Have you ever had Great Harvest bread? I remember going as a kid to their bread counter and enjoying a giant slice of bread slathered with butter. My favorite slice was always their honey whole wheat bread. I’ve loved it since first bite…the hint of honey, subtle nutty flavor of the wheat and the tender crumb.
When I started making my own bread I wanted to find a recipe that could conjure all of the same feelings when I sank my teeth in. Through trial and error I landed on this recipe. I love it for the simpleness of the ingredients (only SIX). It makes delicious toast, sandwiches, breadcrumbs and an even healthier alternative to french toast.
When I make this recipe, I always make 5 loaves of bread. I use my Bosch mixer, which can handle big batches. Making extra loaves gives me the flexibility to share a loaf, snack on a loaf and freeze a few loaves for later consumption. I don’t buy bread at any local grocery stores. This recipe has become my routine and is so quick to make once you get in the habit. I’ve listed the recipe for you as a small batch yielding 1 loaf or as a big batch yielding 5 loaves. You can adjust the recipe as you need to for your family size and purposes. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Recipe Notes: I recommend using a machine for kneading the dough if you make a large batch. If you have a KitchenAid mixer and want to make a large batch, check the total cups of flour your mixing bowl holds before using this recipe. You may want to adjust the smaller recipe to fit in your KitchenAid (double or triple it).
This recipe relies heavily on the taste of your whole wheat flour. Choose a whole wheat flour you love the taste of and your bread will be incredible. I use hard white wheat flour from our local mill. If you can find a hard red wheat, you may like mixing that with a white wheat for best flavor/results.
The vital wheat gluten is a big reason why this bread is so tender. It helps soften the “coarseness” of the whole wheat flour. I buy a big bag on Amazon because I make this recipe A LOT.
Honey Whole Wheat Bread
Yield: 1-5 loaves
Time: 15 minutes mix, 2 hours rise, 37 minutes bake (about 3 hours)
One loaf of bread
- 1 ¼ cup warm water
- 1 Tablespoon instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 ½ Tablespoon vital wheat gluten (this helps softens the crumb–you can try leaving it out but it won’t be as soft)
- 2½-3 cups whole wheat flour
5 loaves of bread (I make this in my Bosch mixer)
- 6 cups warm water
- 4.5 T instant yeast
- 5 t. salt
- 1 cup honey
- ½ cup vital wheat gluten (this helps softens the bread crumb–you can try leaving it out, but it won’t be as soft)
- 13-15 cups whole wheat flour
1. Mix the warm water, yeast, honey and salt together. Add half of the flour, then the vital wheat gluten and then the rest of the flour. You are looking for readiness of dough as you add your flour. If the dough can form a ball when you roll it between your fingers and is still a little bit sticky (that’s okay), then you know you can stop adding flour. Knead the dough for 5 minutes (mixer), 10 minutes by hand.
2. Let the dough rise in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size. Turn it out onto a workspace and separate into loaves (if making more than one loaf).
3. To shape the dough, form a small rectangle about the size of your bread pan (use your bread pan as a guide). Starting closest to you, roll the dough up tightly, pressing in at the seam with every roll. After it forms a cylinder, pinch the seam closed. Place dough into bread pan and let rise again, about an hour.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake loaves for 37 minutes. Brush tops of bread with butter. Enjoy warm OR…slice the bread for sandwiches/toast/to freeze. I let it completely cool before slicing with a bread knife.
I often make this while my kids are at school. When they walk through the door in the afternoon and the smell of bread hits them, I love watching the smiles that light up their faces. We usually eat an entire loaf the same day I bake it. It makes for a perfect after school snack, grilled cheese for dinner or toasted with a bit of butter or jam. Give this recipe a try. I hope you love it as much as we do!