Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Enjoy the wholesome goodness of whole wheat sandwich bread while still having a loaf with a nice flavor and texture.

Whole wheat bread recipes can be dense and hard to work with, but this recipe, enhanced with honey and vital wheat gluten, ensures a soft loaf that does the best it can with 100% wheat flour.

If you love the nutty and rich taste of whole wheat but are tired of dense, flavorless loaves, give this recipe a try.

Please keep in mind that no wheat bread recipe will give you the super soft and fluffy texture of white bread. But we will do our best. 😊

loaf of wheat sandwich bread on cutting board.

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

A whole wheat sandwich bread that you won't hate. Honey, wheat gluten, and long rises help you overcome whole wheat's shortcomings.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Rising time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours
Serving Size 12 slices

Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • cups water warm or room temperature
  • teaspoons instant or active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten optional, for improved rise and texture

Instructions 

  • Mix Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour and salt. If using, add the vital wheat gluten and mix well. Pour in the oil, water, yeast, and honey. Mix until a shaggy dough forms. If it is dry and not forming a ball, add a small amount of water. If it is too wet and sticking to the bowl, add a small amount of flour.
    mixer with ingredients before and after mixing.
  • Knead the Dough: Knead by stand mixer, bread machine or by hand, until the dough is smooth and elastic. This will take longer than white bread recipes. I let my mixer knead for about 10 minutes, and you need about 15-20 minutes if kneading by hand. When the dough is smooth and stretchy, shape into a ball.
    ball of dough.
  • First Rise: Place the kneaded dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. Allow it to rise in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until it has doubled in size. Again, this will be slower than with white bread recipes.
    dough in mixing bowl before and after rising.
  • Shape: Shape the dough into a loaf by folding it into thirds and then rolling it gently. Pinch the seams closed. Place it into a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan, seam side down.
    rectangle of dough being rolled into log.
  • Second rise: Cover again with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and allow to rise for 45-60 minutes. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 350℉.
    shaped loaf before and after rising.
  • Bake: Once the dough has risen for the second time, place the loaf pan in the preheated oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the bread has a golden-brown crust and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove the bread from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to let it cool completely before slicing.
    finished wheat sandwich loaf.

Notes

This bread can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, consider slicing and freezing.
Adding vital wheat gluten will provide a better rise and softer crumb, but it does not affect the flavor.  

Ingredients to Improve the Texture of Wheat Bread

Vital Wheat Gluten. This acts as a natural protein that improves the elasticity and texture of the dough. It helps to strengthen the dough, providing a better rise and a lighter, fluffier loaf, making whole wheat bread less dense and more appealing in texture.

Honey is my sweetener of choice here since it adds moisture to the dough, but brown sugar is a fine substitute.

Nice quality flour. I use King Arthur 100% whole wheat. You can also use white whole-wheat flour (which will dramatically improve the texture!), but it will not be a true whole-wheat loaf.

ingredients on marble counter.

The tools you need are standard for bread bakers. I do recommend a stand mixer for this recipe, as the gluten in the dough is very slow to develop, and kneading by hand takes forever!

 Scratch Premium Vital Wheat Gluten – Seitan Flour, High Protein, Low Carb, Vegan, Non GMO Gluten Powder – Wheat Gluten Flour Enhancer 10 Ounce (Pack of 1) Saf Instant Yeast, 1 Pound Pouch (2-Pack) King Arthur, 100% Organic Whole Wheat Flour, 100% Whole Grain, Non-GMO Project Verified, 5 Pounds Bosch Universal Plus Stand Mixer 500 Watt, 6.5 Quarts with Wire Whips, Dough Hook & NutriMill Dough Hook Extender Bundle Mason Cash Colour Cream S18 Chip Resistant Earthenware 26cm Mixing Bowl, Stoneware, 2.7 Litre/26 cm Preboun Set of 4 Vintage Wildflower Dish Towels for Kitchen Decorative 16 x 24 Inch Floral Kitchen Towels Hand Floral Bath Towels Dish Cloth for Cooking Tea Bathroom Woman Guest Girl Housewarming Gift

 

You’ll never regret a Bosch mixer if you make bread a lot.

Tips for Baking with Whole Wheat

It’s important to note that while these tips can significantly enhance the texture and rise of your whole wheat bread, it will inherently be different from white bread. Whole wheat bread will have a heartier texture and a richer, nuttier flavor. A lot of people like that! Some don’t.

Add Vital Wheat Gluten: Including vital wheat gluten in your recipe can significantly improve the texture of whole wheat bread. It enhances the dough’s elasticity and helps it to rise better, yielding a lighter loaf.

Proper Hydration: Whole wheat flour absorbs more water than white flour. Ensure your dough is adequately hydrated by adding enough liquid to make it pliable and moist. A well-hydrated dough will rise better and have a softer crumb.

sliced loaf of whole wheat bread.

Longer Rising Time: Whole wheat bread requires more time to rise compared to white bread. Be patient and allow the dough ample time to double in size during the first rise. This patience contributes to a fluffier final product.

Sweeten with Honey or Maple Syrup: These natural sweeteners not only add flavor but also contribute moisture to the bread, helping to alleviate the dryness that whole wheat flour can sometimes impart.

More Sandwich Bread Recipes

Once you start making your own loaves, it will be hard to go back to storebought.

sliced sandwich loaf.

Keep in mind you can alter this recipe by substituting some white flour until it’s more to your liking. You can also substitute some wheat flour in a white flour recipe, but do it slowly, starting with about a quarter of the flour.

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

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