Looking for a whole wheat bread recipe? I was too! Naturally, I found a recipe online for ‘whole wheat’ bread. However, about two-thirds of the flour used in the recipe was white flour! I tried using all wheat flour, but it didn’t turn out very good. What to do? I decided to make a few modifications to make it suitable for using all fresh ground wheat instead of adding white flour, and to make it a bit sweeter. It took a few tries, but it was worth it. This whole wheat bread is amazing!
Everyone who tries it loves it. I am often asked for the recipe so friends and family can make it themselves. To save you all the trouble I went through, and to make it easier when I’m next asked, I would like to share this recipe with you right here and now. (Please note, some of the links in this post are affiliate links and we are given a small commission for sales through those links, at no extra cost to you.We only link products we love.)
What type of flour for Whole Wheat Bread?
I have used hard white wheat berries, soft white wheat berries, and even hard red wheat berries to grind my own flour for this recipe, but I like using hard white wheat the best. If you’re using store-bought whole wheat flour, it will still work, but take a look here as to the many reasons you should be grinding your own! Plus, I can guarantee it won’t be as good!
When using home ground wheat, you should make sure it is freshly ground. It won’t rise as well if you don’t use freshly ground flour. It took me a long time to realize this! Sometimes my whole wheat bread would rise well… Sometimes not so much. After learning that wheat can go rancid about 24 hours after grinding it (one reason stores ‘modify’ their flour is to keep it from going rancid), I now always use freshly ground wheat, and my bread rises perfectly every time!
Tips for Mixing
I like to mix the yeast, water, honey, and oil together, and let it sit for about 5 minutes to allow it to activate. I usually grind the wheat during this time. By the time I’m done grinding the wheat, it is about time to add the salt and flour. Peek into your mixer before adding the last dry ingredients. You should see that the yeast has made the water somewhat ‘frothy’.
When making this dough, it may seem a little moist as you start kneading it, but it soaks up all the moisture and turns out great if you just keep mixing or kneading it. I use a Bosch mixer with a dough hook to mix and knead my dough, and it takes about 10 minutes of mixing after all the ingredients are added.
This bread is amazing. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!
True Whole Wheat Bread - Perfected
Whole Wheat Bread should be made with whole wheat flour, don't you think? Well, this bread actually is! Make this bread and pass a few slices around. You WILL be asked for the recipe. It's perfect.
Can a replacement for honey be used? Such as maple syrup or agave?
We haven’t tried it with either of those options, but I would be very surprised if maple syrup wouldn’t work. They have a very similar consistency to where I’d think it’d substitute out just fine. It’s been a little while since I’ve used agave, but I think it would have a decent chance of working, as well. If you give it a shot, let us know how it works, will you please?!
Do you need to add vital wheat gluten?
You do not! You can if you wish to, however, it is not necessary that we have found.
Years ago I tried to make whole wheat bread but always ended up with about a 50-50 whole wheat and white flour mix, trying to get a good rise and a fine crumb. It never seemed to work well so I basically quit trying. When the pandemic started and I was nervous about going to stores, I decided I should start making my own bread again. I found this recipe/website through a Google search. In the last six months I’ve made this recipe four times (we are empty-nesters and don’t eat a lot of bread!). It has turned out amazing every time. I grind my flour (not sure what kind of wheat I’m using!) on the finest grinder setting, which is something I have never done before – that’s a really good tip the site gives! I follow the ingredient list, and mostly the method as outlined here. The one thing I’ve had to do differently is use different times for kneading and proofing/rising. I don’t know if it’s a difference in altitude, wheat and/or temperature in my home?? Whatever the reason, I have to knead the dough longer (I use a Bosch mixer) to adequately develop the gluten. AND the two proofing times are significantly longer to get a nicely risen and light crumb loaf. Thanks for a great recipe & tips – just pulled two loaves out of the oven & my first task is ALWAYS to eat a buttered crust! Mmmmmm, mmmmmm, good!
Thank you so much for your comments! Isn’t it Interesting how a simple recipe needs different tweaks to make it work. Thanks for sharing yours. And I am so glad you are finding this recipe as good as we do!
Tried this recipe but subbed the honey for molasses. Best recipe yet! And I’ve gone through some serious weight in wheat berry trying to make a decent bread!
