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Honey Whole Wheat Bread

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

As whole grain breads go, this one is among the simplest, with but a single grain-whole wheat. It is, however, a hearty bread with a chewy texture and good flavor. It keeps well and makes excellent toast and sandwiches. Keep in mind that because whole wheat flour contains less gluten than white flour, the kneaded dough will not be quite as smooth as dough made purely from white flour.

2 large loaves

Cooking Methodbaking

CostInexpensive

Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Dietary Considerationegg-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Type of Dishbread, yeast bread

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons (2 packets) active dry yeast
  • 2½ cups lukewarm water
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 8-10 cups whole wheat flour

Instructions

  1. Place the yeast, water, honey, oil, and salt in a dishpan or large bowl, and stir with a wooden spoon. Add 6 cups of flour and beat with the spoon for a minute or two, or until well blended.

  2. Add 2 more cups of flour, then squeeze the mixture with your hands until the flour disappears. If it is too wet to pick up, add a little more flour. As soon as you can handle the dough, sprinkle with a bit more flour and begin to knead directly in the bowl (or on a floured board), adding more flour as necessary. Knead for 10 minutes, or until the dough is fairly smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball.

  3. Spread a little oil on the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add the ball of dough, then turn it over, oiled side up. Cover and set in a warm spot for about an hour, or until the dough doubles in bulk. Thoroughly grease (with oil or butter) two 9-x-5-inch bread pans and set aside.

  4. Punch down the risen dough and form into a ball. Cut in half, and pat each half into a flattened rectangle that is a little longer than the pans. Starting at one of the long sides, tightly roll up each rectangle. Pinch the seam together, turn the loaf over, and tuck the ends under neatly. Place the loaves seam-side down in the prepared pans, cover, and let rise about 30 to 40 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.

  5. Cut a ½-inch-deep slash lengthwise down the center of each risen loaf. Place in a preheated 375°F oven and bake for about 40 minutes, or until the loaves are very brown and hollow-sounding when rapped on the bottom with your knuckle. Cool on a wire rack before serving.

  6. Variations:

  7. Rich Honey Whole Wheat Bread: For a richer, “cakier” version of this bread, add 1 egg to ingredients in Step 1.

  8. Light Whole Wheat Bread: Use half whole wheat flour, and half unbleached white. (It doesn’t have to be exactly half and half.)

  9. Bran Bread: Add 1 cup bran (miller’s bran, not bran cereal) after beating the dough in Step 1.

  10. Raisin Bran Bread: Add 1 cup bran (miller’s bran, not bran cereal) and 1 cup raisins after beating the dough in Step 1. For a sweeter version, add 3 additional tablespoons honey and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

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