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Honey Whole Wheat Bread | A Bread Machine Recipe

If you are trying to wean your family (or yourself) from white bread, this recipe for Honey Whole Wheat Bread is perfect. The texture is light, moist, soft, and oh-so-tasty.

Please note that this recipe can also be made with a stand mixer or by hand if you prefer. See the notes in the recipe for specific instructions.

sliced loaf of honey whole wheat bread

Updated 3/22/20

This recipe for Honey Whole Wheat Bread is back by request. It was one of the first bread recipes published on this blog back in 2009.

I have added new pictures along with answers to some of your questions. Hope you have a chance to try this delightful and healthy bread.

uncut loaf of  whole wheat bread

Why use a bread machine?

Use the dough cycle on a bread machine because it does the best job of mixing and kneading. However, take the dough out of the bread maker pan at the end of the dough cycle.

After shaping by hand, allow the dough to rise again, then bake your loaf in a conventional oven. Controlling the timing of the final steps gives you the control you need for the best loaf possible.

Related Post: 5 Surprising Reasons I Don’t Bake Bread in My Bread Machine

Honey Whole Wheat Bread made into sandwiches

Do bread recipes with whole-wheat flour take longer to rise?

Yes, they often take longer.

“You may have to give your whole wheat dough more time to rise than you would white dough, thanks to the heavy germ and bran particulates.”

This brings us to a challenge…

What if the dough has not doubled in size at the end of the “dough” cycle?

This frequently happens with whole wheat recipes in a bread machine. It can be a big problem if you use your bread machine to mix, knead AND bake your bread.

But we are only using the bread machine to mix and knead the dough. It’s easy to leave the dough in the bread machine pan a bit longer at the end of the dough cycle. Set your timer to remind yourself to check back in a few minutes.

When the dough is doubled, remove it from the bread machine pan and proceed with the directions for shaping it.

What about using Vital Wheat Gluten? Many recipes using whole wheat flour call for Vital Wheat Gluten to boost the rising ability of the dough. Since this recipe calls for half whole wheat flour and half bread flour, there is enough protein in the bread flour to provide an energetic rise without the additional gluten.

Let’s address some common questions:


Can I use all whole wheat flour and leave out the white flour?

No, not in this recipe. Some people would call this a “light” whole-wheat loaf since it is not 100% whole wheat.

If you want bread with 100% whole-wheat flour. You are going to need more moisture, which makes the dough more difficult to work with. it would be better to look for a good recipe where the amounts have been worked out and tested accordingly.

Related Post: 6 Bread Machine Secrets You Need to Know


Why does my whole wheat flour smell funny?

A sour, musty smell is the most apparent sign of spoilage. The higher oil content contributes to quick aging. I don’t use whole wheat flour all that often, so a 5-pound bag often goes rancid before I can finish it.

What is the best way to store whole wheat flour?

I store mine in a plastic bag in our second refrigerator. According to

“The best way to slow this process is to store your whole wheat flour in the freezer. It can last for up to six months when frozen in an airtight container and up to four months in an airtight container in the refrigerator.”
–Brynne Chandler

According to the Whole Grains

“In general, whole grain flours spoil more quickly than intact grains, because their protective bran layer has been broken up and oxygen can reach all parts of the grain. If stored properly in airtight containers, most whole-grain flours and meals will keep for 1 to 3 months on a cool, dry pantry shelf or 2 to 6 months in the freezer. ” 

Sliced Honey Whole Wheat Bread mixed in a bread machine


Does it matter what kind of honey I use?

I use whatever honey I have on hand.

Judith Fertig in her book, The Artison Bread Machine says,

“Medium -flavored honey, such as clover or wildflower, is best for artisan bread machine doughs.”


Can I use regular dry yeast instead of instant?

Yes. You can substitute regular or traditional dry yeast, but it should be dissolved first. Use 1/4 cup of the liquid included in the recipe. The liquid should be lukewarm to the touch. Stir and let sit for about 10 minutes until it dissolves. Add to the bread pan along with the rest of the ingredients.


