whey and oil in it.

6

Start mixing from centre to outwards.

7

Now add 1/4 cup of water which is lukewarm and mix again.

8

If the flour still has dry flour in it even after mixing everything properly then add 2 tbsp more lukewarm water . The actual quantity of water depends on the quality of flour used.

9

Mix everything well. Cover and keep aside for 15 minutes.

Kneading the dough :-
10

After 15 minutes, start kneading the dough using hook attachment of hand mixer or by hands. The dough will be very sticky at this time. But refrain from adding any extra flour in it at this stage.

11

Knead for 5 to 6 minutes. If after 5 minutes you feel the dough is still very sticky, add 1 tbsp flour and knead again. If you feel dough is too dry , add 1 tbsp water and knead again. The actual quantity of liquids depend upon the quality of flour used.

12

Now in clean surface brush oil and rub oil in hands, take the dough out in it.

13

Now using hands knead a few times for about 3 more minutes.

14

The dough will become smooth and pliable with kneading. It will be moist ( bordering sticky) but not sticky enough to stick to your hands. It took me 8 to 9 minutes in all to reach the smooth dough. If using stand mixer then it might take over 5 minutes for gluten to develop.

15

Make a smooth ball of the dough and press two fingers in the dough. IF the dough bounces back, it is done. You can do window pane test ( that is , take a small ball of the dough and stretch it into a square. Keep on stretching until it becomes a thin film in the middle without breaking. The dough must be thin enough to pass light through it. If it is obtained without any tear, then your dough is properly kneaded) to check for the doneness.

16

Sprinkle some dry flour in a big bowl and also on top of the ball of the dough.

First Proofing of the dough :-
17

Place the dough in the bowl. Cover and keep aside for first proofing for an hour. The actual time of proofing depends on the climate/ temperature of the place you are based in. Here it is hot so 50 to 60 minutes are enough for the proof. For cold areas, proof for 1.5 to 2 hours in a warm place , covered.

18

Once the dough is risen well. Remove the lid from the bowl.

19

On a clean surface , sprinkle dry flour and take the dough out.

Shaping the dough :-
20

Form a ball of the dough and cover it. We are not punching the dough . We are gently pressing for air bubbles to release.

21

Rest it for 15 minutes. This is called bench resting and helps loosen the dough before forming shape.

22

After 15 minutes, form it into the log. Be careful to sprinkle dry flour under the dough so it doesn't stick once the log on formed.

23

Brush oil in a loaf tin of 8×4 inch. Brush it well from all sides.

24

Now roll your log of dough into dry flour.

25

Place gently into your loaf tin with seam side down. Do it one go.

26

Adjust your dough if required in the pan.

Second Proofing :-
27

Cover with damp cloth and let it rest for 45 minutes.

28

During last 20 minutes of proofing, preheat oven at 200 degree Celsius in convection mode of oven or toast mode.

29

Once the loaf is risen well, brush the top with milk.

Baking the Loaf :-
30

Place the loaf in the middle rack in the center of the oven and bake at 190 degree Celsius for 30 to 35 minutes in convection or both rods on mode . My loaf was baked for 35 minutes in the convection mode .

31

Keep an eye after 20 minutes of baking, if the crust is turning very dark then place foil on top loosely and then bake for rest of the time.

32

Remove from the oven and brush the top with melted butter / ghee

33

Let it sit in the pan for 10 minutes

34

Loosen the edges using a knife . Demould on a wire rack

35

Let this cool completely for 2 hours at least. Keep damp cloth on top of the bread while it is cooling. This ensures softer crust.

Slicing the Bread:-
36

Once fully cool, place the bread on a flat tray or wooden tray . Even wooden chakla will do.

37

Take a serrated knife. Hold bread from both the sides without applying too much of pressure using one hand.

38

Applying gentle pressure, glide the knife in a back and forth motion just like the axe is used to cut the trees. Do not put much pressure on the bread or towards down while cutting.

39

Cut clean slices. And serve as a sandwich or toast.

40

Store leftovers in a air tight container in room temperature.

NOTES:-
41

*The actual quantity of liquids required in a bread dough depends on a lot of things- the quality of flour used, the altitude, climate etc. Always keep a tbsp of flour/water handy while kneading. We are aiming at soft , slightly sticky dough . You will know the right amount of liquids in the recipe with practice.

 

Ingredients

 20 grams or 2 tbsp khandsari sugar or unrefined sugar/ any sweetner of choice
 1 tsp plus 1/8 tsp(two pinches) or 2 grams instant yeast - in plain areas. In hills, i use 3/4 tsp tp 1 tsp of yeast(see notes )
 3 cups or 375 grams whole wheat flour or aata
 1 tsp salt
 1/2 cup lukewarm water (1/4 cup for yeast)
 1 plus 1/4 cup whey - warm ( see notes)
 1 tbsp flour ( only if needed ) see directions.
 2 tbsp more lukewarm water (only if required)
 3 tbsp oil- (i use virgin olive oil)

Directions

Preparation :-
1

In a bowl , take yeast and add 1/4 cup of water with 1 tbsp sweetener in it. Mix , cover and keep aside in a warm place for 10 minutes. (I am using instant yeast here which requires no blooming but this step is important if using dry yeast. It needs needs be activated as illustrated before using in the dough. see notes for substitutions)

2

After 15 minutes , the yeast will be foamy . If not , then probably the yeast is not active and should not be used for baking breads. (See notes )

3

Add 1 tbsp sweetener in whey . The whey should be lukewarm. Mix well and keep aside.

