Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - Whole Wheat Loaves

This week's recipe for Tuesday's with Dorie was Whole Wheat Loaves.  I had such high hopes for this recipe.  It seems like most people in our group had total success with this and plan to make it again and again.  I want to feel that way, too!  However I am not sure what went awry with my bread.  What you see above is actually the second batch I made.  In my first batch, I did not pay too close attention to the time when it was rising, so much more time passed than it should have.  I thought that could be the reason that the bread didn't rise in the oven.  But then I made it again and set the timer for the rising times and had the same dense result.  Phooey.  My second batch even seemed more elastic and appropriately kneaded than the first so I really thought I had fixed it.  I really don't know what happened and I hope someone might be able to point me in the right direction!  I want to master this bread!

Here are some of the specifics as to what I did to maybe help solve this puzzle:
  • I did not use active dry yeast, but used SAF Instant yeast instead.  I used 2 1/4 teaspoons of the instant yeast instead of the 1 TB active dry as the recipe requested.
  • I used liquid amber malt extract (many thanks to the suggestion to find it at a beer brewing store!)
  • I mixed it in my Kitchenaid Artisan mixer for the 10 minutes. 
  • It did seem smooth and elastic after kneading, though somewhat sticky. 
  • I let the bread proof in my oven on the proof setting.  I live in Houston and it is still very humid here so I thought being in a dry warm environment in the oven would be better than the humid kitchen with the air conditioner cycling.
  • I used a rolling pin to gently work the dough into the rectangle shape before putting it in the buttered pans.
  • The dough rose well during both rising times.  It was in the oven that it didn't really rise.

Many thanks to Michele of Veggie Num Nums and Teresa of The Family that Bakes Together for hosting this recipe!  You can find the recipe on their blogs or on pages 83-84 of Baking with Julia.   To see other bloggers successes with this recipe, visit the Tuesdays with Dorie blog and click on LYL: Whole Wheat Bread.

Please help!  I want to make this again and have it work.  I would LOVE to have a great whole wheat bread recipe to use.


  1. Sorry this didn't work out! My dough was very sticky too- I ended up adding more white flour. I didn't take a lot of time to shape the dough after the first rise. I think you want to handle it as little as possible at that point. Sorry- no other ideas

  2. It sounds like you did things well. I think Spikes suggestion of hand shaping it quickly might help, though. I hope the taste was good.

  3. I also used instant yeast, but I used a full tablespoon. Mine didn't rise as high as I wanted them too, but they rose okay. I also used a little bigger bread pan which could have been part of my problem. I would think humidity would help with whole wheat since it usually needs more liquid... I'm in Austin but we don't have humidity like you all in Houston!

  4. As long as the yeast was fresh enough, it shouldn't have made a difference. It sounds like all your other steps were in order.

    Hand shaping might help - you may also want to consider adding some vital wheat gluten. It gives whole wheat that little extra oomph it needs sometimes. Did you use a 8.5 x 4.5 pan?

  5. I still used the full TBSP of yeast, even though I had the wrong kind. And I let mine rise longer than said during the second rise. Mine did not rise any more while baking... it was as risen as it was going to get during the second rise. I also used a rolling pin on one of my loaves and found that one rose even better than the hand molded one. So, I don't think the handling was necessarily the issue.

    Sorry it didn't rise like you wanted. It still looks yummy!

  6. Mine didn't rise much in the Oven either. The only thing I can think of that you could try is to use a baking stone. That might give you more oven spring and I considered doing that myself when I saw they didn't rise too much in the oven. Other than that, I think you did everything fine. Good job!


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