Basic Whole Wheat Bread

Basic Whole Wheat Bread

3 cups wrist temperature water
1 1/2 Tablespoons yeast
1 to 2 teaspoons a squirt of Agave Nectar or Honey (I’m told I needed to be more specific here 🙂 )
1 Tablespoon Sea Salt
4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
And about 9 cups of whole wheat or spelt flour

This makes 3 loaves and the instructions are for a mixer with a dough hook like the Bosch, if you need instructions for making bread by hand leave a comment and I’ll amend these.
Place the water and yeast into the mixing bowl and add the squirt of honey or agave, let stand for 5 minutes as the yeast bubbles and becomes active.
Add in about 3 cups of the flour, scrape the sides down and mix again briefly to combine everything well. Let this raise for about 30 minutes, the timing is not exact so if you’re not ready to continue in half an hour just stir the mixture down and let it raise again.
Next stir in the olive oil and then add the salt along with another cup of the flour. (I layer this with some flour and then the salt followed by more flour and then mix it in.) Add an additional 2 to 3 cups of flour and mix well. Add the remainder of the flour in 1/2 cup increments, when the dough comes together stop adding flour and let the mixer run (knead the dough) for 2 to 3 minutes. Grease 3 loaf pans, divide the dough into three equal pieces and shape into loaves, let rise in a warm location until doubled (about 45 minutes). You’ll want to keep an eye on this, if you let it raise too long it will be full of air bubbles. If this happens you can always punch it down again and let it rise one more time. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes. Let cool and remove from the pans, (I find they come out of the pans easier if I let the loaves cool first).

* If you want to make rolls or more of a stand alone/more flavorful bread add 1/2 cup of honey along with the oil and salt.

Instructions for making bread without a machine:

Place the water and yeast into the bowl and add the squirt of honey or agave, let stand for 5 minutes as the yeast bubbles and becomes active.
Stir in about 3 cups of the flour and let this raise for about 30 minutes, the timing is not exact so if you’re not ready to continue in half an hour just stir the mixture down and let it raise again.
Using a strong spoon (usually wooden) olive oil and then add the salt along with another cup of the flour. Add an additional 2 to 3 cups of flour and mix well. Add the remainder of the flour in 1/2 cup increments, an some point you will have to abandon the spoon and start using your hands. When the dough is workable (you can knead it without it sticking to your hands to much) start kneading. (If you aren’t sure how to do this google how to knead bread dough and some you tube videos will pop up.) You’ll want to knead it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm place for about an hour. Next you’re going to punch down the dough and knead it again for another 5 to 20 minutes.

Now it’s time to divide the dough into 3 equal sized pieces and shape into loaves. Place these in the prepared loaf pans (which I didn’t tell you to prepare, but they should be oiled) and let rise in a warm location for about 45 minutes. When doubled in size, bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes. You’ll want to keep an eye on them while raising and get these in the oven as soon as they have doubled, otherwise there will be too many air bubbles throughout the bread.

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12 thoughts on “Basic Whole Wheat Bread

    • Yes, in this recipe it is just enough to activate the yeast, although maybe I should clarify – a generous squirt. You can add more for flavor if you want.

  1. Is it possible to divide everything by 3 and just make one loaf? I only have one good bread pan. Plus I’m a wimp and don’t like kneading more than one loaf at a time. 😉

      • Sorry for all the questions, but I really am trying to make a decent bread loaf without all the sugar. My old recipe was really good but contained 3/4 cup white sugar in just one loaf.

        I divided everything by 3 and made one loaf. Is the entire three cups of flour required or is that why the last cup and a half is added in increments? I added all three cups and my dough came out hard. It was really tough to knead and didn’t rise as much as I thought it would. It baked fine, but was super dense.

        Thanks for answering all of my questions!

      • I don’t mind the questions at all. And they help me understand what needs to be clarified in the recipe. Yes, the last bit of the flour is added in increments because you may not need it all. When I make three loaves with this recipe they rise to just peek over the top of the pan, for a loaf that is taller and floops out a bit on the sides you’d want to use 1/2 of the recipe rather than 1/3. Also, the reason I came up with this recipe was to have a standby everyday bread that did not call for 3/4 cup of honey in the recipe. Some things that may help this to raise better (without more sweetener) – let the sponge have a bit longer to rise on it’s own before you add the additional ingredients, and make sure the room is warm enough. It will still raise in a cooler room, it just takes longer.

      • I made another attempt on Sunday and it came out beautifully. I let the sponge rise longer and didn’t include all the flour. It was a great loaf of bread!

        Thanks for all of your help!

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