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Honey Wheat Bread Machine Recipe to Build Your Confidence

Sneak Preview: This Honey Wheat Bread Machine Recipe is an exceptionally light and soft sandwich bread with whole wheat flour and white bread flour. You’ll be making this recipe on repeat! If you prefer, make this recipe with a stand mixer or by hand. See 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.”

sliced loaf of honey wheat bread machine bread

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.

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. I 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.”

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

Slow proofing frequently happens with whole wheat recipes in a bread machine. It is a common cause of dense bread when you use your bread machine to mix, knead AND bake your bread.

image of a leaf
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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 doubles in size, remove it from the bread maker pan and shape 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.

Frequently Asked Questions 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 call this a “light” whole-wheat loaf since it is not 100% whole wheat.

Suppose you want bread with 100% whole-wheat flour. You are going to need more moisture, which makes working with the dough more difficult. 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 rapid aging.

What is the best way to store whole wheat flour?

bag of whole wheat flour in the fridge

I store mine in a plastic bag in our second refrigerator. According to“The best way to slow this process is to keep 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 can be kept 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.”

Sliced Bread Machine Wheat Bread

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, err on the side of slightly too big for the amount of dough. A pan that’s too small may cause the dough to rise too high and fall or wrinkle as it cools, although a few minor wrinkles are normal.

Another option is a Pullman pan– the 9x4x4-inch size. The taller sides and a top make it excellent for making sandwich bread.

Honey Whole wheat baked in a pullman pan
Honey Whole Wheat Bread baked in a Pullman pan makes perfect sandwich slices.

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 instant yeast last
Add remaining ingredients with the 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 cover 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.)
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 the cylinder of dough so that the seam is underneath.
covering the loaf to proof with a shower cap.
Cover the dough with a cheap shower cap or tea towel. Preheat the oven about 20 minutes before you think the loaf will be ready to bake.
loaf of bread after proofing, before going into the oven.
When the dough peaks above the edge, place the loaf 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 15 minutes, turn your loaf onto a cooling rack. Let it cool for at least an hour before slicing with a serrated knife.
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Did you enjoy this recipe? If so, you can help others and me by leaving a 5-star 🤩 rating in the comment section below. No comment is required.

p.s. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can email me privately: Paula at

Hope to see you again soon!

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Honey Wheat Bread Machine Recipe

This recipe for Honey Whole Wheat Bread will make one fabulous loaf of whole wheat bread. "Healthy" never tasted so good.
Paula Rhodes
4.48 from 36 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Additional Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 5 mins
Course Savory Bread Machine Loaves and Yeast Rolls
Servings 12 slices


  • ½ cup water - warm 114 gr
  • ½ cup milk - warm 114 gr
  • ¼ cup honey - 84 gr
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons butter - 21 gr
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt - 9 gr
  • 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour - 180 gr
  • 1-1/2 cups bread flour - 180 gr
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon bread machine or instant yeast - 4.5 gr


  • Place all ingredients in the bread machine pan in the order given.
  • Select the DOUGH cycle and start. After 12-15 minutes, open the lid and check your dough. If necessary, add more 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.
  • At the end of the dough cycle, but not before the dough has doubled in size 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.
  • Roll up the dough from the short side and pinch the seam to seal. Tuck ends under. Place into a greased loaf pan (2-quart capacity) with the seam side down. The dough should fill the pan half way. Cover with a tea towel or wax paper. Allow the bread to rise until the dough is just peeking over the top of the pan. This second rise may take 30 minutes to 1 hour, or even more if the ambient temperature is cool.
  • Preheat oven to 375˚F and bake for 25 – 30 minutes until internal temperature reaches 190˚F. Cover with foil halfway through baking time to prevent excessive browning.
  • After 15 minutes out of the oven, remove your loaf from the pan. Allow it to cool on a wire rack before slicing to prevent squashing.



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. Then, using a dough hook, turn the speed to 2 or 3. Continue beating/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 onto a floured surface. Knead with your hands until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Kneading 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 the dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
  • Please note: 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.


Serving: 1sliceCalories: 151kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 5gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 310mgPotassium: 102mgFiber: 2gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 55IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 21mgIron: 1mg
Keyword bread flour, bread machine recipe, bread recipe, honey, loaf, whole wheat flour
Cuisine American
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recipe Rating


Sunday 26th of December 2021

Thanks for your wonderful recipe. My confidence is higher than before. The bread is yummy.


Monday 27th of December 2021

Great!! That is my goal. Glad you are enjoying the bread.

Naomi J Bates

Thursday 23rd of December 2021

I love this recipe it is so easy my family enjoys it I've made this over a dozen!!!


Thursday 23rd of December 2021

What a great testimonial, Naomi. Thanks so much!


Wednesday 11th of August 2021

I’m loving this recipe! Thank you for sharing. Easy and delicious 😋


Wednesday 11th of August 2021

Thanks for coming back to say so, Lee.


Sunday 25th of July 2021

Hi Paula, I've just taken this loaf out of the oven, and it's everything you said it would soft and delicious! My wholewheat bread flour had various seeds in it, which have only added a little to the texture. Thanks so much Paula, I love your recipes and have never had one turn out badly....I just have to decide which one to try next now.


Sunday 25th of July 2021

Great news Elaine. It's so fun to pull a wonderful loaf of bread out of the oven. Don't you think? Thanks for coming back to report on the results.


Sunday 11th of July 2021

Hi! I'm trying this recipe for the first time the instructions at the top you say to hold back half a cup of flour. In the recipe you say to hold back a tablespoon. I'm thinking the tablespoon is correct? I'm going to try that since I'm ready to start now! Thanks!


Sunday 11th of July 2021

Hi Lisa,

So glad you wrote. I hope your bread turned out good and totally delicious. I corrected the actual recipe to say "hold back 1/2 cup." Most people will probably need to add the whole 1/2 cup to get the right consistency. Flours vary as well as temperature and humidity. All these things make a difference.