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. The crust will be tender–not tough when you follow my method.
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.
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.
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. Taking control of the baking process will result in a far superior texture and crust.
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 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:
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 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.”
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 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.
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 more delicious and tender bread.
- HONEY: Honey brings more to the table than just sweetness. It also has hydroscopic properties which 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. White whole wheat flour utilizes the whole grain just like whole wheat. It comes from a different variety of wheat with a milder flavor. 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 Honey Whole Wheat Breath in a bread maker:
Make sure blades are in place. Add warmed milk and water to your bread machine pan.
Add remaining ingredients reserving approximately 1/2 cup of flour.
Add yeast last.
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.)
Your dough should be smooth and elastic towards the end of the kneading cycle.
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:
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 about 5 minutes, turn your loaf onto a cooling rack. Let it cool at least an hour before slicing with a serrated knife.
Other savory bread recipes you can make with a bread maker
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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 saladinajar.com.
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- 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
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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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