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!
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.
In this post:
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.
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!
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, toast and soup or stew accompaiment!
How to make Whole Wheat Bread
Here's how to make your own homemade whole wheat bread:
- 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 bread 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.
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 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.
Ok, so you think you aren't a bread baker? Well guess what? You are about to become one!
Ready, steady, bake!
Success Tips - 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 its the calculation, plus you can reset to zero when adding multiple ingredients to the same bowl which saves on washing up!
Despite the common myth, the addition of sugar to bread dough is not necessary. There are enough natural sugars in the flour to feed the yeast and get a good result. That is why I do not include any in this recipe.
Oil or vegan butter makes the crumb softer and also acts as a preservative. If you don't add any your bread will have be crustier and it won't keep as long before going stale.
Easy Whole Wheat BreadAuthor:
- 300g (2⅓ cups) all purpose white flour , strong bread flour in the UK
- 200g (1½ cups) wholewheat flour , strong wholemeal flour in the UK
- 10 grams (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
- About 310mls (1⅓ cups) 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. 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 sides if it isn't catching all of the flour as it kneads. If it feels a little dry add a few drops more water. Add it very gradnually though so you don't accidentally add too much. It should feel slightly tacky but not wet. 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. It will fit well into an 8.5 by 4.5 inch pan or a 9 x 5 inch pan.
- 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!
Oil-free - You can omit the oil from this recipe. The bread will be crustier, won't be quite as soft and it won't keep as long. Oil acts as a softener and a preservative. Storage - Store in an airtight container or plastic bag for up to 3 days. This bread also freezes well for up to 3 months. Sugar - Despite the common myth, the addition of sugar to bread dough is not necessary. There are enough natural sugars in the flour to feed the yeast and get a good result. That is why I do not include any in this recipe.
Just made the dough and waiting for it to rise. Can I add nuts and seeds to it?
Melanie McDonald says
Yes you can but it might be too late for today. If you want them inside the dough, it's best to do your kneading, then add them right at the end of kneading. Finish kneading then flatten the dough out across your work surface. Sprinkle over the seeds, then roll it up (like when making cinnamon rolls), and knead again for a bit until they are pretty evenly distributed. Then carry on as usual. There is one caveat. Seeds like flax and chia really absorb a lot of moisture so it's usually necessary to add a little extra water to the dough to compensate. Other seeds and nuts don't make too much of a difference.
If you just want seeds on the outside of the bread, make it as usual, then once it's shaped and about to go in the pan, brush or spray it with water then roll/dip in seeds. I usually put the seeds (or oats are nice too) on a dinner plate. Or if you just want them on the top, shape, pop it in the pan, spray/brush with water and sprinkle them on. Hope that helps!
Thank you. That is very helpful. I’ll try it next time. But the loaf as it is turned out amazing!
Diana Lluch says
Can this recipe be used in a bread maker and with almond flour. Carbs are something I need less of. Thank you.
Melanie McDonald says
It's never been tested in a bread maker but as long as you adjusted the ratios of the recipe to suit the size of your machine it should be ok. It definitely won't work with almond flour though. You need to use wheat flour as per the recipe.