Homemade Honey Whole Wheat Bread is simply the best wheat bread you will ever eat! This 100% whole wheat bread recipe is soft, tender, fluffy and easy to make at home.
If you think whole wheat bread is dense or tastes like cardboard, you have NOT tried my recipe for Honey Whole Wheat Bread.
This recipe for whole wheat bread is soft, tender, and full of flavor. It is everything you crave in good bread, while still being 100% whole wheat! I have served it to so many people that are stunned to find out whole wheat bread is not only edible but absolutely crave-worthy.
After one slice of this slightly sweet, super soft wheat bread, you will become a bread snob. No other bread will do after trying this recipe out!
Why this Whole Wheat Bread is the Best:
- 100% whole grain
- Allergy-Friendly--This bread is free from soy, corn, dairy, nuts, and eggs.
- Naturally Sweetened
- No preservatives
Honey whole bread is made with just 7 ingredients--and that is counting the water and salt!
- Whole Wheat Flour--The star of this bread is 100% whole wheat flour. You can use your favorite brand of wheat flour or freshly grind red or white wheat berries for this recipe. Be sure to see my tip about measuring flour correctly!
- Wheat Gluten--Vital wheat gluten aids in improving the elasticity and rise of bread dough. Vital wheat gluten helps typically dense wheat bread to rise to its full potential, keeping this bread light and fluffy. You can certainly omit vital wheat gluten from this recipe, but I find the whole wheat bread to be much softer when vital wheat gluten is added to the recipe.
- Honey--Honey is the signature flavor in this whole wheat bread. It adds so much richness and flavor and pairs beautifully with the whole grains. Use any variety of honey you desire. I typically opt for a wildflower local honey.
- Olive Oil--You can use canola oil if desired, but olive oil gives this bread so much flavor.
- Yeast--Use active dry yeast, not quick rise yeast and be sure your yeast is not expired. I have been there and done that myself, and it results in a dense bread.
- Water--The most important thing to remember when it comes to the water used when making bread is that you want to be sure it is at the right temperature. You want the water to be lukewarm, not hot. If your water is over 115 degrees, it can easily kill the yeast.
- Salt--I use kosher salt in this recipe. If you are using table salt, reduce to 1.5 teaspoons. If you are using a bread machine, be sure you don't put your salt directly where your yeast is, as that can kill the yeast as well.
How to Make Homemade Bread
This bread is easy to make using a bread machine, stand mixer, or by hand.
I love using my bread maker because I literally dump all the ingredients in and walk away. Making bread by hand is a bit more work, but is still an easy process and totally worth it.
Step One: Bloom Yeast
The first step of making bread is to bloom the yeast. This simply means to activate the yeast by dissolving in warm water.
- In a small bowl or measuring cup, sprinkle the yeast on top of the warm water.
- Set aside for 5 minutes, until the yeast is creamy and a bit foamy.
Step Two: Prepare Bread Dough
You can mix the dough by hand or by using a stand mixer.
- In a large mixing bowl or a bowl fitted for the stand mixer, mix together salt, vital wheat gluten and 3 cups of the flour.
- Make a well in the flour mixture.
- Add honey and oil to yeast and water and then pour that mixture into the well in the flour.
- Mix on low speed on a stand mixer for 3 minutes, or by hand with a wooden spoon for 3-5 minutes.
- Stir in an additional ¾ cup to 1 ½ cups flour, until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Step Three: Knead the Dough
You can knead the dough by hand by turning out unto a floured surface and knead until the bread is smooth, about 10 minutes. Or you can fit your stand mixer with the dough hook and knead on medium-low speed for 5-6 minutes, or until dough is elastic and not sticky to the touch.
Step Four: Rise
There are two rise cycles for homemade bread. The amount of time it takes for dough to rise will be based on the temperature and humidity of your kitchen.
- After the dough is combined together, place the dough into a lightly oiled mixing bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel.
- Allow the dough to double in size--about 1 hour.
- Once doubled, the dough needs to be shaped into one 2-pound loaf or two 1-pound loaves.
- Cover with the loaf pans with a clean kitchen towel, and allow to rise again until doubled in size.
Step Four: Bake
Bake the bread until it is golden and reaches 190 degrees.
How do I know when my bread is baked fully?
