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Soft Whole Wheat Bread

This soft whole wheat bread recipe is the answer to all those dense, brick-like loaves of whole wheat bread you've tried. ($.26 per serving)
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Whole Wheat Bread
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 12
Calories 274kcal

Ingredients

  • 6 cups white whole wheat flour divided (plus more for kneading)
  • 1/4 cup whey, lemon juice, or vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbs. honey divided
  • 4 tbs melted butter or coconut oil divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  • In the evening before baking, mix together 3 cups of whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup whey or other acid (optional), and 2 cups of water. Some people find the bread is easier to digest if the flour is soaked with an acid. Cover and let the dough sit at room temperature overnight. (I use this silicone lid, but you could also use plastic wrap or a warm kitchen towel.)
  • In the morning, stir together the yeast, 1 tablespoon of honey, and 1/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees). Let the mixture get very bubbly. It should take 20 to 30 minutes. If your yeast mixture doesn’t look like the photo above, your bread won’t rise properly.
  • Place the soaked flour mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast mixture. Then add the following: 3 tbs. melted coconut oil or butter (cooled), 1/4 cup honey, 2 eggs, 1 tsp. salt, and 3 additional cups of white whole wheat flour. Mix using the dough hook attachment.
  • If the dough is quite sticky, add a little more flour. It should be well hydrated, but not too sticky to handle. You may need to add as much as another cup of flour. If it seems dry, add a bit more water.
  • Knead the dough in the stand mixer with the dough hook (or by hand on a floured work surface) for 10 to 15 minutes. I usually start the kneading process in the mixer and then finish it off by hand.
  • Transfer the dough to a greased bowl with enough room for it to double in size. Cover the bowl and let it rise for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size. If your room is cooler than 70 degrees, the rise time will be longer.
  • Knead the dough for 2 minutes, then divide it into two balls.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll out each ball of dough to a thickness of 1 inch. Then roll up each section of dough into a loaf shape. Place the loaves in 2 large, greased loaf pans. Cover with a wet kitchen towel and let the loaves rise again until doubled in size (about 2 hours).
  • Score the loaves with a sharp knife by slashing them with a line about 1/4 inch deep down the middle of each loaf (lengthwise).
  • Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. I find it very tricky to determine if a loaf of sandwich bread is done. Even if it’s “nicely browned” and thumps with a hollow sound, the dough may still be gummy in the middle of the loaf. Big disappointment after all that work! The best way to tell if it’s done for sure is to insert a thermometer and see if it’s reached a temperature of 190 to 200 degrees.
  • Let the loaves cool for at least 10 minutes before removing them from the pans. Melt the last tablespoon of butter and brush the melted butter on top of the loaves while they’re cooling. This will keep the crust soft.

Notes

If you want to skip the step of soaking the flour overnight, you can simply mix the first 3 cups of flour with 2 1/4 cups of water, and proceed with the recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 274kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 239mg | Potassium: 109mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 156IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 2mg