Whole Wheat Bread, Long-fermented



SourcePeter Reinhart's Whole Wheat Breads (Book)
Prep time12 hours
Cooking time50 minutes
Total time12 hours, 50 minutes


Long-fermented yeasted bread from Peter Reinhart's Book: Whole Wheat Breads. The flavor, smell and taste is unbelievably good. Takes 2 day to make.


227 g
Whole Wheat flour (part of soaker (see below))
4 g
sea salt (soaker)
200 g
milk, buttermilk, yogurt (soaker, use up to 250g of yogurt, if it is very thick)
227 g
Whole Wheat flour (part of Biga (see below))
1⁄4 t
instant yeast (biga, (or 1 g, but is hard to weigh))
170 g
filtered water (biga, at room temperature)
56 g
Whole Wheat flour (part of final dough (see below))
5 g
sea salt (final)
7 g
instant yeast (final)
42 g
honey (final, optional, can use brown sugar instead)
14 g
fat, melted (final, optional, use avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, lard, tallow or butter)


This is a 2-day recipe.

On the evening of the first day:

Prepare the soaker: Mix all ingredients for the soaker together, put in non-metallic bowl, cover, let sit at room temperature 12-24 hrs.

Knead all ingredients for the Biga together for 2 min in non-metallic bowl, let the dough rest for 5 min, then knead again for 1 min. Cover, refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hrs (but not more than 3 days). In the morning, take out of the fridge 2 hrs before using to let warm to room temperature.

In the morning (2nd day):

Take out Biga from the fridge (see above).

Cut all of soaker and all of biga in 6 - 12 pieces each and put in a large non-metallic bowl with all ingredients for the final dough. Knead together until well combined. The dough should be soft, slightly sticky. Adjust flour and water to arrive at desired texture.  Turn dough on a flat surface and knead with the heels of both hands for 3-4 min until the dough feels soft and tacky, not sticky. Form a ball, let dough rest 5 min on surface.Prepare an oiled bowl large enough to hold twice the size of the dough. Knead the dough for 1 min more,  adjust flour and water, if needed. The dough should have strength and, when you take up a pinch, should be able to be stretched thin. It should feel, soft, supple, very tacky. Form a ball, roll the dough in the oiled bowl.  Cover loosely with kitchen towel or plastic wrap, let rest at room temperature for 45-60 min until dough is about 1.5 times it former size. Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil, cooking spray, butter or other preferred fat.

Form in a loaf form and drop in prepared loaf pan without punching down the dough too much. Cover loosely with kitchen towel or plastic wrap, let rise 45-60 min at room temperature until about 1.5 times its original size and nearly up to the rim of the loaf form. Slash top of loaf with a very sharp knife, if desired (not necessary).

Preheat oven to 425 F. 

Place loaf pan on baking sheet in the preheated oven and turn the heat immediately down to 350F. Bake for 20 min. Rotate pan by 180 degrees so the loaf bakes evenly. Bake another 20-30 min until either a wooden or bamboo skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean, an instant-read thermometer shows an inside temperature of >195F or(my preferred method) bread looks nice and brown and, when upset out of the loaf form and set on a cooling rack, it sounds hollow when you tap bottom and sides.

Let cool completely before slicing (even though it is hard to wait that long because it smells so good!:)


I make it with organic heritage red fife Wheat kernels (from the grainery) that I grind myself to flour in my Vitamix grain container.  Soo much more flavor with freshly milled flour than already milled. But still the stone-milled flour the grainery carries is good, too.