Homemade Whole Wheat Bread Recipe
The Perfect Whole Wheat Bread Recipe
I liked the idea of making homemade bread regularly, but nothing had really stuck for me. However, a few years back, a friend recommended this whole wheat bread recipe to me. It is from a blog called Everyday Food Storage (Thank you!) and it has been a game-changer for me. I have been making my bread now for several years.
It is some of the best homemade whole wheat bread I’ve ever made, plus it is easy. Just throw everything in a good stand mixer and plan to be around for about 3 hours.
I do think that every bread recipe has a bit of a learning curve though. While bread recipes are pretty forgiving, bread cooks differently with different pans, ovens, and ingredients. Basically, don’t expect it to turn out perfect the first time you try a new bread recipe.
My friend and I compared this bread to one of her bread recipes that only takes 1 hour. This bread was the clear winner in taste and texture!
- Warm water
- Active dry yeast or instant yeast
- Honey or brown sugar (brown sugar freezes in the bread better)
- Whole wheat flour
- Wheat gluten (see below)
- Nonfat non-instant or instant dry milk (see below)
- Butter or margarine or oil
- Dough enhancer or vinegar & potato flakes (see below)
Gluten is a type of protein that forms when flour and water mix. If you use a dough enhancer, you will probably be able to reduce the amount of gluten in this recipe because dough enhancer has gluten in it. Read the instructions on your dough enhancer container to figure out how to adjust the amount of gluten.
Gluten looks like flour and it helps to give structure & a chewy texture to your bread. Without gluten, your bread will be flat and heavy.
Nonfat Non-Instant Dry Milk:
There is a difference between the non-instant and the instant, but I have been using instant dry milk with the same measurements called for in the recipe with great success! Instant is a lot easier to find in any store.
You should double the instant to sub for the non-instant, but I don’t double and it is still great! (The amount in the recipe is the amount for the non-instant, so you can decide if you double or not.)
Dough Enhancer makes bread light, fluffy, and delicious. It usually includes gluten, acid, starch, and sugar.
I didn’t have dough enhancer on hand, but I do have a lot of vinegar and potato flakes. So, I chose to go the route of the homemade dough enhancer in this recipe rather than buying it an already-made enhancer.
I have seen dough enhancer in a canister at my local Walmart in the baking and food storage aisle though.
- Measuring spoons and measuring cups
- Stand mixer with a dough hook
- Bread pans – 1 lb size, 8.5 x 4.5 inch (greased)
- Rolling pin
- Kitchen scale (if you are making more than one loaf and want them to be perfectly divided, not required though)
- Clean kitchen towel
- Cooling rack
- Scraper (I use it to divide the dough and scrape the counter clean when I’m done)
Mix Up the Ingredients:
Put the ingredients into the mixing bowl in the order listed on the recipe. Use potato flakes and not potato pearls – the flakes incorporate better into the dough.
One of the beauties of this recipe is that most of the ingredients are items with a long shelf life and are nice to have in food storage. It is a great way to actually use and rotate through food storage items!
Knead the Dough:
Use the dough hook attachment to mix and knead the dough for about 10 minutes.
You should have added just enough flour for the dough to clear the sides and bottom of the bowl and form a ball. Your dough should still be a little sticky though.
I always add a little less flour than the recipe calls for and then add more in small amounts until the dough reaches the right consistency.
Kneading two loaves of this bread can be a tough job for some mixers, but the Bosch handles it pretty easily.
Let Your Dough Rise:
Cover and let rise until doubled. It takes about an hour or hour and a half for my dough to rise enough.
Ready! (Remember this is the dough for 2 loaves.)
Roll Your Dough:
Now separate the dough into two equal portions (if you are doing a double batch).
Form the dough into balls and roll it out to about the width of your bread pan. Rolling it out helps to remove any extra air in the dough.
After you’ve rolled it out, shape the loaf by rolling up the dough, as you might do with cinnamon rolls. Pinch the seam and the ends of the loaf.
Bake Your Homemade Whole Wheat Bread:
Put your loaf in a greased bread pan. Cover and let rise until about doubled, or dough loaf has risen above the top rim of the pan. This usually takes about 15-30 minutes.
