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Artisan Whole-Grain Bread Recipe

Artisan Whole Grain Bread: I love the smell of freshly baked bread wafting from my kitchen filling the house with its aroma. It transports me back to younger years when my mom or sisters made bread for our family of 12. Yes 12, that was a lot of bread. It wasn’t what we now call artisan bread, but it was just as wholesome, healthy, and delicious. 

I think those days, and that wonderful smell was the beginning of my love of baking bread. Growing up, I had plenty of opportunities to learn the basic skills and principles of bread baking. I’ll be honest there were times I would have preferred to not be in the kitchen baking bread. However, when it was my turn to bake, that was not an option. I would have to devote nearly a whole day to make 12 loaves of bread. The method I learned involved lots of kneading of the bread dough.  

A few years ago, I discovered a book by Peter Reinharon bread baking that challenged my beliefs on how to make bread. He teaches a no-knead, stretch, and fold method for making bread. This method took my bread from delicious but ordinary to artisan and extraordinary.  I call this technique the envelope fold technique. 

How to make artisan whole-grain bread: A basic bread has four simple ingredients, flour, water, salt, and yeast. That’s it! Anything else is extra bonus ingredients. When you mix these four ingredients together, magic happens. They transform into the most amazing and delicious food we call bread. Let’s create magic and make some bread!!!

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ingredients for whole grain bread
Ingredients for Whote Grain Bread
shaggy dough
Shaggy Dough

Here is another SIS (simple is smart) method for making bread.  

1. Measure the flour into your mixing bowl. Weighing the flour will give you the best result. If you don’t have a scale to weigh the flour, hop over to my Youtube video on measuring flour. You will be glad you did because it will keep your bread from becoming dry and crumbly.   I used bread flour.  However, you can use half whole wheat and half bread flour.  If you want to use 100% whole wheat flour, add two tablespoons of whole grain bread improver to the flour. 

2. Add the salt, yeast, whole grains, and water to the flour. Mix with a wooden spoon until moistened.  

I make my own mix of whole grains. I use what I have handy at the time I make the mix. I mix together equal parts of any combination of cracked wheat, rolled oats, steel-cut oats, hulled sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds. I love to use the ancient grains farro, amaranth, teff, freekeh, millet, and Kamut. If you can find cracked varieties of the ancient grain, use them. If not, I briefly pulse a mixture of ancient grains in the Vitamix or Blendtec blender to break them up and assist with softening by helping them absorb moisture. If you have only a few varieties, use what you have. There is no perfect combination. It is a matter of what you have and what you like.

What are ancient grains? Ancient grains are grains that have remained largely unchanged over the past several centuries.  Today, most whole grains fall in this category except for modern wheat.  These grains are also superfoods,  rich in nutrients and fiber. 

3. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes. (this rehydrates the flour)

 

stretch and fold technique
stretch and fold technique
stretch and fold technique
rustic bread dough

4.  Envelope fold the dough four times.  Cover the dough with the mixing bowl between the stretch and folds.  The dough has to rest for 20 minutes between each stretch and fold, so this part of the process will take an hour. 

rustic bread dough in a loaf
cutting top of loaf of bread dough
misting loaf of bread dough

5.  After the last envelope fold, place the dough back in your mixing bowl, and cover with plastic wrap until the dough doubles in size.  Once the dough has doubled, shape the dough into two batards or one round rustic loaf.  You want to retain the gas trapped in little pockets throughout the dough when shaping the loaves.  So treat the dough gently and don’t degas the dough. 

6.  Spread some of the wholegrain mixtures on a piece of parchment paper—mist with some water, and roll the loaf in the grains.  The water helps the grains stick to the loaf.

7.  Cover the loaves with plastic wrap, and let the loaf rise until almost double.  Cut three slashes in the top of the loaf, mist the loaf with water, and bake

loaves of artisan whole grain bread

The crisp crust on the artisan whole-grain loaf is partly a result of steam during the early part of the baking process.  Mist the loaf with some water just before placing it in the oven.  Then briefly open the oven door and remist the loaf at one minute, two minutes, and three minutes after placing the loaf in the oven. 

Baking the loaf on a baking steel or stone will give a crispier bottom to the loaf. 

