Honey Whole Wheat Bread

I love to make bread. Something about it just seems so rustic and charming. I like kneading the dough (although I think I prefer watching my KitchenAid do it), I like watching the yeast bubble and foam, I like watching the bread rise, and more than anything I like cutting into a fresh loaf of bread and devouring a still-warm slice with plenty of butter. That last one is Mike’s favorite as well.

I usually bake a loaf or two of bread every weekend – either to eat with soup, to turn into garlic bread, or just to have to make grilled cheese sandwiches. I don’t normally make “sandwich” bread, but I think that’s about to change. I’m on a quest to make sure all our meals (including lunch) are as nutritious as possible. Mike takes a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every single day, and I’ve decided to stop buying those cheap loaves of bread with slices so thin that the jelly soaks through. (I can hear him cheering from where I’m typing this…) I also don’t want to start spending $4 on a loaf of “healthy” bread. The other option? Make my own.

And that’s where this recipe for honey whole wheat bread fits in. It comes from the Betty Crocker website via my friend Katie (source of a quite a few other good recipes!) It’s sturdy enough for sandwiches, but light enough so that it doesn’t feel dense. It has a great honey flavor, but has a good amount of whole wheat flour to keep it healthy. We’ve eaten this bread plain with butter, but I actually prefer it other ways – grilled cheese, french toast, and of course sandwiches. I always slice it and freeze it the same day I make it, because it seems to get stale pretty quickly. But it’s no problem to pull out a few slices at a time for lunch or dinner. If you’re looking for a good alternative to store-bought bread, give this recipe a try.

*Update: Mike just sent me the following (unsolicited) comments: “Have I mentioned that I absolutely love that homemade bread you made for PBJ sandwiches? It is the perfect bread type. Way better than store bought.” A great recommendation if you ask me :)

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Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Ingredients:

2 packages regular active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
3 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 cups very warm water (120°F to 130°F)
4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 3/4 to 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:

1. In large bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water. Add honey, butter, salt, 2 1/2 cups very warm water and 3 cups of the whole wheat flour. Beat with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl frequently. Beat in remaining 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour.

2. With spoon, stir in 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 cups of the all-purpose flour until dough pulls cleanly away from side of bowl.

3. On lightly floured surface, knead in remaining 1/2 to 1 cup all-purpose flour; be careful to only use as much flour as will keep the dough from sticking. Excess flour will cause the bread to be dense. Continue kneading 5 to 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy. Grease large bowl with shortening or cooking spray; place dough in bowl, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover; let rise in warm place 30 to 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

4. Generously grease 2 (8x4- or 9x5-inch) loaf pans with shortening or cooking spray. Gently push fist into dough to deflate; divide in half. Shape dough into loaves; place in pans. Cover; let rise in warm place 30 to 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

5. Heat oven to 375°F. Uncover dough; bake 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until loaves sound hollow when lightly tapped. Immediately remove from pans to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

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19 Responses to “Honey Whole Wheat Bread”

  1. 1

    Cookin' Canuck — February 18, 2010 @ 1:42 pm

    I'm also tired of paying top price for healthy loaves and have started making bread. I was so excited to find that it was not nearly as intimidating or difficult to make as I thought. Your bread looks absolutely perfect!

  2. 2

    Simply Life — February 18, 2010 @ 1:51 pm

    Great recipe! Ha, my husband also eats pb&j EVERYDAY! I should try this! :)

  3. 3

    JoAnn — February 18, 2010 @ 2:00 pm

    This post is very inspiring. I've never made homemade bread before because everytime I see the word "yeast", I stop reading. I'm scared I'm going to kill it and all that work will be for nothing.
    I hope to feel ambitious to try your recipe soon as your loaves that are pictured look perfect and delicious!

  4. 4

    Anne Marie — February 18, 2010 @ 2:33 pm

    This looks awesome! I have a bread machine that I make my bread in, but yours looks so much better!

  5. 5

    megan — February 18, 2010 @ 2:41 pm

    Cookin' Canuck – you're right, it really is much easier than it sounds. I'm so glad I figured that out! :)

    Simply Life – that's so funny that your husband eats the same thing! Sometimes I offer him lunch meat, or leftovers, but really, he just wants pb&j!

