Soft 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Soft WW Sandwich BreadUpdate: As of November of 2010, I no longer add the extra gluten listed in my original recipe. I’ve read that we Americans get too much gluten in our daily diets and I just feel better not using it. My loaves are still fine for our family, but are probably not quite as high as the loaves pictured here. I’ve listed it as optional now in the recipe below.

A few years ago, I started to teach myself to make bread. My family has eaten many a leaden loaf of bread without complaints (for which I’m eternally grateful!) in my quest for an easy whole wheat loaf that makes great sandwiches as well as toast. I’ve experimented with many different flours (Barley-Rye-Spelt bread, anyone?) and in the end adapted a great recipe that’s quick and easy and turns out a consistently good loaf.

First, though, why bother learning to make your own bread?
  1. It tastes WONDERFUL.
  2. You know exactly what’s in it.
  3. It takes less hands-on time than running to the store (revelation to me!)
  4. It’s cheap – these two loaves cost about .65 cents each (and I’m probably over-estimating).
  5. It just makes you feel good.
  6. It tastes WONDERFUL.

Convinced? Me, too! And I want to encourage you that you, too, can make bread… I swear. Just give it a try and DO NOT be discouraged by any tiny, leaden loaves you may turn out (usually still good for toast and breadcrumbs) it’s all a part of the learning. Trust me on this – I know. Just keep practicing.

Steps to make your own soft 100% w.w. sandwich bread:

making sponge

1. Combine warm water*, yeast, and 2 cups of flour in the bowl of a stand mixer (this can, of course, be mixed in a bowl by hand- I’ve just never done it that way!) and let sit 15 minutes to create a “sponge.” *I use warmest tap water without a problem, but if you’re unsure, you want to use a thermometer and have your water between 105 and 110 degrees – hotter than this will kill the yeast!

oil-before-honey

2. Add oil and then add  honey. Look at how all the honey just slides right out of the cup when added after using it for the oil – no scraping needed. A lovely little trick.

3. Now add the salt, (add gluten here, if using) and 4 cups of flour and combine well.

Mixing Bread dough

4. When it’s mixed together and looks like this, it’s time to change to the dough hook on your machine (or for those doing it by hand, turn out on floured surface to knead). Knead for 6-7 minutes (or 10 by hand).

kneading Bread dough

5. After about 6 min., it will be cleaning the sides of the bowl. If it is sticking at all during the kneading process, you can add a little flour, a TB at a time. Be careful not to add too much – the dough should stick slightly to your finger when you touch it, but not cling to it. It’s ok if the dough still sticks to the bottom of the bowl (biggest tip: don’t add too much flour – the dough should not roll out of the bowl on its own).

prepping pans and dough

6. Prepare two 9 x 5″ pans while dough is kneading. Grease them anyway you like. I love my Mr. Misto – I just fill it with whatever oil I want and never have to buy a spray from the store – reusable and frugal. Yea! In order to get it in the corners I use my silicone brush. Oh, and I think I’m due for new pans, don’t you?

7. Turn the kneaded dough out onto a floured surface and cut in half. I use a tea towel dusted with a bit of flour- the dough doesn’t stick as much, so you use less flour, plus it’s easy clean-up. Smoosh the dough down into an even-looking oval shape that you can cut in half. I used a fancy-pants dough scraper, but a regular long knife works just as well.

shaping-bread-dough

8. Shape the loaves:

  • a) pat each half into a fairly even oval the length of the pan. I used to sweat over trying to shape a loaf – using a rolling pin and making it big, then I realized its not rocket science it only needs to be big enough to roll up a bit.
  • b) roll up gently.
  • c) pinch the seam together and then pinch the ends and bring them in toward the seam…
  • d) so that it looks like this when shaped.

dough in pans

9. Fit the shaped loaf into your prepared pan and repeat with the other loaf. Another reason I like using a towel to shape them: I simply take the tea towel, shake it off gently over the sink, and use it to cover the pans. You can get out a new towel or use plastic wrap if you shaped them on a cutting board.

10. Set them in a warm place. Don’t worry too much about this – the counter is fine, even the top of the fridge – just no cold drafts. I do have a cupboard right above our heating vent that is always warm and since we keep our house on the cool side in the winter, I will put the loaves in there. But when it’s warm out, I just use the counter.

11. Set a timer for 50 minutes, then turn the oven to 350 degrees to preheat for the last 10 minutes of rising time.

risen dough in pans

12. When the loaves have risen 1/2-1″ above the pans (1 hr. for these loaves), put them in the preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, then turn them around for even cooking and bake another 15 minutes, for 30 minutes total. Notice one is bigger than the other? It’s all about embracing imperfection here at Oregon Cottage! Also the bigger one seems to have a growth on the side – it’s a bubble and I just don’t worry about those things!

removing baked loaf

13. Take the loaves out of the oven after 30 min. (you can do a test, turning them out and knocking on the bottom for a hollow sound, but if your oven is truly at 350 they will always be done at 30 min. – I never test with this recipe anymore). Run a spatula around the edges right away to loosen any sticking parts.

Oh, and here’s one of my favorite things – this spatula is the BEST. It’s plastic, but sorta sharp for a spatula, so it gets EVERY last bit of dough from the pan and is better at loosening things out of pans than knives because it’s not sharp enough to actually cut through anything you don’t want it to. They are hard to find (I got my first set as a gift – I can’t cook at all without them anymore!) and currently the only place I’ve seen them is in the King Arthur Flour catalog.

14. Let cool 30 min. to 1 hour before cutting or you’re gonna smush the bread down when you try to cut it! I know it’s hard, but have patience, it will be worth it in the end. Then, if you’re like me, cut off one of the lovely ends, spread it with just a bit of real butter and bite into that soft, crispy wonderfulness…there’s just something about fresh-out-of-the-oven bread!

15. Cool them completely before storing or freezing. To freeze, double wrap in plastic bags (reused from produce bags, of course) and freeze until you need them. They freeze beautifully and you’ll never have to run to the store for bread again!

Soft 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
An easy, soft 100% whole wheat sandwich bread that will have you never buying loaves at the store anymore!
Author:
Recipe type: Bread
Yield: 2 loaves
Ingredients
  • 6 to 6-1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 2-1/2 c. warm water (between 105-110 degrees)
  • 1-1/2 TB instant active dry yeast (not rapid rise) - regular active dry yeast can be used as well
  • ⅓ c. honey
  • ⅓ c. oil
  • 2-1/2 tsp. salt
  • (1-1/2 TB. vital wheat gluten- OPTIONAL (I don't use this anymore))
Directions
  1. Combine water, yeast and 2 cups of the flour in a mixing bowl. Set aside to sponge for 15-20 minutes, until risen and bubbly (warmer weather takes 15 min, cooler temps usually needs 20).
  2. Add honey, oil, salt, (gluten, if using), and 4 cups of flour. Mix until dough starts to clean sides of bowl. Change to dough hook (or turn out to knead by hand), and knead 6 to 7 minutes (10 by hand). Add only a few tablespoons of flour at a time if dough sticks to sides, being careful not to add too much.
  3. Form into two loaves and place in greased 9x5" pans. Allow to rise in a warm place for about 60 minutes (1/2 to 1-inch above pans). Preheat oven to 350 degrees ten minutes before rising time is done.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through if needed.
  5. Immediately remove from pans to cool on a rack. Allow to completely cool before slicing.

 

Comments

  1. says

    Hi Jami,

    This is Elizabeth Honeycutt, Renee Sanford’s oldest. (-: My mom passed along your site because she knows I’m into these kinds of things. Today I made our fourth (or fifth, I can’t remember!) batch of this bread and it turned out delicious again. My husband and two little kids love it, and today we decided that “we can’t go back to store-bought.” So thank you for the easy recipe and the step by step instructions. I think I have the recipe memorized now and will enjoy this bread for a long time to come. (-:
    I also made the hot cocoa mix (I read the ingredient list on store-bought a few months ago and have been going without ever since)–though I like mine with more cocoa and a bit more sugar. Thanks for the awesome site–now I need to try to make my own beans!

    ~Elizabeth

  2. Jami says

    Thank you, Elizabeth – you made my day! I’m so glad you are trying the recipes and they are making your life better(no one should have to go without cocoa :-)and easier.

    I took a look at your blog, too, after your mom sent her Christmas letter – kudos for all your sewing projects. I love how you’re using placemats and napkins – you definitely have a “cottage mentality.”

