Is wheat flour more dense?

Joined Jan 26, 2001
It seems like when I try baking with whole wheat flour (I am not directly substituting it, but just in recipes), the dough is more difficult to knead, and the resulting bread always seems denser.

Am I imagining things here, or could this be true? Should kneading times be altered? What else could I do?

Joined Aug 4, 2000
Wheat flour makes for a denser loaf because the bran flakes that are characteristic of whole wheat cut the glutinous strands. The resulting oven spring is less; the loaf simply doesn't rise as much. Wheat flour is higher in gluten than standard bread flour; this fact requires more kneading to develop the gluten.

Try making bread using 70% bread (white) flour and 30% whole wheat flour. It'll be easier to "work" and produce a "lighter" loaf. IMHO 100% whole wheat makes a loaf too heavy/dense.

Give the dough three 5 minute kneading periods with a few minutes rest in between each period. The finished dough should be tackey but not outright wet/sticky and should hold its own shape.

Don't forget to slash the loaf, probably 3 times, just prior to baking. Slashing allows for a better rise.

Also, King Arthur Flour produces a white whole wheat flour. It is a WINTER WHEAT as opposed to a spring wheat that is typical of most whole wheats. Winter wheat will give a lighter product. I intend to try this flour when my usual spring whole wheat supply runs out.

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[ April 18, 2001: Message edited by: kokopuffs ]
Joined May 6, 2001
What is the increase of knead/raise time when you only substitute half the flour with wheat?

Svadhisthana :D
Joined Aug 4, 2000
The more gluten in the dough, the more kneading it takes to develop that gluten. I can't give you a time frame. You'll know it by feel and when the dough is tackey and holds its shape. While kneading, you'll see glutinous strands develop. :D
Joined Jan 15, 2001
Yes I agree with kokopuffs.Since less gluten strands develop, the dough doesn't have the ability to trap aircells and the resulting loaf is too heavy and dense.
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