Whole Wheat Bread

Deliciously wholesome whole wheat bread is soft, fluffy, and always better than store-bought! It is perfect for beginner bread makers.

Tender whole wheat bread is perfect with a spread of Cinnamon Butter, or for making homemade sandwiches with. If you love homemade bread as much as us, you’ll love these other bread recipes: Homemade Bread and Quick + Easy Homemade Bread.

whole wheat bread sliced on a cutting board

That Fresh baked bread aroma

Who else loves the smell of fresh baking bread?

When that aroma fills our house it seems like we’re all in a good mood. There is something just so homey and comforting about it.

Making whole wheat bread from scratch may seem a bit daunting… especially since whole wheat bread can often be dry or too dense. With these simple steps you can whip up a fresh loaf of soft tasty whole wheat bread to share and enjoy!

You are sure to become a master bread maker in no time. Believe me, I never thought this would be a skill I could master. But now I’m confident that I can whip up a few loaves when ever I’m wanting to have some delicious bread.

These make great gifts for sharing as well. I like to pair them with a small jar of homemade jam or some locally sourced honey! Yum.

rising dough for whole wheat bread recipe

How to make Whole Wheat Bread

YEAST MIXTURE. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the warm water, yeast, and honey. Mix in the 5 cups of bread flour and stir to combine. Let sit for 30 minutes, until bubbly.

DOUGH. Add the butter, honey, salt, and 2 cups of whole wheat flour to the sponge and mix to combine. Add the remaining whole wheat flour, ½ cup at a time, until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Knead until smooth and pliable.

DIVIDE + RISE. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Divide the dough into three equal pieces and roll each piece into a 9 x 13 rectangle. Roll the dough up into a log starting at the short end. Place each log seam side down in a greased bread pan. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.

BAKE. Toward the end of the rise time, preheat the oven to 350. Bake 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped. Brush the loaves with melted butter and let cool completely on a cooling rack.

Process shots for how to make whole wheat bread

bread flour 101

Homemade whole wheat bread definitely has a bad reputation. I have definitely tasted my fair share of dry and heavy whole wheat breads, BUT this recipe is AMAZING!

I think the use of bread flour makes a huge difference. Bread flour has a higher amount of protein than all purpose flour. The protein produces gluten and gluten is what makes the south stretchy and the baked bread chewy. 

Bread Flour comes in both all purpose-white and wheat. If you plan to make a lot of wheat bread, and are not used to eating whole wheat bread, then I suggest using the all purpose white bread flour. Once your digestive system gets used to wheat, then switch to wheat bread flour.

Make your own Bread Flour: You can make your own bread flour as well. You can either use all purpose flour, or wheat flour.

  1. Place 1 ½ tsp (5 grams) of wheat gluten into a 1 cup measuring cup.
  2. Fill the measuring cup the rest of the way up with the flour of your choice.
  3. Pour the contents of the cup into a sieve and sift them together. 

Whole WHITE Wheat Flour: A long time ago I attended a bread making class taught by a seasoned homemaker from church. She made the BEST bread and her secret was to use whole white wheat.

Traditional whole wheat flour is milled from red wheat, but if you purchase white whole wheat flour it just means that it is milled from white wheat. So white wheat is still 100% whole wheat. It has a more mild flavor and lighter texture than the red wheat counterpart. Look for “unbleached whole white wheat flour”.

You can use this to make your own bread flour (this recipe needs 5 cups) as well as use it for the 3 ½ cups of whole wheat flour that this recipe calls for. 

browned whole wheat bread in pans

Recipe Tips

How long to knead dough: I just add a bread hook to my kitchen aid and let that lovely machine do all the work. You will need to knead for about 6-8 minutes at low speed. Doing it by hand takes about the same amount of time, but a lot more arm strength. The dough is ready when it is smooth and elastic.   

Speed up rise time: You need to let this bread rise twice. This can easily take 90-120 minutes of the day. I will often use a warm oven to proof the dough faster. Heat the oven to 200°F. Turn the oven OFF. Be sure the dough is in an oven safe bowl. Place a damp tea towel over the bowl and put it in the oven. The dough will double in size in only 20-30 minutes. 

Use the same method when you are ready to proof the dough in the bread pans.

Two slices of homemade whole wheat bread on a white plate

Storing Info

STORE in a plastic bag. Since this is homemade bread it will not last as long as store bought bread. It can last for up to 1 week at room temperature. You can also wrap the cooled loaves with plastic wrap and then again with foil and FREEZE them for up to 6 months. 

  • Pre-slice the bread before freezing. That way you can remove the amount of slices you are going to use and keep the rest in the freezer. 

If your bread becomes stale before you are able to eat it, you can still use it to make other recipes such as french toast, Bread Pudding, Croutons, or bread crumbs.

Sliced whole wheat bread on a cutting board

For more Bread recipes, check out:

Whole Wheat Bread

5 from 3 votes
Deliciously wholesome whole wheat bread is soft, fluffy, and always better than store-bought! It is perfect for beginner bread makers.
Course American, Bread
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Rise Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings 24
Calories 210 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna

Ingredients

for the sponge:

  • 3 cups warm water
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast 2 packets
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 5 cups bread flour

for the dough:

  • 3 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

for after baking:

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the warm water, yeast, and honey. Mix in the 5 cups of bread flour and stir to combine. Let sit for 30 minutes, until bubbly.
  • Add the butter, honey, salt, and 2 cups of whole wheat flour to the sponge and mix to combine. Add the remaining whole wheat flour, ½ cup at a time, until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Knead until smooth and pliable.
  • Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Divide the dough into three equal pieces and roll each piece into a 9 x 13 rectangle. Roll the dough up into a log starting at the short end. Place each log seam side down in a greased bread pan. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.
  • Toward the end of the rise time, preheat the oven to 350. Bake 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped. Brush the loaves with melted butter and let cool completely on a cooling rack.

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About the Author

Kristyn Merkley

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Comments:

  1. 5 stars
    There’s really not a bread out there that we don’t like. This wheat bread is not your typical thick dense bread. It’s lighter in texture, healthy and very good.

  2. 5 stars
    I typically don’t like whole wheat bread, but after reading your post and the suggested ideas such as using bread flour and whole white wheat flour I gave it a go and was happy with the result. It was the best whole wheat bread I’ve had.