If the loaf is getting over-browed, gently tent the loaf with aluminum foil.  Rotate the position of the loaf in the oven to prevent uneven browning. 

Lastly, bake the loaf until the internal temperature reaches 108 to 112 degrees F. (42 -44 C) with an instant-read thermometer.

Time to cut off a piece of warm bread, spread it with butter, add a generous spoon of homemade jam, and YUM!!!

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Artisan Whole-grain Bread

This loaf of whole-grain bread is loaded with nutritious whole grains, soft and moist but still chewy on the inside with a crispy crust. Simple and easy no-knead recipe.
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
stretch and fold 1 hour, rise time 1 hour: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Course: Bread, Breakfast, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: artisan bread, bread, easy bread recipe, whole grain bread
Servings: 24 slices
Calories: 107kcal

Equipment

  • To see the ingredient amounts in metric units, click the blue "METRIC:" button between the ingredients and the instructions for this recipe.
  • This page contains Amazon affiliate links. If you click a link, I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you
  • Baking Steel
  • large baking sheet without a lip

Ingredients

  • cups bread flour (see notes for whole wheat flour)
  • tsp salt
  • 2 tsp yeast (1 packet) instant
  • 1 cup whole grains (plus about 1/3 cup more for coating the outside) see notes for information on whole grains
  • 2 cups water

Instructions

  • Mix all the ingredients together with a mixing spoon. The dough will be very rough and shaggy
    rustic bread dough
  • Let dough rest 15 minutes
  • Make an oil slick on the counter and do four envelope folds at 20-minute intervals.
  • After the last envelope fold, place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
    rustic bread dough
  • Let the dough rise until nearly double - about an hour.
  • After the dough has doubled, remove it from the bowl and split it in half. Form each rustic loaf as shown in the video. Much of the gas in the dough should remain in the loaf to give it small air pockets after baking.
    rustic bread dough in a loaf
  • Gently roll the dough in the whole grains to lightly coat the outside of the loaf. Misting the loaf with water helps the wholegrains stick to the loaf.
  • Place loaves on a large parchment-lined baking sheet without a lip. If you don't have one without a lip you can bake the loaves on the baking sheet.
    unbaked whole-grain loaf of bread
  • Loosely cover the loaves with plastic wrap and let loaves rise nearly double. About 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (232 C) while the loaves are rising.
    cutting top of loaf of bread dough
  • Just before baking make 3 horizontal slashes with a sharp knife. Mist the loaves with water from a spray bottle.
  • Place loaves on baking steel by sliding the parchment with the loaves off the baking sheet. For an extra crispy crust, mist loaves every 60 seconds for the first 3 minutes of baking.
  • Bake loaves for 12 minutes at 450 degrees and then decrease the temperature to 400 degrees and bake another 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 210 - 212 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. If the loaves start to over-brown loosely tent them with foil. If your oven has a hot spot move the loaves around to allow them to brown evenly.
    loaves of artisan whole grain bread

Video

Notes

Flour:  You can use half whole wheat and half bread flour.  If you use all whole wheat flour, the loaf is a very heavy and dense loaf unless you add 2 Tablespoons of Whole Grain Bread Improver. 
Whole grains:  I make my mix of whole grains.  I use what I have handy at the time I make the mix.  I mix equal parts of any combination of cracked wheat, rolled oats, steel cut oats, hulled sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds; I love to use the ancient grains farro, amaranth, teff, freekeh, millet, and Kamut.  If you can find cracked varieties of the ancient grain, use them.  If not, I briefly pulse a mixture of ancient grains in the Vitamix or Blendtec blender to break them up.  This helps them absorb moisture and soften.  If you have only a few of the suggested grains, use what you have.  There is no perfect combination.  It is a matter of what you have and what you like.  
Sprinkle about 1/3 of a cup of the whole grains on your work surface to roll the loaves in.  You can use more or less depending on how many whole grains you want on the outside of the loaf.  Egg wash or a little corn syrup and water(dairy-free) also work well for helping the grains adhere to the loaf.  Don't put the Egg wash or corn syrup and water in a spray bottle.  There is usually some flour on the outside of the loaf, if you mist the loaf with a little water, the water and flour form a "paste" that also works great for gluing the grains to the loaf. 
 If you don't have baking steel, you can bake the bread on a sheet pan.  The steel will give a crispier crust.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 107kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 147mg | Potassium: 27mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg
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This Post Has 23 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for sharing the recipe! I made it last night and we’ve already gone through a whole loaf. Only had oats on hand out the whole grains on the list, but mixed in some flax, chia and poppyseeds too. Delicious and easy – Loved the stretch and fold method! Will definitely make again.

