Honey Wheat Bread

Honey Wheat Bread

The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

  • Total: 70 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 50 mins
  • Rise: 2 hrs 50 mins
  • Yield: 2 loaves (Serves 12)

This sweet and hearty honey whole wheat bread is a classic. Slice for your morning toast with butter and jam or use it to make a sandwich at lunchtime. 

The ingredients are simple. You'll just need a little patience—the dough rises twice, first in the bowl, then in the loaf pans. The secret to moist and tender whole wheat bread is brushing the tops with butter before going in the oven. There's no need to ever purchase store-bought bread again!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup butter (plus 2 tablespoons, melted)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (105 to 115 F)
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups whole wheat flour

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. 

    Honey Wheat Bread ingredients
    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the milk until bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Remove from heat. Add the honey, 1/4 cup butter, sugar, and salt. Stir until the butter melts. Cool to lukewarm.

    Melt butter in milk
    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  3. In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over the water (105 to 115 F), stirring until dissolved. 

    Mix warm water and yeast
    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  4. Add the yeast mixture to the milk mixture.

    Mix wet ingredients
    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  5. Add the all-purpose flour and 2 1/2 cups of the whole wheat flour. Stir until smooth, about 2 minutes.

    Start adding flour
    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  6. Gradually add remaining whole wheat flour, stirring until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. 

    Mix in all flour
    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  7. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Cover with the bowl and allow to rest 10 minutes. 

    Let dough rest
    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  8. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

    Knead dough for 10 minutes
    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  9. Place in a large lightly greased bowl. Turning the dough to bring up the greased side. Cover with a towel and allow to rise in a warm place (about 85 F), free from drafts, until it has doubled in bulk—about 1 hour and 15 minutes. When two fingers poked into the dough leave indentations, the rising is sufficient. 

    Let dough rise
    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  10. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Shape each half into a smooth ball. Cover with a towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. 

    Divide dough into two
    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  11. Shape each portion into a loaf and place in a lightly greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. 

    Form loaves
    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  12. Brush the top of each loaf with the 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until double in bulk, or until the sides of the dough reach the tops of the pans. About 1 hour and 15 minutes. 

    Let honey wheat dough rise
    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  13. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 F. Bake loaves 40 to 50 minutes. The tops should be well browned and sound hollow when tapped with your knuckle. Remove from pans immediately and cool on a wire rack.

    Bake Honey Wheat Bread
    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  14. Enjoy!

Recipe Variations

  • If a lighter color crust is desired, cover the top of the loaves with foil after baking for 25 minutes. 
  • Honey-Nut Bread: Add 1 1/2 cups finely chopped walnuts with the first addition of flours.
  • Molasses Whole Wheat Bread: Substitute 1/2 cup molasses for the honey.
  • Honey-Raisin Bread: Add 1 1/2 cups seedless raisins with the first addition of flours. Increase rising time to 1 1/2 hours. Before baking, brush each of the loaves with 1/2 tablespoon melted butter, and sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon sugar.