Monday, January 17, 2011

Basic Whole Wheat Bread

So here it is . . . finally! Fresh, whole-wheat bread right out of the oven . . . and of course, the house smells amazing!

Think bread-making is too complicated for you? Think again! All you need is a good mixer, and you're ready to bake.

This recipe fills my 5-quart mixer bowl to capacity, so you'll need to adjust it based on your machine. It's just a basic bread, but I'll be sharing variations for herb and cinnamon raisin varieties in the future.

Ready . . . set . . . bake! 

Basic Whole Wheat Bread 

6 cups very warm water
3 tablespoons yeast
1/4 cup agave nectar or honey
1/4 cup oil
1 tablespoon salt
12-14 cups whole wheat flour, divided

  1. Combine the hot water, yeast and agave/honey in the mixer while you pull out the other ingredients. 
  2. Add the oil, salt and 6 cups of flour. 
  3. Mix on low for 5 minutes, then let the dough "rest" in the mixer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add another 6 cups of flour and turn the mixer back on. Continue to add remaining flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl rather than sticking to it (you'll know it when you see it!)
  5. Mix on medium speed for 8 minutes.
  6. Remove dough from mixer, and divide into 5 equal portions. Roll out each one as desired (see below), then place in bread pan or baking sheet.
  7. Let dough rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then let cool in pan.
For this batch, I made two traditional loaves, two baguettes and one batch of English muffins (yielded 25 muffins). I'll be sharing the muffin technique later this week, but here's how to shape the loaves.

Traditional loaf

1. Use a rolling pin to roll dough into a rectangle (mine usually looks more like an oval, as you can see).

2. Use your hands to roll the dough into a loaf, starting with the short end.

3. Place the dough into a loaf pan to rise.

Baguette-Style Loaf

1. Use a rolling pin to roll dough into a rectangle (mine usually looks more like an oval, as you can see).

2. Use your hands to roll the dough into a loaf, starting with the long end.

3. Place the dough on a baking sheet to rise.


  1. Just wondering if you have a certain brand of Whole Wheat Flour that you prefer? Also very interested in seeing the blog on the english muffins.

  2. Oh, I love the smell of fresh-baked bread in the house. So glad you posted this. I have been meaning to write your recipe down for at least a year. :) Did you use WW or White Wheat?

  3. Oh Ann, you just reminded me that I left out half the story. LOL! I have a huge bucket of wheat berries, so I'm actually grinding my own flour (love the Vitamix!) these days. When I do buy flour, I usually like the King Arthur flours. In fact, in looking them up online right now, I discovered they have an organic pumpernickel flour that I now want to try. :)

    Jill, I've been meaning to write it down, too. It's just been in my head for so long. I used the hard white winter wheat to make the flour, but when I buy flour, I get the whole wheat.

  4. I don't have a decent mixer and listening to you already cost me $400 for a Blendtec, lol, can I do this in the food processor? I am clueless on making hand hold me please.

  5. Yeah, the mixer isn't cheap. I'm not sure about doing it in the food processor, but you might be able to make small batches of dough in your Blendtec. My Vitamix cookbook had one or two recipes, so I'd check yours out and see. It certainly beats hand kneading!!!

  6. BTW, I've been thinking of doing a bread-making class for anyone local who is interested. Maybe I can sell you on the mixer that way. LOL! Or would do Vitamix/Blendtec bread. :)

  7. Just baked up a batch as a part of our science today. :)

  8. Oh, how cool! Am I dreaming, or did you ask me for something from the old bread baking co-op? LMK if you just needed the recipe or if you still want any of the materials that went with it.