Whole wheat bread made of water, yeast, salt, and whole wheat flour! This simple wheat bread recipe is one of my go-to easy bread recipes with minimum kneading time and effort! You will love this Whole Wheat Bread Recipe. It’s incredibly chewy and moist, and you can make ahead the dough and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it fresh!
New to Whole Grain bread? We cover everything on how to make whole wheat flour (even pastry flour) at home and the types of bread you can make from whole grain! Try our favorite Whole wheat flour recipes like this whole wheat sourdough bread, Whole Wheat Tortillas, and homemade hamburger buns. Convert your favorite white flour recipe using freshly ground whole wheat flour from pizza dough to whole wheat pancakes!
Is Wheat Bread Healthy?
Is whole wheat bread good for you? Wholesome bread is the food that our forefathers lived by for thousands of years and grain is the biggest food group to eat from on the food pyramid in order to maintain a healthy diet. Wheat is a type of whole grain that is removed from the husk and made into a powdery flour. Read more on the types of grain I use to make whole wheat flour and where I buy whole grains.
Ingredients for Whole Wheat Bread:
All you need is simple and basic ingredients to make this homemade bread. This is similar to the way my mother-in-law would make bread by hand in Ukraine, except she would bake 12 loaves of bread at one time in an outdoor oven. You could also use 15 grams of fresh compressed yeast if you’d like.
- Dry Active Yeast- I like to dissolve the dry active yeast with warm water to rehydrate and activate the yeast, first. If you are planning to make ahead the dough, you can use cool water to hydrate the yeast and it will slowly activate in the fridge (kind of like pizza dough when refrigerating.) Using warm water speeds up the proofing time. Rapid instant yeast does not need to be dissolved.
- Whole Wheat Flour- we make our own wheat flour from grains. To make bread flour at home I grind a mixture of hard red and hard white wheat berries for high-protein flour. Gluten is a protein that gives dough its elasticity, helping it rise and keep its shape better. You don’t want to use white pastry flour from soft white wheat that is very low in protein and the dough can tear easily when working with it.
- Salt- use high-quality sea salt.
Measuring Whole Wheat Flour:
How to measure flour? I’ve learned that fluffing up the flour and spooning it into a measuring cup doesn’t quite work with freshly ground whole wheat flour. Because the germ, bran, and endosperm are present, wheat flour is fluffier in volume taking up more space in a cup. It’s best to scoop the flour directly from the canister using a measuring cup and gently shaking off any flour rather than scraping a knife across the top.
Whole Wheat Flour vs all-purpose flour? Recipes by weight always remain the same in the amount of flour you use. In grams, one cup of white flour weighs more than a cup of whole wheat flour. That is because white flour is more compact being made up mostly of the endosperm.
How To Make Whole Wheat Bread:
We make this bread recipe in a bread loaf pan but if you have a 2-pound bread maker machine you can bake it right in there. This bread knife will slice your loaf of bread seamlessly, every baker should own one! Making whole wheat bread is easy and this recipe is far from dry! We’ve even made this with 1 cup of sourdough starter in place of the yeast! Here is how to make bread with natural ingredients!
- Dissolve the yeast in warm water and give the mixture some proofing time of 5 minutes. If the water got foamy on the surface it’s good.
- Add the flour 1 cup at a time to work it into the dough gradually. This quick bread recipe doesn’t take long to knead and makes a sticky moistened dough. You could use a stand mixer but I knead it by hand. Typically, 6 1/2 cups of flour are perfect to make this bread. Kneading takes 2-4 minutes.
- After kneading, the dough should somewhat pull away from the sides and form a sticky ball. Let it rise in an oiled bowl. until doubled (30 minutes.) I like to use this oil spray bottle and spritz my bowl and loaf pans with it.
- Transfer the dough to a silicone pastry mat and divide the dough into two pieces. Roll out each piece to an 11-inch oval and roll up starting with the shorter side up. This makes a great sandwich bread and helps keep the loaf in shape for rising and baking. Place into loaf pans to rise and preheat the oven to 350°F.
- When the dough has risen in the pans, gently place them on the rack of the oven so they don’t fall or deflate.
- Bake for 25 minutes and remove from pans immediately so the bottoms don’t get wet and soggy. Cool on wire racks.
- Slice and enjoy with butter and jam.
How To Keep Bread Fresh:
Once you figure out how to bake bread, storing it is the easy part. How to store bread? Whole wheat bread is best left at room temperature for up to 2 days. Bread can last in the fridge longer however, it will turn stale faster when refrigerated. The best way to revive refrigerated bread is to make toast or a breakfast casserole where it can get reheated again. Once the bread cools on a wire rack transfer the loaves to twist-tie gallon bags and keep them closed so the air doesn’t dry out the bread. You can freeze bread if you know you won’t be using it within 2 days.
How long does bread last in the fridge? Whole wheat bread can keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. However, it is a good idea to use it for bread crumbs, French toast, or casseroles since it gets stale from refrigeration.