  3. Rachel says

    I have tried to make this 2x and can’t get it right. The first time I cut the recipe in half but I think I added too much flour when kneading it. So, I tried again but made full recipe. It didn’t rise like it should. I had trouble getting it to rise the 1st time so this time I set it outside (because its warmer). I have been using bleached flour mixed with whole wheat. Would that make a difference? Any tips?

    • Dan says

      One thing you could try is using some extra yeast. I’ve got a thing of yeast that has been in my freezer for several years, so I use 2x the amount based on an assumed 50% reduction in viable yeast. I’ve done the recipe with a 2/3 whole wheat, 1/3 white flour mix with no issues and I wouldn’t expect there to be any problem even with straight white flour.

      Best whole wheat recipe I’ve used. Only thing I do different is I use milk instead of water.

  4. Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says

    Sorry I haven’t responded before now, I just got a chance to look at my email!

    Sorry, too that you are having trouble with the recipe! There is no need to sift the flour for bread. Bleached flour doesn’t have as much protein as unbleached, so that may be causing some of your rising problems (need protein to make gluten, the strands you see when you knead it).

    Also, I don’t add any extra flour when kneading it in the stand mixer. It looks sticky at the beginning, but by the end is clearing the sides of the bowl. It should still cling to the bowl when you are pulling it out to shape it. This is important because I’ve found that too much flour makes for a heavy loaf.

    You can also let it rise more than the one hour if needed to try to get it 1″ over the tops of the pans. I wouldn’t go more than 1-1/2 hours though.

    Hope some of these tips help! Good luck.

  5. says

    Hi-
    I can’t remember how I found your blog but you have some great tips. I am curious how long this bread will freeze for and still be good as I like to do a “monthly” cooking. Also what do you use to slice your bread so it is “sandwich” size?
    Thanks,
    Wednesday
    Nine Mile Falls, WA

  6. Jami @An Oregon Cottage says

    Wednesday- Thanks for reading! This bread freezes great. We’ve eaten bread that was frozen for almost 2 months and it was just as good in our opinion. Freezing keeps it fresher, too, so I always freeze a loaf even if we’re going to use the other up within a few days. It would work great with your monthly cooking.

    I invested in a good-quality serrated bread knife and I just got good at slicing the right sizes through practice. There’s always a couple of pieces that are a little crooked, though. My brother has one of those clear plastic guides that he uses and it helps his pieces be uniform.

  7. Barbara M. says

    This bread is soooo good! I’ve tried other whole wheat bread recipes and this one is definitely the best textured, best tasting, and easiest ever. We love it. I won’t need to try any others now. My search has been for one that makes good sandwiches. This is it.

    I really enjoy your blog. Thank you.

  8. says

    This bread is amazing! I’ve been making whole wheat bread from the same recipe for 11 years. I’ve always loved it fresh out of the oven and for toast, but it was really too heavy for sandwiches. We just polished off the first loaf and although it’s still warm, I can tell it will be great cold for sandwiches.

    I used 2 cups of white flour and the rest white whole wheat. It’s a great light bread. My pans were a little smaller than yours, so I made three loaves and they were done after about 22 minutes.

    Thanks so much for the recipe! I’m really enjoying your site.

  9. says

    I am loving eating only homemade bread since I decided this last Sunday I was tired of paying so much for bread and still not knowing what is in it.

    I am having a problem though slicing it for sandwiches and having it not crumble apart. I tried this one above and I think there are a few things I did different that might be the cause. Until Sunday I have never baked bread in my life if it wasn’t a quick bread. Wait, I made popovers when I was 18, unfortunately they never popped.

    So I don’t have instant yeast so I used active although they did poof up nice like they were supposed too. They were a little too moist and I looked scary today with dough all over my hands and everywhere because I was too worried about to much flour. I did not wait for the first loaf to cool more than a half hour but that one I just count as an appetizer so that’s ok. :) I also am trying to use up my unbleached all purpose flour before I get some whole wheat.

    Any advice would be great!

    • Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says

      So glad you’ve decided to try making (and eating!) your own bread. One thing I’d like to mention again, though, is…

      bread-making gets easier and better with practice. You’ve got to be willing to eat some clunkers in the process. And even then sometimes I still get loaves that don’t turn out so great for some reason or another. It’s the nature of the beast. :-)

      Hopefully, some of these tips and answers will help:

      -the best thing I’ve found to cut bread is an electric knife. It makes cutting warm bread WAY easier, and lessens the crumbs with cold bread. It’s easier to get thinner slices, too.

      - if it was bubbly, the active dry yeast was ok- I don’t think there’s that much of a difference in this recipe, they’re pretty much interchangeable.

      -picturing you covered in dough. :-) I don’t show it here, but in some other bread recipes, I picture how the dough should be sticking to the bowl as you try to pour it out, yet NOT sticking to your fingers. If you put your finger on the dough and it sticks, add a TB. more of flour, and knead some more. You should be covered in flour, not dough, lol. If you add a TB at a time, you run less risk of adding too much. You’ll soon get the “feel” of the dough and it will become second nature. :-)

      -this recipe should work fine with unbleached.

  10. says

    Glad to see you check these comments on old threads! I have been making this bread for several months now with no trouble at all – but last night it didn’t behave. Since the house was a touch chilly I proofed it in the oven, then pulled it out to sit on the counter while the oven preheated. Literally within a few seconds of coming out of the oven both loaves “exhaled” and fell! I carried on and baked them – and they recovered a touch, but are really flat. Any ideas how to keep this from happening again? Our house is about 65-68 degrees – so when the radiators aren’t on (like now) I have to proof in the oven to get a decent rise.

    Also – just an FYI – I have been taking one of the loaves and patting it out, covering it in dried fruit (raisins, apples, cranberries, etc.) and a little cinnamon sugar and rolling it up before putting it in the pan. My 3.5 year olds LOVE it and ask for it almost every morning with breakfast and often for a snack!

    • Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says

      So glad you’ve been having good success with the bread. I’ve found that proofing in the oven is very tricky- it sounds like it was too warm when you did it and it rose too quickly, causing the exhale when removed. Do you happen to have a dehydrator? Some have good luck proofing in that. Try the top of the fridge, too, if you can. Sometimes I turn the oven on and set the loaves over the vent on the stovetop, just to get some more heat there.

      The key is slow warmth, I think.

      Love your variation- great snack idea for the little ones!

      • Bailey says

        Another option is to proof in the microwave. This is how I proof my bread and it works great. Heat a cup of water in the microwave for 2 minutes, this creates a perfect warm moist environment for the bread to rise.

      • Tina says

        I proof in a warm dryer full of freshly dried towels or clothing! It works wonderfully in the chilly winter months.

  11. says

    Thanks so much. I’m making another batch tomorrow (we do it twice a week with three little boys), so I think we’ll skip the oven proof and try the top of the fridge. When the heat was on I always proofed them by setting them next to the radiators – I guess I just need a new spot until the weather is a little warmer.

    I’ve also been mixing bakers bran into the bread and it is working great. (Anywhere from 1/2 to 1 cup so far – then just remove almost as much flour)

    Thanks again.

    • Jami @An Oregon Cottage says

      Good to know about the bran- I love finding ways to up the nutritional value of things we eat everyday!

  12. Anonymous says

    Reason 7. It makes your house smell ridiculously amazing.

    Always on the lookout for good whole wheat recipes. Thanks!

  13. HRodgers says

    I tried out this recipe yesterday and it turned out perfect! I’ve never made bread in my life and I don’t have a mixer so I had to do it by hand. The only small issue I had was I had to bake it about 8 mins longer. No big deal though :o) I just hope I can recreate it…

    • Jami says

      Wow- good for you, I’ve never done it by hand! :) I should’ve mentioned (well, you can see in the photos) that my pans were dark and darker pans cook things quicker. Also, ovens vary quite a bit, so that’s not unusual. So glad it turned out for you!

  14. Melissa says

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! I made it this morning and it is in the oven now…I can’t wait to have some with our dinner tonight. The recipe was so simple and I giggled when my loaves actually rose (a previous recipe I tried did not turn out so well)!!! I am hooked now :-)

  15. Alyssa says

    I just tried this, after trying the 100% soft whole wheat rolls. I’m so happy with the results! I’ve tried dozens of bread recipes, and could never find one that had good texture/taste, rose and didn’t fall in the oven, and that I enjoyed. Plus, it was SO easy to make. This recipe was everything. Thanks so much for posting it! I loved it.

  16. Rachel says

    I’ve been making a different recipe with milk and butter for a couple of years now and finally decided to live life on the wild side and try this one. Boy am I glad I did! Absolutely delicious! And your technique beats the traditional “proof the yeast with a bit of sugar” method (or is it the recipe?) I’m just curious, can you explain why the steps are the way that they are?