Thank you for sharing a true whole wheat recipe that tastes amazing and is actually made with whole wheat! I have been searching for bread recipes from people who grind their own wheat, and they’re very difficult to find. I’ve tried so many “whole wheat” recipes that were terrible and almost all of them include white flour also. I’m finding that recipes that claim to be whole wheat are almost never truly whole wheat.
Anyway, I loved this recipe and am so excited to finally make bread with my own home-ground wheat flour!
Thank you for letting us know!! I am so glad to hear you also had success!!
It’s a total game changer! I’m assuming it will freeze well too?
Have you guys found a whole wheat sourdough recipe that you like by chance? I’m still working on that too!
Hi. Your bread is very tasty but I’m having a hard time getting it to rise. Do you have any suggestions?
Is the yeast still ‘alive’? Do you try proofing it first, by adding the yeast to warm water with a bit of your chosen sweetener? When we’ve made the bread it even rises in the refrigerator over night. So I’d really need more information if the above isn’t a problem.
Thanks so much for your question, it really helps us to gain more knowledge when we try to help others!
Thank you this is my first time ever making bread, And also my first time grinding my own grain, I’m so excited and hope it turns out! I just used honey so I will let you know how it works anyways thank you for your quick response
How did it go? I’m so excited for you! Please let us know how it turned out 😀
Hi Lala, I can you tell me if you sieve out the bran after grinding?
We do not do that ourselves, however, if it’s something you wish, feel free to do so.
Thanks Lala, i have made your bread a few times, I have sieved out the bran and the bread was beautiful! I will add some bran next time, as removing all the bran means that I have to grind more wheat. The only reason I sieve out the bran is because too much doesn’t agree with my husband 🙂 It does mean that I can make bran flakes though and our pigs love the bran mixed with our jersey milk 🙂
Hi Lala, I don’t have a Bosch mixer I have a KitchenAid will that be OK? Probably sounds like a stupid question but thought I’d ask
There are no stupid questions 🙂 I haven’t used a KitchenAid, but I would imagine they are similar enough that it should work just fine as long as you have a dough hook.
Hi Papa, i’m very sorry to say this recipe did not work for me.
I used fresh ground Glen hard red wheat berries and followed your recipe completely. Bread just did not rise well at all. Waiting for it to cool to see how it taste. We are at 520 feet so not much more than you all. I really hope I can figure out how to fix it because I would like to continue grinding my own wheat berries for bread making. Besides that my grinder was expensive, LOL, to just sit around.
The bread was very dense and believe it needed more time to bake, also appears the gluten did not form. Been making bread for a couple years now but not with milling my own flour, so that is new. Its so frustrating.
Hello – If you do not already, I would suggest weighing your ingredients for bread instead of measuring them. This changed my bread game 🙂
Thanks so much!
It went really well in fact it’s already gone!!! I’m grinding Some more wheat right now! I took it out at the time specified in the recipe even though I knew it should’ve stayed in longer and it was a little Doughy, Also this time I think I will let it rise a little bit longer because it was short. I’m really happy even my teenager son is choosing it over white bread! If I can just get it to rise taller and still be good I’ll be all set!!!
I’m so sorry it took me this long to reply! A couple of things come to mind as I read your comment: How fine are you grinding your wheat? We grind it pretty fine here on the Homestead. Also, what elevation are you at, I know that can make a difference.
I’m so excited about your family preferring it over white bread, it is AMAZING stuff!
Thank you so much for you coming back to let us know how it worked out!
I made it a third time going back to honey and omitting the maple sera up and it still didn’t turn out as well as the first time! My elevation is 4300 should I change something for that? Also I have the KitchenAid grinder that attaches to the KitchenAid machine I’m putting it on the second finest, As the first one looks like a pastry flour do you think I should go as fine as I can?
According to King Arthur flour:
*Decrease the amount of yeast in the recipe by 25%, and make water/flour adjustments as necessary to get a dough with the correct texture. Make sure your bowl has plenty of room for the dough to rise in. Since rising times are much shorter at higher altitudes, you have a number of options to help its flavor.
*Give the dough one extra rise by punching it down twice before forming it.
*Try covering the dough and placing it in the refrigerator for its first rise, to slow the action of the yeast give the dough more time to develop.
