{Our Favorite} Whole Wheat Bread

Last week I shared my "Once-a-Month Plan" for menu planning and grocery shopping.  I'm telling you, it has revolutionized my life! Sometimes you've got to step back and change things, you know?  I'm so happy we did it.  Not having to worry about making a menu or a long trip to the grocery store every week is awesome. One thing that helps me be able to stay out of the store though (and keeps the grocery bill down!) is making my own bread. 

About seven years ago I ventured into the world of baking yeast breads. I wanted to have a cheaper and healthier option than what was offered at the store. I really didn't know what I was doing, but I figured if it didn't turn out, hey, at least I tried and I could always try again! It seems that bread making is a scary thought for most people but I quickly learned that it's really quite easy.  

And you don't have to have a Kitchen Aid either.  I made mine for three years without one and it was just fine!  I do have one now though and I must say, it's nice to be able to let it do the work for me. =)  But it's not a necessity.  

Through the years I've tried many different whole wheat bread recipes, and this one is by far my favorite.  It's very versatile and I've used it for dinner rolls, hamburger buns and even as a healthier option for cinnamon roll dough.  

You can make this bread using all whole wheat flour or substituting half of the flour with unbleached all purpose for a lighter bread, even though it's not "heavy" to begin with.  Just experiment!

Whole Wheat Bread


 2 tbsp. yeast*  (or just use 2 packages, it's less but still works fine)
1 cup warm water (just not hot or else it will kill the yeast)
1 tbsp. white sugar
1 cup warm milk
1/3 cup brown sugar (or honey, although you'll need more flour if you use honey)
1/3 cup oil (I use canola or olive)
2 tsp. salt
5-6 cups 100% whole wheat flour (or about 7 cups if doing half whole wheat and half all purpose flour)

*I always buy my yeast at Sam's club, it's a 2lb. package for around $4)

1.  In mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar in 1 cup of warm water. Whisk together and let sit until mixture is bubbly and foamy.

2.  Add warm milk, and brown sugar to yeast mixture, and whisk together.  Let it sit for about 2-3 minutes.

3.  Add oil, salt and 4 cups of flour.  Stir together.

4.  Add the 5th cup of flour and knead by hand or in your stand mixer for 6-8 minutes, adding flour as needed to form a nice and smooth dough.  You don't want it sticky, but you don't want it dry either. Most cookbooks describe it as "smooth and elastic."  It should look something like this:

5.  Put your ball of dough into a greased bowl, cover with a towel and put it into the oven with a bowl of hot water on the rack below it.  Allow to rise for about one hour, or until doubled in size.

6.  After the dough has risen "punch it down" with your fists (my littles LOVE to do this) to squish out any air bubbles.  You don't want a big hole in the center of your bread! =)  Using a sharp knife, divide the dough in half.  There a few different techniques for shaping your bread loaves, but I just kind of pat and pinch mine into the right shape.  Place each loaf in a greased bread pan.

7.  Cover the bread and allow to rise for another 35 minutes.

8.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, and then reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue to bake for another 15 minutes.

9.  Immediately remove bread from pans and cool on wire racks.

10.  Once cool, slice it up and try very hard not to eat the entire loaf.  =D

{My bread pans aren't the same size, hence the mismatched loaves!}

My kids eat just about a whole loaf at lunch time.  Not even kidding.  They LOVE fresh bread. Peanut butter and jelly happens to be a favorite around here.  (That's blueberry jam we made last summer...yummy!)

Watching Lucy eat her sandwich at lunch is hilarious.  Especially when she's staring at her brothers and stuffing her face absentmindedly.  

But then she noticed I was taking pictures of her and started to ham it up.  Cutie.  =D

 If you've never made bread, you should give this recipe a shot.  It's simple, yummy and reliable...all reasons why it's my favorite bread recipe EVER.  And it'll save you some pennies at the grocery store, and who doesn't love that?! =)

So do you any of you make your own bread?  Have a favorite recipe you want to share?  


  1. Hey Laine,

    I also love making whole wheat bread. My recipe is simple-whole wheat flour, honey, oil, yeast, water-and that is it! My question for you is-- how do you cut your slices so perfectly?? We end up making knotted rolls most of the time because I can never cut the slices so uniformly and thin like that! Thanks!
    Liz in PA

    1. I just use a long serrated knife that is flat on the end. I hope that makes sense! Pretty sure it's just a cheapo knife from Walmart. It's awesome for cutting tomatoes nice and thin as well. =)

  2. May I ask what your favorite wheat flour is? I know some brands are much more heavy/coarse than others, making the loaf heavier. Your bread looks really soft and light for being whole wheat, so I'm curious what flour you're using. :) Thanks!

    1. I use King Arthur brand. However I would LOVE to one day be able to grind my own flour since it's so much better for you.

    2. Laine--

      I have a grinder and grind my own wheat. However before I got my grinder, I discovered that we had a natural foods store where you could purchase the wheat and they would grind it--then I would go home and bake with it right away. Maybe there is a place like that somewhere near you!? :)

      Liz in PA

    3. That's a great idea, Liz, and I've heard people doing that before at whole foods. We don't have anything like that where we are...even trader joes is an hour away!

  3. Oh how I love that little face! Give her kisses from Auntie!


  4. This baby is happy with recipe. That shown in this kid face. I also like to try it for my baby.

  5. This was my first time making bread... and following your instructions to a T, my bread turned out very dense. It didn't seem to rise very well, but I cooked it anyway and it was flat and overcooked. Any ideas why?



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