Saturday, April 13, 2013

100% Whole Wheat Bread with Buttermilk 百份百全麥麵包

Tong Zhong is a widely used method to make soft fluffy bread that has long shelf life. But it is not the only way. Today I share with you how to make healthy, fluffy 100% whole wheat bread that remains soft for more than 4 days.

Many people would like to incorporate more whole grain in their diet as recommended by nutritionists and health experts. But they do not like to have whole wheat bread mainly because of its texture. I admit that it is like chewing a piece of cardboard. Is there a way to make it more palatable?

This recipe uses buttermilk to hydrate the flour overnight. Since buttermilk is cultured by adding lactic acid bacteria (common and beneficial bacteria that make yogurt, cheese, etc; also a form of probiotics) to low fat milk, the acidity from the milk balances the mild bitter taste from the whole wheat. Texture and flavor of the bread is also improved. And the fact that whole wheat flour has 4 times the fiber (>13g/100g flour) than regular flour makes it the healthiest choice !

所謂"條條大路通羅馬",要做鬆軟、持久保鮮而又有益健康的麵包,又豈只有湯種法呢 !今次我便與大家分享怎樣用百份百全麥麵粉做出又靚、又正、又有益健康的麵包。

營養師及健康飲食專家經常建議我們在每日的飲食內增加全穀類食物,但老實講,用百份百全麥做的麵包實在有點難入口,又粗又"諧" (如有讀者知道正確寫法,請通知我^_^)。


Ingredients for one 13x4x4" loaf:
480g whole wheat flour 全麥麵粉
300g buttermilk 白脫奶
65g grape seed oil or olive oil 葡萄籽油或橄欖油
60g water 水
7g instant yeast 即溶酵母
2 tbsp honey 蜜糖
1 tsp salt 鹽
1/2 tsp baking soda 泡打粉
3 tbsp vital wheat gluten 麵筋粉

1)  One day before you make the bread, mix the whole wheat flour, buttermilk and oil in the bowl of the stand mixer until it forms a ball. Add more buttermilk if the dough is too stiff. Cover with plastic wrap and let it stand in room temperature overnight.

2)  Add water, instant yeast, wheat gluten, honey and baking soda to the bowl and knead on low until it is blended.
3)  Add salt and knead for 10 minutes. Or 15 minutes or more for hand kneading.

before fermentation

4)  Cover and let it ferment until it doubles in size.

after fermentation

5)  Divide the dough into 3 parts. Roll out each one and roll it up. Tightly seal it by squeezing the ends and put in an oiled pan, seam side down. Cover and let it rise again until it almost reaches the rim.

6)  Put on the lid and bake in a preheated 375F oven for 30 minutes. Carefully remove the lid and lower the temperature to 350F and bake for 10 more minutes.
7)  Remove the bread from the mold and let it cool completely on a rack before slicing. After complete cooling, put in a ziplock bag and keep at room temperature for up to a week. For long term storage, it can be frozen. But do not refrigerate.

1) The function of baking soda in this recipe is to balance the acidity of the buttermilk.
2) The addition of vital wheat gluten is crucial in producing a fluffy bread since the bran from the wheat kernel will cut short of the gluten.
3) A stand mixer is really handy here because the dough is heavier than regular bread flour dough.


1)  泡打粉的作用是中和白脫奶之酸性。
2)  麵筋粉的作用是增加麵團的麵筋,令麵包更鬆軟。
3)  因全麥粉比普通高筋粉難搓,用攪拌機比較容易操作。


  1. Hi, my name is Laura! I love this recipe and I would like to try it, but i don't have a toast pan with a lid, can I still make it in a regular mould? Is it absolutely necessary to cover it? Can you give an advice on how to proceed? Thanks!

    1. Hi Laura,

      You can scale it down if you have a smaller loaf pan. For a regular loaf pan of 9X5 inches without lid, you can use three quarters of the ingredients: 360g whole wheat flour, 223g buttermilk, 49g oil, 45g water,5g yeast, 1.5 tbsp honey, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/3 tsp baking soda and 2.5 tbsp wheat gluten. Follow the same procedure but bake at a lower temperature of 350F for 35 minutes.

      Enjoy !

    2. Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer me! I can't wait to try it!

  2. Hi,

    your bread looks fabulous! May I ask you what brand of whole wheat flour you used in this recipe? I bake with King Arthur whole wheat flour and my 100% whole wheat bread always comes out very much like a brick even though I follow every instructions from their website:(
    I've also tried the Tang Zhong method with whole wheat, but still no success (when I bake with bread flour, I find the Tang Zhong bread the best, I like my bread like those at one of those Asian bakeries, not sandwich breads...)

    1. Hi,
      King Arthur is my favorite brand as well. I also use Gold Medal and Bob's Red Mill. I think the key is to supplement the dough with extra gluten because the bran(outer layer of a wheat kernel) will cut short of the gluten, resulting the coarse, brick like texture. This recipe let the flour soak overnight with buttermilk helps to soften the flour as well. If you like bread from Asian bakeries, then you should try my Pai Bao recipe.

  3. phoebe, I don't have a lid, what temperature should I use? Do I need to egg wash if no lid to bake?

    1. Hi Priscilla,
      Bake it at 350F for 35 minutes if your pan does not have a lid. Brush with egg wash for a shinny and soft crust. If you prefer a crunchy crust, then just bake as is.


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