I have to admit, I’m pretty excited about this recipe.
Over the weekend, I decided to make bread on a whim. It was a spur of the moment kind of thing. I decided I wanted a whole wheat loaf, but I didn’t actually have any family recipes on hand for one. I had tried a honey whole wheat sourdough loaf before, but I wanted something a bit lighter in flavor and texture.
So I improvised.
And this 100% whole wheat sandwich loaf just happened.
The perfect whole wheat loaf.
This whole wheat sandwich loaf is soft, airy, and oh-so-delicious. It has a nice homey taste and texture. And it’s high in fiber, so that’s a plus.
Better still, the flavor is subtle so it makes for amazing sandwiches. You don’t have to worry about any sweet or tangy flavors outshining the rest of your sandwich fixings. I personally prefer using this bread for grilled cheese and tuna melts, but it’s also great with just smidge of butter and honey.
Prep time: 10-15 Minutes
Rise time: 3-4 Hours
Cook time: 40 to 45 Minutes
Total time: Approximately 4 hours 5 minutes to 5 hours 15 minutes
If you want to make this classic whole wheat sandwich bread, you’ll need the following ingredients readily available:
- 8 Grams (2 Teaspoons) Dry Active Yeast
- 254 Grams (1 Cup and 1 Tablespoon) Warm Water
- 12.5 Grams (1 Tablespoon) White Granulated Sugar
- 450 Grams (3 Cups) Whole Wheat Bread Flour*
- 7 Grams (1 Teaspoon) Fine Sea Salt
- 71 Grams (5 Tablespoons) Butter, Melted
- 1 Large Egg
*If you don’t have whole wheat bread flour, you can make your own with this substitute:
- 427 Grams (2 3/4 Cups and 1 Tablespoon and 1 Teaspoon) Whole Wheat Flour
- 23 Grams (2 Tablespoons plus 2 Teaspoons) Vital Wheat Gluten
The vital wheat gluten will give your bread a chewier texture and help your bread maintain its shape.
Although this recipe is a great one for beginners, you’ll still need a few basic kitchen essentials to make it:
- Standing Mixer*
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Kitchen Scale
- Container with Lid
- 9″x 5″ Loaf Pan
- Wire Cooling Rack
- Oven Mitts
*If you don’t have a standing mixer or a kitchen scale, that’s just fine. You can still make this dough by hand, but it takes a bit longer to knead everything together. I’ve also provided measurements by volume for your convenience.
If you have a few hours available, this recipe is a breeze to make.
To start, combine your warm water, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer. Stir until the grains have more or less dissolved. Let the mixture sit for 10 to 15 minutes until the yeast has proofed. It’ll look puffy and foamy when it’s ready.
While your yeast proofs, whisk together your flour and salt (and vital wheat gluten if you are using it). And melt your butter in a microwave safe container. You want your butter to be a warm liquid, but not scorching hot or you’ll kill your yeast.
Add your flour mixture to the bowl of the standing mixer, and mix on low with the dough hook. Add your butter and egg soon after. Mix with the standing mixer until the dough pulls away from and cleans the sides of the mixing bowl, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto the counter and shape into a small round.
Place your round in a lightly greased container.
Cover and let rise until double in size, about 1 1/2 hours. My kitchen was about 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) during this first rise. If you have a warmer kitchen, your bread will rise faster.
Once your dough has risen, punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly greased surface. Shape into a round again and let rest for 10 minutes.
Using your loaf pan as a guide, gently dimple and shape your dough into a rectangle shape.
Fold the bottom of the rectangle upward about two-thirds of the way.
Fold the top of the rectangle downward until it meets the edge.
Fold the edges of the rectangle inward about an inch or two.
Flip your loaf over so it rests seam side down. If your loaf needs a little extra shaping, use the edges of your hands to gently cup the sides of your loaf and push the edges under to build up tension. Try not to break the outer skin of your bread while you do this, or you’ll end up with a hole in your loaf.
Let your loaf sit for 5 to 10 minutes, and then transfer to a lightly greased loaf pan. Use a thin spatula to tuck in the sides if your loaf came undone during the transfer.
