“Soaked” Whole Wheat Bread

Have you ever tried to make a loaf of bread with all whole wheat flour — NO white flour at all?  I have.  And even though I’ve been baking bread since grade school, mine have been pretty dismal failures.

Where I just caved in and used part white flour, cruiser — and reader — Tara Lunn aboard  Pursuit was more determined in, well, her pursuit of the perfect loaf of 100% whole wheat bread.

And in true cruiser fashion, she asked if I’d like to post the recipe and method here to share with others.  Of course!  Tara wrote a detailed description of not just the recipe, but the method and the thinking behind it (she previously wrote a great guest article on Making and Using Ghee).

In case you’re wondering — “soaked” refers to the method of making the bread, which helps release the nutrients in the whole grains — making it even healthier while tasting great.  And it’s not “soaked” in the same way you’d soak beans, using a lot of water; it’s just barely wet and allowed to sit overnight.

While the method seems complex at first, it’s actually very simple when you follow Tara’s step-by-step directions and accompanying photos.  I was amazed at what a great loaf I made my first time using her recipe — 100 times better than any 100% whole grain breads I’d made before.

Since Tara’s article is 8 pages long and the photos extremely helpful, I’ve made it into a PDF suitable for downloading. If the document does not show below (some browsers have problems), click here to view or download.

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  • Charles
    Posted at 19 October 2011 Reply

    I haven’t tried it yet (not a baker) but, in theory, you should be able to soak and then re-dry whole wheat groats. Then, grind them into flour and this whole process should become unnecessary. Soak as for sprouting but re-dry the groats before they open.

    Again, this is theory only. Still, allowing the seed to start its growth cycle will do the major part of your preparation for you, I would think.

    Also, if you fail to get them before they open, you can keep them growing for wheatgrass or you can use them for brewing – a win/win.

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 19 October 2011 Reply

      Interesting, but I really can’t imagine anyone grinding their own flour on a boat . . . let alone actually growing wheat on a boat!!


  • Jamie Lang on Facebook
    Posted at 17 December 2011 Reply

    Thanks for sharing – I just made a batch of sourdough myself about 1/2 hour ago. You’re right that it’s a good time to be baking more, especially on lazy Saturdays! And looking out the galley at the water while kneading – what could beat that?

  • MaryJo Boyle
    Posted at 12 March 2013 Reply

    Hi Carolyn,
    I’m revisiting this post because today I used a similar soaking technique to make bread with some mixed grain flour that a friend gave me. I had to chuckle when I read your comment “…I really can’t imagine anyone grinding their own flour on a boat…” because the flour that I’m using came from one our marina neighbors who lives on his 30’ sailboat; he has a small hand-cranked grinder on board to use with the whole grains that he buys.
    I have a suggestion in response to Tara’s comment: “We don’t eat bread quickly, so once it is fully cooled, I cut the loaf in half.” When I make bread, instead of forming regular loaves from the dough, I divide each loaf in half, round them up into smooth balls, then put two of them side-by-side in each loaf pan. When they’re baked, they make adorable little loaves that don’t dry out as fast as a regular half-loaf does when it is frozen. When I give one of these loaves to someone, they’re so impressed at my skill! Little do they know that I find it much easier to make a ball of dough than shape a loaf properly. I got the idea from the “Sharing Bread” recipe on kingarthurflour.com.

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