  2. Anonymous

    I am confused! You said “mix all ingredients together” in step 1 – well, if I used the 1cup whole grains in the dough, then how much doI use to coat the outside?

    1. Anonymous

      1 cup whole grains (plus about 1/3 cup more for coating the outside) see notes for information on whole grains

  3. Anonymous

    5 stars
    Thank you for sharing this recipe, I just made it and it turn out really good.It was 10 in the evening when I finished baking ,I started late,my husband cant stop eating.👌

    1. Doctor Jo

      I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  4. Anonymous

    5 stars
    Such an easy bread to make with wonderful results! Delicious! I added a scant tablespoon of dried onion flakes the second time I made it – mmmm good!

  5. Anonymous

    5 stars
    I started making this recipe when I decided I wanted to incorporate ancient grains into bread. WOW!! We LOVE IT!! It comes out fantastic every time!! Thank you Dr Jo! Will definitely try your other recipes as we love “all things organic, natural and healthy”!! ~Mary

    1. growwithdoctorjo

      I am delighted to hear you are enjoying this recipe. It is one of my favorites also.

  6. Anonymous

    Have you tried using some whole wheat flour instead of some of the all purpose flour?

    1. growwithdoctorjo

      I often substitute about 1/4 of the white flour with whole wheat and honestly, I can’t tell the difference. More than 25% gives a heavier, denser loaf of bread.

      1. Anonymous

        5 stars
        Using your delicious and easy recipe as a base, I substituted 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour for some of the all purpose, added 1 TBS dough enhancer and threw in a spoonful of sour dough cast off for good measure. It was sooo good! I can’t wait to try some of your other recipes!

        1. growwithdoctorjo

          BRAVO! I love all of the substitutions.

  7. Anonymous

    My new favorite bread recipe!

    1. growwithdoctorjo

      Awesome

  8. Anonymous

    5 stars
    My first time making bread, it has always been so intimidating to me but you’re recipe was easy to follow so thank you! My husband who is Portuguese and loves his bread said it was the best bread he’s ever tasted so double win! I have one question, can I use white whole wheat flour instead? Or will it change it that dramatically?

    1. growwithdoctorjo

      YAY, Thank you for the great comment. You can use half white whole wheat and half all-purpose flour. Increase the yeast to 2 tsp. and add 2 Tbsp vegetable oil to the water.
      If you are feeling adventuresome use all white whole wheat and add 1/4 of a cup of oil to the water. Keep the yeast at 2 tsp. Let me know how it comes out. Happy Baking.

      1. Anonymous

        5 stars
        This is an easy to follow recipe. Very simple and delicious!! Thank you so much for sharing it. Love it!!

  9. Anonymous

    Hi- I am not sure what a baking steel is. I just started making bread and have only used a Dutch oven thus far. I can’t really tell from the picture. The ones I’ve seen look like cookie sheets…

    1. growwithdoctorjo

      Hello, and you can use the dutch oven to bake the loaf of bread in this recipe. I prefer an oblong vs round loaf of bread and the steel lets me shape and bake the loaf as a baguette, an oblong loaf, or a round loaf and still get a nice crispy crust. A baking steel is a solid piece of steel that is usually about 1/2 inch to 1 inch thick. It is a very heavy piece of metal. If you make homemade pizza or want to make homemade pizza, the baking steel is an awesome way to get that pizza oven crispy light crust on your homemade pizza.

  10. Anonymous

    Just 1 teaspoon of yeast?

  11. Anonymous

    The amount of flour doesn’t change when I change the serving size. Says 567 g no matter what. Can you correct this please

  12. Anonymous

    5 stars
    This bread is delicious. I followed the recipe exactly and it was is amazing. I love a nutty bread. My only question is how would you store it? In a paper bag or plastic?

    1. Doctor Jo

      I store it in plastic. Because it has no preservatives it doesn’t keep for more than 4 or 5 days. However in my house it is usually gone in 2 or 3 days.

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