| | |

100% Whole Wheat Bread Recipe: Homemade and Delicious

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

This 100% Whole Wheat Bread recipe makes healthy loaves of soft, incredibly flavorful homemade bread. Sweetened with honey, it’s absolutely perfect for toast, sandwiches, or snacking. It also happens to be my favorite homemade bread.

Sliced Homemade 100% Whole Wheat Bread on a Bread Board

Want to save this recipe?

Enter your email, and we’ll send it to your inbox. Plus, you’ll get delicious new recipes from us every Friday!

Save Recipe

If you bake bread, you know that the aroma coming from homemade bread baking in the oven is almost indescribable. It lifts the mood in the whole house and builds expectations for delicious things to come.

Think sandwiches and morning toast. Think soup, like our Ribolitta, served with slices of homemade bread, drizzled in honey.

My mouth is watering as I think of it.

Truly, it’s a gift to yourself and those you live with.

I try to make homemade bread every week, often this 100% Whole Wheat Bread. I don’t always get to it, but it’s a worthy and delicious goal. 

Especially when you pair it with an easy, small-batch Refrigerated Strawberry Jam.

This recipe makes two loaves, which is perfect for freezing one ahead. But in my house… it never seems to last into the next week.

Sliced whole wheat bread on a cutting board with honey

What to Love About 100% Whole Wheat Bread

Honestly, there is very little NOT to love about homemade bread. Especially warm from the oven. But here are some more favorites.

  • Incredibly soft and delicious sandwich bread
  • Healthy and satisfying
  • Easy to make with few ingredients
  • The aroma of home-baked bread
  • Perfect for sandwiches, toast, and snacks!

FEATURED REVIEW

5 star rating
5 star rating
5 star rating
5 star rating
5 star rating
I made this bread exactly as written and it turned out perfect. I kneaded for quite a while to bring out the gluten and the results are a light, very tasty bread. Thank You for your recipe!
Rick

What kind of Whole Wheat Flour Should You Use?

You can use standard whole wheat flour, whole wheat bread flour, white whole wheat flour, or stone-ground whole wheat flour. 

I prefer and always use stone-ground whole wheat flour unless I’m fortunate enough to have some of my sister’s home-milled flour.

The difference between stone-ground whole wheat flour and whole wheat flour is in the processing, and it may contain more fiber and healthy fats.

100% Whole Wheat Bread Ingredients

Gather these ingredients to make this superb, utterly delicious homemade bread.

  • Whole wheat flour: you can also use white whole wheat is you prefer the taste
  • Instant yeast (although active dry yeast works too)
  • Honey for sweetness (or maple syrup if preferred)
  • Cooking oil
  • Salt
2 whole wheat bread loaves cooling on a rack

HOW TO MAKE 100% WHOLE WHEAT BREAD

This bread dough is incredibly easy to make. With few ingredients, it comes together quickly. The time involved is mostly inactive as it will rise two times.

STEP 1: PROOF THE YEAST:

In a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, add warm water and honey. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and let sit for 5 minutes.

STEP 2: MIXING THE DOUGH:

To the yeast mixture, add 4 cups of flour, oil, and salt; stir until incorporated. Then add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

STEP 3: KNEADING THE DOUGH:

If kneading the dough by hand, transfer it to a very lightly floured surface. With oiled hands, knead for 6 to 7 minutes. To knead the dough using a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook, and knead for 5 minutes on medium speed.

First Rise of of whole wheat dough in stainless bowl

STEP 4: LET THE BREAD RISE

Transfer the dough to an oil-coated bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch the dough down, cover, and let rise another 30 minutes.

Second Rise of whole wheat bread in two glass loaf pans

STEP 5: SHAPING THE LOAVES:

Divide in the dough half and form 2 loaves. I like to make a log and pinch the seam and the ends together tightly.

Transfer to two 9 x 5-inch, well-greased loaf pans with the seam side down. Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until the center has crowned; about 1-inch above the loaf rim; about 30 minutes.

BAKING THE LOAVES:

While the bread is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Once risen, place the loaves in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a digital thermometer reads between 180° and 200°F. 

Immediately remove the loaves from the oven and also from the loaf pans. Let cool on a rack completely before slicing.

For an extra delicious, soft crust, brush melted butter over the loaves as they are cooling.

Buttered and Sliced whole wheat bread on a white plate with butter and honey

Whole Wheat Bread Questions

What is the difference between whole wheat flour and white whole wheat flour?

