Whole wheat bread couldn’t be easier to make from scratch. With this easy recipe, you can have a tender, wholesome homemade loaf on the table in just two hours, with only 10 minutes of hands on effort!
I love homemade bread. It’s so much more flavourful than the store bought variety. Plus, you can produce an unlimited variety of textures and flavours!
So, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to make the effort to make bread from scratch more regularly. Not only am I tired of the cotton wool texture of most supermarket loaves, but I also wanted to cut out the artificial additives.
So, although we’re now in February, I’ve been at this bread project for a little while. At least, I’ve been at it long enough to have developed a few favourites!
This farm-style sandwich loaf is near and dear to my heart because it reminds me of the loaves my paternal grandma used to make on the family farm in Wisconsin. This is a dense-crumbed, yet tender, old-fashioned sandwich bread, which goes perfectly with the raspberry jam I’ve been making lately.
This whole wheat loaf is divine! My entire family adores it — including my husband, who is persuaded bread is not healthy in general. Convinced or not, he’s loving a toasted slice with butter and homemade jam after the gym in the morning!
About the Recipe
If you’ve never baked bread before, you might be feeling just a tad nervous. But, trust me, it’s super easy. Our ancestors produced bread daily and they weren’t all geniuses.
However, there are a couple of tricks that should steer you clear of trouble. They are:
I’ve used instant yeast, which is readily available in the baking section of your local supermarket, conveniently packaged in 10 g sachets that are perfect for this whole wheat loaf. They are not tricky to use, so long as you keep a few basics in mind:
- Proof the yeast by dissolving it in warm (not hot) water and setting it aside for 10-15 minutes. At this stage the yeast should be foamy and ready to go.
- If the yeast is not foamy after 10-15 minutes, sprinkle a pinch of sugar over the top to ensure that the yeast is still alive. Healthy yeast should generate foam where you sprinkled the sugar within 5-10 minutes.
- If there is still no foam after 10 minutes, start over with a new packet of yeast and cooler water (under 60º C / 139º F).
Weights or Measures?
Any baker worth his or her salt will tell you that weights are much more accurate than measures. For those of you who have never touched a digital scale, this may seem like a silly waste of time.
However, trust me, 1 cup of flour isn’t always a cup. My cup of flour could be denser (weigh more) than yours because of humidity, the grind of my flour, etc. So, I strongly recommend transitioning to metric weights for baking if you haven’t already done so.
However, you may be new to cooking or not have a digital scale. So, I have provided measurements to ensure that you, too, can achieve good results with this whole wheat bread recipe. Your results will simply be more dependable if you weigh your ingredients, rather than measuring them.
Kneading is dead easy, using a stand mixture fitted with the dough hook. However, if you do not have a stand mixer, don’t worry. You can still make terrific bread — and you might have a tad more fun at it too!
You will want to knead the dough by hand for 8-10 minutes or until it is very elastic and slightly sticky. Yes. This is a sticky dough. It won’t be completely dry, but it shouldn’t be gumming up your board either. If you’re struggling, add a tad more flour, until the dough hangs together.
This whole wheat recipe bakes beautifully in the centre of the oven. So, position your oven rack properly and do not use the fan function. Trust me, your loaf will be gorgeous!
Most of all, I hope your family enjoys this simple, every day farm-style whole wheat bread every bit as much as mine does. Bon appétit!
Whole Wheat Bread from Scratch
Whole wheat bread couldn't be easier to make from scratch. With this easy recipe, you can have a tender, wholesome homemade loaf on the table in just two hours, with only 10 minutes of hands-on effort!
- 1 10 g sachet instant dry yeast (3 teaspoons)
- 250 ml warm (not hot) water (1 cup)
- 125 ml milk (1/2 cup)
- 15 g butter (1 tablespoon)
- 10 g salt (2 teaspoons)
- 550 g whole wheat flour (3 2/3 cups)
- 1 tablespoon milk (optional) to brush top of bread
- Step 1 Mix the yeast and warm (not hot, under 60º C/ 139º F) water in a glass measuring cup. Leave to proof for 10-15 minutes, or until foamy.
- Step 2 Meanwhile, combine the salt, butter and whole wheat flour in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Allow the machine to run on low speed for a minute or two, in order to break up and disperse the butter.
- Step 3 Then, add the proofed yeast and 1/2 cup of milk to the bowl. Turn the stand mixer on to a low speed and allow it to run until the dough comes together and forms a ball (see notes). Then, keep the mixer running on low speed for about 6 minutes to knead the dough.
- Step 4 Turn off the machine and cover the work bowl with a clean cloth. Allow the dough to rest for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- Step 5 Then, punch back the dough and knead it three or four times by hand — not too much, just enough to eliminate any large air bubbles. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth again and leave for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, oil one bread loaf tin.
- Step 6 After the 15 minutes are up, form the dough into a bread loaf by stretching it into a rectangle and rolling it tightly, tucking the ends under. Place it in the prepared loaf pan and allow to rise for another 30 minutes, until doubled in size. Meanwhile, move a rack to the centre of your oven and preheat it to 200º C / 395º F.
- Step 7 After 30 minutes, brush the top of the loaf with milk (if using) and place the bread in the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes the bread should be crusty and golden brown. Remove it from the oven and turn it out onto a cooling rack until ready to serve.