This whole wheat bread recipe makes two loaves of perfectly soft and fluffy homemade brown bread. It’s an easy bread recipe you will make again and again!
I love making my bread from scratch. I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of a nerd that way.
Slicing into a loaf of bread, fresh from the oven, makes me happy.
Also, homemade bread tastes so much better then the store bought kind. Bread is one of those things where homemade is definitely better.
I’ve tried a lot of different whole wheat bread recipes, and this one is my current favourite. I found it in one of my mom’s old cookbooks about a year ago and it’s the only one I’ve made since.
I did change a few things, because that’s kind of how I operate, but this is the version that I make and it’s fantastic.
Perfectly soft and fluffy loaves of whole wheat bread, that are coming out of the oven in about 2 1/2 hours. With only about 15 minutes of actual hands on time. If that.
You can even double the recipe (with barely any extra hands on time) to make four loaves of whole wheat bread so you can toss a couple in the freezer for later.
This whole wheat bread recipe is perfect. Soft, fluffy whole wheat bread, that shapes easily, and doesn’t take very long to make.
It will likely be my favourite whole wheat bread recipe for a while.
How do you make whole wheat bread from scratch?
Making whole wheat bread from scratch is very easy, so don’t be intimidated by making bread! It is definitely something that everyone can learn to do.
The toughest part is learning how to shape the loaves properly. But really, if you don’t shape them well, the worst that can happen is there will be some holes in your bread. They’ll still taste fantastic, so it really doesn’t matter that much.
All you need to do to make homemade whole wheat bread is mix everything together, let the dough knead in a stand mixer for 7-8 minutes, and let it rise. Shape the loaves, let it rise again, and bake. That’s it.
It’s really very easy to make, and you will feel like a bit of an all-star when your family raves about the amazing bread that you just made from scratch!
Why is my homemade bread so dense?
Homemade bread can end up dense for a few different reasons.
If you don’t knead your bread dough for long enough, it won’t develop enough gluten to give it the light and airy texture that we all love. Developing gluten in the dough is important as this is what gives the bread it’s structure. If there isn’t enough gluten developed, the bread will have a dense structure. So make sure to knead the dough for the full time listed in the recipe, as cutting it short will prevent the gluten from developing properly.
Another cause of dense bread is over flouring the bread dough. The amount of flour in a bread recipe is not a strict amount, but more of a guideline. This whole wheat bread recipe calls for 5 cups of flour, because that is typically what I need. But the amount of flour that is actually needed will vary day to day based on a number of factors, such as how you measure flour, or the humidity that day.
If you over flour the dough, you will end up with dense bread. If you under flour it, it will be next to impossible to shape your loaves as the dough will be too sticky to shape properly.
Correctly floured bread dough will be soft, smooth, and slightly tacky, but not overly sticky. You should be able to pinch off a piece of dough and roll it between your hands into a smooth ball, without getting a whole bunch of dough stuck to your hands.
How to make Whole Wheat Bread:
- The most important thing with bread making is to not take the amount of flour listed as a hard and fast rule. It’s a guideline. Start with 4 1/2 cups of flour, mix everything for about 30 seconds, and then look at the dough to decide if you need more flour. If the dough is a loose, batter like mixture, add more flour, a few tablespoons at a time until it comes together into a smooth ball that clears the sides and bottom of the bowl. If it’s really dry to the touch, and not tacky at all, add a bit more water, a tablespoon at a time, until it is soft and smooth to the touch.
- Make sure to grease your bread pans before putting the bread dough in them, or the loaves will stick to the pans.
- Turn the bread out onto a wire rack to cool immediately after taking it out of the oven. If you leave it in the bread pans to cool, the crust will get soggy from the steam.
- I usually rub the tops of my loaves with butter after taking them from the oven. This makes the crust a bit softer, and it just tastes good, but is completely optional.
Here are some more great bread recipes for you:
- 3/4 cup milk (I use 2%)
- 2 tablespoons molasses (or brown sugar)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- Heat the milk in the microwave until it is steaming, about 1 minute on high heat, although this will depend on your microwave.
- Stir in the molasses, salt, and butter. Continue stirring until the butter is melted.
- Transfer the milk mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer, and add the water, whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, and yeast.
- Mix with the dough hook (or a wooden spoon in a bowl if mixing by hand) until everything comes together.
- After mixing for a minute or so, the dough should come together and clear the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- If it is too wet and sticky to clear the bottom of the bowl, add a little more flour, a couple tablespoons at a time, until the dough clears the bottom of the bowl. It should be soft and slightly tacky to the touch, but not overly sticky.
- If the dough is really dry and the flour is not completely mixing in, add a bit more water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together into a smooth ball.
- Knead the dough with the dough hook on low speed for 7-8 minutes (10-12 by hand) until it is smooth and elastic.
- Move the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning it to coat, and cover it tightly with plastic wrap.
- Allow it to rise until doubled, about 60-90 minutes.
- Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly oiled surface.
- Divide it into two pieces and shape each piece into a loaf.
- Place each loaf into an oiled 8x4 inch bread pan and cover lightly with plastic wrap (make sure the ends aren’t trapped, you don’t want it to stop the bread from rising).
- Allow the loaves to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until they have almost doubled.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Bake the loaves for 28-32 minutes, until golden brown.
- Turn the loaves out onto a wire rack immediately, rub the tops of the loaves with butter if desired (this makes the crust a bit softer), and cool completely before slicing.
This recipe can be doubled to make 4 loaves of bread, as long as your stand mixer can handle up to 10 cups of flour, or you’re making it by hand.
Make sure to base the amount of flour you add on how the dough looks, not the exact amount you’ve added, as this can changed based on a number of factors, and won’t be exactly the same every time you make it. You want the dough to be smooth and slightly tacky, but not overly sticky.
When floured correctly, it will clear the sides and bottom of the bowl when kneading in a stand mixer, and will form a smooth ball. You should be able to pinch off a piece of dough and roll it between your hands into a smooth ball. It will stick to your hands at first, but should roll into a ball easily. If it is sticking like crazy to your hands, you need to add more flour, if it is dry to the touch instead of tacky, you need to add a little more water.
If you prefer to use active dry yeast, use 2 1/4 teaspoons, stir it into the warm water with a teaspoon of sugar, and let it sit for about 5 minutes to activate. Once it is foamy and bubbling, you can add it to the rest of the ingredients and continue with the recipe.
See the recipe video for detailed instructions on making the dough and shaping the loaves.
Source: Adapted from The New Purity Cookbook.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 86Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 152mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 3g
Nutrition Information is estimated based on ingredients used and may not be exact.