If you are making bread in the oven, you can tell when the bread is cooked fully, when the crust is golden brown and when you tap on the bottom of the bread loaf it sounds hollow. A sure-fire way to tell if your loaf of bread is cooked through is to insert an instant-read thermometer in the center of the loaf. Bread is finished cooking when it reaches a temperature of 190 degrees.
Storing Wheat Bread
Because there are no preservatives in this whole wheat bread, it will not last a long as store-bought breads. You can store in a cool pantry for 4-5 days, in a sealed container. If it is humid or warmer outside, I recommend storing your bread in the refrigerator.
This whole wheat bread freezes well too. To freeze homemade bread, allow to cool and then wrap the bread loaf in plastic wrap and then foil well. Keep in the freezer for 2 months and then defrost overnight in the refrigerator.
How to Measure Flour
The trickiest part of making bread is measuring the flour. That may sound odd, but how much flour you need for whole wheat bread can vary based on humidity in the air. And how you scoop out your flour can drastically impact the amount of flour that you end up using.
But don't worry--this should not scare you away from making bread at home. With a few tricks and tips, you can determine how much flour you need with ease.
First, if you have a kitchen scale, now is the time to use it. This recipe typically needs 576 grams of whole wheat flour. If you don't have a kitchen scale, measure flour by placing spoonfuls of flour into measuring cup versus scooping directly from bag or container.
If you are grinding fresh wheat berries you will need 3 cups whole wheat berries or 576 grams, to equal 4 ½ cups of flour.
More Homemade Bread Recipes
- Cranberry Walnut Bread
- Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread
- Homemade Italian Bread
- Homemade Whole Wheat Rolls
- Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
Give this wheat bread recipe a try and be prepared to fall in love--there is not a better tasting recipe out there!
Honey Whole Wheat Bread
- 4 ½ cups 100% whole wheat flour or 576 grams of flour
- 1 ½ cups warm water
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup honey
- 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten optional
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt see note
- 1 tablespoon yeast
Bread Machine Version
- Start by adding water into the loaf pan fitted in the bread machine. Measure the oil first and then the honey (this makes the honey slip out of the measuring cup) and add to water. Add half the flour, then salt and vital wheat gluten. Add remaining flour.
- Make a small well in flour and put yeast into that well.
- Set to manufacturer's instructions for wheat bread and light crust and let it go.
- Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let sit for 5 minutes, or until mixture gets creamy and a bit bubbly.
- In a bowl fitted for a stand mixer, mix together salt, vital wheat gluten and 3 cups of the flour.
- Add the oil and honey to water mixture.
- Make a well in flour mixture and pour in the water mixture. Blend on low speed for 3 minutes. Stir in an additional ¾ cup to 1 ½ cups flour, until dough pulls away cleanly from the sides of the bowl.
- Turn out unto floured work surface. Knead until smooth, about 10 minutes. Alternatively, fit the stand mixer with a dough hook and knead on medium-low speed for 5-6 minutes, or until dough is elastic and not sticky to the touch.
- Place dough in oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled.
- Once doubled, punch dough down and shape as desired and place into a 9x5 pan (2 pound loaf pan) or divide the dough evenly and place into two 1-pound loaf pans. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled again.
- Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes for a 2 pound loaf and 25-30 minutes for a 1-pound loaf, or until your bread reaches an internal temperature of 190 degrees or sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom of the loaf.
- 3 cups whole wheat berries grind up to 4 ½ cups whole wheat flour. Or grind up 576 grams of whole wheat berries to equal 4 ½ cups of flour.
- Be sure to use dry active yeast, not quick rise yeast
- Vital Wheat Gluten will help your bread rise and stay fluffy.
- Be sure your water is not too hot (over 115 degrees), as that can kill the yeast.
- Measure flour by placing spoonfuls of flour into measuring cup versus filling from bag or container. You can also weigh your flour for the most accurate calculation. For this recipe you will need 576 grams.
- Be sure you don't put your salt directly where your yeast is, as that can kill the yeast as well.
- If you are using table salt, reduce to 1.5 teaspoons.
- Vegan Wheat Bread: There are no eggs or dairy in my recipe for whole wheat bread. But honey is not considered vegan. You can substitute the honey for maple syrup (use ¼ cup instead of ⅓ cup) and this whole wheat bread will be considered vegan.
- Baking at high altitude? Check out these adjustments that you may need to follow.
This recipe was originally published in 2016 but has been updated in 2020 with new pictures. The recipe remains the same.