    JoAnn – I hope you work up the courage to try this recipe! Yeast isn't nearly as intimidating as it seems. If you're nervous about it, just make sure your yeast is fresh, and use a meat thermometer or something to measure the temperature of the water. Then you can't go wrong :) Honestly though, if you want an easier bread recipe to start with, try my french bread recipe or the english muffin bread recipe – it's really hard to mess those up!

    Anne Marie – I was never too happy with the outcome when I used my bread machine. And really, if you let your KitchenAid do the hard part, making bread by hand is pretty simple!

  6. 6

    Estela @ Weekly Bite — February 18, 2010 @ 4:28 pm

    I haven't made homemade bread in ages!! I love it, but it is rather time consuming, I feel intimidated.

    Your post is inspiring me to do some bread baking!

  7. 7

    Retta — February 18, 2010 @ 4:30 pm

    I have never tried making my own bread but now I must!

  8. 8

    Fresh Local and Best — February 18, 2010 @ 6:33 pm

    Rustic and charming indeed! I've said it before and this post confirms it, nothing is more heavenly than freshly baked breads!

  9. 9

    Kitty — February 18, 2010 @ 7:15 pm

    I'll be trying this recipe since I need to make bread tomorrow. I will use the bread machine on dough setting then finish the rising and shaping myself. Have no time to do the kneading this week. Sounds so good…with a cup of tea.

  10. 10

    Sook — February 18, 2010 @ 10:23 pm

    I still haven't made whole wheat bread at home. I need to! This looks great! Thanks for sharing.

  11. 11

    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — February 19, 2010 @ 2:06 am

    Yum! Your bread looks beautiful. :)

  12. 12

    Barbara — February 19, 2010 @ 6:18 pm

    Megan, that's a lovely loaf of whole wheat bread! I used to make bread for my family, but they're all gone now so I don't bake bread nearly as much as I used to!

  13. 13

    Anna Tamar — March 1, 2010 @ 10:00 pm

    I just wanted to let you know that I made this today. It is seriously, out of this world, delicious! My husband has already eaten two pieces, and well, so have I! Thank you for sharing!

    I've been wanting to make wheat bread for awhile because my white bread from the store has HFCS and that doesn't mix well with me, so thank you, I will be making this again and again!

  14. 14

    solasoletta — March 5, 2010 @ 1:56 pm

    I tried this recipe last night, and it was delicious, but do you have any tips for avoiding holes? My bread tastes fabulous, but I got almost no whole slices out of it because everything was falling apart. Do I maybe need to bake it longer? Or is there some technique that would help?

    Thanks!

  15. 15

    megan — March 5, 2010 @ 2:09 pm

    solasoletta – hmmm…i've never had that happen before. My thoughts are that maybe the bread rose too much? That could cause holes in the bread. Or that there was too much flour in the dough? It's really hard to avoid adding too much flour when kneading…sometimes I just let my kitchenaid do most of the work and then just knead it a few times by hand to avoid the extra flour. Let me know if you have other questions, and good luck if you try it again!

  16. 16

    solasoletta — March 5, 2010 @ 6:12 pm

    Thanks! I don't have a Kitchenaid, so I was using a spoon and my hands…maybe that had something to do with it?

    Well, it tastes excellent, and will be good "soup bread," as a friend of mine put it.

    I love your blog–I'm dying to try the Monster Cookies!

  17. 17

    Leigh — March 21, 2010 @ 2:21 am

    Just made this bread today and we LOVE it! Thanks for the recipe and I love your blog!!

  18. 18

    Apie Cole — April 14, 2010 @ 4:43 am

    I just received my new Kitchenaid Mixer and I am unsure of what settings to mix this on. Help please : )

  19. 19

    Hanaâ — February 15, 2011 @ 5:23 pm

    What a lovely loaf. Very healthy too. I recently made a100% Whole Wheat loaf, and expected it to be dense and heavy, but it wasn't. It was the best ever. Of course, it's a King Arthur Flour recipe so you can't go wrong there, although I did make a few tweaks. If you wish to check it out, you can find my post here: http://hanaaskitchen.blogspot.com/2011/01/classic-100-whole-wheat-bread.html

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