Cover your loaf with plastic wrap and let it rise until it reaches above the edges of the pan, about 45 minutes to an hour. Keep in mind that my kitchen was about 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) at the time I made this recipe. If you have a warmer kitchen, your bread will rise faster and you’ll need to cut your rise time a little.
If you’re not sure if your dough has fully proofed, lightly poke it. The dough should spring back slowly. If it springs back quickly, give your loaf more time. If it collapses, you’ve let your bread proof too long (but you can still bake it and it will taste just fine).
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176 degrees Celsius), and bake your bread for 20 minutes.
Take the bread out of the oven and tent it with aluminum foil. The foil will prevent your crust from browning too much and over crisping.
Bake your bread for another 20 to 30 minutes. The loaf will sound hollow on the bottom when thumped. The crust will have a nice light golden color, though if it looks too pale for your liking, you can pop it in the oven for a few more minutes. If you have a kitchen thermometer on hand, the center of the loaf should read between 190 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit (87 and 93 degrees Celsius).
Turn your bread out onto a wire rack to cool. If you want a softer crust, feel free to brush it with melted butter. The butter will also give your bread a nice golden color.
Let your bread cool completely before you cut into it. If you cut into your bread too soon, you might ruin the texture. It’ll turn out gummy rather than soft.
As with many other sandwich loaves, whole wheat bread will keep nicely on the counter at room temperature for a few days, if you keep it in a bag. I personally think it tastes best the day you’ve baked it, but that’s up to you.
If you can’t eat your bread fast enough, don’t refrigerate it. The starches in the bread will recrystallize faster at cold temperatures, and your bread will go stale fast. You can, however, freeze your bread. And when you’re ready to eat it, just reheat it to freshen it up a bit.
Just the Basics
Classic 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
- 8 Grams Dry Active Yeast (2 Teaspoons)
- 254 Grams Warm Water (1 Cup and 1 Tablespoon)
- 12.5 Grams White Granulated Sugar (1 Tablespoon)
- 450 Grams Whole Wheat Bread Flour (3 Cups)
- 7 Grams Fine Sea Salt (1 Teaspoon)
- 71 Grams Butter, Melted (5 Tablespoons)
- 1 Large Egg
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine warm water, yeast, and sugar. Stir until grains dissolve and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes until puffy.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt (and vital wheat gluten). Add flour mixture to standing mixer. Mix on low with a dough hook until dough pulls away from and cleans the sides.
- Turn dough out onto lightly greased surface and shape into a round. Transfer to lightly greased container. Cover and let rise until double, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Turn dough out onto lightly greased surface and punch down dough. Shape into a sandwich loaf and transfer to a lightly greased 9"x 5" bread pan. Cover and let rise until the dough reaches above the edges of the pan.
- Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit (176° Celsius).
- Bake for 20 minutes. Remove loaf and tent with aluminum foil.
- Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes. Bottom will sound hollow when thumped. Internal temperature will read 200° Fahrenheit (93° Celsius).
- Turn out onto a wire cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing and serving.
Secrets to Success
As with many of my other sandwich loaves, I think the hardest part comes during the shaping. As a beginning baker, I really struggle to get that loaf to fold together in a picture-perfect way.
However, you don’t have to get it picture-perfect every time. You just need to practice, and eventually you’ll get a feel for how your dough stretches and shapes.
And as a friendly reminder, your dough doesn’t have to be perfect going into the pan because it will rise. I’ve lazily squashed my dough into a somewhat loaf shape, and thanks to the additional rise, the dough pops up and looks nice anyway.
This sandwich loaf uses butter and sugar to give it some texture and flavor. Because of that, it has a few more calories per slice than a pure whole wheat loaf.
As with many recipes, your loaf my turn out a little differently than mine. I cut my loaf into about 12 slices, while you might manage more. If you cut your bread into thinner or thicker slices, your calories per serving will vary than what you see here.
Did You Try It?
I love it when my friends and family try my latest recipes. Your feedback makes my entire week. If you tried this recipe and liked it, let me know in the comments below. I’m also open to suggestions for improving this recipe – I love making a good recipe even better. Feel free to contact me if you have ideas that you want to share with me.