    • Jami says

      There are other recipes that call for a sponge – more unusual is that here it takes the place of one of the rises (normally there are two 1-hr. rises). It’s one of the reasons I’ve always like this recipe – it’s quick as well as fairly consistent (as much as bread can be, I think) in how it turns out. The original recipe I adapted this from (almost 20 years ago) called for the sponge-rise, and it sure works. Glad you liked it, Rachel!

      • says

        Thank you for explaining about the sponge taking the place of one rise! I was nervous to try this recipe because I’d never seen a recipe that only rose once. Much quicker this way! Off to bake…

    • Jami says

      Yes, instant can just be put in with dry ingredients and doesn’t have to be dissolved first. I think because this sponges first, either will work.

    • Jami says

      It should work, Jessica. I’ve never done it in this recipe, but I’ve subbed in others when I was out. Give it a try!

  17. Lisa says

    Hi, and thank you for such a great recipe! I’ve been baking our bread and bagels for about 18 months now and it’s rewarding but sometimes a bit challenging time-wise. This recipe really streamlines things AND allows me to feed my family great homemade bread that they love without all the extras added that I don’t love at all.
    I decided to try making burger/sandwich buns with the dough and it was a BIG hit! I just separate the dough into 3 oz. portions which I roll into ropes and fashion rosettes in a snap (see this link to learn how I shaped them http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tU9I1nYS60E). Then I allow about 20-30 minute rise on the baking sheets. I egg wash with an egg white beaten with one T. water and add poppy seeds to some, sesame seeds to some and I leave some plain. Bake at 400 degrees with steam or without…your choice… for 15-20 minutes. Delicious and the whole family loves them! I can make 9 buns and a loaf of sandwich bread if I split the dough in half. Thank you for an awesome recipe!

  18. Phil says

    Hi Jami and everyone! ! I made your soft 100% whole wheat bread today. (only have made bread one other time) I cut the recipe in half and added 1 Tbls Molasses but otherwise followed it to the letter. After the dough rose I accidently bumped it and it fell. Took it out of the baking pan and kneaded it for about 5 or 6 minutes. Back into the pan and into the over.

    After 30 minutes I tested it and the thermometer showed only 165 degrees so back in the oven again for another 15 minutes. This time the thermometer showed 180. The top was pretty brown so I took it out.

    Wrong! It is still doughy inside.

    I will do better with the next batch. It is still good though

    Phil

    • Jami says

      Wow, your oven must be really different than mine, Phil! I have to cook our sourdough sandwich bread longer, but this bread is always done in 30-40 minutes for me. Of course, browner loaf pans (like the old ones I used in the photos) cook the bread faster – 30 min – and when I bought newer lighter pans I needed to add another 10 min. to the cooking time. So many factors can affect bread, huh? :)

  19. Lisa says

    Hi, Phil. Sorry for the delay in responding to your question. I just saw it now. I bake the buns at 400 degrees for about 12-15 minutes now. Originally I had been baking them at 350 for about 20 minutes but I think that a shorter bake at a higher temp is better for smaller breads, and I find the browning to be superior at the higher temp. We use the buns for burgers, sloppy joes, sandwiches, or even as dinner rolls with soups and salads. It’s great to always have some on hand in the freezer. Happy baking!

  20. Mamabear says

    I’ve spent most of the morning looking at your recipes. I’ve enjoyed your site & wished that i could have found some of these simple (dressing, cracker, etc) recipes when my kids were young and i had more time to try healthier foods.
    I found your site linked with Heavenly Homemakers earlier this week, for your garden prep trick of black plastic.
    I’ve been baking homemade bread for years and found another trick that affects the texture and rising ability. I learned this on the show Good Eats. If you have soft water, buy bottled spring water because the minerals benefit the texture of the bread. When i started doing this several years ago, it made a noticeable improvement in my bread and also explained why my bread turned out better or worse in different homes i’ve lived in. Some had water softeners and some did not.
    Thanks for sharing all you’ve gleaned through doubtless MANY hours of research and experimentation!

  21. Mamabear says

    Ps
    I’ve been trying lately to duplicate the yummy artisan breads that are soooo expensive at the store…with not good success. I’ve already mixed up some of your French Baguette dough and artisan dough to try today. I’m hopeful even though i dont have a dutch oven. But i have glass baking dishes with lids i’m going to try. I also have stoneware i can try if that doesnt turn out great. (a large stoneware bowl

  22. Mamabear says

    PPS. . I just finished baking the artisan bread in my glass baking dish with lid. I had put garlic cloves in it and also I used 1 1/2 c white whole wheat flour plus 1/4c rye flour since I had some. Both loaves turned out AWESOME!!! I’m so excited! Now I’m trying to figure out how I can create foil or some other kind of “lid” so I can make other shaped loaves in other dishes I have.

    I appreciate your photos so we can see just how wet the dough should look instead of guessing what that means exactly.

  23. Misty Skinner says

    What is the type and brand of yeast you use? I am researching yeast and attempting to find one that is natural, preservative free and gmo free. I am seeing some with ascorbic acid, but that is known to be possible gmo. And some with sorbitan monostearate and not sure what that is, but thinking it is a preservative. Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Misty! You’re right about commercial yeast – I’m not sure there is a “natural” brand, you may have to research that more. If you’re really concerned with this, you may want to get a sourdough starter going (also called “natural yeast”) and bake most of your breads with it. That’s what I do now – I only very rarely use commercial yeast (1-2x month), so that little bit doesn’t worry me. You can go to my sourdough category to find links about starting your own, plus my tips on growing and keeping it alive. And it’s fun, too!

  24. Tiffany says

    Delicious! This is my new go-to recipe for bread. Much easier than the other recipe I was using and it’s 100% whole wheat! Can’t wait to explore more of your recipes and try out some of your other recipes!

  25. Carla says

    Hi,
    I have made bread since I was 9 years old and I have always let my bread rise twice. So, I don’t need to let this bread rise before I make them out in loaves? I am so going to make this bread. Thanks for posting.

  26. Esther says

    Today I not only made these loaves, but also made your Simple French Baguettes and started your Easy Artisan bread (will bake in a week). I’m in love with your website! Your recipes are simple and I can make a lot of things from just what I have in my kitchen =D THANK YOU!!!

  27. Natasha says

    I am baking bread for a long time. Main reason – I know what is in it. But never was able to find good whole wheat recipe. Till now. Thank you for that. I am using my own starter nested of yeast. I took around 1 tsp of it and used it for sponge. Left it overnight to work. I also was giving little more time to rise. My question is : how to u store your bread? Only my kids eat bread in our house ( me and my husband trying to aid it to do weight reason) . They usually finish one loaf in a week. I used to be keeping it in a sealed ziplock bag, but in the end of week it starts smelling kind of sour. Any suggestions? Thanks a lot. Wonderful website which needs to be more explored by me :)

    • says

      Wow, Natasha – good for you! And using your own yeast is great! We have the same problem with bread as you and I always slice both loaves right away, but put one in the freezer and leave the other in a baggie in a bread box. If it’s not all gone in 5 days, I move it to the fridge where it lasts longer. The bread is a little more dried out when stored in the fridge, but still makes great toast/grilled cheese, etc. and more importantly, doesn’t mold as quickly! Hope that helps some! :)

  28. Erin says

    Hi Jami,

    I have made this bread three times now and we love it. However mine never seems to rise quite high enough. It seems to stop at the top of the bread pan even if I give it extra time to rise. Do you have any suggestions?
    Thank you so much!

    • says

      When made with whole wheat without added gluten, it doesn’t rise higher than you describe, Erin. It’s the trade-off, I think. When I want higher bread, I use half white flour. :( Sometimes using white whole wheat instead of regular red wheat helps them rise higher, too.

    • Briteleaf says

      Heat up your ingredients, your mixing bowl, your kneeding bowl and we also warm our cast iron bread pans. You won’t believe the difference.

  29. Mae says

    Hello!!!

    First of all bookmarked your 100%whole wheat dinner roll… Look into this, I realise you only rest it once which is after placed in pan.

    In past recipes I encountered always rest twice… Did I misread?

    My husband is a white bread man wonder if you have in your archive a super soft bakery like white bread recipe? A challenge given by him which I’m yet to achieve:(

    Tq:)

    • says

      You read right, Mae – only one rise in the pan. That’s one of the reasons I like this bread! This will be close to soft bakery bread, and if you use half all-purpose, it will be even closer (hey, if he’ll eat it, it’s better than all white, isn’t it? :). Using White Whole Wheat often results in a lighter bread as well. You just have to experiment!