Once your dough has risen, you are ready to put it in the oven and enjoy the delicious aroma of fresh baking bread.
Because of the light finish on my pans, I have to cook the loaves for about 35 minutes. I also place a sheet of heavy-duty foil over the loaves once the tops are golden brown (at about 15 minutes or so). The foil helps prevent the top of the loaf from getting too dark.
Some say you hear a hollow sound by tapping the bottom of the loaf when the bread is done. I usually just go by timing and color though – I want the sides and bottom of the loaf to be a nice medium golden brown.
I like to make more than one loaf at a time so I can slice them up and freeze a few. Slice up the loaves, stick them in a gallon twist & tie bag (or another bread bag), then put a few loaves in a gallon freezer bag, and freeze.
Then you can just pull one out of the freezer a few hours before you need it and set it on the counter until it is gone.
While you have the ingredients out, you can also make dry bread mixes for your use in future weeks. If you plan to freeze your bread, they say that brown sugar freezes better than honey.
Tips for Making Multiple Loaves
To adjust the recipe for more loaves, remember to keep the vinegar and yeast at equal amounts. Also, you may not need to double the yeast or the gluten just because you are doubling a recipe.
If you only have a 9-inch loaf pan (1.5 lb size), you can make 3 loaves worth of dough, but try using it for 2 loaves.
When you have to slice all of your bread, you need a good bread knife. This is the one that I have been using for the last year or so and I love it!
Cost Per Loaf:
Your cost per loaf will obviously vary depending on your ingredients and how good of a deal you can get on each item. If you get cheaper flour, gluten, or dough enhancer, it will be even less. If you grind your own wheat flour, you will probably cut the cost of the wheat flour in half.
My Estimated Cost (Jan 2012):
I end up paying about $1.08 a loaf. So, it costs about half of what I was paying for my favorite store-bought bread from Costco and I get to feel like a domestic goddess.
More Recipe Ideas:
- Quick One-Hour Dinner Roll Recipe
- Soft Pretzel Rolls Recipe
- The Best Cinnamon Roll Recipe
- No Knead Bread (5 Loaves in 2 hours!)
- Olive Garden Breadsticks Copycat Recipe
Homemade Whole Wheat Bread Recipe
- 1 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup honey or 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup wheat gluten
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons nonfat non instant or instant dry milk
- 1 tablespoon butter/margarine/oil
- 1 tablespoon dough enhancer (or 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1/4 cup potato FLAKES)
- 2 1/2 cups warm water
- 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup honey or 2/3 cup brown sugar (brown sugar freezes better)
- 5-5 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/3 cup wheat gluten
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup nonfat non instant or instant dry milk
- 2 tablespoons butter/margarine/oil
- 2 tablespoons dough enhancer (or 2 tablespoons vinegar and 1/2 cup potato FLAKES)
- Add ingredients, in order listed, to mixing bowl and knead with dough hook attachment for about 10 minutes. Dough should be slightly sticky, but form a ball and clear the sides and bottom of bowl while kneading. Cover & let rise until double, 1- 1 ½ hours.
- Punch down, turn out onto a floured surface, and shape into loaves. Shape by rolling out to 18x9, then rolling up and pinching seams and ends. Put loaves in greased 8.5 x 4.5-inch pans & let rise again until about double, or until dough has risen above the rim of the pan - usually takes about 15-30 minutes.
- Bake 375 degrees for about 30-35 minutes until golden brown and sounds hollow when lightly tapped on the bottom of load. (Bake at 350 degrees for glass pans. Baking time may vary depending on pans too.) Loosely tent foil over loaves about half way through, or last 15 minutes of baking, to keep crust from getting too dark.
- You can make dry bread mixes to store in the fridge with all of the ingredients (brown sugar instead of honey) except the water, yeast, oil, and vinegar.
If you are making this recipe in a bread machine, follow your bread machine’s directions for wheat or whole-grain selection and add the ingredients in the order listed for their recommendations (only one loaf will fit in a bread maker). For high altitude, use less yeast in the bread machine.