Whole Wheat Bread

If you are lactose intolerant, it's fine to substitute water for the milk.

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Rise time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 loaves

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups warm 2% milk
  • 1 packet Active Dry Yeast (about 3 teaspoons)
  • 3 1/3 cups (395g) bread flour plus more for dusting
  • 3 1/3 cups (410g) whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter, plus more for brushing loaves
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons honey

Special equipment:

  • Two 9x5-inch loaf pans (You can use 8.5x4.5-inch pans, but your loaves will be quite a bit taller.)

Method

1 Prep the pans: Butter a large bowl and two 9x5-inch loaf pans and set aside. (You can use 8.5x4.5-inch pans, but your loaves will be quite a bit taller.)

2 Proof the yeast: Warm the 2 1/2 cups of milk in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring in between, just to take the chill off. The milk should feel tepid to the touch, NOT hot. (Hot milk will kill the yeast.)

Stir the yeast into to the warm milk and let it hang out for about 5 minutes. The yeast should mostly dissolve and you should see some small bubbles on the surface of the milk.

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread proof the yeast

3 Meanwhile, whisk together the dry ingredients and melt the butter: In a large bowl, whisk whole wheat flour, bread flour, and salt. Make a well in the center.

In a small, microwave-safe bowl, warm the butter in 30 second bursts in the microwave until just melted. Add honey. Let it cool until no longer hot.

4 Mix the dough: Pour the milk and yeast mixture into well in the flour. Add the butter and honey mixture.

Stir with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms. Most of the flour should be incorporated, but it’s ok if you still have some loose flour in the bowl.

Easy Whole Wheat Bread Recipe mix the dough

5 Knead the dough: To knead by hand: Turn the dough and any loose flour onto a countertop and knead for 10 minutes. Start by bringing the dough together with your fingers then smooshing it with the heel of your hand. Pull the dough back over itself with your fingers, rotate the dough a quarter turn. Smoosh with the heel of your hand and repeat.

As you knead, the dough should feel soft, pliable, and a little tacky. Dust with additional bread flour as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, if it sticks to the counter or your hands.

To knead in a stand mixer: In a stand mixer fit with a dough hook attachment, knead the dough on the lowest speed for 5 to 7 minutes.

When finished kneading, the dough should be tacky but not sticky. Form the dough into a ball. It should be smooth on top, and feel elastic.

How to Make Whole Wheat Bread knead the dough

6 Let the dough rise: Place the ball of dough into the buttered bowl. Use your fingers to gently spread a thin layer of softened butter on top of the dough ball.

Cover with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and let it sit on the counter until it has just about doubled in size. This should take 45 to 60 minutes.

Homemade Whole Wheat Bread roll the dough into a ball

7 Shape the loaves: Gently punch the dough down two or three times. Take the dough out of the bowl and form it into a ball. Divide the dough into equal halves.

Shape each half into a loaf: Gently flatten the dough with the tips of your fingers to form a puffy oval roughly the width of your baking pan. Starting from a short end, gently roll it up and pinch the seam closed. Roll it over so the seam-side is down and transfer to the prepared baking pan.

Repeat with the second loaf.

Whole wheat bread recipe flatten the loaves

8 Let the loaves rise: Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Let rise for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the bread rises just above the lip of the pan.

The dough is ready for the oven once it has puffed up, but it maintains its structure. You should be able to press a fingertip gently onto the top of it, and the dimple should slowly fill back in.

Honey Whole Wheat Bread let it rise Easy Whole Wheat Bread Recipe proofed loaves

9 Halfway through this second rise, preheat your oven to 375-degrees. Melt additional butter for brushing over the tops of the loaves.

10 Bake the loaves: Slash a shallow line down the center of the dough with serrated knife. Brush the tops with the melted butter. (The top layer of dough might bubble a little when you baste it with the warm butter. That’s ok. Just pop the bubbles with your knife.)

Place the loaves in the oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes until loaves are golden brown, have risen, and make a hollow sound when the bottoms are tapped.

How to Make Whole Wheat Bread slash the tops of the loaves Whole wheat bread recipe bake until golden

11 Cool the loaves: When the loaves have finished baking, remove from oven and baste the tops with butter one more time.

Turn the loaves out onto a wire rack and let cool. Do not let the bread cool in the loaf pans. If you do, the bread will get soggy.

12 Store and enjoy! Once the bread has cooled, store it on the countertop in a plastic bag or a cloth bread bag.

The bread will stay fresh for 4 days, which isn’t to say it goes bad by day 5, just that it will start to dry out a bit. Rather than using the bread to make a fresh turkey sandwich on day 5 make grilled sandwiches or toast.