*If you have sourdough starter on hand, use some of it for some of the liquid in the recipe. Make a sponge by mixing the yeast, the liquid in the recipe, and 1 to 2 cups of flour. Cover and let the sponge work for a few hours in the refrigerator to develop it.
As to the flour, we use the pastry flour setting on our grinder 🙂
Here are two websites I just googled to give you some assistance. We are at less than 500 ft above sea level, so there are DEFINITATELY going to be some differences between our final products!
Thank you for ALL your feedback, this will help us and others to figure out what is the best thing to do, when and why!
I used half agave and half honey once when I ran out of honey and it was fine. Didn’t even notice a difference.
I came out perfectly fine for me. Loved the texture. Can I reduce the amount of honey in this recipe? It’s just that it’s a little sweet for our family.
We haven’t tried using less honey. However, with that said, *I* have found bread to be pretty forgiving. Just be sure to watch the flour, as you might need to use a little less, or perhaps a little more liquid. Although, as you probably know, you need to watch flour, no matter what. Just more moisture in the air can affect the amount needed 🙂
Has anyone used a bread maker with this recipe?
We do not use breadmakers, haven’t found one that makes a decent loaf😳
Have you tried the horizontal/2-paddle Zojirushi? I use it all the time and the loaves come out wonderful! Tall and fluffy (with 2 dimples in the bottom from the paddles!) Haven’t tried this recipe in it yet, but the bread machine itself is awesome!
I haven’t. I will look into it. Thanks so much!!
What wheat berries do you use?
White wheat berries. Hard, if I remember correctly. We usually buy them from Winco in bulk.
I made this and it was delicious!!!! The only problem was it did not rise very much. I was hoping it would rise enough to be a loaf bread for sandwiches. I let my mixer beat it for 10 minutes after all the ingredients were in. I’m wondering if I beat it too long and so it didn’t rise??? Any advice?? Thanks so much!
Thank you for your comments and question.
We are thinking that the water might not of have been warm enough – or too warm. If the water is too warm or too cold the yeast doesn’t rise properly. Kneading it too much shouldn’t be a problem.
What temp. should the water be? Not too warm not too cold is subject to opinion, so I’m hoping you can give a degree. My bread didn’t rise either, so I put it in oven at 175° with a water bath next to it. It rose, but only half way. I baked the bread and it was only half tall and very dense, but it was so delicious!!! I’m going to try again with different yeast, and maybe temp. of water? Thx
We heat the water to 105-110 degrees.
That is one of the best thing about this bread, even if it doesn’t come out perfect, it’s always delicious 🙂
AMAZING!!!! All my friends that bake said you can’t have a completely whole wheat recipe……Take that suckers! 🙂 This is great! My family loves it! I’ve even been invited to join a preper compound because of this recipe! 🙂 Thank you SO much!
Thank you so very much!! And it’s our pleasure!
Hi! Ok, the flavor and texture of this bread is the best I’ve tried with my freshly ground wheat, and I’m so happy to have found a recipe to come back to. I still had a few issues, and would love your insight. It was soft, yet dense, I think because it didn’t rise properly. We live at 5,000 ft so I’ll have to play around with some adaptations on that. My main problem was that it didn’t bake fully through. I left it in an additional 5 minutes because it looked too soft, and sure enough it was doughy in the middle. Any tips? It also never browned like yours looks above in the photos. Would love your help!
We are thinking that perhaps your elevation is causing the problem? Although I do know that even the weather on a certain day can mess with cooking times. If it happens regularly, I would think elevation, if it was a one time thing, then just a fluke/weather/etc.
How would you adjust this for an elevation of 4300
https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/resources/high-altitude-baking Is one place to try, I also found this site as another one you might want to look into: https://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_e/E215.pdf
I followed your recipe and it tastes great but I had to bake it twice as long as the recipe says. It did not rise much at all but the yeast was bubbly so I know it was good. House was good and warm. Could I have put too much flour in? It wasnt soft and stretchy like you say.
It sounds like you did put too much flour in it.
Like the idea of this recipe because it’s so simple. However, I’m on loaf number 4 and can’t get it to rise. Tried grinding wheat more finely, using warmer water, tad more yeast, little more water….
In all fairness, these are the first four loaves of bread I’ve ever attempted to make.
