Organic Whole Grain Wheat Buns
Using whole grain flour can be challenging when it comes to baking buns and bread. Actually anything that involves yeast working with gluten. Bran bits like to cut up the gluten threads. The gluten strength in REAL whole grain flour is lower than white flour because the bran and germ take up some of the room. Of course there are other factors too – yeast not fresh enough, the water too cool, heck – even the weather outside can play havoc with temperatures and humidity.
All that aside, we don’t want to scare you away from making your own breads. There isn’t anything more satisfying than pulling a batch from the oven and seeing that they rose up nicely (jumping up and down here) and then biting in to sample. The aroma alone is enough to want to do this.
We’ve tried really hard to make these directions as simple and clear as possible. It may seem like a lot of detail but if you’ve never done this before we want this to go well for you. If you are a seasoned bread making pro – just skip over the next section, carry on to the actual recipe and bake away!
Organic Whole Grain Wheat Buns 101:
Kneading Method: Machine kneading with dough hook (Our testing machine is a Kitchen Aid bowl-lift stand mixer). Recipe should work fine with any mixing machine that has a dough hook and mixing paddle.
Assemble all the tools you need first to make things much easier: measuring cups & spoons. Spatula, 2 large bowls, plastic wrap, spray oil, plastic dough scraper, pizza cutter, pastry mat or surface that can have flour & oil on it for working with dough, rolling pin, 2 large cookie sheets, parchment paper, oven mitts, small digital scale (optional but sure handy), instant read thermometer (again, optional but takes a lot of the guesswork out for beginners)
If you have more that one sink in your kitchen, it’s handy to fill one with soapy water. That way it’s ready for you to drop your mixing bowl in after removing the dough and you won’t be fussing with dried bits of dough later or wanting to stop in the middle of handling the dough to tend to it.
Ingredients – Yeast is very important. For beginners we recommend using individual packets of yeast. If you check the date on the back for freshness this is going to be your best bet to having fresh yeast. Once you learn what it should look like when fed (yes, it’s just like a hungry child) you can move on to buying in larger quantities – especially once you graduate!
Water temperature is also important. There is a bit of range but if the yeast gets too cold or too hot it won’t work. This is why having a thermometer is a blessing. Back when Great Grandma Nunweiler was baking bread she would drop a bit of the water on her wrist. If she couldn’t feel it (felt neither cold nor warm) that’s what she went with. We’re sure she would have thought a thermometer to be quite a handy gadget!
All other ingredients should be at room temperature. That means bringing your eggs from the fridge early. We like to crack them open into a small bowl, give them a good stir so they are well mixed up and then set aside until needed. The eggs used in this recipe and all recipes we post are free range large size eggs.
Your honey of course should be liquid honey – room temperature and your olive oil. You can use any oil you want but different oils will impart a different flavour. Canola is a good alternative. If you do use olive oil, we recommend extra virgin olive oil and a good brand that you like.
Salt – we use Himalayan Sea Salt – our blog story explains more about this salt. You can use any salt and if you like your bread to taste saltier you can increase the amount up to double.
Measuring flour – the best way to measure Nunweiler’s Flour is to spoon it lightly into the measuring cup and level off. By scooping the measuring cup right into the flour you are compressing the flour too much and the volume of flour will change.
Proofing – you will need a place to let your dough sit in the bowl to rise (twice) and then once the dough is formed into buns. This area will depend on your kitchen space. Some use the top of their stove with the range lights on (burners off of course) or on a shelf inside your pantry or even on your counter covered if your room is warm. Different seasons are going to mean considering where you want to place your bowl. Optimally, a draft-free place with a temperature in the range of 70 – 75ºF.
Shaping buns – it may take a bit of practice at first but once you get the hang of it, they work up fast. You are basically shaping and stretching the top of the dough ball and at the same time sealing the bottom. If you hold the dough on one hand and use the other to rotate the ball while keeping it face up. There are some good videos and pictures online that can show you this technique.
