A 5 ingredient, Easy Whole Wheat Bread recipe with very minimal hands on time & no special ingredients needed. It’s soft, fluffy, crusty & unbelievably good!
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Imagine this… The smell of Whole Wheat Bread filling the air as it bakes in your oven. Breaking off a piece of that crust while it’s still hot, slathering it in the most delicious Easy Vegan Butter. Devouring it.
Well guess what? I have some really good news. This could be you in just a couple of hours.
Now before panic sets in, bread and yeast does not have to be scary. So many people are daunted by it and it’s such a shame because baking bread and eating the result, is one of life’s true pleasures and it really isn’t difficult. There really is nothing better than tucking into a loaf of warm, freshly baked bread that you, yes YOU, made all by yourself!
So many of you have made my No Knead Focaccia Bread and everyone starts off being sceptical of it. They think it can’t possibly work because it is so incredibly easy. But it does. Every. Single. Time.
This Easy Whole Wheat Bread is a little step up from that, in that it takes a little more effort. But it’s really not much more especially if you own a stand mixer.
My husband surprised me with a Kitchen Aid Pro as a gift for Christmas. This beautiful red one 😍
I am so in love with it. I had wanted one my whole life and quite literally cried when I opened it. It makes baking of all kinds a breeze and kneads bread beautifully. I always did it by hand before so now I feel spoilt every-time.
But, if you don’t have a stand mixer, don’t worry because you can knead the dough by hand and get exactly the same result. You just need to use a bit more elbow grease! Think of the extra calories you will burn. That equals more bread that you can eat!
How to make Whole Wheat Bread
I made a video which you can find just above the recipe so be sure to check it out, but I have laid out the steps here too:
- In a bowl combine the flour, yeast, salt and olive oil
- Add water
- Mix together then knead either by hand or with a stand mixer
- Lightly grease a bowl and leave the dough to double in size (it will take around 60-90 mins)
- Shape the loaf and put into the pan
- Leave until risen to about 1 inch above the top of the pan
- Slash if you want to, then bake!
I bake bread 2 or 3 times every week and have tried many, many loaf pans. My favourite by far is this one from USA Pans (not sponsored or anything, I just love it!):
I have been using it for about 2 years now and it still looks brand new and yeast breads and banana bread etc never, ever stick. I wipe a tiny bit of oil over it with kitchen paper and whatever I am baking slides right out so easily. The only fault it does have are the seams which hold water after washing, so if you do buy one, be sure to leave it out to dry properly before storing. I usually leave mine on the stove top for a while so the residual heat dries it thoroughly. It’s so worth that slight inconvenience though to know your bread wont stick. I can’t tell you how awful it is to spend hours baking a loaf of bread only for it to stick like glue inside the pan. Been there, seen it, pulled it out of the pan in pieces, many times 😱
I call this loaf a Light Whole Wheat Bread because it uses a combination of white flour and whole wheat flour. By doing this you get a much softer, lighter loaf. It’s a great beginner’s easy whole wheat bread. If you use a greater ratio of whole wheat flour your loaf won’t be as light and fluffy. By making a lighter whole wheat bread, it becomes more family friendly too. Children don’t tend to like the taste of 100% whole wheat bread but this one is much milder in flavour and I have never had any problems getting my son to eat it.
This is why I am loving this Easy Whole Wheat Bread:
- Hands on time is minimal
- It’s light, fluffy and soft with a lovely crusty crust
- The flavour is mild and nutty and it doesn’t taste too ‘whole wheaty’
- It’s completely sugar free
- You won’t find any additives or dough conditioners like in store bought bread
- It keeps well for a few days
- You can double up the recipe and freeze one loaf for another day
- It makes the best sandwiches and toast!
Ok, so you think you aren’t a bread baker? Well guess what? You are about to become one!
Ready, steady, bake!
As with all of my baking recipes where precision is key to excellent results, I highly recommend using a kitchen scale to measure your ingredients, rather than using cup measurements. I love this one because it is very reasonably priced and it has a tare function which is really handy. It means you can place any bowl on the scale and reset to zero so it doesn’t include the weight in it’s calculation, plus you can reset to zero when adding multiple ingredients to the same bowl which saves on washing up!
