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Honey Wheat Bread Machine Recipe to Build Your Confidence

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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.”
Smithsonian.com

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

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 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 OurEverydayLife.com“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 Council.org
“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.

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

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.

If you have any questions or suggestions, you can email me privately: paula at saladinajar.com.

Hope to see you again soon!
Paula

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

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup water (warm) (114 gr)
  • 1/2 cup milk (warm) (114 gr)
  • 1/4 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)

Instructions

  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 the 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˚F and bake for 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.

Notes

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:

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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Cheri

Monday 29th of March 2021

Hi I just made this and am thrilled with the consistency. I do have a question about flour...I buy stone ground whole white hard wheat bread flour and whole white winter wheat flour. What do you mean when you say bread flour? It didn’t rise very high with the first rising. Should I have waited longer? Sadly I was out of time to wait longer and so rolled it up and covered it for the second rise which was about an hour. Regardless I’m happy with the bread. It’s the lightest whole wheat flour I’ve had thus far. Thx so much! Cheri

Paula

Tuesday 30th of March 2021

The bread flour I use and commonly refer to is not whole wheat flour. It's still white flour but it has more protein than all-purpose flour which helps the bread rise. Are you using 100% white whole wheat flour? Since whole wheat flour is lower in gluten, you might consider adding vital wheat gluten to the mix so your bread will have a better rise and texture. Follow the directions on the package for the amount you should add per cup. In general, I think 1 tablespoon per cup of flour is common. You may have to add extra water when you use it. Vital wheat gluten absorbs moisture.

Magdalene Ho

Tuesday 2nd of March 2021

Can I completely just use the bread machine to bake this bread instead of having to bake it in the oven? Thank you.

Paula

Wednesday 3rd of March 2021

Hi Magdalene,

You can try, but it will be quite different from the pictures on my post. You may not care if you are just using it for toast and aren't too particular about looks. If all goes well, you'll get a loaf that is the shape of your bread machine with holes in the bottom from the paddles. Loaves baked in a bread machine are usually much lighter on top than the sides and bottom. The crust will most likely be thick and a little tough. Be sure your bread machine is not sitting in a drafty location. Don't forget to open the lid and check the consistency during the kneading process to avoid any big surprises. See this post for more information.

Lynn

Wednesday 24th of February 2021

Does it make a difference what mile you use? Whole, 1% 2% or skim?

Paula

Wednesday 24th of February 2021

You can use any kind of milk. However, the more fat in the milk, the richer and tastier the bread. Choose your priority. 😉

Patty Wagner

Wednesday 10th of February 2021

Just made this yesterday. Absolutely fantastic! So light, fluffy and delicious. Substituted buttermilk for regular milk. Super easy. Thank you!!

Paula

Thursday 11th of February 2021

Buttermilk? Great idea. I must try that, too. Buttermilk seems to make everything better. Thanks for writing.

Chelsea

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!

Paula

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!