  30. Mae says

    Oh I left a thank you for a white flour version in your 100% whole wheat bun post…. Thank you again;)

    Btw I just realised the bun recipe is totally different . Why?

    • says

      Because they aren’t the same recipe, Mae. :) Making a soft roll with 100% whole wheat is notoriously difficult, so that’s why the Whole Wheat dinner rolls are made with a richer dough that include eggs and milk. The breadsticks/hamburger buns are only half, so they don’t need the other ingredients to remain soft. Glad you liked them both!

  31. Effie says

    I made this recipe exactly as you show, using coconut oil for the oil portion and wanted to thank you so much for a quick, super easy HEALTHY recipe!!! My whole family loved the bread and I’m making this bread again today. Perfect for school lunches and it’s great knowing exactly what’s in the food you’re eating. Thanks again!!

  32. Briteleaf says

    This is a great recipe. We add a cup total of sunflower, chia and sesame seeds as well as a cup of flaxmeal. We warm all the ingredients, the mixing bowl, the mixer bowl and the breadpans in the oven gently before using them. Keep the dough tropical warm and it will only take 34 minutes to rise and 34 minutes to cook and it rises high and makes huge loaves. We mill the flour in our kitchenaid mill fresh. Best bread ever.

  33. Emily says

    I started making bread a couple of months ago so I’m quite new to the process and so far have just tackled a simple white sandwhich bread recipe. Have wanted to try a whole wheat bread recipe and I came across your site when I was goggling for recipes. I made your whole wheat bread today and my kids absolutely love it! Not only that, my youngest, who loves all things white bread, told me “it’s the best bread ever, Mom,…better than your white bread!” I almost fainted! My bread did sink a bit in the middle after I put it in the oven, not sure why, but it tasted great.
    Take care,
    Emily

    • says

      Wow, that’s a fabulous endorsement, Emily!! Whenever my bread sinks, it usually is because it’s overproofed (been left too long), though not sure that was the reason yours did. Glad your family enjoys it!

      • Emily says

        I actually thought about that as a possibility as we had ran out to do some errands while the dough was rising and were gone for longer than anticipated ! I’ll plan to stick around the house next time!

  34. SST says

    I am a newbie in bread making. Have tried a few, especially the whole wheat ones, many I had to just throw away :-(. I happen to come across your site. I made this bread today and it came out fantastic, best ever whole wheat bread. I used the exact proportions that you mentioned, I also used the vital wheat gluten and followed your images of steps. Thankyou for sharing tips and tricks. The loaves came out perfect and it is very delicious. I will be making it often.

  35. Lindsey Pfeifer says

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I made it yesterday and it’s a huge hit. Between me, my husband, and my daughter, we’ve already eaten half a loaf. I love how it’s simple ingredients that I have, nothing fancy or expensive. This will be my go-to recipe for bread, after trying several 100% WW recipes. Thank you again!

  36. Mrs. Gray says

    I just want to start this comment by saying that I love making bread. I’m a bit old fashioned and even though I have a mixer, I love kneading, so I do all the steps by hand.

    Unfortunately, my husband really doesn’t like wheat bread, especially not homemade. I refuse to feed our toddler bleached flour, though, so we waste countless dollars buying bread at the store. Hoping to save money and having made a decision to change what my daughter and I were eating to more natural, healthy, homemade foods, I searched endlessly for a soft wheat bread recipe. Most were dense, some required ingredients I didn’t have, mixed white and wheat flour, or obscene amounts of sugar. Then I found yours.

    Amazing. I am in love. Best of all, my husband tried some and declared that he would never eat another kind of bread ever again. You have no idea what you’ve done for our family. I couldn’t be happier. You’ve inspired me, and I now have this page bookmarked to make this bread every other weekend. Thanks again!

    • says

      Wow, I’m so honored to have impacted your family at all, for my heart’s desire is to help people in my little way – seriously, I have a lump in my throat. :) Thank YOU so much for sharing that with me!!

  37. says

    Hi, firstly, thank you for the wonder recipe!!

    I have been bitten by this bread baking bug recently. Since there is a
    complete cut down on white flour and white sugar at home , I keep experimenting with whole wheat flour.

    Have not been truly successful with my breads and they would be either soft or too dense.

    It was a couple of days ago that I decided I add 50% white flour to whole wheat flour to make my bread ‘breadlike’.

    Yesterday I came across your blog and thought this was my recipe if success!! And it turned out to be wonderful. My daughter kneaded and shaped it beautifully and she also suggested raisins and we made it as a raisin bread. I made half the quantity and also added 3 tbsp of whole meal flour .

    Thanks a ton for the recipe that I can make and bake wholesome nutritious bread for my family.

    Great job and do visit by blog http://www.dosaikal.com for some trial and error whole wheat, no butter, eggless cakes.

    All the best and a very happy new year!

  38. Carol says

    Thank you for the recipe. I can’t wait to look at the rest of the site. (Been busy…WFH). I followed recipe with the added gluten. It worked perfectly. It didn’t rise as high has the picture but that is OK – I don’t need it to. Both loaves from yesterday are gone. I have to make more together. Actually, my daughter is going to make it. She is 16.

  39. Pauline says

    This recipe was my first attempt at making bread and it came out tasting just like the bread I ate when I was a child. I didn’t add gluten and it was still soft. My 5 year old is a very picky eater and he can’t get enough of it. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe!

  40. Theresa Hoff says

    Thank you so much for the recipe! I did however use half white and half white wheat flour. It turned out awesome! I also omitted the gluten and it raised just perfectly. When I get whole wheat flour I will use that in place of the white flour. This is by far the best recipe I have come across and believe me I have been trying many over the past year. With my family of 9(farm family) I will be making at least 4 loaves per week.

    • says

      Great, Theresa! I have found that adding a cup or two of unbleached flour helps it to rise better without having to add the gluten, so I usually do that now. :)

  41. Laura says

    Jami

    I have made many a 100% whole wheat bread recipe but this is the best. It’s quite delicious – too bad I’m not eating bread anymore – this is for the family. I even snuck in some ground flaxseed and they loved it. It’s so simple and not fussy at all. Usually I make my bread in my bread oven for simplicity but this was just as easy in my mixer! Thank you! I’m going to check out your site to see what other goodies you have.

    • says

      I’m glad your family likes it and I agree it is easy! I’m like you, though, and hardly eat bread anymore. I make it for them, too, and can’t resist cutting off the heel warm out of the oven and smearing it with butter, but after that I leave it to them. :)

  42. Bridgette says

    Just wondering if any of this can be done in a bread maker? I have a Zojirushi where I can just do the dough cycle and then bake in the oven. Any thoughts on using that?

    • says

      I think someone has done that and wrote what they did in the comments – I know there are a lot, but did you check through them? I don’t have a bread machine, so I can’t help you with that. :)

  43. monty says

    Really great tasting bread. The first two times I made it though it seems quite crumbly. So I took 1/3 cup of the flour and 1 cup of the water and cooked them together in a pan and made a slurry the consistency of pancake batter. I let this cool and made the bread as always adding the “batter” in with the rest of the flour. The loaves did not rise quite as much but I can slice them very thin for sandwiches without crumbling. Your recipe is now our daily bread. Glad I found your site. Thanks

  44. sasha says

    hello and thank you for this recipe, I just made it but I only had one bread pan on hand and didn’t feel like going to town for another one so with the other half of the dough, I made cinnamon rolls, and they came out fabulous. Here is my recipe for them if you want.

    Half the dough, one for a bread loaf, one for the cinnamon rolls.
    on a floured board,pat the dough in a rectangle shape about 12inches by 8inches….doesn’t have to be exact.
    Apply a layer of coconut oil (or, any oil you like) on the surface of the dough.
    Sprinkle a sweetner of your choice on top of the dough. ( I used agave syrup because it has a caramel flavor that I love, but you can use brown sugar or whatever you have on hand).
    Sprinkle a peeled chopped apple over the sweetener. You may use a pear, also.
    Sprinkle some raisons, chopper nuts ( I used pecans, yum!) You may use any amount you wish.
    Now, beginning at the shorter end of the dough, roll tightly into a long roll, and seal just the way you did for the bread loaf.
    Divide the roll equally into 12 slices. Place the slices on a greased pan. The slices may touch slightly, but allow some room for rising.
    Let rise for 60 minutes, then bake @ 350 for about 20 minutes. Turn onto a foil lined cookie sheet or something similar for the rolls to cool.
    You may drizzle agave syrup or drizzle frosting on top the cooled rolls. Enjoy!!

