If you can bake cookies, you can bake bread. You don’t need a bread machine, a rolling pin or a wheat grinder. You don’t even have to get your hands messy! Baking bread is so much easier than you might think, and this post will tell you exactly how to get that first loaf in the oven.
The majority of conventional breads contain 20+ ingredients including preservatives and dough conditioners. This simple recipe for Organic Honey Whole Wheat Bread contains just 6 ingredients and requires a mere 10 minutes of hands-on time. Making the switch to homemade bread is an easy way to eliminate unnecessary chemicals and fillers from your family’s diet (and your kitchen will smell so wonderful on baking days!).
To get started, gather the following equipment:
- 2 loaf pans (I love Emile Henry’s artisan loaf pans)
- a stand mixer with a kneading hook
- measuring spoons
- solid and liquid measuring cups
- a rubber scraper
And now, to mix!
First, combine 2 C hot water, 1/3 C grapeseed oil, 1/2 C honey and one egg in a Kitchen Aid (or similar) stand mixer. Mix well with the paddle or whisk attachment. (Note: if you want to eliminate egg from the recipe simply increase the oil to 1/2 C).
To the liquid ingredients, add 3 1/2 teaspoons fast-acting yeast, 2 teaspoons salt, and 3 cups flour (King Arthur Organic 100% Whole Wheat Flour is a good option).
Tip: Don’t shake your flour container or shimmy the measuring cup; doing so causes the flour to settle and you’ll end up with more flour than the recipe calls for. Instead, gently scoop the flour from its container, then use the flat edge of a knife for a clean measure.
Next, remove the paddle attachment and connect the kneading hook. Add the remaining 2 cups flour. Set the mixer to medium-low and let it spin for 10 minutes. Your dough will be thicker than cake batter but not quite as thick as cookie dough.
Divide the dough into two even parts; place each into its own greased loaf pan. Let the bread rise on the counter for 30 minutes. It’s not necessary to cover the dough (unless you have little taste-testers who might try to snitch!).
Once the dough has doubled in size, place the pans into a 350 degree, preheated oven. (The loaves can bake side-by-side in one oven.) Set the timer for 31 minutes (yes, 31!).
Remove the bread from the oven, let it cool for a bit, then use a thin, sharp knife to loosen each loaf from its pan. Gently turn the bread onto a cooling rack and slice when ready to serve.
Since this bread doesn’t contain preservatives, you’ll want to keep it in the refrigerator in a sealed bag and use it within about 5 days. If you need a reason to use it quickly, this bread makes fantastic French Toast!
Once you’ve mastered the basic whole wheat recipe, try modifying it to suit your tastes. I’ve had great success turning it into Cinnamon-Raisin Bread by adding cinnamon and raisins in the final step. Nuts and dried cranberries would be delicious additions, too. It’s also easy to make pull-apart rolls from this dough: place three small balls of dough into individually greased muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees until golden brown. If you’re feeling fancy, sprinkle the dough with garlic and sea salt before baking! Delish!
Kristen and her husband have four children; she is also the founder of The Daily Mom App, a news app designed specifically for busy moms.
Honey Whole Wheat Bread
- Preheat oven to 170℉.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, (I recommend using a Bosch), add the hot water, dough enhancer, vital wheat gluten, oil, honey, salt, and 3 cups of wheat flour. Mix on low for 30 seconds, and then add the yeast. Continue mixing on low speed.
- Add remaining flour 1 cup at a time while continuing to mix the dough. You will know that you have enough flour when the sides of the bowl are clean from dough. Once you have all your flour in, turn the mixer to medium and let it mix for 8 minutes.
- Spray 2 loaf pans with cooking spray. Pour the dough out onto a clean, floured surface. Put a little flour on your hands or spray with cooking spray because the dough will be slightly sticky and will likely stick to your hands if you don't.
- Separate dough into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece of dough into a rectangle with the top and sides tucked neatly underneath. Place into the loaf pans and put in your warm oven. Let the dough rise until it is about 2 inches above the rim of the loaf pan. This usually takes 15-25 minutes.
- Leave the pans in the oven and increase the heat on the oven to 350℉. Bake for 25-35 minutes. Start the timer as soon as you increase the oven heat.
- The bread is done when the tops are golden brown, as well as the bottom of the loaf. Remove from the oven and let the bread cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the bread from the pans and let them finish cooling on the rack. Spread the top of each loaf with a small amount of softened butter to keep the top of the loaf soft.
- Let the bread cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with butter, honey or jam and enjoy!
- Slice and store extra bread in a gallon ziplock bag in the freezer for up to a month.
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie