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A Honey Wheat Bread Machine Recipe to Build Your Confidence

Preview: This Honey Wheat Bread Machine Recipe is an exceptionally light and soft sandwich bread with both whole wheat flour and white bread flour. You’ll be making this recipe on repeat! This recipe can also be made with a stand mixer or by hand if you prefer. Details in the recipe notes.

If you are trying to wean your family (or yourself) off of white bread, this recipe for Bread Machine Honey Wheat Bread is the “next step.”

The texture is light, moist, soft, and oh-so-tasty. The crust will be tender–not tough when you follow my method for using a bread machine.

sliced loaf of honey wheat bread machine bread

Updated 3/22/20

This recipe for Honey Whole Wheat Bread is back by popular 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 to make this wheat bread?

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. Taking control of the baking process will result in a far superior texture and crust.

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 wheat dough has not doubled in size by 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 maker 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

FAQ about making bread machine wheat bread:

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.

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.

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

How long can I store whole wheat flour?

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. ” 

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 active dry yeast but your dough may be a little slower to rise. Add an additional 1/4 teaspoon.

How do I know which size bread pan to use?

For this recipe, the ideal bread pan will hold 1 quart 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.

Sliced Bread Machine Wheat Bread

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • WATER: I prefer to use spring water in all my bread. If you don’t have it, tap water is fine.
  • MILK: Whole milk, 2%, or fat-free dairy milk…any of them will work. However, using milk with a higher fat content will make a loaf of more delicious and tender bread.
  • HONEY: Honey brings more to the table than just sweetness. It also has hygroscopic properties that help to keep your bread moist. Maple syrup could be substituted, but it is not as sweet and may be more watery.

    Brown sugar is another option. If using substitutions, be sure to check the consistency as the bread mixes and make adjustments as described in this post.
  • BUTTER: Vegetable oil can be substituted for butter if necessary.
  • SALT: I use table salt or sea salt. If you use Kosher salt, add from 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon more.
  • WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR: White whole wheat flour is a good substitute for whole wheat flour, especially if you are baking for someone who prefers white bread.

    Another option is to use 1/4 cup wheat germ and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour per cup whole wheat flour.
  • BREAD FLOUR: You may substitute all-purpose flour, but your bread won’t have the same amount of protein. This means the bread may turn out somewhat denser and a bit heavier.

    On a side note: please measure your flour carefully. Use a digital scale for accuracy.
  • BREAD MACHINE YEAST: Bread machine and instant yeast are the same thing. They don’t need to be dissolved. It’s all I use. If you only have active dry yeast, use 1/4 teaspoon more than called for in the recipe. It no longer needs to be dissolved first, but you can if you prefer.

How to mix this Honey Wheat Bread Machine recipe 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 including bread flour and whole wheat flour to bread machine pan

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

adding instant yeast last

Add yeast last.

checking texture of the wheat dough as it mixes

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 the honey wheat 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 for at least an hour before slicing with a serrated knife.

“Why is my bread dense?”

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Did you enjoy this recipe? Help others (and me). Leave a rating on the recipe card itself underneath the picture. No comment required. Thank you.

Hope to see you again soon!

p.s. Questions or suggestions? Email me: paula at

Yield: 1 loaf

Honey Wheat Bread Machine Recipe

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

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

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 5 minutes


  • 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 (180 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 tablespoon 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 10 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 can't resist, slice off a small corner.


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: You can substitute active dry yeast for instant or bread machine yeast. There is no longer any need to dissolve it. Increase the amount of yeast used by 1/4 teaspoon.

Nutrition Information:



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?

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Sunday 17th of January 2021

Just made this today to go with some homemade honey mesquite Turkey lunchmeat! Paula, your recipes are always exactly perfect from instructions to measurements of ingredients. Thank you!


Sunday 17th of January 2021

Hi Chelsea, Well, thank you, my friend. I'm so glad it worked for you. I try to give all the details anybody could possibly need, but sometimes those little yeasty bodies can be unpredictable. Have a great week!


Sunday 29th of November 2020

Where did you get a 2 qt pan? Or what is it’s dimensions? I’m having a hard time finding one big enough


Sunday 29th of November 2020

Hello Alice,

I'm sorry I made a mistake. You need a pan that will hold 1 quart of water. I will correct it on the post I'm so sorry for any inconvenience this has caused you. My pan measures 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches around the top. It's this one:

I just now noticed that Willams-Sonoma is saying this pan is appropriate for a 1 lb. loaf. The recipe actually makes a 1 1/2 lb. loaf. Perhaps if you are making white bread the larger size would be better. But since this is wheat bread and it doesn't rise as much, the 1-lb pan will work.


Saturday 26th of September 2020

If I am a little sorry on honey, is it ok or should I use something in place of it?


Saturday 26th of September 2020

You could use some maple syrup or brown sugar. Be sure to check that the bread has the right consistency about 10 minutes into the kneading portion of the dough cycle. You may need to add more flour. You're going for dough that sticks to the side briefly, and then pulls away cleanly.


Tuesday 8th of September 2020

Hi Paula, thank you so much for such an easy and wonderful recipe! I have followed so many whole wheat bread recipes and also threw away quite a few loaves because they either over proofed or came out too dense! I made the bread today and it came out so fluffy and soft! I only used 5 tbsp of the bread flour from the reserved 1/2 cup and then used about 1 more tbsp for the rolling. However, I did find it hard to roll because the dough was too soft and sticky, not like yours though. Perhaps I should have used more flour or less water? If I wanted to decrease the salt amount, what would you recommend so that it won't affect the rising and texture of the bread? One more question: I used a 9.5"x5.5" loaf pan. If I wanted the bread to come out higher, should I used a 8.5 pan with the 3 cups of flour?


Wednesday 9th of September 2020

@Paula, Thank you for your prompt reply. I tasted the bread this morning and it was very soft and moist. I was curious about what you put on your rolling pin. In your video, your dough didn't look sticky at all when you rolled it. I just saw some non stick silicone rolling pin on Amazon. I wonder if it's a good purchase.


Wednesday 9th of September 2020

Hi Agnes,

Congratulations on your successful loaf. To answer your questions: You could use a little more flour when rolling out the bread if it is too sticky. Using a silicone mat to roll the dough on might allow you to use a little less flour. When the bread was in the pan, did it stick and then pull away cleanly at the end of the kneading portion of the cycle? That's your goal for this recipe.

Be careful about decreasing the salt amount. Salt is an important partner with yeast. Using yeast without salt is like driving a car without brakes. The yeast will rise too fast and too high, then crash and leave you with a short squatty loaf. If you want to decrease the salt, start by experimenting with a 1/4 teaspoon less each time. When the bread no longer turns out to your satisfaction, you'll know you have gone too far.

On the loaf pan, you are correct. Using a smaller pan with make the loaf higher, all other things being equal.

Happy Bread-Eating!


Tuesday 8th of September 2020

Have you ever doubled your recipe in the bread machine? Does it change the way it tastes or raises? I was wanting to do a double batch in 1 bread machine, then split the loaf between two bread pans to make more bread quicker. I didn’t know if it would mess with the bread at all?

Thank you!


Wednesday 9th of September 2020

Hi Megan,

You have asked a very good question. I should write an entire post about this subject. Let me try to put this in a nutshell.

It's normally not a good idea to double a bread recipe for a bread machine. Here are some factors to consider: If you use any recipe containing more flour than the machine was designed for, it may result in bread that isn't kneaded very well and/or over stress the motor of the machine. You'll be able to hear it straining. Check your bread machine manual and see how much flour is called for in their recipes. Doubling this particular recipe would require 6 cups of flour which is more than any home bread machine I know about is designed to use. Most have a limit of 4-4 1/2cups, some 3 cups, and some small machines, even less.

Here's what I do when I want a double batch. Start the first batch and let it run through the kneading portion of the DOUGH cycle (usually around 20 minutes but machines vary). When the machine goes quiet, remove the dough to a greased bowl, cover and set in a warm place to proof. Reset the machine and start with your second batch. Let that second batch stay in the machine until the DOUGH cycle completes or the dough has doubled. Shape both loaves and bake in your conventional oven.

Alternate method for a double batch: Obtain a second machine. Since I only use the DOUGH cycle, I have an old one that works just great when I only use it for mixing and kneading. I know several people who use a garage sale model for this purpose.

And now I'm going to write an entire article about this subject. Thank you for the idea.