    Sasha

  45. says

    Hi Jami! I have tried so many times to make bread, and have failed every single time. The only time I’ve actually made bread that turned out well was Artisan bread, but my sandwich bread never comes out. I tried your recipe hoping that this time I could actually do it. But I couldn’t. I was wondering if you could give me a few pointers, or help me discover why I couldn’t get this bread recipe to work.
    I should have known it wouldn’t turn out well because when I added the warm water, the yeast, and the flour together it didn’t turn spongy after 15 minutes. I tried that step twice, the first time I’m guessing I had too much flour in there because it formed a thick dough that didn’t bubble, didn’t expand, nothing. The second time I tried to not stir it as much so there would be water left to bubble and sponge… it gave off like 5 bubbles, but that was it. I hoped that it was ‘done’ enough to move on. What would have gone wrong to make it not ‘sponge’ like that?
    I did everything by hand (I don’t have a dough hook). The dough seemed to come together nicely and I didn’t have to add in any extra flour. I sat my bread to rise on top of the fridge next to a vent and after 50 minutes my dough didn’t budge (rise) at all! What did I do wrong? Help! Please :)

    • says

      Sorry you’re having difficulties, Sam! Please don’t give up, I promise it will work one day :) First, make sure your yeast is good. Old yeast doesn’t rise well. Second, yeast is slower to work when it’s cold – it’s okay to let the sponge sit longer than 15 min, sometimes I have to wait up to 30 on winter mornings.

      There is no special sponge technique – you don’t need to stir less or add more flour, if you have good yeast and wait you should get some bubbles. And the sponge bubbles differently for me almost every time – sometimes a lot , sometimes just a little. The joys of working with yeast I guess. :)

      Let me know how it works for you!

        • says

          Jami! I did it! The dough sponged, and it rose and it came out looking great! First kneaded bread dough recipe that I was able to have success with! Thank you so much for this :) I tried one of the other commenters alteration of adding cinnamon and apple in the roll up step… my bread is still cooling, but I’m sure it tastes great!

  46. Sarah says

    I just made this bread. My 2nd attempt at homemade bread ever. The first recipe I followed was a total bread fail. But this one: perfect!

    Thank you so much for the pictures and specific times for letting the yeast do its thing and for rising.

    It smells and looks perfect. I’m having a tough time waiting for it to cool to slice into it! ;-)

  47. Danielle says

    Question; why can’t you use the “soft whole wheat roll” recipe to make a loaf of bread? Wouldn’t it turn out better than this or no?

    • says

      I think I’ve answered this in the comments before, but it’s a rich dough with eggs and butter – not a normal sandwich bread. Not sure it would even be easy to cut into slices. But you’re sure welcome to try – I think other’s have. :)

  48. Erica says

    Hi there!

    I’ve made this recipe three times now, and each time the loaf collapses in the over. Any suggestions as to why this might be? I’m in Montana, so I don’t know if elevation has any affect on that, but if you could offer any advice on how to avoid the collapse I’d really appreciate it. Great tasting bread, otherwise!

    • says

      Hmm, it may be the altitude, Erica. Collapsing for me, when it happens is usually because the dough over-proofed, meaning it rose too much before being put in the oven. Try baking it as soon as the bread is just over the top of the pan, not for a certain number of minutes. Hope that helps!

  49. Jackie says

    Nice recipe. For some of those that had trouble, accurate water temperature and fresh yeast are important for the rise. Usually I don’t add the flour until I get a strong yeast scent from the bowl and there are bubbles, then I follow recipe as written.

  50. James says

    I am having the issue of it not rising very high in fact it is 1 inch below the rim of the pan. I do not know if all pans have the same depth but I am using a clay pan not metal. I tried making it with 1/2 the recipe for 1 loaf to test it out.

    • says

      Sometimes if the kitchen is colder, the bread doesn’t rise as much for me, but it usually makes it at least an inch above the rim. Hmmm, don’t know what to tell you here. Maybe let the sponge go for a few more minutes?

  51. Stefan utah says

    Hi, love this bread, i just made it and turned out great, i simutaneously tried to make a gluten free mix bread (sis-in-law has an allergy) and am not quite as happy, it wasnt rising as well, now that its in the over its rising but not before. Thought if i use a store bought mix i wouldnt have a problem. Semms like youre are quite experienced and thought you might have tips on gluten free baking. I read here in a comment that the gluten helps in the rising process?
    Thanks for the recipe

    • says

      I haven’t tried making gluten-free bread, Stefan – sorry! Yes, the gluten is what makes it rise and have a light texture. I have seen some breads on Pinterest that look good – you may want to search there.

  52. Jennifer says

    Hello I’m wondering what the nutrition facts are in this bed? Also would it change at all if I added grains to the bed?

  53. Melody says

    This is an amazing recipe. It is the first 100% Whole Wheat recipe that is soft and delicious at the same time. A trick for insuring that the bread is soft, when you take it out of the oven, lightly wrap it in aluminum foil until it cools. It will make even the crust soft just like store bought breads. I LOVE this recipe. Thank you, thank you , thank you.

    • Melody says

      Oh and those having a problem getting the bread to rise, I turned my oven to it’s lowest setting the last 30 minutes of rising time and set the bread pans on top of the stove. Worked beautifully. Rose a good 2 inches over the top of the pan.

    • says

      That’s a good tip, Melody (along with the tip on rising, too!), I’ll have to try it. I often will but the bread in a storage bag before it’s completely cool to get the same effect – a softer crust. :)

  54. Victoria says

    This is THE BEST whole wheat bread recipe by far! Thank you for sharing. I had tried so many others and just couldn’t find one that is as soft and tastes great like this one. However I was wondering, how do you store it? I’m not sure if I should purchase a breadbox or if there’s a better way of storing homemade bread

    • says

      I’m so glad you like it, Victoria! I let the loaves cool, slice them, place in plastic baggies (thick or doubled thinner baggies) and then immediately freeze one loaf and store the other in a bread box while we use it. But storing in a cupboard would work for a few days and when we don’t eat it as fast (when our kids aren’t around as much), I do have to put it in the fridge to keep it from molding. Not sure you need a bread box – I like the look of it and it’s convenient to store in, but I don’t notice it makes any difference to how the bread keeps.

  55. Bev says

    Thanks so much for the recipe! We love the taste and texture but have had a problem with the loaf rising and then going flat while baking. Any ideas? It falls to the level of the loaf pan every time? Thanks.

    • says

      Whenever that’s happened for me, Bev, the loaf has over-proofed – usually from rising too fast in warm temps. Other than that, I don’t know. :(

  56. Sally says

    THANK YOU for this recipe! I’ve been making bread for over 20 years but could never get 100% whole wheat to be soft and light. I’ve made this recipe numerous times now and almost always get it perfect. It comes out better than any bread I’ve ever made, and I made a living several summers selling my homemade bread. I am beyond thrilled! My three daughters and my daughter-in-law are eager to try it. (My other two sons aren’t into making bread!)

    As for needing new pans — NO! you do not need new pans. When I was a Mennonite, one of the experienced bread-makers told me that if you use them regularly, you don’t need to grease them. I see nothing wrong with your pans, only that they’ve made lots of good bread!

    Thanks again, I love the soft texture and the lightness! I am so amazed at how soft and airy this whole wheat bread comes out.

    • says

      This is so amazing to read, Sally – I’m glad you’ve found the bread up to your baking standards! I already did get new pans, though. :) I love them and hardly need to grease them, so it’s all good.

      • Sally says

        One other thing I remembered learning from the Mennonites is that if you tap (fairly hard) the end of the pan, the bread will come right out if it is done. If it doesn’t come right out, put it back in for a few more minutes. I have found this to be accurate. Just made another batch today! I prefer smaller loaves, so I doubled the recipe and made 5 loaves in the regular size bread pans (rather than four in the larger pans)….perfect! I was worried that it wouldn’t come out right after doubling (plus I ran out of whole wheat flour and had to substitute wheat germ with a little bread flour I still had on hand). My 16 y/o son said it’s the best I’ve ever made with the possible exception of the first time I used your recipe! Thank you so much for helping me finally get it right!

  57. Lisa says

    I was wondering if anyone had ideas about how to do this without honey? We are generally are a no added sugar (honey, agave, sugar,, etc) family…. I know sugar isn’t necessary, but don’t know with what to replace it! I have used date syrup in the past for other recipes? I just made it with honey this time. Mine were kinda flat, but I have some possible reasons in my head and am going to try again!

