Honey Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
Just like my favorite homemade white bread recipe, two loaves of this simple homemade whole wheat bread will be ready to eat in about 3 hours, with only about 20-minutes of hands-on effort.
Thanks to a touch of olive oil and milk, this bread has an exceptionally soft and tender crumb – not heavy, dry, or overly dense like some whole wheat loaves can be. Lightly sweetened with honey or molasses, each slice is slightly nutty and supremely comforting, like only homemade bread can be.
Homemade bread is one of those things that never stops being a treat no matter how often I bake it. And I bake it a lot.
I’ve been baking bread nearly every week – sometimes two or three times in a week – for over 20 years. And yet, every single time a warm, fresh loaf comes out of the oven, we all hover over it, impatiently waiting for it to cool enough to slice.
Simple sandwich loaves like this whole wheat recipe (and this white bread recipe) require a ridiculously minimal amount of time when weighted against the immensely satisfying reward of baking – and eating! – homemade bread.
Tips for perfect-every-time homemade bread:
Two loaves of homemade whole wheat bread require only 9 ingredients, and one of them is water and another is optional. Even better, if you’re using a standing mixer to knead the dough, the total hands on time is only about 20 minutes.
You can, of course, knead your bread by hand – an enjoyable activity that I sometimes choose over machine kneading when:
- I’ve been sitting at my computer for too long and feel antsy and restless.
- I’m aggravated, frustrated, or outright angry. I can’t help but think that the world would be a MUCH better place if more people chose to make bread before responding to someone who’s driving them crazy. Honestly.
- I’m listening to a super awesome audio book or podcast and want an excuse to keep listening.
- I just feel like it. (Probably the best reason of all.)
The oatmeal is optional.
Just 3/4 cup of ground old fashioned oats gives these loaves a heartier texture and slightly more complex flavor without messing up the super soft tender crumb. But, if you don’t happen to have any in your kitchen on the day you plan to bake, or if you just don’t really care for oats, leave them out, adding a bit more whole wheat flour in their place.
Finding the right balance between flour, water, and milk.
Add the last cup and a half of flour slowly, using only what you need. How much flour bread dough requires depends on a lot of different factors. In humid climates, or seasons, you’ll need more flour than during times of the year – or areas of the world – when the air is dry.
Before you begin mixing the dough, add all the ground oats and whole wheat flour. But, only add some of the all-purpose flour to the dough to start. Then, slowly add more, bit by bit, just until you have dough that’s soft and smooth, not sticking to the sides of the bowl at all, but still wet enough to stick slightly to the bottom of the bowl.
If you accidentally add too much flour, so that your dough is looking overly dry, no worries. Bread dough is remarkably forgiving. Simply add more milk – teaspoon by teaspoon – until the dough is damp enough to stick to the bottom of the bowl slightly.
Both honey and molasses are delicious – but do influence the flavor of the bread.
Molasses imparts a deeper flavor and darker color to whole wheat bread, while honey creates a lighter loaf with a slightly milder flavor. Both are equally delicious, in my opinion, and so I generally alternate between the two, using whichever strikes my fancy in the moment.
Another option is to use real maple syrup. However, the difference in flavor between maple syrup and honey is really quiet slight. Since, in my neck of the woods, local honey is less expensive than real maple syrup, I rarely reach for the syrup. However, if you live in an area where the maple syrup runs freely, it makes complete sense for you to use it.
More favorite homemade bread recipes:
- Simple Homemade White Bread
- Buttery Homemade Dinner Rolls
- Simple Homemade Pizza Dough
- Homemade Overnight Caramel Rolls
Used to make this homemade white bread recipe:
If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or take a picture and tag it #ofbatteranddough on Instagram.
Homemade Whole Wheat Bread that’s exceptionally soft and tender, thanks to a touch of milk and olive oil. Lightly sweetened with honey or molasses, each slice is slightly nutty and supremely comforting, like only homemade bread can be.
- Add the water, milk, and honey or molasses to the bowl of a standing mixer, and stir to combine. Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the liquid and stir briefly. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes, until the yeast is activated and looks creamy. Stir in the olive oil.
- Put the oats in a food processor or spice grinder and process to a fine powder. Add the ground oats to the mixing bowl along with the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour.
- Fit the mixer with the dough hook and begin mixing the dough on low (speed level 2 or 3 on a KitchenAid mixer) to bring the dough together. As the dough beats, slowly add only enough of the remaining all-purpose flour to bring the dough together into a soft dough. The dough should clean the sides of the bowl, but still stick to the bottom. (*See note.)
- With the mixer continuing to knead the dough (keep it on low speed), slowly sprinkle in the salt. Once the salt is incorporated, let the mixer continue to knead the dough for another 3 minutes, until the dough is elastic, smooth and soft.
- Spray a bowl large enough to hold double the amount of dough with non-stick spray, or coat it with a bit of melted butter. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl, shape it into a ball, and plop it down into the greased bowl. Spray a sheet of plastic wrap with non-stick spray, or brush it with a bit of melted butter, and use it to cover the bowl.
- Let the dough rest at room temperature until it has doubled in size. Depending on the temperature of the room, this will take between 60 and 90 minutes.
- Spray two 8 & 1/2 by 4 & 1/2 inch loaf pans with non-stick spray, or coat with a bit of melted butter. Dump the dough out onto a clean work surface and divide into two pieces. Lift one piece of dough and form it into a ball by using your thumbs to gently stretching the outside of the dough into a ball, pinching the dough together at the bottom. Bring the opposite sides together and pinch together at the bottom. Lay the ball of dough on your work surface, and roll it back and forth a few times to create an oblong ball. Lay the dough, seam side down, into one of the loaf pans. Repeat with the other half of dough.
- Spray two sheets of plastic wrap with non-stick spray, or brush them with a bit of melted butter and loosely cover each loaf.
- Allow the loaves to rise at room temperature until they double in size again, rising over the tops of the pans, 45 minutes – 1 1/2 hours.
- While the loaves rise, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. When the loaves are fully risen, bake for 35-40 minutes, until they are golden brown and an instant read thermometer plunged into the center of one of the loaves registers between 190 – 200 degrees.
- Remove from the oven and use a dish towel to grip the top of each loaf to lift it from the pan onto a wire rack. Allow to cool completely.
- Once cool, the loaves can be wrapped in plastic and stored for 2-3 days at room temperature. For longer storage, wrap the bread airtight and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature, still wrapped.
- If you add too much flour and your dough is dry and tough, just add in more milk, teaspoon by teaspoon until the dough is wet enough to stick ever so slightly to the bottom of the bowl.
- Category: bread baking
Keywords: homemade bread, whole wheat bread, honey whole wheat bread, simple homemade bread
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