From America's Test Kitchen Season 12: Soup and Bread from Scratch
Most whole wheat bread recipes turn out either squat bricks or white bread in disguise. We wanted a nutty, hearty, light-textured sandwich loaf that really tasted like wheat. We started with a good white-flour recipe and worked our way backward to “unrefine” it. We made a series of loaves, replacing different amounts of all-purpose flour with whole wheat to find the highest percentage of whole wheat flour that we could use before the texture suffered. To bump the amount of whole wheat up even more, we substituted protein-rich bread flour for the all-purpose flour. Next, we soaked the flour overnight in milk, with some wheat germ for added flavor. This softened the grain’s fiber, kept the dough moist, and coaxed out sweet flavor. Finally, to give our bread well-developed flavor, we turned to a biga (or pre-ferment), a mixture of flour, water, and yeast left to sit overnight to develop a full range of unique flavors.
Makes two 9 by 5-inch loaves
You can hand-knead the dough, but we’ve found that it’s easy to add too much flour during the kneading stage, resulting in a slightly tougher loaf. Wheat germ is usually found either in the baking aisle near the flours or with hot cereals such as oatmeal. Leftover bread can be wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for 3 days. To freeze the bread for up to 1 month, wrap it with an additional layer of aluminum foil.