How do I know which size bread pan to use?

For this recipe, the ideal bread pan will hold 2 quarts of water. (Measure it out, if necessary.) I hesitate to recommend a pan by size. The degree of the slope can make a difference. This applies to any bread recipe. The following secret might help you.

“It (the shaped dough) should be no higher than 1/2 inch from the top of the pan. If there is too little dough for the pan, use a smaller pan. If there is too much dough, remove some and bake it as a roll, or save it to add to your next batch of dough.”
The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

If you don’t have the “perfect” pan, I would err on the side of slightly too big for the amount of dough. Too small and the dough may rise too high and fall or wrinkle majorly as it cools. A few minor wrinkles are expected.

How To Mix Honey Whole Wheat Bread in a Bread Maker

milk in bread machine pan

Make sure blades are in place. Add warmed milk and water to your bread machine pan.

adding dry ingredients to pan

Add remaining ingredients reserving approximately 1/2 cup of flour.

adding yeast

Add yeast last.

mixing dough

Start the machine using the “Dough” cycle. Leave the lid open so you can check the dough. After 10 minutes, open the lid and check the dough. If necessary, add flour (1 tablespoon at a time) to the dough until the dough sticks to the side and pulls away cleanly. If the dough is too dry, add water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough looks right. (See the video.)

Related Post: The Most Important Thing You Should Do When Using a Bread Machine

what the dough should look like at the end of the kneading cycle

Your dough should be smooth and elastic towards the end of the kneading cycle.

after the dough has doubled in size

When the “Dough” cycle ends, and the dough is doubled in size, remove the dough from the pan to a floured surface.

How To Shape Dough into a Loaf

rolling out the dough
Use a rolling pin to roll into a rectangle approximately 9 x 14 inches.
measuring the dough
Use your bread pan as a quick guide to be sure it is wide enough.
shaping the loaf
Roll up the dough, starting from the short side. Pinch edges together. Turn ends under and pinch.
After pinching ends and seams
shaped loaf in the pan
Flip cylinder of dough so the seam is underneath.
covering the loaf to proof with a shower cap
Cover the dough with a cheap shower cap or tea towel.
loaf of bread after proofing, before going into the oven

When the dough has risen 1-inch above the edge of the pan, place it into a preheated oven to bake for 25-30 minutes. The internal temperature should reach 190˚F. Test with a quick-read thermometer. If necessary, protect the top from becoming too brown by laying a piece of foil loosely on top about halfway through the baking process.

after baking--turning out onto a cooling rack

After about 5 minutes, turn your loaf onto a cooling rack. Let it cool at least an hour before slicing with a serrated knife.

Pin the picture below to save for later.

Did you try this recipe and enjoy it? Consider helping other readers (and me) by returning to this post. Leave a rating on the recipe card itself underneath the picture. Although always appreciated, comments aren’t required.

If you have a question or tip to share, please leave it in the regular comments after the recipe so I can answer back. Or, email me privately: paula at

Thank you for visiting!

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Yield: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes

This recipe for Honey Whole Wheat Bread will make one fabulous loaf of whole wheat bread. "Healthy" never tasted so good.


  • 1/2 cup water (warm)
  • 1/2 cup milk (warm)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups (170 g) whole wheat flour
  • 1-1/2 cups bread flour (180 g)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon bread machine yeast


