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Jul 5, 2013

75% Whole Wheat Bread | Another Saturday Bread

75% Whole Wheat Bread | Another Saturday Bread

This 75% Whole Wheat Bread is the third loaf I have tried from Ken Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza.

With the large percentage of whole wheat, this bread has a little more compact interior than the White Saturday Bread or the Overnight Levain. I also think that I might have over proofed just a little on the second rise, even though I did the first finger dent test at one hour (proofing time in the book is 60 to 75 minutes). I got some oven spring and "ears," but not quite the airy interior. Next time I will experiment with using a little more water.

75% Whole Wheat Bread | Another Saturday Bread

There is no mistaking that this bread is whole wheat, both in the handling and the shaping. The dough did not stretch very far for the "stretch and fold," and the dough was fairly easy to shape and not very sticky. It also clearly has a whole wheat taste. In the book, the author says that the French might refer to this bread as Pain de Regime... meaning "diet" bread.

A cool thing about these breads (other than how good they are) is that you create very little mess. Everything is done by hand and all ingredients are scaled into a bucket. For the other two loaves I tried from this book, I used an 8 quart Cambro bucket that I already had. The base of it is much narrower than the 12 quart bucket that Ken Forkish recommends, so I, of course, "needed" the 12 quart bucket. If you are going to cut the recipe in half and make only one loaf, don't bother with the larger bucket. You'll never know when the dough has tripled because the floor of the bucket is so wide. You probably don't need the 12 quart bucket in any case, so don't worry about it. (But I love my bucket and it is a great place to store my bannetons!)

75% Whole Wheat Bread | Another Saturday Bread
So what is all this bread geek talk about hydration, ears, finger dent tests, stretch and fold, etc.? Guess what? It's not just me! Ken Forkish has a series of bread geek videos on his website that are really useful in explaining all of the techniques... and it's demonstrated in a home kitchen.

One thing I do differently is move the dough to the pan in a parchment sling. I am pretty sure I would burn myself otherwise.  

I also highly recommend the book. It's worth it to read his story and learn all of the timelines. Who doesn't love a "I left a highly paid high tech job I hated in the corporate world to start my own bakery" story?

In the end, if you let this book teach you about bread and his techniques, you will be able to create your own bread that is unique to you. And that is my goal for you.. and me.

75% Whole Wheat Bread | Another Saturday Bread

75% Whole Wheat Bread | Another Saturday Bread Recipe

Makes two 1 1/2 pound loaves. Can easily be halved to make one loaf. 
Timeline: allow about nine hours from start to finish to make this bread. I usually start sometime around 9 a.m. 


750 g whole wheat flour
250 g unbleached all purpose flour
800 g water at 90 to 95 degrees F
22 g fine sea salt
3/4 tsp instant yeast


  1. Mix all of the flours and water in the bucket with your hand until everything is incorporated and there is no dry flour. Cover and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle the salt and yeast over the top of the dough and fold the dough over it from all four "sides."
  3. Use the pincher and folding method demonstrated in the video to incorporate the yeast and salt. This should take no more than 2 to 5 minutes.
  4. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes and then do a stretch and fold. In 30 minutes, do another stretch and fold. In another 30 minutes, do one more stretch and fold (see the videos). 
  5. Cover and let rise for about 4 more hours, until tripled in size. 
  6. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide the dough into two even pieces. 
  7. Form the dough into boules and place them seam side down into floured 9 inch bannetons. 
  8. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 60 to 75 minutes, until the loaves pass the finger-dent test.
  9. In the meantime, Place two cast iron cookers in the oven and preheat it to 475 degrees F. 
  10. When you are ready to bake, cut parchment into two 9 inch by 15+ inch pieces. 
  11. Remove the Dutch ovens from the oven and remove the tops. One loaf at a time, place the parchment over the dough and place a plate over it. Flip the contraption over, remove the basket, and lift and place the loaf in the Dutch oven by using the parchment as a sling (leave the paper under the dough). Cover the Dutch oven and place it in the hot oven. Repeat with the second loaf.
  12. Bake covered for 30 minutes, and then uncover it and bake it for 15 to 20 minutes more, until the interior of the bread reaches 205 to 210 degrees F and the bread is a deep brown. 
  13. Lift the loaves out of the Dutch ovens with the parchment and let them cool fully on a wire rack (remove the parchment from the bottom of the loaves). 

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Would you like to comment?

  1. The sling really makes the difference between ease of transportation and hassle (I had my fair share of burns already.
    Nice looking bread! I don't own Forkish's book (yet), but it sounds interesting (not that I need another baking book!)

  2. For an even safer load ... don't place the pots in the oven for a preheat. Simply put your risen Boule in the room temp pot and then place in the preheated oven ... I've done this all ways: Preheat / Parchment slings / no preheat ... I get great results in all cases. The Forkish method is sooooooooo forgiving.

  3. Farine uses a cold DO, too. I should try it.

  4. I use 2 heavy BBQ gloves, pull 1 hot Dutch oven out pull the lid remove gloves place dough in put gloves on lid on and in oven. Then do it again. Haven't burnt myself in over 50tries. Can't say enough good about Forkish's book. Thank you for writing your experience!!!

  5. The link to the videos goes to Ken Forkish's commercial website, not to videos.

    1. I guess I'll have to remove it then. It's an old link from 2013.


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