Homemade whole wheat bread is something all bakers should be able to make. This recipe is straightforward and simple enough for even new bakers to experiment with. Whole wheat flour (or a combination of whole wheat and white, or even spelt) is given the chance to shine in this tender loaf.
Once you’ve mastered this simple recipe, experiment: we sometimes use spelt bread flour, or a mixture of whole wheat and white bread flour, or shape the bread into rolls on a baking sheet before the final prove (they only need 15 to 20 minutes cooking time, depending on their size).–Rebecca Seal & John Vincent
Homemade Whole Wheat Bread
- 3 1/2 cups whole wheat bread flour plus extra for dusting
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- Scant 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus extra for the bowl and pan
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Add the water and oil and mix with your hands until lumpy and craggy with no visible pockets of flour.
- Tip out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until thoroughly combined (or use the dough hook attachment on your mixer), 7 to 10 minutes. If you find it’s too sticky, add a spoonful or so of flour. The dough should be slightly tacky.
- Lightly oil the mixing bowl, place the ball of dough back in, cover with a clean, damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 60 to 80 minutes.
- Slick a 2-pound (907 g) loaf pan with oil. Lightly knead the dough again for a couple of minutes before moulding into an oval and placing in the pan. (If you don’t have a loaf pan, you can make a more rustic, round cottage loaf on a baking sheet.)
- Cover with the tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes. (Editor’s note: If you’re uncertain how to tell if your dough is fully risen, use these helpful tips).
- About 20 minutes before the dough is finished rising, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Bake until you can easily take the loaf out of the pan and the internal temperature is 200°F (93°C), 30 to 35 minutes. If you tap the base of the loaf and it sounds hollow, it's done.
- Place on a wire rack and allow to cool completely before slicing.
*What is spelt flour?Spelt is a primitive relative of wheat—an ancient grain, if you will. Whole grain spelt is much like whole wheat flour with a coarser texture and nutty taste. White spelt has had the bran removed and is quite similar to regular white flour. One of the biggest reasons people use spelt is because it's easier to digest than modern wheat.
Originally published July 06, 2021