There are two varieties of 100% whole wheat flour; whole wheat and white whole wheat. The difference is 100% whole wheat flour is made from hulled red wheat and provides more fiber than all-purpose flour. Bread made using this flour is darker in color and more dene. White whole wheat flour is made from hulled white spring wheat. This flour will result in a milder taste and will be lighter in color.  

How many times does whole wheat bread need to rise?

In this recipe, the bread will rise three times; the first rise will take about 1 hour then you will deflate the dough and let is rise for an additional 30 minutes in an oiled bowl. The last rise takes place after shaping the loaves and just before baking.

SAVE THIS AND PIN IT FOR LATER!

Make sure you don’t lose track of this recipe by pinning it for later! If you are not already, you can follow me on Pinterest, as well as keep up with me on FacebookInstagram, and YouTube. If you make this recipe, I would also love it if you’d tag me in your photos and leave a star rating below!

2 loaves of 100% whole wheat bread cooling

100% Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

Yield: 2 loaves
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 55 minutes

This 100% Whole Wheat Bread recipe makes easy, healthy loaves of soft, incredibly flavorful homemade bread. Perfect for toast, sandwiches, or snacking.

Ingredients

  • 5 1/2 to 6 cups whole wheat flour*
  • 2½ cups warm water
  • 1½ tablespoons instant yeast (or 2 packages active dry yeast)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, add warm water and honey. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Add 4 cups of flour, oil, and salt to the yeast mixture; stir until incorporated. Then add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  3. Knead the Dough: If kneading by hand, transfer the bread dough to a very lightly floured surface, oil your hands, and knead for 6 to 7 minutes or until the dough is smooth. If kneading in a stand mixer, using the dough hook, knead for 4 minutes at medium speed until the dough is smooth. Adjust the dough as needed with additional flour or water if necessary.
  4. Transfer the dough to an oil-coated bowl and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until the dough has doubled. Punch the dough down, cover, and let rise for 30 minutes.
  5. Coat two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans and set them aside. Divide the dough in half and form it into 2 loaves. I like to make a log and then pinch the seam and the ends together tightly. Place seam side down in prepared pans, cover loosely and let rise in a warm place until the center of the loaf has crowned; about 1-inch above the loaf rim. About 30 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Uncover the loaves and place them in the oven. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a digital thermometer reaches between 180° - 200°F. Tent a sheet of foil over the loaves after 20 minutes to prevent over-browning if desired.
  8. Remove the bread from the oven and from the loaf pans. Transfer to a rack to cool completely before slicing. Brush melted butter over the warm bread for a delicious crust as it cools.

Notes

Whole Wheat Flour

  • Regular whole wheat, whole wheat bread flour, white whole wheat flour all work great. I always use Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour.
  • Adjust the flour amount as necessary so that it pulls away from the bowl and is easily handled.

Storage

  • Wrap bread and store it at room temperature for several days or freeze it for longer storage.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 119Total Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 269mgCarbohydrates: 23.9gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 4g

31Daily.com occasionally offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site. This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although 31Daily.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

Did you make this recipe?

Follow me on Pinterest for more and use the "Pin" button at the top of the recipe card.

77 Comments

  1. I made this bread exactly as written and it turned out perfect. I kneaded for quite awhile to bring out the gluten and the results are a light , very tasty bread. Thank You for your recipe!

    1. Hi Shannon! Such a great idea for making one loaf and buns– thank you for sharing and for trying this recipe. I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  2. I tried the recipe exactly as written and I could NOT get my dough to rise above the top of the loaf pan, let alone rise above it. I used 9×5 pans like the instructions indicated.

    My dough was extremely sticky so my only thought is that I didn’t add enough flour, but my dough did look shiny and released from the bowl like the directions stated.

    1. Hi Steve, I’m so sorry your bread didn’t rise. Whole wheat flour contains much less gluten than all-purpose or bread flour so it requires a little extra kneading for the gluten to develop, which lets it rise. The dough should be moist but not overly sticky. You will usually need to adjust the flour and or water to get the dough just right.

      When testing for the right amount of gluten there are two ways you can do this. One is the “poke test.” Lightly poke the surface of the risen dough and see if an indentation has been left. If it bounces back and feels tight, it needs more time to rise. If it deflantes and indents too much, it could be overproofed.

      The second test I always do when kneading the bread is called a “window test.” To do this, stretch a small piece of dough between your fingers. The dough should stick together and appear mostly transparent. If it cracks, the gluten threads require more kneading.

      Hope this helps!

