Wednesday, November 30, 2011

100% Honey Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread Recipe

I've been holding onto this baby for a long time. I wanted to test it a dozen times before I shared it with you, to make sure it's good.

Testing results are in... this recipe consistently produces light, fluffy, tender, flavorful bread, with no all-purpose flour and no dense-as-a-hockey-puck failures.

Today I put it through a few more tests: cinnamon raisin bread, monkey bread, and pizza rolls (like cinnamon rolls but with mozzarella and pepperoni instead). All of them are exceptional.

Without further ado:

100% Honey Whole Wheat Bread 
Printable version
  • 2 cups warm water (4 cups warm water) 
  • 1 T yeast (2 T yeast) 
  • 1/3 cup honey (2/3 cup honey)
  • 1/3 cup oil (2/3 cup oil) 
  • 2 tsp. salt (4 tsp. salt) 
  • 1/3 cup gluten flour (2/3 cup gluten flour) 
  • 5 to 7 cups whole wheat flour (10-14 cups whole wheat flour) 
Preliminary Notes: For two loaves, use given measurements, for four loaves use measurements in parentheses. This recipe can be made by hand rather than in a stand mixer... just knead by hand wherever it calls for machine kneading. Gluten flour is also called "vital wheat gluten" and can be found in most grocery stores where the flour is sold; this added gluten is necessary to make the dough light and fluffy... I can't vouch for the recipe if you skip it.

In a stand up type mixer such as a Kitchen Aid combine water, yeast and honey. Let this sit for about 5 minutes or until the yeast is nice and bubbly. Add oil, salt, gluten flour and 3 to 4 (6-8) cups of whole wheat flour. Knead this with your mixer and continue to add more flour until the dough does not stick to the side of the bowl and does not feel sticky to the touch. Knead for another 7 to 8 minutes.
When dough has finished kneading place it in a greased bowl in a warm place til it is double in size (about 1 hour).
Punch the dough down. Divide the dough into 2 (4) pieces and shape into loaves and put in bread pans that have been buttered generously. Let the loaves rise until they are about 1 inch above the rim of the bread pan (30-45 minutes in a warm kitchen).
Bake at 350 for approx. 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Here's what I've made with this basic recipe, lately:

{Image source:}

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and of course:

(Not the actual loaf, though I did take this picture. It's too dark to take a picture in my kitchen right now).

So there you have it. No orange juice, no citric acid, no xantham gum, no mashed potato flakes, no overnight proofing... none of those crazy ingredients or techniques most whole wheat recipes call for. Vital wheat gluten is easily found, and this bread is about fool-proof.


Donna Bishop said...

It all looks yummy!  I've been looking for a good wheat bread recipe to try and I think you've just given it to me.  Yeah!

Karen said...

So this is pretty cool.  The little bit of gluten flour replaces what would otherwise have to be a lot of white flour?  I've been getting requests for bread that is more whole grain around here lately.  Yes, from kids and hubby, I don't understand what happened, but I'd like to go with it.  I have made a couple loaves of rye bread, one of which had the end cut off before I was ready to wrap it.  I'm going to try this for a toaster bread.  Thanks!

Jenn said...

I'm going to the grocery today to get the gluten flour and then I'm going to make this! I really can't wait. I've been making halfway-homemade bread for the past few weeks and have been getting ready to pony up and make REAL bread. Thanks for the simple recipe!! (I pinned it!)

Farmer's City Wife said...

Yeah! Hope it turns out well for you :). We really like it in this house.

Farmer's City Wife said...

Yes, I think so.
We had this as toast this morning and again as toasted bread for BLTs for lunch. Love the stuff :). Let me know how it goes!

Farmer's City Wife said...

Yay!! Hope it turns out well for you! Please report back :).

Jenn said...

Ok so I just pulled my bread out of the oven. (The house smells GLORIOUS.) And the entire time I was making it, I was wishing that you were here with me, standing over my shoulder so I could say, "Do you think that is enough flour? Should I add just a little bit more? Did it rise enough? Does it look doubled to you?" I have never made bread before (for real) OR been around anyone who has, so when it comes to "basic" things like punching, I'm scratching my head like, "How hard do I punch it? How many times do I punch it? Have I beaten it into submission yet or should I keep going?"

SO MANY QUESTIONS. Unfortunately, my bread did not turn out nearly as beautiful as yours. It is quite.... squat. I do not doubt the recipe as it smells delicious, and I'm sure it tastes wonderful, but my bread is clearly lacking in the beauty department. ;) Hopefully I can learn from my mistakes and try again.
But if you happen to be in the Tuckassee area in the near future, feel free to stop on by and stand over my shoulder and offer your advice and bread-making wisdom. :)

Farmer's City Wife said...

Oh no!!
Hang tight... I will post a full picture tutorial of the recipe later this week! I forgot until reading your comment that I had the EXACT same questions the first time I made my first hockey puck! :) It gets better, though! I had at least half a dozen failures before my first passable loaf, and another half dozen before it was "perfected."

Colleen said...

