I use whole wheat flour exclusively without adding white
flour when making bread?"
Anne and Sue,
Can I use whole wheat flour exclusively without adding
white flour when making bread?
From Chris Gifford, Mesquite, Texas
their name, most whole wheat breads contain some all-purpose
flour because of its gluten-forming potential. Adding
moisture and mixing the dough forces two of flour's
insoluble proteins, gliaden and glutenin, to combine.
Kneading helps these proteins adhere to each other,
and changes the bonding between the particles of flour,
forcing the molecules to line up and form the long elastic
strands we call gluten. As dough is worked, gluten becomes
increasingly cohesive and, therefore, strong.
Because the sharp edges of the flakes of bran in whole
wheat flour actually cut strands of gluten as they form,
it's customary to begin with some all-purpose flour
(1/4 to 1/3 of the total amount of flour) to develop
a strong network of gluten. Once that gluten network
is established, you can add other grains once the kneading
is well under way. The more whole grains you add, the
heavier and smaller the loaf.
Using whole wheat and other grains in making bread is
part of the fun of creating healthy, tasty breads. You
may be most pleased with your bread, however, if you
use a little all-purpose flour as well.
Good wishes -
Anne and Sue