Easy Whole Wheat Bread
- 300g | 2 + 1/3 cup all purpose white flour , strong bread flour in the UK
- 200g | 1½ cups wholewheat flour , strong wholemeal flour in the UK
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast or quick rise yeast
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil , vegetable oil, sunflower oil or melted and room temperature vegan butter are all good subs
- 310mls | 1+1/3 cup tepid water * see recipe notes
- To see my video showing how to make this recipe, just scroll up a little to just above the recipe card. Add both flours, the yeast and the salt to the bowl of a stand mixer, making sure to put the yeast on the opposite side to the salt. If they come into contact too soon there is a small chance the salt could kill the yeast. If you are working by hand use a large mixing bowl.
- Add the olive oil and the water. Turn on the stand mixer and knead the dough for 10 minutes. My Kitchen Aid manual recommends speed 2 for bread dough. You might need to stop the machine after a couple of minutes and scrape down the ides if it isn't catching all of the flour as it kneads. If you are working by hand, stir the ingredients together with a spatula until a rough dough is made, then turn out onto a clean surface. I prefer to oil my surface and hands rather than use flour. It stops everything sticking and means there is no chance of you adding too much extra flour which will affect the texture of your bread, making it dry and heavy. Knead for 10 - 15 minutes, until the dough is smooth, elastic and when squeezed together between both of your hands, it should bounce back slowly. If you are unsure how to knead I recommend watching this video to help you perfect your technique.
- Once kneaded, grease a large bowl with a little oil, then put the kneaded dough in it and move around to coat all over in a light coating of oil. I tend to reuse the bowl I mixed the dough in.
- Cover with a damp, clean dish towel ( I just run mine under the tap for a minute then wring out), cling film or an unused shower cap and leave on the kitchen counter until doubled in size. The time this takes will vary depending on how warm your kitchen is but bear in mind that the longer it takes to rise, the more flavour there will be so unless you are in a hurry, don’t rush it by cranking up the heating or putting it somewhere very warm. Mine generally takes between 60 - 90 minutes to double.
- Once the dough has doubled scrape it gently onto a clean, lightly oiled work surface. Be sure you don't tear it as you do this. Use the heels of your hands to flatten it into a rectangle roughly the width of your bread pan.
- Fold the bottom third up and use the heel of your hand to push it down and seal it a bit. Then fold the top third down and push it down to seal it again. Then fold the dough in half again and pinch closed. Watch my video to see these steps. Gently turn under the ends if they look a little untidy then gently place in a lightly oiled bread pan that has a 1lb capacity (mine measures 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.75 inch).
- Rub a tiny bit of oil over the surface of the dough to stop sticking, then cover again with a damp dish towel, cling film or a shower cap and leave until the bread dough is nicely domes and about 1 inch above the sides of the pan. It won't take as long this time. In my kitchen about 30 - 40 minutes.
- While you are waiting for your loaf to rise preheat your oven to 400° F.
- Once the dough is ready you can bake right away, or you can slash the top if you have a bread lame, sharp enough knife or razor blade. It needs to be super sharp though or it will drag the dough and ruin your loaf. If you do not have anything suitable then don't worry and leave out this step. You can slash anyway you like, one slash straight down the middle, or two or three width ways. The slashing enables the dough to expand a bit more and you will get slightly better oven spring than you will if you do not slash. It isn't essential though and really doesn't make too much difference.
- Place in the preheated oven and bake for 40 minutes.
- After this time it will be baked through. You can check by knocking on the bottom. It should sound hollow. Remove from the pan and cool on a cooling rack .
- As hard as it is to resist eating it when fresh out of the oven it really is best to leave it to cool completely before cutting. Cutting while still warm affects the crumb and might make it slightly damp and doughy. I sometimes make two. One for eating while warm and one for later!
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The original image prior to updating this post in March 2018