(Serving size: 1 bun) Calories: 197, Fat: 1g, Saturated fat: 0g, Unsaturated fat: 1g, Trans fat: 0g, Carbohydrates: 28g, Sugar: 3g, Sodium: 98mg, Fibre: 6g, Protein: 5g, Cholesterol: 18mg
Prep time: 3 hours
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 3 hours 20 mins
- 2 pkg 8g each Active Dry Yeast
- 2 cups Water (100ºF)
- ¼ cup Honey
- ¾ cup Olive Oil
- 2 Range Free Eggs
- 1 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt
- 7 cups Nunweiler’s Organic Whole Grain Wheat Flour
- in bowl of mixer add water and stir in honey until dissolved. Add both packages of yeast and stir in gently. Let sit for 15 minutes.
- In a separate large bowl measure out 7 cups of flour. Place near mixer.
- In a small bowl stir together eggs.
- Once yeast is ready, add in olive oil and eggs to mixer bowl.
- With mixing paddle attachment on, turn mixer on to first speed to blend ingredients together.
- Stop and add in a large scoop of flour from pre-measured bowl. Add in salt and turn mixer back on to first speed. As mixer is running, slowly add in more flour a scoop at a time until you’ve added about half of flour.
- Turn machine off and scrape sides of bowl down with spatula.
- Continue mixing and slowly adding more flour. You may not have all the flour added before the dough comes together and starts to climb the paddle attachment. At this point, stop the machine and change to the dough hook. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and clean off the paddle attachment.
- Turn machine back on and run at #2 speed. Slowly add in the remaining amount of flour. Let machine run for approx 4 to 5 minutes. During this time you should see the dough come away from the sides of the bowl and form a ball around the dough hook.
- While the machine is running, pour about 1 tbsp of olive oil into a large bowl that you will use to proof the dough in. With your hand rub the oil all over the sides and bottom of the bowl. There will extra pooled on bottom which will be used on the dough.
- Tear off a piece of plastic wrap larger than size of bowl and have it ready to grab and use.
- On your pastry mat or surface you are going to work your dough on spread out a very small amount of flour.
- When dough is ready – you should be able to touch the ball. It will feel a bit sticky but shouldn’t stick to you finger.
- Turn machine off and remove dough hook and then bowl from unit. With a plastic pastry scraper turn ball of dough out of bowl onto your surface. Some dough may want to still stick to the side but the scraper makes it easy to separate.
- Once dough is on your surface, take your hands and rub them into the oil in the bottom of your proofing bowl. This will make it easy to pick up the dough. Gently shape the dough into a ball, while wiping hands all around ball to coat it with oil. Don’t be too worried about a perfect shape. Place ball in bowl and give it a further few twists to ensure it is nicely covered in oil. Place the piece of plastic wrap you have ready over the top loosely.
- Place bowl in a warm, draft free location for 30 minutes. This is the first rise. The dough should be approx. double in size.
- When done, take dough out of bowl and place on work surface. Using the palm of your hands, gently press our the dough into a square. don’t push too hard, it doesn’t have to be too large. Fold the top over ⅓ and the bottom ⅓ up like you would a letter going in an envelope. Pick up the dough and fold each end under a ⅓. It may look like a squared ball. Again, flatten it down a bit to make a rectangle again. It probably won’t flatten as large as the first time. Make your envelope folds again. With the smooth top side up place ball back in bowl, loosely cover with plastic wrap and place back to rest for another 30 minutes. Again dough should have approx. doubled in size.
- At this point tear off a piece of plastic wrap larger than each cookie sheet and spread out on counter. With cooking spray give a light mist across surface.
- Remove dough from bowl and place on work surface. With rolling pin roll out dough pushing air bubbles out as you go to form a large rectangle, approx ½” thick. Using a pizza cutter divide dough in half then half again and so on in each section to equal 24 pieces. If you are using a scale, cut a piece off to equal approx 75g. Once you see the size continue on and you should end up with approx 24 pieces.
- Shape each piece into a tight ball and space out on parchment lined cookie sheets. 12 dough balls generally fit on one sheet.
- Cover each cookie sheet with prepared plastic wrap very loosely and place back to rest for final proofing. This may take approx 45 min or longer. Dough balls should be double in size. Approx 10 minutes before ready preheat oven to 375ºF/190ºC oven.
- When ready, remove plastic wrap and bake in oven for approx 20 min. or until golden brown.