Trying this today and hoping I don't quite get a hockey puck...I am hoping to get good enough at baking bread that I won't have to buy it anymore!

Christi said...

I never comment on blogs, but this recipe was amazing. The first whole wheat recipe I've made that  wasn't like a paperweight. Thank you!

Farmer's City Wife said...

Thanks so much for the feedback, Christi! I'm SO glad it worked out well for you :).

Hannah Acheson said...

I'm curious in which "Northwest" state you reside, or at least your approximate altitude - by no means am I attempting to threaten your privacy. ;) I know the amount of vital wheat gluten required to make bread "light, fluffy and tender" can vary by altitude, what produces lovely bread in Denver, for example, produces less than lovely in Seattle or Cincinnati. Writing from SE South Dakota, I am simply wondering if I will have to make any adjustments to this recipe right out of the gate. ;) Perhaps only trial and error will tell.

Thank you for sharing your thoroughly-tested recipe! You've spared home chefs everywhere hours of work. After several years of making white bread (a well-worn Amish recipe), I am eager to make a change to whole wheat and wow, you couldn't have made it simpler. :)

Farmer's City Wife said...

Hi Hannah,
Your comment made me grin from ear to ear. You're so sweet and kind!

My approximate altitude is between 200-300ft above sea level... so nothing terribly high. Altitude never occurs to me, but when baking you're absolutely right; it's very important!

I sincerely hope this recipe works out for you. Since you're comfortable making homemade loaves, this should be a cinch. Just remember that with whole wheat bread recipes, it's better to err on the side of a little sticky than a little dry because the longer it sits the more water the flour absorbs... so a SMIDGE too sticky at one point will be about perfect 20 minutes later.

facebook-20700781 said...

I've had a similar recipe that I have been making in my bread machine, but hate the big hole the paddle leaves...going to give this a whirl in the mixer!  Have you attempted to freeze the dough and bake later, or do you recommend just making up the loaves and freezing those for future use?

Farmer's City Wife said...

Hi! Yes, I have frozen the dough, before, and it just never gives me great results (but then again, frozen pizza dough never does well by me, either, and other people say it can't fail). So I prefer to bake and freeze (which always works for me). Thanks!

Tiffany said...

What kind of yeast do you use? Dry active?

Laura said...

this may be a dumb question, but i'm a first time bread-maker... what type of "oil" do you use? Olive oil? 

Farmer's City Wife said...

Definitely not a dumb question! I was purposely vague, because really any mild-flavored oil will work (olive, vegetable, canola, sunflower, safflower, etc.). I wouldn't use sesame or walnut or any of those types, though. :)

Farmer's City Wife said...

Yes, dry active yeast, although you could use instant and skip the proofing in the water (so just add it straight to the flour).

Patricia Ratley said...

I'm not sure if you are going to see this or not, but in an earlier comment from Jen she was wondering about how things were suppose to look and you stated that you were going to post a full picture tutorial  later that week but I'm unable to find it. Were you ever able to and if so could you post the link?

Joshua Wood said...

Dont suppose you have a bread machine version do you?

Farmer's City Wife said...

Sadly no. I don't have a bread machine (and have never used one) so I wouldn't know how to convert it, either. Switch to bread machine (instant) yeast and let 'er go? hehe... sorry I can't be of more help!

TS said...

Wow! This is fantastic, whole wheat bread that is light, fluffy, and delicious. What a difference the vital wheat gluten makes. I may never bake a loaf of white bread again.

chrini* said...
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chrini* said...
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chrini* said...
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Christa Collins said...

Joshua - I tried this recipe in my bread machine. It did great. Since the recipe makes 2 loaves and my bread machine has a 1.5 loaf capacity, I decided to cut the recipe in half. Let me just tell you, this recipe works beautifully in a bread machine too. I had just tried another loaf of bread (from the manual) and it was super dense and not as soft as I like, but this loaf was definitely soft and fluffy.

My recipe for this bread with a bread machine:

1 cup warm water
1/2 T yeast
2 T + 2 tsp honey --- (3 tsp = 1 2 2/3 T)
2 T + 2 tsp oil
1 tsp salt
2 T + 2 tsp gluten flour
3 cups whole wheat flour

Add your ingredients per your machine's directions (mine is liquid first, dry ingredients second, and yeast last). I used bread machine yeast...however, any instant yeast/rapid rise yeast would probably work as well (unless doing a rapid cycle...) I set my machine for "whole wheat" with a Light crust. I probably will set it for a shorter cook time next time (by maybe 10 minutes.) I did have to modify my liquid by 1 1/2 T, but again, modifying the recipe as far as whether the bread is too dry or too wet is entirely up to your discretion.

Farmer's City Wife said...

Christa, what a dear you are! Thank you so much for this!

Karmadarma12345 said...

Best whole wheat bread ever! Finally, a 100% whole wheat loaf that is light and fluffy. I have been making this every week and the hubby loves it!

Farmer's City Wife said...

Thank you so much! We really really enjoy this loaf; I'm glad you and your husband do, too!

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