Whole Wheat Buttermilk Bread
Are you trying to get your family used to whole wheat bread and encountering some…resistance?
Taking the gradual approach with whole wheat might be the answer.
I am sharing a family treasure, my recipe for Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Bread. It’s soft, slices easily, and makes great toast and sandwiches. And we are making it in the KitchenAid Artisan mixer!
Watch the video to learn all of my special tips and techniques for baking Old Fashioned Buttermilk Bread. All of these tips work with any other yeast bread recipe!
Note: quilt pattern is called French Roses by Heather French. Isn’t it pretty?
This is the recipe I have baked for my family for over 25 years and the one that I used to help my kids, and my husband, adapt to whole wheat.
A gradual approach to switching to whole grains makes a much easier transition for everyone, including the baker as well as the eaters.
Sliding Scale for Whole Wheat Flour
We are going to use a sliding scale to decide how much whole wheat flour to use. This gives your family time to adapt to whole grains. We want them to LOVE the bread you are baking! Have I mentioned how soft Old Fashioned Buttermilk Bread is?
When making the transition to whole wheat flour one-third whole wheat to two-thirds white flour is a good place to begin.
|Total cups of flour in recipe||Proportion of whole wheat||Whole wheat flour||White flour|
|Hesitant to eat whole grain bread||6 – 7 1/3 cups||1/3 or 33%||2 cups||4 – 5 1/3 cups|
|Willing to eat whole grain bread||6 – 7 1/3 cups||2/3 or 66%||3 – 3 ½ cups||3 – 3 ½ cups|
|Confident about eating whole grains||6 – 7 1/3 cups||all – 100%||6 – 7 cups||none|
You can use whole wheat flour from the grocery store, or if you have a grain mill, use your own freshly ground whole wheat flour.
For white flour, unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour are both suitable. Organic is best, if available and affordable to you.
As your and your family’s tastes adapt to appreciate the nutty flavor of whole wheat, you can increase the proportion incrementally until you reach your nutritional goal. You will find that you need to slightly increase the amount of water as you increase the ratio of whole grain flour as the bran is absorbent. An extra 2 tablespoons of water per additional cup of whole wheat flour is usually about right.
Checkpoints in Breadmaking
- Dough pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl and forms a ball. Enough flour has been added.
- Windowpane test ~ to check gluten development
- Poke Test ~ tells you when the dough is done rising
- Touch Test ~ tells you when the loaves are ready to bake
- Thump Test ~ along with color of crust tells you when the bread is fully baked
Each of the Checkpoints listed above are explained in detail in the video. Mastering these timeless skills will help you develop your baker’s intuition and can be applied to any bread recipe you want to bake!
By the way, I have created separate videos and recipes specific to the Bosch mixer and the Ankarsrum mixers, and those are being uploaded at a rate of one video a week. So, if you own one of those, you can go right to the video and see how it’s done using the same mixer that you have in your kitchen.
If you haven’t yet purchased a heavy duty stand mixer for bread making, be sure to check out my video: KitchenAid vs. Bosch vs. Ankarsrum, Best Mixer for Bread Dough, to help you make the best decision.Print
Old Fashioned Buttermilk Bread, You Decide How Much Whole Wheat to Use
Are you trying to get your family used to whole wheat bread and encountering some…resistance?
Taking the gradual approach with whole wheat might be the answer. Today we are making Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Bread. It’s soft, slices easily, and makes great toast and sandwiches. And we are making it in the KitchenAid mixer!
1 tablespoon yeast dissolved in 1 cup warm water
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup honey
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups whole wheat flour
scant 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
4 to 5 1/3 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour
Proof yeast in warm water directly in the KitchenAid mixing bowl. If your kitchen is cool, rinse the bowl with warm water to warm it up first. Set aside for 5-10 minutes to allow the yeast to bloom.
Melt butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the buttermilk to bring it down to a temperature that is safe for yeast. Test it with a finger, it should just feel warm, if you use a thermometer, 110 degrees F. Add to the mixing bowl and then add the honey.
With paddle attachment in place, turn the mixer on low speed, 1, and add whole wheat flour a cup at a time, then the baking soda and salt. Once it is nicely incorporated, add the white flour ½ cup at a time until you have a soft dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Hold back some of the flour, you may not need it all!
Remove the beater and cover the bowl. Let rest for 5 – 10 minutes. This gives the bran in the whole wheat flour time to hydrate which softens the edges making the dough easy to handle.
Now add the dough hook, but before you start, take a moment to butter the hook and the collar all the way up and over the top. This will keep the dough from climbing up into the machine where it doesn’t belong.
Lock the head and set the machine on low speed again, 1. Let the mixer knead for 5 minutes. Now it’s time to get our hands in the bowl. The best way to know how the dough is developing it to touch it. It should feel smooth and resilient. Bread dough made with whole grain flour will retain a certain amount of stickiness, like the sticky side of a Post It note. This is okay and does not need to be eliminated.
When you think you are done kneading, let the dough rest 5 minutes and then perform the windowpane test. Use clean scissors to cut off a walnut-size piece of dough. Slowly pull and stretch the dough to see if it will hold a thin membrane. Hold it up to a window; if you can see light through it, you are done kneading; if not, knead another minute or two, rest 5 minutes, and re-check.
Wash your mixing bowl, dry it, and grease it. Give the dough a few turns by hand on a lightly greased counter and shape it into a smooth ball. Place dough in the bowl, smooth side up. Cover with a bread cloth, cotton (not terry) dish towel, or a plate. Allow it to rise in a protected spot until almost doubled, 1 hour.
To check if it’s done rising, do the poke test: take 2 fingers and gently press the dough. When you withdraw them the indentation should remain, but the dough should not “sigh” or deflate.
Meanwhile, grease your loaf pans.
Turn the dough onto the work surface and gently flatten it with your greased palms to remove air bubbles. Using a bench knife or a chef’s knife, divide dough in half. Press one half into an 8×12-inch rectangle. Fold in thirds like an envelope. Pinch bottom seam to seal. Place seam side down in prepared loaf pan. Repeat for second loaf.
Cover the pan and let rise until dough curves nicely over the top of the pan, about 35 minutes. Set the oven to 350°F (175°C) to preheat. The touch test will help you determine if your bread is ready to bake. Instead of poking your fingers into the dough, this time simply touch the dough. It should barely show your fingerprint.
Bake 35-40 minutes, until the loaf is well-browned and done. To test for doneness, carefully tip the loaf out of the pan and inspect the bottom. The crust should be evenly browned and sound hollow when thumped with a finger. A food thermometer will read 195-200°F (90-93°C).
Cool baked loaf on a wire rack for a crisp crust or on a wooden breadboard for a softer crust. If desired, brush warm loaf with melted butter. Wait at least an hour before slicing to allow the crumb to set.
When making the transition to whole wheat flour one-fourth whole wheat to three-fourths white flour is a good place to begin. As your and your family’s tastes adapt to appreciate the nutty flavor, you can increase the proportion incrementally until you reach your nutritional goal. You will find that you need to slightly increase the amount of water as you increase the ratio of whole grain flour as the bran is absorbent.
Hi – I have been having problems getting a good rise and good porosity in my breads. I use wheat berries and a Wonder Mill and so my household is 100% whole grains for wheat. This recipe cam out very nice although not nearly as stretchy, springy and fluffy as in your video.
I added 1/2 cup of milled flax for extra fiber, and used barley malt syrup instead of honey.
Thanks for the recipe!
Hi Guy, congrats on your commitment to 100% whole wheat. I think you did well, very well. In the video I used part white flour, which contributed extra ovenspring and fluffiness to the bread. When using 100% whole wheat you can expect it to be a bit less so, but the flavor and nutrition more than make up for it. If you want to continue to experiment, consider leaving the dough a little stickier, either by decreasing the flour slightly or increasing the water slightly. Either way, a wetter dough will rise more in the oven. Love that you added flax! And I bet the barley syrup gave your bread a nice flavor.
HI, MICHELE!….wondering if you would have a recipe for 100% whole wheat bread that uses SOURDOUGH STARTER as the raising ingredient instead of commercial yeast?? (OR maybe where I may locate one). I have a health issue with the commercial yeast, unfortunately…
THANK-YOU FOR YOUR HELP!
Hi Judy, I don’t have a recipe on the website yet, but I can refer you to my friend Diana’s website. Diana is in Germany and bakes exclusively with sourdough. She also wrote a book! Here is a link to a recipe on her website you might enjoy: https://sourdoughandheavymetal.com/2022/04/19/the-easiest-lievito-madre-bread/