    • says

      The sweetener and oil work together to make a soft loaf, Lisa – think about what loaves that are just flour, water, and yeast are like: artisan-french breads. Great, but not what we’re looking for in a soft sandwich bread. :) The honey also feeds the yeast which causes it to rise better. Not sure why you think date syrup isn’t a sweetener, though. Honey is one of nature’s purest foods that requires very little processing – only extraction, actually – which can’t really be said for date syrup, since dates aren’t naturally syrupy. Hope your next batch rises better for you!

      • Sally says

        If you’re not looking to use sweeteners, you may not be interested, but when I was out of honey I used blackstrap molasses.

  58. Pat says

    For anyone searching for your favorite spatula, they are the nylon spreaders made by Best Manufacturers and and in addition to being sold by King Arthur, can be found on Amazon and other cooking sites. Google “best nylon spreaders” or go to their website [http://www.bestmfrs.com/115001.html] and click the tab “locate retailer” to see if they are sold at a store near you.

  59. lydia says

    Hey there,
    My bread turned out beautifully, but did not slide out of the pan like other breads I’ve made….it pretty much left it’s crust in the pan. I oiled the sides and bottoms and corners by hand (i use glass pans). Is there something I should do or am doing wrong? Thanks!

  60. Stephania says

    Hello. I tried this bread recipe and it was great! Such a tasty bread and so easy to make. My one and only question is, if I want to add raisins and walnuts, when should I do it? Thanks!

    • says

      I use a mild olive oil or an organic sunflower oil or sometimes melted expeller-pressed coconut oil (the kind that doesn’t taste of coconut), but mostly the olive oil.

      • Becky Butler says

        Just made my 3rd batch…..I used unsweetend applesauce instead of oil…..learned a trick from a friend that helps the bread rise faster and better…….preheatt oven to 150degrees before you start making the bread……….after bread is in pans, shut of oven and put bread inside oven……..let raise for 30 min………do not open oven door! Now turn on oven to 350……do not open oven door!……..bake for 30 min…..perfect bread!!….

  61. Alicia says

    I’m wanting to try this recipe but I’m wondering what kind of oil? I’ve tried to cut out veg, canola, and similar oils and stick to healthier, but wondering which will work. Any idease? Thanks!

    • says

      I think I just addressed this in another comment, Alicia? I use a light olive oil most times, sometimes an expeller pressed coconut oil (no coconut flavor) and occasionally an organic sunflower oil. Hope that helps! :)

  62. Brooke R says

    I’ve tried this recipe twice now. I use my kitchen aid mixer and follow the recipe exactly. Both times, my bread won’t rise. It makes a really dense, short loaf of bread that my kids won’t eat. I’m so disappointed, because I’m really tired of buying the store bought processed kind. We do use this bread to make French Toast, that’s all its good for. Please help me!

    • says

      Oh, Brooke – I wish I could be in your kitchen to help you, as I don’t want you to have to buy bread, either! It’s hard for me to guess at what the problem might be without knowing all the details, but here goes: is your sponge bubbling after the 15 minutes? Does your dough look like my pictures – with it sticking to the bottom of the bowl as you remove it? The only things I can think of are that your yeast isn’t good or that you may be killing it with too hot of water (needs to be between 105-110 degrees), you’re adding too much flour, or that your kitchen is too cold. I think there have been some good comments here, too, from readers that you may find helpful. Please let me know how it goes for you or if you think these could be the reason, because I’m rooting for you. :)

      • Brooke R says

        Well, the first time I think it was my yeast, so I bought new at the store this week and tried again. It wasn’t as bubbly as the first time, but it was bubbling some. I used warm water. My kitchen is colder than most, maybe that’s it. Would it help if I warmed the bowl? I let it rise in a warmer room, but did the mixing in the kitchen. My dough is exactly how you described, it cleaned the bowl and didn’t stick at all. When I switched to my dough hook the dough was stiffer than I had thought it would be. I had to keep turning my machine off and shoving it back down below the hook so it would “knead” it. I’ll try to sit down and read all the comments after my kids go to bed. I’m not giving up. My husband makes killer French Toast, so I’ve got nothing to lose!

        • says

          Okay, here’s what I’d do – don’t be afraid to let it sponge longer, up to 15 minutes more, to see if it gets more bubbly. Also, it sounds like you might have used too much flour, the dough should still be tacky to touch (just tacky, though, no dough should actually adhere to your finger) and actually stick a bit to the bottom of the bowl. It’s a fine line – clearing the sides of the bowl when kneading, but still being a bit tacky – and knowing that balance comes with practice. That’s why I try to encourage everyone to keep trying – ’cause that’s what I did! We ate many little, hard loaves, ha! :)

          • Serena says

            My kitchen isn’t generally warm enough to rise bread, this recipe or others. I like to rise my bread either next to our fire place in the living room(because we have one), but all during the summer I also just turn my oven onto 350F and sit the pans on top of my stove, they rise very well.

            The only other thing I can think of maybe is that perhaps you bought traditional rising yeast instead of the fast/rapid rise that is called for here. Your dough wont rise with traditional yeast thrown in like this I don’t believe, so maybe check your jar or packages of yeast? :0)

          • says

            So glad you have enjoyed this recipe, Serena! I’m sure it tastes wonderful with the butter substituted for the oil, too. :) I do want to point out, though, that the recipe does not call for ‘rapid rise’ yeast, but instant active dry which is only milled finer and doesn’t have additives like the rapid rise (here’s a good article about the differences: http://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-instant-a-54252).

            And in fact regular active dry yeast can be used in this recipe as well – I have done it many times – without the additional activation step because the sponge step really does that (and you can add a bit of the honey at that step if you’re concerned). The sponge may take longer to fully bubble, but often in cold weather I need to let it sponge closer to 30 minutes to get a good rise from it anyway, so that’s not a big deal. Anyway, maybe it will save you a step in the future! Oh, and thanks for bringing this up – I’ve clarified the yeast types in the recipe now. :)

  63. Jennifer Ashley Smith says

    Hello I have been making this bread every 2 days for a month and it was great but now its not turning out at all.. my husband says he finds it very chewy.. its never kneaded right in my mixer either. so Ive always done it by hand. anyone have any advice for me.

  64. Raizel says

    This bread is absolutely amazing! It’s simple, quick, and delicious! Now that I know what I’ve been missing out on, I’ll never go back to buying store bread. The cutest part of this bread-making experience; when I removed freshly baked bread from oven, my three-year-old -daughter said,”Mom. Your bread looks beautiful.” My three children and husband say it’s definitely a recipe keeper! Thank you for sharing!

  65. Amy yazeed says

    i just made this recipe and the bread turned out so yummy , thank you i shall print it out and put it in my file , it will be very useful as i am trying to eat healthy food and of course it is home made so it is clean and i know what it contains exactly as where i live things are not that great

  66. says

    I just tried your recipe and I had to come comment! I have tried EVERYTHING to make a decent loaf of 100% whole grain sandwich bread and have never had any success. No matter what yeast I use it doesn’t rise as much as I’d like, no matter how little or how much I knead it doesn’t have the right consistency. Well, I just made your recipe today with whole spelt flour instead of whole wheat (just because I had some) and it is amazing! Soft and squishy like the chemical-laden breads you buy at the store but without all the chemicals! Quick, excellent bread, and I am beyond excited to finally be able to make my family’s bread instead of buying it!

    • says

      So happy to read this, Sara! This bread pretty much spoils anyone who eats it and they don’t like store-bought bread anymore. :)

  67. Kyra Labrie says

    Hi! I wanted to thank you for sharing this bread recipe! We are trying to eat healthier and more natural so I thought I’d give this a shot. It was pretty easy! First batch I measured wrong and had to toss out but second and third batches were great! Unfortunately, I don’t have a stand mixer so I did it all by hand and was surprised how easy it was. My kids (Ben, 11 and Abby, 8) have so enjoyed eating their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on this bread. They have gotten so many comments from the teachers and other students at school about their “fancy homemade bread”! (I think others are jealous) :) I can’t wait to try some of your other recipes.