  1. Place all ingredients in the bread machine pan in the order given. Reserve 1/2 cup of bread flour. (If you forget to hold back flour, don't worry. It will probably work out fine. Proceed.)
  2. Select the DOUGH cycle and start. After 5 or 6 minutes, open the lid and check your dough. If necessary, add reserved flour one tablespoon at a time until dough forms a ball that sticks to the side but then pulls away. If the dough is too dry and won't stick to the side even for a moment, add water one tablespoon at a time. You may not need to add any of the extra flour.
  3. At the end of the dough cycle OR when the dough has risen double in the bread machine pan (whole wheat often takes longer to rise), remove dough to a lightly floured board and press or roll out into a rectangle shape approximately 10 x 14 inches.
  4. Roll up the dough from the short side and pinch seam to seal. Tuck ends under. Place into a greased loaf pan (2-quart capacity) with the seam side down. Cover with a tea towel or wax paper. Allow the bread to rise until the dough is one inch above the top of the pan. This second rise may take 30 minutes to 1 hour, or even more if the ambient temperature is cool.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake 25 - 30 minutes until internal temperature reaches 190 degrees. Cover with foil halfway through baking time to prevent excessive browning.
  6. About 5 minutes out of the oven, remove your loaf from the pan. Allow it to cool on a wire rack before slicing to prevent squashing. If you're really hungry, go ahead and slice it carefully. After all, that's one of the best things about homemade bread--eating wit hile it's still hot with melty butter on top.


Directions for making bread with a stand mixer or by hand:

  • To make this recipe in a heavy-duty stand mixer, add ingredients to the bowl in the same order. Turn on low to mix until all ingredients are moistened. Using dough hook, turn speed to 2 or 3 and continue kneading until dough becomes smooth and elastic--about 5-10 minutes. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place. Deflate dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
  • If making by hand, combine all ingredients into a shaggy ball in a large bowl. Turn dough out on a floured surface and knead with your hands until dough becomes smooth and elastic, a process that will likely take 10-20 minutes depending on your experience. Place the dough ball into a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until double. Deflate dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
  • Please note: If you substitute regular yeast for instant or bread machine yeast, you must dissolve it first before adding to the dry ingredients. Stir it into about 1/4 cup of the lukewarm liquid called for in the recipe. Let sit for about 10 minutes. Add to other wet ingredients and then add dry ingredients. Proceed as directed to knead and shape the dough.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 79Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 230mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 2g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

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Saturday 6th of June 2020

I have probably my sixth loaf of this bread proofing now. We have enjoyed this bread, obviously, and your sharing of using the bread machine to do the hard work and then do the final touches and cooking in the oven are a game changer for me in all of my bread making. Thanks for this recipe as well as the others you’ve shared. Your tips, back stories, and blog are fun to read and easy to follow.


Sunday 7th of June 2020

Hi Judy,

Thank you for your kind words. I agree with you that learning to use a bread machine along with your oven is a game-changer. Thanks again for the encouraging words. pr


Saturday 23rd of May 2020

HoHoHo... finally successful after 2nd attempt on this recipe 😂😂😂

(p/s: with a Divine instruction, I put that pan at 1 level lower from the middle of the oven; in that position, the top brown to perfection throughout the 30mins baking without needing the foil shield)


Sunday 24th of May 2020

Divine instruction is the best, don't you think?


Friday 17th of April 2020

Hi Paula, Can I just have the bread machine cook the dough instead of take it out and bake it in the oven?


Saturday 18th of April 2020

Yes, you can. I used to do it that way but I wasn't crazy about the results. It is easier. No harm in trying.


Thursday 16th of April 2020

What to do if it didn’t rise completely after putting in loaf pan? Is just to the top of pan but not 1 inch above and has been resting for a couple of hours...


Friday 17th of April 2020

Hi Justina,

How big is your pan? How warm is the room where the pan is sitting? If the bread has almost doubled in size, go ahead and bake it. Since this reply is too late for that loaf of bread, I hope it turned out good for you.


Monday 30th of March 2020

I plan to make this bread today and wondered if buttermilk could be substituted for the milk... or would that even be good??? I love buttermilk in baked goods but didn’t know if this combo would work. Thanks!


Monday 30th of March 2020

Jennifer, I have not tried it. I do have some favorite bread recipes that call for buttermilk or yogurt and they are wonderful. Worth a try. Let me know how your bread turns out.