  3. I wish thst my Whole wheat bread would have a nice darker brown colour ad yours on the photo.I baked thd the 3rd time,and followed the recipe promptly,but very pale colour.Tastes amazing,but its not as pretty brown as on the picture.J use Whole Wheat flour.I brush them as they are cooling with som butter,which helps a very lit in the color.Please,help! Thank you!

    1. Hi Ilona, I’m so happy you enjoyed this recipe! I’m not exactly sure why your bread wasn’t as dark as you wanted it to be.

      The color of wheat flour is often due to its wheat bran content, which can vary by brands, and also which particular wheat was used in its milling (hard red wheat, etc).

      I almost always use a stone ground wheat flour with brands ranging from Bob’s Red Mill to Stone-Buhr to a locally milled flour from Cairnsprings Mill. You can also brush a bit of olive oil (or cooking oil of choice) over the cooling bread to give it a bit of shine. I’m so glad you enjoyed the flavor though!

  4. The very first time I made this recipe, it turned out perfect! Ever since then I cannot get it to rise a 3rd time in the pan. It rises perfectly the first 2 times, just not the 3rd. I’ve tried everything I can think of, but it will not rise up over the edge of the pan like it did the first time. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. I’ll admit, I’m just an amateur, but I’ve been baking since I was a kid so I know the basics of making bread. I just can’t figure this one out.

    1. Hi Rixa– that can be so frustrating! I’m so sorry. There is a point where fermenting yeast in dough will reach its maximum volume and then, even reverse. You definitely don’t want that to happen. It’s important to watch the dough, let it rise just until double, then proceed with baking. The next time I make the bread, I might let the dough rise once in the bowl, then gently deflate and shape into loaves and let it rise in the loaf pans for the second and final time, skipping the middle rising. See if that works for you– I’d love to hear!

  5. Hi, i made one loaf of bread by reducing ingredients to half and my bread turned out too dense and hard. It smelled of yeast not sure why. I used one sachet of instant yeast. It didn’t rise well in the oven. Please help.

  6. After dividing the dough and outdoor to the final rise, can half the dough be refrigerated and do the final rise in baking pan and baked at a later date?

    1. Hi Irma, thanks for a great question. Technically, you are supposed to be able to do this. However, I have not tested that with this recipe. I plan to bake some later this week, and will test it then. I usually bake both loaves, and then freeze one. If you try it, I would love to hear how it goes.

  7. What adjustments for the ingredients should i make if I have a small bread maker at home? I would love to try this at home! (:

    1. Hi Fahranse! Do you know what size loaf your bread machine can make? This is usually in pounds, like 1.5 lb or 2 lb or how many cups of flour it can hold. That will help me make adjustments to the recipe.

  8. I have a dumb question- if I want to make just one loaf (it’s just my husband and I) would I just cut the recipe in half and use one bread tin?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Julia— that’s a great question! Yes, you can half the ingredients and bake it in one loaf pan. But you might want to consider baking both loaves and freezing one for a homemade loaf later!

  9. Can you use avocado oil or canola oil for the 2 tablespoons of cooking oil.
    How much of the 120 total fat is saturated fat.
    Also the 1.9g trans fat in the nutritional information is that the oil or something else.

    1. Hi Karen, you can definitely use avocado or canola oil. Using olive oil, avocado or canola oil, saturated fat is 0%. Trans fat is also 0%. I’ve just rerun the calculations so the nutritional information should be correct as listed.

  10. This is the same chris with the “do i cover it” question & I always want to know when people actually try my recipes, so I thought I’d show you the same respect: this bread is (and I’m not being hyperbolic here) PERFECT! I’m a 20+yr professional chef that like all proper chefs treated the pastry side like it was black magic. A realm best left to the wizards and pastry graduates of hogwarts. I’ve only just in the last 4 months started really dipping my proverbial toes into the baking waters. This is the VERY FIRST true loaf of bread I’ve ever made, and I wish I could show you…it came out FLAWLESS. I swapped the honey for molasses, because I just prefer it as a sweetener, but otherwise followed the recipe as written. 10/10 wouldn’t change a thing (aside from the honey to molasses lol) I made some EPIC stuffed French toast this morning with it too. Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Hi Chris, you have made my day! Thank you so much for coming back and letting me know how the whole wheat bread worked for you. I wish you could upload a photo too! I’m actually working on that to see if there is anyway it could be implemented on the site. For me, bread making is such a thrilling and satisfying thing. I love it when people discover how really simple and fun it can be! I’m noticing lately that many are reaching for molasses as their natural sweetener of choice. That’s a GREAT tip for everyone. Again, thank you so much for trying the bread and getting back to me on how it worked! And French Toast? I’m drooling!

  11. i dont see anywhere where it clearly says to cover while rising…i see one mention of uncovering. so am i supposed to use plastic wrap? damp flour sack towel? leav it uncovered?

    1. Hi Chris, yes, do cover the bread while rising. I like to loosely cover with plastic so there is room for rising.

    1. Hi Pauline, that’s a great question. I’ve not tried it using this recipe. I’ve had on my list for a while to do a Cinnamon Raisin Whole Wheat bread recipe. Hope to do it soon!

      1. Hi, I’m wondering about the nutritional info… 1.5 teaspoons salt per loaf…yet you’ve listed 0mg sodium/serving.

        1. That’s a great question because when you look at how the recipe card displays the nutritional information, it does look like that. The 0mg measurement is actually referencing the cholesterol. Sodium is 269mg. It comes after the colon :.

    1. Hi Amanda! Thank you so much for calling that out. I can’t imagine what happened with that, other than I think the serving size adjusted to servings 2 (as in 2 loaves) instead of actual sliced servings. The nutritional information has been corrected and the actual carb number is 23.9g.

    2. Hi! Are add ins welcomed without having to adjust any other ingredients? Like adding in different seeds? Could I just add that in with the flour before adding the wet ingredients?

      1. Hi Savannah! You don’t need to alter the recipe at all to add small nuts or seeds. I like to add them after the first rise. Would love to hear how it turns out!

        1. Hi! I came across ur page while searching for whole wheat bread tutorials and yours has the easiest and with least ingredients listed! So im curious i think i may try to do this one! Im a beginner at baking, actually i never tried it, and I’m thinking for practice i think one loaf would be great for now. What adjustments to the ingredients i should make if i opt for one loaf?

          1. Hi Vona! I’m so glad you found us! This bread works great for beginning bread makers and I hope you enjoy it. You can easily cut the ingredients in half, of make 2 loaves and freeze one. I do that often, slicing the loaf after its cooled, and then I have slices ready whenever we need them!

  12. Thank you for the directions. I’m newly retired and trying bread baking for the first time. I grew up on homemade bread and look forward to making it. I found a recipe in my mom’s church cookbook but it didn’t say when to knead! (I guess those ladies all just knew!) so glad I found your post. I’m trying molasses for the sweetener – I had it and thought it might be a richer flavor. The yeast LOVED it – bubbled right up. On my first rise now. ❤️

    1. Hi Danae! I’m so happy you’re trying this bread recipe! I also grew up on homemade bread and there is nothing quite like it. Hope you enjoyed it and thank you so much for trying it!

  13. I’m not clear on the directions. After the first rise do you let it rise again for 30 minutes then divide and put it in the loaf pans and let it rise again for another 30 minutes before putting in the oven?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Carol, thank you for your question. Yes, there is another 30 minute rise after the first rise. In essence, the first rise is about 1 hour and 30 minutes in total. Then you shape the loaves and it rises again before baking. Hope that helps!

  14. Can you skip one of the 30 minute rises. I did by accident with this recipe and it turned out fine…maybe it’s because I used hard red wheat? Anyway, thanks for this great and easy recipe!

    1. Hi Rose! That is a great question– I’ve never tried this recipe without both of the rises. That is great news that it worked out and super good to know. Hard red wheat flour is my preferred flour too, it has a higher protein and I like the color it brings to the loaves.

  15. This is really the best homemade bread recipe I have made. My family loves it. Simple and so tasty. Thank you so much. You are a great baker.
    I made 4 bread and added 3 cups of raisins and cranberry in my second batch. So good.

    1. Hi Michelle! Thank you so much for letting me know how you’re enjoying this recipe! It’s my go-to whole wheat bread I love to make as often as possible. I LOVE your adaptations with the raisins and cranberries! Yum!!

    1. Hi Debbie! I just now found your comment– I’m so sorry it took me a few days to get back to you. I’ve updated the nutritional information on the whole wheat bread based on 16 slices per loaf. Fat is 1g, Sodium is 219mg, and Cholesterol is 0mg. The rest can be found at the bottom of the recipe in the recipe card. Thanks so much for your understanding!