    • Serena says

      I’ve switch to using all homemade bread as well and my boys (12, 10, 8 & 6) all get comments like that too. It’s pretty funny and nice too, LOL. :0)

  68. Serena says

    Hi! I found your recipe here just by doing a google search for a nice Basic Whole Wheat Bread recipe. I personally prefer to use traditional rise yeast and butter in my bread as apposed to rapid rise yeast and oil. So, I just substituted those in by activating my yeast in 1.5 cups of the warm water with a dollop of honey in it from the 1/3 cup honey and using melted butter as I usually would in my own white bread recipe. I have to say it’s rising very nicely now and I can’t wait to get it cooked to try it. I’ll let you know after its fully done, I just wanted to comment now. :0)

    Serena

    • Serena says

      All done baking, and I have lost a full loaf already to my hooligans(my boys). So between that and my own opinion, this is a WICKEDLY DELICIOUS bread! Thank you so much for posting this recipe for me to happen across today! :0)

  69. Melissa says

    I don’t usually leave comments, but I had to thank you for posting this recipe! It’s incredible! I’ve been baking bread for my family for about a year now and after many hours searching & trying recipes as well as purchasing bread cook books, I’ve finally found a keeper! Mine didn’t rise quite as much as yours, but here in NY it’s very cold still so next time I’ll let it rise ontop of the warm stove. I can’t wait to try out some of your other recipes :) thanks so much!

    • says

      Wow, this is a great endorsement, Melissa – so happy you like it – and thanks for taking the time to let me know! Don’t be afraid to let the sponge go for as long as 30 minutes if it needs to to look bubbly, and when it’s cold I often let the bread raise 15 minutes longer. A warm place, of course, does wonders. :)

  70. Stacy says

    I just sliced into a loaf of this bread (I could only wait 20 mins out of the oven! I sliced VERY carefully with a proper bread knife & successfully got 2 pieces without ruining it. Small victories!)

    I have just started bread making. I don’t have a mixer with a dough hook, so I’ve been doing it all by hand. Up to this point, I’ve only done artisan french boule’s with white bread flour, but really wanted to try to do a loaf of wheat. I stumbled upon this recipe (thanks, internet!) & cannot thank you enough for sharing this!!! It is so soft & satisfying!!! I found my loaves were ready at about 25 mins in the oven (turning at 15mins), so I’m glad I kept an eye out.

    I am definitely going to use your website as a tool to help me along this journey! I get so much joy out of baking & having the guidance like this was just what I needed to get me through my first attempt at whole wheat!

  71. Jenny says

    I made this bread today after first grinding my own wheat. Everybody together now, “Go Jenny, go Jenny, go, go, go Jenny!” :) And it was delicious. My 3 year old and 5 year old loved it and my 5 year old even said, “I just can’t stop eating this bread!” So in a house of picky eaters, this was a major success for me. I will be browsing your site for more recipes. Thank you so much for a winner!

  72. Luyi says

    Hi Jami,

    May I ask what kind of mixer you have for this bread? Kitchenaid have a lot of series of stand mixers with different power option. The classic one has only 275 watt power and I really doubt that is enough for kneading whole wheat bread…. And the Artisan or pro 600 series are too pricey for me…

    Thank you!

    • says

      Well, Luyi, when I started making this bread I did only have a Kitchenaid classic. It does strain the motor, but I sort of just decided that making healthy bread for us was more important than the mixer. It lasted about 10 years after I started making all our whole wheat bread before it broke and I bought a refurbed KA Pro 5 Plus (that I don’t believe they make anymore – the Pro 6 is the closest, NOT the Costco series). This model can easily handle this recipe and I really like it (oh, btw, a friend was able to fix our old classic and it’s still being used today in a household that just makes cakes, cookies, and such with it!).

      If there is ANY way to save up and get a quality mixer, there’s more of a chance that you will actually make all your bread because it’s so easy. And bread is an area where there is substantial savings over store-bought: it literally costs under a dollar – sometimes only pennies if you’re talking about just flour, water & yeast artisan breads – versus $2 to $6 in the stores. Add that to the health benefits and well, you see what I mean. :)

      • Luyi says

        Hi Jami,

        Thank you for your prompt reply and I am so sorry for my delayed response. The comment helps a lot. I have done a lot of research recently and finally decided to get a KitchenAid mixer, probably a refurbished one. Still a little bit pricey for a single student, but definitely worth the investment! As you suggested, I care more about health than money :-D Also I sort of become a baking fanatic recently so I think the mixer would help me in a lot of ways.

        Your comments about different KitchenAid models helps a lot. Thank you!

  73. Autumn says

    This bread greatly exceeded my expectations. Despite the overwhelmingly positive reviews, right up until I took my first bite, I was sure I had done something wrong. I use a cuisinart stand mixer, and have for many loaves of bread, but this recipe was so dense, I took it out about halfway into the kneading and finished it by hand (not my favorite). It didn’t really rise as much as I had hoped, and I forgot to turn it halfway through the baking. Then it just didn’t get as tall as the ones in your picture, not to mention, my loaf pans are an inch shorter than yours. I made the recipe as written, without the gluten. I am delighted to report that I am completely sold on this recipe. This will be my go to wheat bread recipe from now until I stop making bread. As soon as it was cool enough, I cut off the end piece, put a little country crock on it (sorry, I didn’t have any fresh butter…) and bit into it. It is so much better than the stuff I have been buying (rhymes with sharah flee). Most wheat breads are dry and a little tough, and I really thought this one was going to be the same, considering the consistency of the raw dough, but cooked, it is light, fluffy and delicious. Thank you, from the bottom of my poor overworked mixer and my heart for this beautiful recipe.

    • says

      Well, I’m glad you liked it in the end, Autumn. ;) Not sure it should be so dense, though…as you continue making it, you can try some of the things I’ve suggested in previous comments – make sure not to add too much flour when kneading (it should still be sticking to the bottom, but clear the sides) – just a tablespoon at a time, and you can let the sponge go for longer than 15 minutes – up to 30 – to get a good, strong bubble going as well as let the loaves rise 15-20 minutes longer. I think the loaves rise better with whole wheat hard white flour, too, as it’s a bit lighter than ww hard red wheat. I’ve been making this for years and it still does different things for me depending on the weather and warmth of the house. :) Sounds like you’ll have plenty of time to play around with it!

      • Autumn says

        UPDATE: I tried this recipe again, with new yeast, and garnered much better results. I believe the rise and and possibly the density issue may have been related to that. I did follow your advice and added the flour tablespoon by tablespoon after the initial mixing, and during the kneading. I also let it rise in my garage which is undoubtedly a much warmer place than my kitchen. So all in all, the taste is much lighter this time around, and I am still thankful. I love that this recipe has so few ingredients!

  74. Jean says

    Thank you ever so much for this recipe. It is absolutely wonderful!!! I have been searching for an easy recipe that I can make once a week that is healthy, but delicious. Finally, I found yours.
    My kids say it’s the best bread ever and I agree!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  75. Mary says

    Thanks for the recipe! I am going to try it right now! I wanted to let you know if you put your pans in a trash bag with a fourth cup ammonia they will be clean the next morning. You can wipe them down and the grime should wipe away easily. Be careful with using ammonia as the vapors are harmful!

  76. Mike winfrey says

    I just baked my first loaves using this recipe. It’s good bread but certainly not light and fluffy. It rose about one inch higher than the pans so I thought it was going to be as advertised. Then it fell slightly during baking but still looked good. I cut a couple slices and it’s pretty dense. Oh well, as I said it’s good but not light and fluffy.

    • says

      Mmmm, it shouldn’t have fallen, Mike – I wonder if it was over-proofed (left to rise a bit long)? That’s the only time that’s happened to me when baking these loaves – sometimes it’s warmer in our kitchen or I lose track of the time and the loaves rise too long which causes them to fall during baking. Please try the recipe again, if you can, as it really is a soft bread. :)

      • Mike Winfrey says

        I’ll give it another try. I let it rise for 60 minutes. I had a timer set. Also, as the recipe said, the dough should rise about an inch or 2 above the pan which it did. Also, when I say it fell I don’t mean it fell flat. It probably fell maybe a half inch while baking. It was fine when I put it in the oven.

        Thank you for the reply.

    • says

      I haven’t done it, but I know you can, Melissa. Honey is sweeter than regular sugar, so it would be safe to keep a 1:1 ratio – is coconut sugar as sweet? You can always lessen or increase the amount according to how you like it after you try it!

  77. Sarah says

    Thanks for this recipe! I have it memorized and have been using it almost weekly for the past few months. I’ve never liked giving my children store bought bread but failed at bread making until this recipe. I have a local mill that sells organic whole wheat bread flour in 25 lb bags and we’ve been through several! Also, I have been substituting maple syrup for the honey with great results. We use raw local honey and can’t give it to our 11 month old but she can have the bread if I use maple syrup. So thanks again for helping us move to our whole unprocessed lifestyle!

