100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Looking for a delicious sandwich bread that’s perfect for your family’s lunch box? With this whole wheat bread recipe, you can enjoy the same great taste of regular sandwich bread without compromising on nutrition. This bread is nutrient-dense, delicious, and the fluffiest 100% whole wheat bread you’ll ever make! In this post, we’ll share everything you need to know about baking whole wheat bread and all our tips to get that nice, fluffy rise.

whole wheat bread

I am so excited to share this post because this whole wheat bread is a recipe that I have worked on, refined, and fine-tuned for years. And when I say years, I mean like almost a decade! But today I can finally bring to you what I call THE perfect 100% whole wheat sandwich bread recipe. So many whole grain recipes end up flat and dense, and trust me, I’ve had my fair share of those loaves. This recipe gives you amazing bread that is soft and fluffy with a lightly chewy crust while using 100% whole grain. No white flour, no dough conditioners, no preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup, just nutrient-rich whole grains baked into a delightful loaf that pairs with just about any kind of sandwich.

Benefits of Choosing Whole Grains

Studies have shown that whole grain consumption is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, obesity, and type-2 diabetes. Whole grains provide more fiber, vitamins, and minerals than refined wheat products and can also help control cholesterol and blood pressure. With this whole wheat bread recipe, you can gain all the benefits of whole grains while still enjoying the taste and texture of deliciously soft sandwich bread.

whole wheat bread

How to Store/Freeze Homemade Bread

Homemade bread can be stored on the counter in an airtight container or ziplock bag for up to 4 days. Unlike commercial loaves, homemade bread does not have preservatives that allow bread to sit for a long period. If your kitchen is very warm, I recommend eating your loaf within the first day or two of baking or freezing immediately and removing as needed.

This bread freezes incredibly well. Allow the bread to cool completely, place in a ziplock bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. If you want to eat your bread in small batches at a time, pre-slice the loaf before freezing.

Tools You Might Need

  • Stand mixer with a dough hook (You don’t have to use a mixer, but it will make the process faster and your life a lot easier. I’m still using an heirloom 1960s Bosch mixer. It doesn’t have much for bells and whistles, but it gets the job done!)
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Mixing bowl
  • 9×5″ loaf pans (2)

Ingredients

We’re going to go in-depth here for those of you who might be beginner bakers. It’s important to understand the role each ingredient plays in the baking process. If you’re pretty familiar with bread baking, feel free to skim through this part.

  • Active dry yeast – Yeast is an essential part of bread baking, as it’s the ingredient that will allow the bread to rise. You want to make sure your yeast is quality and that it is still active. This is one instance where the expiration date on a package is extremely important. If it’s much past the date and you have not been storing your yeast in the freezer (which I highly recommend to keep your yeast as fresh as possible), then you will likely have to throw out and purchase new. The brand I recommend is Fleichmann’s, which can be purchased in most grocery stores in packets or jars. Since we bake a lot of homemade breads, I purchase larger packages for much cheaper on Amazon.
  • Water – It’s important to use only warm water when working with live yeast. Yeast thrives in temperatures between 80° and 110°. Cold water will not activate the yeast, and hot water will actually kill it. Yeast is kind of like Goldilocks; everything has to be just right.
  • Whole wheat flour – Use quality, high-protein whole wheat flour. Start with the amount listed in the recipe, but know that you may need to add more depending on the baking environment. (Higher humidity typically requires more flour than dry conditions in winter.) It’s important that you watch the texture of the dough more than the amount of flour added. Too much flour will also lead to a dense final product. The goal is to add as little flour as possible while keeping the dough from being too sticky.
  • Vital wheat gluten – As I have mentioned, whole grain products are notorious for baking up dense. Additional gluten, which is the protein wheat, is a key component in baking fluffy whole wheat bread. If you want to try baking with 100% whole wheat, you really can’t skip this ingredient without compromising how well your dough will rise and the final texture. It only takes a small amount to make a significant difference. I typically buy mine online, but it can be found in most grocery stores.
  • Salt – Salt adds flavor and prevents the dough from over-proofing. Salt will kill yeast, so it’s important to add it in after other ingredients have been added.
  • Oil – Really any liquid vegetable oil will work. Avocado oil or canola oil works well.
  • Honey – If you prefer not to use honey, you can substitute with an equal amount of granulated sugar.
  • Vinegar – Vinegar is a mild acid that helps to break down the starches in the dough. This is a great additive for whole-grain bread because it gives the bread a better rise.