4

In a mixing bowl , add whole wheat flour and salt. Mix well.

5

Now make a well in the centre. Now add in activated yeast mixture, whey and oil in it.

6

Start mixing from centre to outwards.

7

Now add 1/4 cup of water which is lukewarm and mix again.

8

If the flour still has dry flour in it even after mixing everything properly then add 2 tbsp more lukewarm water . The actual quantity of water depends on the quality of flour used.

9

Mix everything well. Cover and keep aside for 15 minutes.

Kneading the dough :-
10

After 15 minutes, start kneading the dough using hook attachment of hand mixer or by hands. The dough will be very sticky at this time. But refrain from adding any extra flour in it at this stage.

11

Knead for 5 to 6 minutes. If after 5 minutes you feel the dough is still very sticky, add 1 tbsp flour and knead again. If you feel dough is too dry , add 1 tbsp water and knead again. The actual quantity of liquids depend upon the quality of flour used.

12

Now in clean surface brush oil and rub oil in hands, take the dough out in it.

13

Now using hands knead a few times for about 3 more minutes.

14

The dough will become smooth and pliable with kneading. It will be moist ( bordering sticky) but not sticky enough to stick to your hands. It took me 8 to 9 minutes in all to reach the smooth dough. If using stand mixer then it might take over 5 minutes for gluten to develop.

15

Make a smooth ball of the dough and press two fingers in the dough. IF the dough bounces back, it is done. You can do window pane test ( that is , take a small ball of the dough and stretch it into a square. Keep on stretching until it becomes a thin film in the middle without breaking. The dough must be thin enough to pass light through it. If it is obtained without any tear, then your dough is properly kneaded) to check for the doneness.

16

Sprinkle some dry flour in a big bowl and also on top of the ball of the dough.

First Proofing of the dough :-
17

Place the dough in the bowl. Cover and keep aside for first proofing for an hour. The actual time of proofing depends on the climate/ temperature of the place you are based in. Here it is hot so 50 to 60 minutes are enough for the proof. For cold areas, proof for 1.5 to 2 hours in a warm place , covered.

18

Once the dough is risen well. Remove the lid from the bowl.

19

On a clean surface , sprinkle dry flour and take the dough out.

Shaping the dough :-
20

Form a ball of the dough and cover it. We are not punching the dough . We are gently pressing for air bubbles to release.

21

Rest it for 15 minutes. This is called bench resting and helps loosen the dough before forming shape.

22

After 15 minutes, form it into the log. Be careful to sprinkle dry flour under the dough so it doesn't stick once the log on formed.

23

Brush oil in a loaf tin of 8×4 inch. Brush it well from all sides.

24

Now roll your log of dough into dry flour.

25

Place gently into your loaf tin with seam side down. Do it one go.

26

Adjust your dough if required in the pan.

Second Proofing :-
27

Cover with damp cloth and let it rest for 45 minutes.

28

During last 20 minutes of proofing, preheat oven at 200 degree Celsius in convection mode of oven or toast mode.

29

Once the loaf is risen well, brush the top with milk.

Baking the Loaf :-
30

Place the loaf in the middle rack in the center of the oven and bake at 190 degree Celsius for 30 to 35 minutes in convection or both rods on mode . My loaf was baked for 35 minutes in the convection mode .

31

Keep an eye after 20 minutes of baking, if the crust is turning very dark then place foil on top loosely and then bake for rest of the time.

32

Remove from the oven and brush the top with melted butter / ghee

33

Let it sit in the pan for 10 minutes

34

Loosen the edges using a knife . Demould on a wire rack

35

Let this cool completely for 2 hours at least. Keep damp cloth on top of the bread while it is cooling. This ensures softer crust.

Slicing the Bread:-
36

Once fully cool, place the bread on a flat tray or wooden tray . Even wooden chakla will do.

37

Take a serrated knife. Hold bread from both the sides without applying too much of pressure using one hand.

38

Applying gentle pressure, glide the knife in a back and forth motion just like the axe is used to cut the trees. Do not put much pressure on the bread or towards down while cutting.

39

Cut clean slices. And serve as a sandwich or toast.

40

Store leftovers in a air tight container in room temperature.

NOTES:-
41

*The actual quantity of liquids required in a bread dough depends on a lot of things- the quality of flour used, the altitude, climate etc. Always keep a tbsp of flour/water handy while kneading. We are aiming at soft , slightly sticky dough . You will know the right amount of liquids in the recipe with practice.

100 percent Whole Wheat Bread (no vital gluten, no semolina/refined flour)

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