Don’t be shy about learning to bake homemade wheat bread! This basic whole wheat bread recipe is made healthy by swapping out the white flour in a basic white bread recipe! It’s a perfect beginners bread recipe, ideal for homemade sandwich bread or homemade whole wheat bread rolls.
Basic whole wheat bread is the perfect homemade bread to spread on some strawberry butter or honey butter. It also very tasty with hot artichoke dip or along with a steaming bowl of tortellini soup, hamburger soup or Instant Pot Stuffed Pepper Soup. And don’t forget about tuna salad sandwiches!
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Basic Ingredients in Baking Bread
For this, and ALL, basic homemade bread recipes, yeast is the key ingredient here. Yeast is what causes the bread to rise, and the temperature of the water activates the yeast and the sugar feeds the yeast.
It’s super easy! For best results, make sure your yeast hasn’t expired and make sure that the water you use to activate it is just the right temperature, too hot and it will kill the yeast and too cold, the yeast won’t activate. A good rule of thumb is about 105F to 110F.
An easy way to tell is to use a digital thermometer until you are familiar with what ‘lukewarm’ feels like. Whole wheat is a little sturdier than white flour and may need a bit more kneading and a slightly longer rise time but it’s worth it for this easy homemade bread!
Basic Bread Making Process
Every basic bread recipe starts with assembling all of the ingredients and tools. Prep the pans in advance, make a large space for kneading the bread (or prepare a stand mixer), have ample amounts of flour for dusting the dough to keep it from sticking.
How to Make Homemade Bread
- Grease a 9X4 inch loaf pan with butter.
- Activate yeast and sugar in lukewarm water. You will know the yeast is activated when it is dissolved and bubbles appear on the surface.
- Sift together flour and salt and pour yeast mixture into a well in the center of the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until a rough dough starts to form.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead about 10 minutes, adding more flour to make the dough soft and easy to handle. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a towel. Let rest in a warm place about an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 425F. Return the dough to a lightly floured work surface and punch down about 4 or 5 times and knead for 3 minutes.
- Shape dough and place in prepared pan and cover with a damp towel. Let rise for 30 minutes. Brush the top of the bread with milk and sprinkle seeds on top (if using seeds).
- Bake bread on the center rack for 30 minutes or until browned on the top.
- Remove the bread from the pan and let cool on a wire rack. Bread is fully baked when you tap on the bottom and hear a hollow sound.
How to Store Homemade Bread
Because homemade bread has no preservatives, it won’t last as long as store bought bread so the best way to store homemade bread and keep it fresh longer is to keep it in airtight zippered bags or wrap it in plastic wrap.
Keep bread at room temperature and it should last about five days. For bread that is already sliced, keep it in a paper bag and close the top.
Can You Freeze Homemade Whole Wheat Bread
Homemade bread freezes beautifully! All you have to do is wrap it in plastic wrap or foil and label it and pop it in the freezer! When you are ready for a sandwich take some slices out of the freezer and place it on the counter for 15 – 20 minutes, or pop it directly into the toaster.
Basic Whole Wheat Bread Recipe
- 1 ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups warm water
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- sunflower seeds
- In a small bowl, mix yeast, sugar, and warm water. Let sit for 10 minutes until it bubbles.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour and salt. Make a well in the center. Add yeast mixture. Using a wooden spoon, stir until a dough forms.
- Lightly flour surface and knead dough for 10 minutes (or using stand mixer for 2 minutes). Put dough back into bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Grease 9"x 4" loaf pan with butter.
- Preheat oven to 425F. Lightly flour surface. Gently punch down dough, about 4-5 times. Knead for 3 minutes. Shape into a rectangle, tucking end under to make a nice top surface. Put dough into loaf pan and cover with a damp towel. Let dough rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
- If using sunflower seeds, brush top of loaf with milk and sprinkle with sunflower seeds.
- Bake on center rack for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from loaf pan to cool. Tapping on the bottom should sound hollow when fully baked.
Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.
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Slightly adapted from The Children’s Baking Book
Smart, Denise. “Basic Bread.” The Children’s Baking Book. Ed. Heather Scott, Julia March, Catherine Saunders, Clare McLean. New York: DK Publishing, 2009. 44-45. Print.