    • says

      It makes me so happy to read this, Sarah! Thank you so much for taking the time to share it with me – I’m so glad you found success with this recipe like I did. :)

  78. Hadia says

    Hi!!!

    The bread looks amazing! I would love to try it! i was just wondering if vital wheat gluten makes a difference because I was going to buy some? Does it make the whole wheat bread much softer and lighter?

    Thank you so much :)

    luv,
    hadia (from Jordan)

    • says

      It does make the bread lighter, Hadia, but it’s not crucial and in fact I don’t use it anymore and though it doesn’t rise quite as much, we’re happy with it. So I guess it’s up to you. :)

  79. Donna says

    Just made your whole wheat bread recipe for the second time. The first time, I didn’t use the amount of yeast that I was supposed to, just one pkg, and had to let it rise longer, and today I put the honey and oil in with the yeast, water and flour for the sponge. I thought I would have to dump it out and start over, but it turned out good anyway. Hopefully, the next time I will follow the instructions exactly, but it is good to know I can make mistakes, and still the bread turns out delicious! Thanks for the easy and tasty recipe!

    • says

      Good for you to keep trying, Donna! I think bread-making is such a trial-and-error process: you gotta just practice and learn. :)

  80. Cleo says

    This is my first attempt at making homemade bread and I chose this recipe because it was the easiest I could find online. It came out perfect, so I won’t be buying whole wheat bread anymore! The dough didn’t rise as high as I expected though, so I may put it in the oven the next time around and hope for better results. Thank you for sharing!

    • says

      So happy to read about your success, Cleo! You’ll find with bread baking that the loaves rarely turn out the same twice. ;)

  81. Brooke says

    While it’s probably not necessary to add extra gluten to this recipe, since you’re already using glutinous flour, there is nothing bad about gluten at all. All gluten is is protein, and unless you have celiac disease, there’s no reason to avoid it. Gluten-free products are really good for that 1% of the population that has celiac disease or an allergic reaction to gluten, but they serve no purpose for the rest of us besides duping us into thinking that we need to shell out $2 extra for fewer nutrients in a product.

    Sources:
    http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-kitchen-11/truth-about-gluten
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/healthyeating/10430422/The-great-gluten-free-scam.html
    http://jezebel.com/5991724/will-everyone-please-eat-gluten–please-because-you-are-literally-killing-me-kind-of

  82. Mstephen says

    To those of you that have kneaded this by hand and it actually turned out what is your secret? I have done this multiple times with no success and I havent added any extra flour. Are you using a particular brand of yeast?

    • Brooke says

      I kneaded by hand, and while I didn’t turn out quite as tall as the loaves pictured above, it still rose substantially. I used Fleischmann’s ActiveDry yeast.

      One thing worth considering is that you may need to raise or lower the cooking temp by a few degrees, depending on your elevation. I find that where I live, things overcook if I set them to the listed temp, so as a rule of thumb, I always reduce the listed temperature by 25 degrees.

  83. Jeanette says

    Love the taste, but I couldn’t not get a good rise from the bread. Even though I did use the wheat gluten, and the loaves sat for over and hour, they never rose above the loaf pans. It was a warm enough day and I tried to put them on a counter away from drafts. Do you think I should try letting the dough rise once before shaping into loaves? I don’t know if that makes a difference…

    • says

      Hmmm, even after years of baking our bread, Jeanette, I still find some weeks the loaves just don’t rise well for me – and I don’t have an idea why! I’d say keep trying and tweak the recipe as you want to see if there’s a difference. I’ve actually started adding 1 c. of unbleached flour and it usually gives me a better rise – I figure it’s not going to make that much of a difference, health-wise, and it seems to help the loaves turn out more consistent for me.

      • Jeanette says

        Adding 1 c. of unbleached flour or substituting 1 c. of the whole wheat for 1 c. of unbleached, all purpose flour? Thanks for replying. I’m just loving your site!

        • says

          Sorry that wasn’t clear, Jeanette! Sub 1c. of unbleached flour for a cup of the ww flour. And thanks so much for your kind words :)

  84. Tonia says

    Hmmm…..My family really loves this recipe, even though it doesn’t rise very high. I get it to rise above the loaf pan the 1 inch or so but as soon as I put it into the oven it lowers down either just under or level with the height of the pan. What is happening? Any suggestions???

    • says

      Hmmm, the only times I have dough deflate after putting it in the oven, Tonia, is when I’ve left it rise too long or it’s risen too fast because it was too warm (over-proofed). Did you put it in a warm oven to rise or leave it for more than the hour after putting it in the pans? Other than that, I’m not sure what to tell you…

    • says

      Yes they freeze great, Jilayne! I’ve frozen them whole and sliced and they work either way, though sliced is more convenient. I’m not sure how long they’d last – maybe 3-4 months? Ours are always gone within a month, at the latest, and usually just a couple weeks.-4

      • Jilayne says

        Awesome! That’s very encouraging. I am not a huge fan of baking (but I’m a fan of eating baked items!) and therefore I do not bake very often. I have wanted to make my own sandwich bread for years and have failed with each attempt I have made. I am so excited to have found your site and recipe and am eager to give this one a try! Thanks so much!

  85. MichelleBryant says

    Jami,
    Hi! I’m a type 1 insulin dependant diabetic so I’m trying a new life to stay away from sugar and honey. Do you think it’ll matter if I leave out the honey all together? I’m 44, had diabetice since I was 7 and for the last year, I’ve been putting on weight without knowing why. I can’t exercise much because of my health, but I’ve been cutting out chemicals out of my food, and it’s helping a lot. Anyhow, I don’t want to substitute sweetners, just leave the whole sweet part out. They have sugar free bread at the store, but who wants to pay $4 for a small loaf of bread with other chemicals in it.

    • says

      You can try, Michelle, but the sweet in the bread helps to produce a softer product with a nice texture – and also gives the yeast something else to eat so they grow big (and rise your bread). Maybe cut it down to 1 Tb. and see how it comes out and if you don’t like it, try adding another Tb. until you reach a product you like with the least amount of sweetener!

  86. Gloria says

    Hi Jami,

    Could I use instant yeast (rapid rise) for this recipe? If I could, would I need to do any of the steps differently? Thank you for reading!

  87. Matt says

    I have used this recipe now for a few months and I can’t thank you enough for posting this. My 6 and 4 year old love making it with me and we eat half of one of the loaves right away, every time! I do live in the the South (Louisiana) so I have made some adjustments that I wanted to share. First, I only end up needing about 2 cups (450 g) of water. Second, to get a super soft loaf I added a second rise. I do it right after it comes out the mixer, I knead it and place it in a greased bowl with a towel on top for 45 minutes. If you have the time for the second rise it makes an excellent bread even better. Thanks again for this simple and healthy recipe!

    • says

      I use a Kitchenaid 550 pro series, but I don’t think they make it anymore, so I’d go with the 600 series if I were buying now. It can handle the wheat – this has been making loaves weekly for about 3 years now, when I bought it to replace our little regular Kitchenaid mixer.

    • says

      It’s not really a recipe you can cut in half very easily, Ping. I would make the two loaves and put one in the freezer for later. They keep well for at least 3 months.:)

  88. Amanda says

    Hello! I came across your recipe for 100% wholemeal bread, and tried it out today!
    However, when I first took out my bread, i realised the sides have split! and i thought all was well and good, except that the loaf was exceptionally heavy for a small loaf.
    Then when i cut into it, it was extremely dense, not having those nice airpockets, that bakery bread had.
    I followed the recipe to the letter, except halving the recipe, using coconut oil.
    I really want to perfect the 100% wholewheat bread.
    Maybe I’ll try again next time ):

    • says

      Well, I’ve found that bread recipes don’t work as well when halved, Amanda, so that would be my guess. I’m not sure why exactly, but bread is a bit temperamental (better rise when it’s warm, etc), so I baby it. If you do try again, make the two loaves and just freeze one for later – it’s what I do!

  89. Cheryl Bailey says

    Have you experimented with Sprouted Wheat Flour for any of your bread recipes? There seems to be a lot of talk about the health benefits but I hear it also not as easy to work with.

    • says

      I haven’t, Cheryl. Cooking from scratch takes long enough for me, and I just can’t wrap my head around sprouting, drying and using flour (or trying to adapt recipes to use wet, sprouted flour). And buying sprouted flour is too expensive. I feel you just do what you can – and eating homemade bread vs. store bought has huge health benefits right there. :)

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