Maybe yeast isn’t activating? How long is wet mixture supposed to sit?
From Perfection: I usually let the yeast mixture sit for about five minutes. If the water is too cold or too hot, it won’t activate the yeast and will not rise. It should be between 105 and 110°. If the used is activated properly, after letting it sit for about five minutes, you will see a change in it.
Can you use sugar instead of honey and butter or veg oil instead of olive oil.
Yes you can 🙂 we have found it to be a very forgiving recipe 🙂
Made this recipe today & the bread is amazing! I made two changes to recipe and process. I use 1Tbsp of a supplement called ‘dough enhancer’ to help get better gluten development with whole-wheat bread and my yeast & dough needed longer to rise. I’m glad I was patient because I got two very nice loaves of light, fluffy whole-wheat bread. Thanks for such a simple recipe!
I am SO glad! Thanks so much for you telling us of changes you made so as to help others!
So happy I used this recipe for our first try at grinding our own wheat berries! worked perfectly.
I am so glad!!! Thanks for you taking the time to come back and thank us 🙂
HI Lala and Papa!
I tried your recipe yesterday and, while i got two delicious loaves, it wasn’t without some effort to tweak things on the fly, leading me to want to ask some questions.
1) What altitude are you at? I saw this come up in some of the other comments, but I didn’t catch what your altitude is in order to set a baseline.
2) What’s more important, cups of flour or cups of berries? The recipe mentions both, but my grinder produced (i think!) 6½ cups of flour for the 3⅔ cups of berries. Alternatively, or in addition to, could you mention the weight of the flour used? (my son likes doing recipes by weight)
3) Do you have numbers for scaling the recipe for larger loaf pans? At least, I assume that the recipe is for a 1-lb loaf (8½” x 4½”), but I’d like to bake a 1¼-lb (9″ x 5″) or 1½-lb (10″ x 5″) loaves.
Thank you for your questions!
The altitude for Roy is 322 feet.
Cups of flour is more important than how many wheat berries, as it will probably vary as to how fine the berries are ground.
I’m so sorry, I have no idea about the other size loaves, I haven’t done the math to figure it out myself, I just usually let it rise longer in the larger loaf pan.
Thank you for this recipe! I have some bulk hard red winter wheat that I’ve stored for years and wanted to try some bread from it. I had to process the wheat in a Vita-mix so I’m not sure what kind of “grind” I got.
My loaves didn’t rise as high as yours but the texture and taste were great!
Seems like a lot of people —including me— have some trouble getting a good rise out of this recipe. Wondering what kind of yeast you are using. I assume, by the proofing times, you are using instant yeast? Also, what size loaf pan are you using? Maybe my loafing pan is larger than yours and what seems to be a lack of rise is actually too little dough for the pan I am using? Thoughts? BTW… although small, the bread was amazing. Thanks for sharing your recipe.
Thanks for your questions, and compliment, we love it, too!
To answer your questions, here on the homestead, we use basic instant yeast found in most grocery stores, and are using the larger of the three sizes of pans.
But with yeast you r suppose to add instant dry yeast to the flour
not the wet ingredients. Active dry yeast would b what u used if u combined it first to the wet ingredients. Right?
Lala here: I usually add the yeast, no matter the kind I use, to the dry ingredients. I only mix yeast and water first if a recipe calls for it specifically or I’m not sure if the yeast is good, and I want to check it out.
I am a first time wheat grinder. Thanks for your recipe. It was good. How fine do you grind the wheat?
You’re welcome, it is our pleasure!
We usually grind it pretty fine.
Hi just curious what temperature you keep your house or wherever your dough is kept while rising i find temperature really affects the rise times. Thanks
Our house is at different temperatures all the time, we don’t have it regulated by a thermostat. We also use different areas for rising the bread. Sometimes we put it by the woodstove, sometimes we put it in the oven, and sometimes we leave it on the counter to rise. My apology for not being able to give you nice concise answer.
So i have some Palouse White Bread Flour which is “100% white wheat flour” with, I believe 13% protein. I think it’s made with hard white wheat berries. I’ve used it to make sourdough with my usual sourdough starter but it doesn’t rise much. I’ve thought of adding yeast but haven’t tried it. I have tried making sourdough with 1/2 the palouse and half white bread flour but I lose the taste of the palouse which is reallly good. That aside, I’m wondering if this flour would work with your recipe??? thank you in advance.
