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 3 cups of flour, then salt and vital wheat gluten. Add the remaining 1 ½ cups over the salt and vital wheat gluten.
Make a small well in the flour and put yeast into that well.
Set the bread machine to the manufacturer's instructions for wheat bread with a light crust.
Sprinkle the yeast over the water and mix in the honey. Let that sit for 5 minutes, or until the mixture gets creamy and a bit bubbly.
In a large mixing bowl or bowl fitted for a stand mixer, mix together salt, vital wheat gluten, and 3 cups of flour.
Add the oil to the water mixture. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the water mixture.
Mix by hand with a wooden spoon or on low speed using the stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, until the flour is completely moistened.
Stir in an additional ¾ cup of flour into the dough mixture. If the dough is still sticky add up to another ¾ cup of flour, adding only ¼ cup at a time, until the dough is not sticky and easily pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Turn the stand mixer to medium-low and knead the dough for 5-10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and shiny. Alternatively, to knead the dough by hand, turn the dough out onto floured work surface. Fold the dough over itself and repeat, kneading for 10-15 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Place the kneaded dough into a large mixing bowl that has been lightly greased with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size. This should take about 1 hour, depending on the temperature and humidity of your kitchen.
Once the dough has doubled, punch dough down and shape in one 2-pound loaf or into two 1-pound loaves. Place the loaf or loaves into a greased loaf pan. Use a 9x5" pan for a 2-pound loaf, and two 8x4" loaf pans for two 1-pound loaves. Cover the pans with a towel or plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled again.
Once doubled, bake the bread at 350 degrees F 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.
Allow the bread to cool in pan(s) for 10-15 minutes and then remove the bread from the pan and allow it to cool fully on a cooling rack.
Flour: Use whole wheat or whole white wheat flour for this bread. Measure flour by placing spoonfuls of flour into a measuring cup versus filling from a bag or container. You can also weigh your flour for the most accurate calculation. For this recipe, you will need 576 grams.Wheat Berries: If you have a flour mill, grind 3 cups (576 grams) of red or white wheat berries to make the equivalent of 4 ½ cups whole wheat flour. Yeast: Be sure to use dry active yeast, not quick rise yeast, and check the expiration date to ensure the yeast is fresh. Water: Be sure your water is not too hot (over 115 degrees), as that can kill the yeast.Vital Wheat Gluten: This is an optional ingredient but helps whole wheat bread rise and stay soft and fluffy. Salt: If you are using table salt instead of kosher salt, reduce it from 2 teaspoons 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 and this whole wheat bread will be considered vegan.Baking at high altitude? Check out these adjustments that you may need to follow.Storage: Allow the bread to cool fully before storing it in an airtight sealed container. Store the bread in a cool pantry for 4-5 days, in a sealed container. If it is humid or warmer outside, I recommend storing wheat bread in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.Freezing: Allow the bread to cool fully and then wrap the loaf of bread in a layer of plastic wrap, followed by foil. Place the wrapped bread into a freezer-safe bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator and use within 5 days.