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!
- 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
Gather the ingredients.
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.
In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over the water (105 to 115 F), stirring until dissolved.
Add the yeast mixture to the milk mixture.
Add the all-purpose flour and 2 1/2 cups of the whole wheat flour. Stir until smooth, about 2 minutes.
Gradually add remaining whole wheat flour, stirring until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Cover with the bowl and allow to rest 10 minutes.
Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
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.
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.
Shape each portion into a loaf and place in a lightly greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.
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.
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.
- 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.