How To Soften Bread:
Bake whole wheat bread and remove them from the pans. Let loaves cool for 15-20 minutes on a wire cooling rack. Then put them in twist-tie gallon bags and leave the end open for the heat to escape. Once they cool completely you can tie the twisties on the bags and slice the loaves with an electric knife the next morning. Freeze if you have to. We like our bread crust chewy so, we do usually omit this step.
For Garlic Bread: rub a fresh garlic clove on top of the hot bread crust and sprinkle with sea salt. My husband grew up eating bread this way in Ukraine.
Can You Freeze Bread?
To store bread longer and have it hold its freshness, it is best to preserve it by freezing it. Whole wheat bread freezes well.
How to freeze bread: completely cool bread loaves on a wire rack. Transfer loaves into gallon freezer bags or twist tie bags and keep excess air out. Double wrap to prevent frost and freeze for up to 3-6 months. To defrost bread, place it into the microwave and defrost on defrost mode or thaw overnight.
How To Make Ahead Whole Wheat Bread:
This is the best way to make Whole Wheat bread because you can prep and bake this any time of the busy weeknight. Refrigerate the dough in a large food container covered with a lid and pull out the dough when you need it. Because this is a sticky dough it will refrigerate beautifully and bake like French bread. This method of baking bread is also known as no-knead bread and the gluten only gets better from fermentation in the fridge. Use warm to cool water if you know you will be storing it in the fridge, you don’t want the yeast to activate too quickly. You can also bake one loaf fresh and store the other loaf in a smaller food container until needed.
How to make ahead bread dough: prepare and place the dough into the fridge. Remove from the fridge 2 hours before baking. Shape into loaves and let them rise for 30-40 minutes. If making Artisan bread preheat the oven with a heavy dutch oven pot. Bake loaves at 450°F if baking closed in a dutch or 350°F if baking in bread loaves.
How Long To Bake Whole Wheat Bread:
It usually takes about 25-30 minutes to bake one loaf of bread from 100% whole wheat flour. Bread is done when an instant-read thermometer reads 190°F in the thickest part of the bread.
Creative Ways To Serve Whole Wheat Bread:
We eat our daily bread in regular slices, but there are so many different ways to eat whole wheat bread. Bread, butter, and jam aren’t the only way to serve this side of bread. Here is how to use up your bread in smart ways:
- Replace the water with milk to make dinner rolls.
- Sprinkle cinnamon, sugar, and raisins over the dough and roll up jelly-style for cinnamon raisin bread.
- Turn leftovers into breadcrumbs, or croutons, or use them in casserole recipes.
- Smear eggplant or Avocado spread over the slice.
- Serve as a side to Red Borscht or soup.
- Top with your favorite pizza toppings and bake open-faced.
- We love this bread for tea sandwiches with kielbasa!
How Many Slices of Bread in a Loaf?
One loaf of bread baked in an 8×4 loaf pan makes about 12 slices of bread.
Bread Tips for Making Whole Wheat Bread:
- This bread is very chewy, soft, and moist. The stickier it is the moister it will bake. It is like a no-knead whole wheat bread recipe, so, use wet hands to handle the dough if it gets too sticky.
- Use a heavy pot to make a dutch oven Artisan bread. This recipe will make two round loaves. Cook the bread in a vessel or cast-iron pot to make a crusty bakery-style loaf.
- You can substitute whole wheat flour with 4 cups of white bread flour or all-purpose flour.
- Whole grain wheat is wholesome and full of nutrition, make your own whole wheat flour using whole grains for premium flavor.
- Use the liquid from making butter or cheese (whey) for part of the water.
- Replace 2 cups of whole wheat flour with rye flour for tangy pumpernickel rye bread.
- Roll up jelly-roll style for strong sandwich bread.
- Bake bread loaves on the center rack or bottom rack for even browning.
- Keep frozen to preserve freshness. This homemade bread recipe is best to freeze the day of baking once it cooled for the best taste.
- To make ahead use cool room temperature water of 78°F and lukewarm water of 105°F if making fresh.
How To Make Whole Wheat Bread:
Whole Wheat Bread Recipe
- 1 grain mill (to make whole wheat flour)
- 1 large mixing bowl (to make bread dough)
- 2 8x4 loaf pans
- 3 cups warm water (105°F)
- 1 1/2 tbsp dry active yeast
- 1 1/2 tbsp sea salt
- 6 1/2 cups whole wheat flour **
- In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Let it sit and proof for 5 minutes.
- Add the flour and salt and mix well to form a sticky and wet dough. The dough should pull away from the sides and be tacky to the touch.
- Cover and let the dough rise for 30 minutes until it has doubled in size.
- Transfer the dough to a silicone mat and divide it in half.
- Shape each piece to an 11-inch oval and roll up jelly-roll style.
- Place into two greased 8x4 bread pans and allow to rise for another 30 minutes.
- Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 25 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on a wire rack before wrapping in storing bags.
- Whole Wheat Flour Substitute: can use 4 cups of white all-purpose flour or bread flour for the whole wheat flour.
- Each loaf makes 12 slices of bread. I use an electric knife for easy cutting.
- To Make-Ahead: use cool room temperature water of 78°F to dissolve the yeast and keep covered in the fridge until needed. Let come to room temp 2 hours before using.
Nutrition per serving