I have never been a consistent bread-maker, but for the past couple years I have been making sourdough bread. However, sourdough bread is pretty tricky to make 100% whole wheat. With all whole wheat flour, sourdough is very dense and doesn’t rise much, so it’s the one occasion I use some white flour.
However, this bread works terrifically with 100% whole wheat flour, and is very simple and really fast. Compared to sourdough, it’s especially easy as yeast is pretty much fool-proof, and it rises so much faster than sourdough. Sometimes you just need a reliable and quick homemade bread recipe.
It saves a ton of money to make your own bread, and if there is ever a bread shortage at the store (bread and milk are the first things to go in times of emergency), you can have peace of mind knowing you can make your own.
I grind my own wheat most of the time, but if you don’t have a wheat grinder, you can just buy whole wheat flour in the baking aisle or in bulk bins. I prefer organic white whole wheat flour (ground from white hard wheat, not red wheat–both 100% whole grain).
Vital wheat gluten is found online, in most bulk bins, and in baking aisles in most grocery stores. It makes the bread supple and flexible, and not fall apart easily. If you see yourself making your own bread often, it’s definitely worth keeping in your pantry. However, even though I haven’t tried this recipe without it, I think the bread would still turn out pretty good without the vital wheat gluten. Let me know if you try.
As mentioned in the recipe notes, this recipe is perfect for making the Bread Bunny which is featured on my Instagram account and in my upcoming Kids Cookbook. It’s also perfect for making cinnamon-raisin bread! Yum!
You can start this bread after breakfast, and enjoy Chickpea Salad Sandwiches on homemade bread by lunchtime! Doesn’t get much better than that! You can also slather it with some natural peanut butter and easy chia jam. My fave! Avocado, fresh garden tomatoes, sliced cucumber and mustard is another favorite. And don’t forget simply dipping pieces of bread into hummus. So satisfying.
There is absolutely no need for eggs or oil in good whole grain bread. Just try this recipe and see for yourself!
- 4.25 cups whole wheat flour (preferably freshly-milled)
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1 TBSP dry yeast
- 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
- 2-6 TBSP honey or maple syrup (depending on how sweet you want it)
- 1 3/4 cups warm water (between 105-110 degrees)
- 1/3 cup mixed seeds, such as sunflower, sesame, chopped pumpkin, poppy (optional)
Mix ONLY 3 CUPS of the flour, yeast, salt and vital wheat gluten together with a whisk in a large bowl. If you'd like to add seeds to your bread, stir them in here.
Measure out lukewarm water--make sure it's not hot as that would kill the yeast. Mix honey and warm water together in a liquid measuring cup, then add to the dry ingredients until mixed well.
Let sit for 20-30 minutes to let the flour absorb some of the water.
Next, add 1 cup of flour, and up to an additional cup of flour (1/4 cup at a time, up to 5 cups flour total) until the dough firm and sticky. I find 1 or 1.25 cups of flour is perfect. You want it sticky and not too stiff and dry, but able to hold it's shape and not be batter-like.
Knead for 10 minutes either by hand or with a stand mixer with dough hook. The dough should be stretchy.
Cover the bowl with a towel and put it in a warm place. Let it rise for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size. On the counter is fine, or if your house is cold, put the bowl in the cold oven with the oven light on.
Line a loaf pan with parchment paper or grease it. Form the dough into a loaf and place in the pan. Sprinkle some seeds on top if you'd like.
Cover with a towel, and let rise another 30-60 minutes, until the dough rises above the pan.
Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
Let cool (at least mostly cool) before cutting with a bread knife.
This recipe is perfect for making my bread bunny, which is featured on my Instagram account and in my Kids Cookbook! Shape the bunny after the first rise.
For cinnamon-raisin bread, mix 1 TBSP cinnamon and 1/2 cup raisins with the dry ingredients.