Let’s dive into how to make this bread and get baking!

Directions

Step 1:
In the mixer bowl, add yeast. Add warm water and a little bit of sugar, about a ½ tsp. This will activate the yeast and give it something to feed on. Let the yeast mixture stand for 5 minutes.
In this time, it should start to get bubbly.

whole wheat bread yeast

While you wait, mix your whole wheat flour and gluten flour together in a bowl.

Step 2:
Add about 1/3 of the flour and pulse until it forms a sticky dough. Then add salt.

Step 3:
Pour in oil, honey, and vinegar and begin kneading. Gradually add the remaining flour until the dough forms a ball and cleans the sides of the bowl.

Keep adding flour 2 T at a time until the dough is no longer shaggy and sticky. Allow the machine to knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about another 5 minutes.

Step 4:
Divide the dough in half. Shape into loaves by stretching the edges of the dough and tucking under the bottom.
Place in greased 9×5″ loaf pans. Cover with a tea towel to prevent dough from drying.

Step 5:
Let dough rise in pan until doubled in size. This typically takes a little under an hour, but rise times will vary based on the temperature of your home. Bread should reach the edges of the pan without spilling over the sides.

whole wheat bread proofed

Step 6:
Bake at 350º for 40-45 minutes.
Bread should be nicely browned on top.

Remove bread from pans and cool immediately. Run a table knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and flip onto a cooling rack. To check for doneness, turn over the loaf and tap the bottom. If the loaf is done, it should sound hollow.

fresh whole wheat bread

Baking Tips

  • To speed up rising, place the dough in a warm place. This may be in a sunny spot, on top of a refrigerator, or in a slightly warm oven.
  • For easy-to-cut slices, wait until the bread has fully cooled before slicing.
  • For an extra soft crust, brush with butter immediately after removing from the oven.
whole wheat bread with butter

100% Whole Wheat Bread

Enjoy the same great taste of regular sandwich bread without compromising on nutrition. This bread is nutrient-dense, delicious, and the fluffiest 100% whole wheat bread you’ll ever make!
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • T active dry yeast
  • 2 C warm water
  • 4 C whole wheat flour
  • C vital wheat gluten flour
  • ½ T salt
  • C oil (canola or avocado)
  • C honey (or granulated sugar)
  • ½ T vinegar

Instructions

  • In the mixer bowl, add yeast. Add warm water and a little bit of sugar, about a ½ tsp. This will activate the yeast and give it something to feed on. Let the yeast mixture stand for 5 minutes.In this time, it should start to get bubbly.
    While you wait, mix your whole wheat flour and gluten flour together in a bowl.
  • Add about 1/3 of the flour and pulse until it forms a sticky dough. Then add salt.
  • Pour in oil, honey, and vinegar and begin kneading. Gradually add the remaining flour until the dough forms a ball and cleans the sides of the bowl.
    Keep adding flour 2 T at a time until the dough is no longer shaggy and sticky. Allow the machine to knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about another 5 minutes.
  • Divide the dough in half. Shape into loaves by stretching the edges of the dough and tucking under the bottom.
    Place in greased 9×5″ loaf pans.
  • Let dough rise in pan until doubled in size. Bread should reach the edges of the pan without spilling over the sides.
  • Bake a 350º for 40-45 minutes. Bread should be nicely browned on top.
    Remove bread from pans and cool immediately. Run a table knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and flip onto a cooling rack. To check for doneness, turn over the loaf and tap the bottom. If the loaf is done, it should sound hollow.
Servings: 2 loaves

I hope this article encouraged you that you can make this delicious 100% whole wheat bread at home. If you gave this recipe a try, tell us how it went in the comments below! If you enjoyed it, be sure to share it with your family and friends.

2 Comments

  1. I’ve never made a bread recipe that only called for one rise time. What is the reason for only one and not two? I guess I don’t understand why two is typical, but am questioning because of the difference from the norm. Thanks!

    1. Excellent question! This recipes requires only one rise for simplicity. Doing a bulk fermentation (1st rise) gives the yeast more time to develop flavor, and the proofing (2nd rise) adds more air pockets to create a lighter crumb. So by all means, you can add a first rise to this recipe, typically 1-2 hours until doubled in size. Then punch down and proceed with the proofing instructions. That being said, I have made this recipe as is for years, and it produces delicious bread regardless. Hope that helps!

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