Thank you for your question. I do not think there would be a problem using your flour. As I haven’t tried it myself, I can’t say for positive it would work, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t. Are there any special rules you have come across for baking with it?
thanks for getting back to me.
No, no special rules I’ve come across
What size of loaf pan do you recommend for the 2 loaves?
I’m sorry, we don’t know the answer to that question. We just usually look at loaf pans and think, ‘Oh, I want a bigger one.’ Or.. ‘That’s so cute! It’s perfect for gift giving.” So, since we didn’t know we decided to measure how many quarts of water our usual bread loaf pans hold. And the answer is: 6 cups of water!
Hi I love your recipes! I have a question? I grinned my own wheat berries and followed exactly. When I flattened the dough rolled tucked in edges, covered for 45 minutes the dough raised not over the pan. I had all new ingredients so I am wondering why my bread did not raise over the pan? Thanks for your help! Also once you cut the dough into two disc did you flattened out the dough and roll or did you knead the dough again?
Than you so much!
Regarding your questions, sometimes it does take a little longer to rise for us. And we roll up the loaves, no further kneading.
I unpacked my mill just now. Have all kinds of organic wheat berries in the freezers. This is my first time doing this. So excited. I will use your recipe. Do you ever knead your dough by hand? Your mixer is sold out on Amazon.
We do not knead it my hand, I guess we’re lazy like that!!
I’m sorry to hear they were sold out, hopefully not for long if you are interested, we use that machine for a LOT of cooking!
I’ve learned that using grinded wheat seeds to make a loaf of bread requires baking powder to help the yeast rise for higher elevations. The air is heavier in higher elevations. I’ve made several batches of bread with using just yeast alone and have had issues with it not rising much. But one day I decided to add baking powder like you would do for self rising flour and my bread was finally able to rise properly. Also, I don’t own an oven. So, I make my bread on top of my woodstove using a turkey roasting pan with a rack. I add enough water to the bottom of the pan to create steam and put my bread pan on the rack and cover with a lid. This makes a very nice bread that cooks evenly. This method of cooking bread dates way back before ovens were ever invented and sadly the knowledge is being lost because of modernization.
Thank you so much for sharing this information with me!
Does the dough need to pass the window pain test? My kitchenmaid has been going at it for 20 min, and still not passing the test. Also curious if it makes a difference that the flour was cold (stored in freezer)? I proofed the yeast first, but not sure if putting cold flour into it changes anything.
You would need to bring the flour to room temperature first before adding it to the yeast mixture.
This came out perfect!! Even with wheat ground several months ago. I made it into hamburger buns. They held together perfectly for the burgers.
I grind my own wheat as well and we love it. I’ve been doing it for almost 20 years. My question is when you have a recipe that calls for “bread flour” is our ground wheat enough? I know I always use it 1 for 1 when it calls for all purpose flour, but I’m going to try a different roll recipe and it calls specificly for bread flour. What are your thoughts?
Bread flour is flour with extra gluten added. For your own ground whole wheat flour, simply replace 1.5t of one cup of flour with 1.5t of vital wheat gluten.
We’ve been adding the vital wheat gluten lately, as a matter of fact. It seems to work well, so far.
FYI this is my all time go to link that I copy and paste when folks in any Facebook group (or in person)ask for an easy, never fails you bread recipe! The amount of times I’ve copied and pasted this link is pretty insane. Haha. Thank you for such a great recipe with thorough instructions! Shalom!
You are so kind! I’m glad you enjoy it so much.
First time berry-grinder here. My dough looked almost like bran muffin mix. It was fairly wet. Do you think I didn’t grind the berries finely enough?
I ended up adding more freshly-ground wheat, and then a quarter cup of white flour so it was more of a dough-like consistency. I am waiting for it to rise, which it IS doing, though not aggressively.
I agree with your thoughts. It does sound as if they were coarsely ground instead of fine. We tend to use the pastry grind setting. It’s not near as find as white flour, but it makes a good dough.
Wow, eating the heel Fresh out of the oven. I am saving THIS recipe!! (First time grinding wheat! Thank you)