Bread Facts

  • It takes 9 seconds for a combine harvester to harvest enough wheat to make about 70 loaves of bread.
  • Assuming a sandwich was eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it would take 168 days to eat the amount of bread produced from one bushel of wheat. 
  • A family of four could live for 10 years off the bread produced by one acre of wheat.
  • Early Egyptian writings urged mothers to send their children to school with plenty of bread and beer for their lunch.
  • The longest loaf of bread ever baked was 9.2 km long, the equivalent length of 100 American football pitches.
  • The amount of sliced loaves purchased in a day in the UK is equivalent to the volume of 8 Olympic size swimming pools.
  • In the US, 45 billion sandwiches are eaten every year. The all-time favourite sandwich filler is ham.
  • Bread was eaten at least 7500 years ago and remains our staple food today. It was called The Staff of Life in Biblical times.
  • Bread contains very little fat and virtually no sugar.
  • The Great Fire of London started in a baker’s shop.
  • A bolt of lightning contains enough energy to toast 160 000 pieces of bread. Unfortunately, the bolt only lasts for 1/10 000th of a second, so turning the bread over might prove difficult.
  • The World record for fastest bread making was set in 1995, by an American farm bakery that harvested and milled wheat from the field, mixed, shaped and baked a loaf of bread in eight minutes and thirteen seconds.
  • Some people believe that if you put a piece of bread in a baby’s bed, it will keep away disease.

7 Common Wholewheat Bread Baking Mistakes

Let’s face it, EVERY cook makes mistakes.

I’m going to list here the seven most common wholewheat bread baking mistakes that you’re probably making, or might make if you’re not forewarned, and what you can do about them.

  1. By far the most common bread baking mistake is when the salt is forgotten to be added to the bread dough. This results in very bland bread and even affects the rising of the dough, making your wholewheat bread flat on top. The best solution for this is to use a Post-It note as a reminder to yourself to add the salt to the bread dough. You can stick the Post-It note wherever you’re most likely to see it (fridge, recipe book, etc.).
  2. The second most common mistake is when the wholewheat bread dough is allowed to over-rise, which leads to it falling. This usually happens when the dough is forgotten. And with so much going on in our lives who doesn’t forget things like this now and then?  But don’t fret, there is a solution: If the wholewheat bread is already in the bread pans when it over-rises, simply use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the excess dough off the sides of the unbaked loaves. Separate and roll this dough into a few small balls of dough. Allow them to rise 20 to 30 minutes on a small oiled cookie sheet, and then bake them at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius), for 15 to 20 minutes as wholewheat rolls. Also, allow the wholewheat bread dough to rise for about 15 to 20 more minutes before baking if it is extremely flat on top. Another solution to help you keep from forgetting about your bread is to use a timer that will beep loudly after the selected time period is up. Using a timer can also help stop other wholewheat bread baking catastrophes from happening.
  3. When you heat your water to put your yeast in, it is easy to accidentally make the water a bit too hot. This mistake will kill the yeast and your bread will not rise. To correct this mistake I strongly recommend you invest in a cooking thermometer to measure the temperature of the water.
  4. If the recipe you use makes too much dough for your family’s needs and you worry that the extra bread will grow stale before you use it fear not. It is perfectly safe to refrigerate the unused dough for a few days and allow the wholewheat bread dough to finish its rising time once you get it out to use it. You can use a Ziploc bag or plastic wrap over bowls that contain your wholewheat bread dough to store it in your fridge and still prevent oxidation.
  5. Burnt bread. Yup, nothing tastes worse than wholewheat bread that is black as charcoal. To avoid this be sure you follow baking times and temperatures strictly. And again use a timer to remind yourself when it is time to remove your wholewheat bread from the oven. Also, remember that gas ovens and electric ovens vary in their temperatures. If you’re using an electric oven you should bake almost all bread and pastries at 350 Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Sometimes a recipe will call for you to start baking a loaf of bread at a higher temperature, but will also usually tell you to turn the heat down after a certain amount of time.
  6. Mistakenly or purposefully using the wrong type of flour. If you are baking wholewheat bread, the only way to get good results is by using wholewheat flour to bake your bread. There are different recipes for all the different types of bread and they all use one specific flour for each recipe. So don’t try any substitution hoping that by adding rye flour, for instance, you will actually turn a wholewheat bread recipe into rye bread. Because you won’t.
  7. Last but not least, there is the problem of air bubbles (also called pockets), which can create large holes inside the wholewheat bread after it’s done baking. The best solution for this is to pinch any such bubbles whenever you see them in your wholewheat bread dough before you bake it. This will immediately deflate the bubble.

Now you are armed with the knowledge of the seven most common wholewheat bread baking mistakes (most of which also apply to all other rising breads) and how you should deal with them.


Banana Wheat Bread

(Recipe Serves 12)


2 cups wholewheat flour

1/4 cup wheat germ

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups mashed bananas

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup honey

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped pecans


Grease a 23x13cm loaf pan. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).

Combine eggs, honey, mashed bananas, oil, and vanilla in a bowl.

In another large bowl whisk together baking soda, flour, salt, and wheat germ. Make a well in dry ingredients and add the banana mixture. Mix together until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in nuts. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 1 hour in preheated oven. Check if done and cool on wire rack.

Potato Bread

(Recipe For One Loaf)


500g russet potatoes

90ml reserved potato warm water

1 tablespoon dry yeast dry yeast

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

500g all-purpose flour

3/4 tablespoon salt (or to taste)

90g cup chives or scallions (optional)


Peel potatoes, cut and boil until soft. Reserve water and let potatoes cool.

Add yeast to water, stir to dissolve and let it stand for a few minutes to activate. White foam should form on top.

Mix cooled potatoes, yeast, and oil together until fully incorporated. Cover and let stand for about 30 minutes (does not have to double in volume, but you will notice sponging).

Add flour, salt, and optional seasoning and kneed.

It will appear dry like pie dough, but will form to bread dough. Form dough into loaf and let it stand for about an hour covered before baking at 180 degrees C (350 degrees F) for about 45 mins. (You can dust the loaf with flour before baking to give it a rustic look.)

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

(Recipe Serves 6-12)


3 cups flour

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

1 3/4 cups milk

1 cup oil

3 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract

1 1/2 teaspoons butter extract (optional)


Mix all ingredients together and beat one to two minutes with mixer.

Pour into 2 greased and floured loaf pans.

Bake one hour at 180 degrees C (350 degrees F). Remove from pans when cool.