    2. Hi. I love the look of this recipe but need very low sodium, would it work if I lowered the salt to 1 teaspoon? Ty

      1. Hi Michelle! Reducing the salt should not affect the recipe, other than flavor. Hope you like it!

  16. Can you make this without the honey? I’m looking for a recipe my 9 month old can eat and so no honey yet for him.

    1. Hi Melissa! You can absolutely make it without honey. Yeast needs sugar to activate and grow so you can easily substitute maple syrup, agave, or even brown sugar in the recipe.

        1. Hi Ana! I would substitute an equal amount of brown sugar (1/4 cup). As you probably know, honey will taste sweeter than brown sugar, but I still think that amount should be fine.

      1. My suggestion would be to use maple syrup, brown sugar, or even regular sugar. The sweetener is what helps feed the yeast. Whole wheat and honey are classic, but I also like whole wheat and molasses.

          1. That’s a great question! You do not need to use sugar to activate the yeast— honey works just as well.

  17. Hi! This bread is AMAZING!

    Question: my husband and I have both made this and same results each time – the loaves don’t rise above the pan so they’re short. I’ve triend lengthening the rise time in the pan, but no change. Any tips?

    1. Hi Lauren, thank you for trying the recipe and for your question. My best tips are to let the bread rise even up to a couple of hours. I use a 9 x 5-inch pan for 1 loaf and an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan for the second. Lately, I’ve found the 8 x 4-inch pan does give me a higher rise.

      Also, whole wheat flour can vary in gluten amounts, which is what helps bread rise. Substituting 1 tablespoon of vital wheat gluten for 1 tablespoon flour in each cup of flour can help the bread rise higher. Or, you can also add 2 tablespoons of instant dry milk powder (per loaf) to help increase the rise as well.

      Also, watch the moisture level in the dough. Humidity and temperature can vary each time you make bread, which also affects its ability to rise. You want your dough to be soft but not overly sticky. Try to aim for a “tacky” dough to get the right amount of flour to moisture ratio.

      I hope these tips are helpful!

  18. I spent all day making this and it kept falling. So after the rise before I put it in the oven it fell when I removed the Saran Wrap lightly covering it. I let it rise again, put it in oven , checked it 5 minutes later and it fell again! Any ideas why ????

    1. I’m so sorry that happened. I’ve had it happen on other recipes a couple of times. It can be frustrating. In every case, for me, it was about the yeast. Each time my yeast was freshly purchased too. When I made the recipe again with different yeast, I had no problem with it. Even fresh yeast can sometimes lose its “energy,” resulting in bread that rises and then falls.

      The other issue could be the oven temperature. As you know, all ovens are different, some run a bit hot. When the oven is baking hot, the outer crust becomes golden and the inside of the bread isn’t baked through, resulting in bread that falls after it’s baked. Thank you for your question!

  19. I have used your recipe four times now and have had a great outcome every time! I do use a mix of whole wheat flour and all purpose flour. Mostly because I’m a little nervous to use all wheat flour. The taste is great and this bread is loved by everyone in my family. I freeze one of the loaves so we have some for a few weeks and it does great out of the freezer. The bread is amazing for grilled cheese sandwiches! It gets the perfect crunch while cooking in the pan. Thank you for the recipe and one day I will try a compete whole wheat batch. 🙂

    1. Hi Melissa! Your comment made my day. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the recipe (even with a flour blend)– which is, of course, absolutely fine! I do that too sometimes, and love making 2 loaves for the same reason as you. It’s wonderful to have one in the freezer. I have a son who is a grilled cheese lover too. I can not believe I’ve NOT made grilled cheese with this bread. Um — I’m going to remedy that when I bake my next loaf Monday! Thank you for the tip and for trying the recipe!!

  20. I’m making your recipe for the second time today. We love the taste of the bread, which is neither too bitter because of the 100% whole wheat, nor too sweet, with the honey. I am adding about a third of a cup of sunflower seeds again. The first time, I weighed the flour and the dough was too wet, and the loaves didn’t hold their height well. This time I’ve gone by “feel” and added a little more flour to make a stiffer, but not dry dough. Will see how that works out. Thanks for this great recipe!

    1. You made my day — thank you! I’m so glad you like the 100% Whole Wheat Bread recipe. In fact, I’m making a loaf for us today as well. I love your addition of sunflower seeds, making the bread even healthier and heartier. And, you are exactly right. Bread making, as you know, changes from day to day depending on heat and humidity in the air. I always start with basic measurements and add tiny amounts of flour (like 1 tablespoon) until the dough “feels” just right.

      Thank you so much for commenting and letting me know about your changes, adaptations, and how you liked it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *