This is my favorite, simple 100% Whole Wheat Bread recipe. This recipe makes two loaves. (I always double it for my family, so if the pictures in this tutorial look like twice the amount, that’s because it is.)
Honey Whole Wheat Bread
6 cups (give or take) whole wheat flour, divided
1 ¾ cups warm water, divided
1/3 cup honey
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 Tablespoons melted butter
Mix 3 cups of whole wheat flour with 1 ½ cups of warm water in a large glass bowl. Allow this to sit for about 30 minutes. This will break down the gluten and help the bread to rise better.
In a small bowl mix together ¼ cup water, 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast and 1/3 cup honey. Allow this to sit for about 10 minutes, or until the yeast is activated and mixture becomes bubbly.
In the meantime, melt 3 Tablespoons butter in a small sauce pan. Remove from heat and allow to cool. You don’t want the hot butter to kill the yeast.
Add 1 teaspoon salt, melted butter and yeast mixture to the flour and water mixture. Gradually add the remaining three cups of flour and stir well. As the dough becomes harder to stir, pour it out onto a clean counter and begin to knead the dough. If you create a nice dough before adding all three cups of flour…you don’t need to continue to add it in. Just add enough to make a nice, non-sticky dough.
Here’s a video to show you how to knead the dough. Two things: 1) I was having a freaked out hair day. So glad I could share it with you. 2) I’m pretty sure “wetter” is not a real word, yet I use that word toward the end of the video. I are sorry.
Don’t you love how I “spank” the dough at the end of the clip? There’s something very gratifying about giving the dough a nice “spank”. You should try it sometime.
Once you’ve kneaded your dough, place it into a bowl to rise.
Cover the dough with a cloth and let it rise for at least one hour or until it has risen to twice it’s starting size.
While you’re waiting for your dough to rise, get your bread pans buttered. You can also do some laundry, wash some dishes, or clean the bread dough out from under your fingernails.
There it is…doubled up.
Give the raised dough a nice punch.
(Punching? Spanking? Who knew making bread was so violent in nature?)
Using a floured hand, pull the dough out of the bowl onto the counter.
Knead for three or four minutes until the air bubbles are all gone.
Now you can watch how I shape my dough into loaves before baking. Again…more spanking…
Cover and allow 30 minutes to one hour to rise again. They should double in size, but the rising should happen more quickly this time because the yeast knows what to do by now.
See here how the loaves have doubled in size?
Bake the bread uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the bread sounds hollow when you thump the top of it. (Great. Spanking, punching and thumping. I am really a bad influence.)
Allow the bread to cool in the pans for 10 minutes,
then remove it to finish cooling on a wire rack.
The bread slices more easily after it’s cooled. However…it’s awfully hard to wait…and bread fresh out of the oven slathered in butter is really, really good. I say go for it.
A few notes:
- Making bread from start to finish takes about 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Most of that time is waiting and baking time…but if you plan to make bread, you should block out an entire morning or afternoon.
- If your water or butter is too cold or too hot, it will kill the yeast. If you can put your (clean) finger in the water or butter and it doesn’t burn you, but just feels warm… you’ve got the right temperature.
- If the dough in your bowl has risen to double and suddenly you need to nurse the baby or wash cottage cheese out from between your toddler’s toes…just go punch down your dough and let it rise again before you shape it. It won’t hurt anything.
- If you want to shape your dough into loaves, but bake them later: Shape your loaves then put them directly into the freezer before they have a chance to rise. Allow them to sit in buttered loaf pans for several hours (or overnight) so that they can thaw and rise before baking.
- Many of you have asked if I have a bread machine. I don’t, so I’m sorry I am not able to answer your questions about them. I’m assuming this recipe would work in a machine, but I don’t know. Maybe some of you with bread machines can chime in on this?