I have a nice young woman that wants to have a bread baking class at her home. However she is a bit concerned that the recipe that I have on this blog has the making of those rolls taking 3 or 4 hours. And yeah, that is true, sort of. That recipe for those rolls is really for rolls not necessarily loaves. There is a big difference when making the two different types of breads. Let me explain why:
Whole wheat bread is a very different animal than white bread. When you make a nice dough with whole wheat, then because of all the bran in the flour and subsequent baking, as it cooks, the bran will absorb a lot of the free moisture available and you will get really stiff dry crumbly bread. That is why I tell you to make your WW bread dough to be very wet, very sticky. When the sticky dough is supported in a pan to make loaves, then the bread comes out light, fluffy and a lot like store bought bread. The thing is, that if you tried to make rolls, or other stand alone breads, because the dough is really wet, if you tried to form the dough into rolls, they will just flatten out into pancakes. Nice soft thick pancakes, but probably not what you want. That's why the recipe post from a few days ago has you making a sponge, letting it rise a couple times and overall, taking a long time to make. The reason for that is to allow the bran to absorb a lot of moisture so that you can make a stiffer dough and when baked, the bran will already have a lot of the available water taken in and so they won't take up all the free moisture and so you will get nice whole wheat rolls, fluffy and nice.