Making a 100% whole wheat bread at home isn't as hard as you think!

Making your own bread at home is one of the most satisfying things you will do. The breadmaking process is incredibly rewarding, but more so when it comes to feeding your family something you know is whole and healthy.

A lot of my followers on Instagram know I bake bread pretty often because I often spam them with stories of bread-related going ons. This has become a routine for me every week over the past 3-4 months. This recipe has been a long time coming, but I’ve been putting it off because I wanted to do it thoroughly. Well, I’m finally getting to it, so buckle up!

The recipe isn’t my own, it is the King Arthur Flour website, but there are so many little tips and tricks I’ve picked over these months of making it, so I wanted to share all of those with you. 

Let me start by saying, if you want to make bread at home – just do it! Don’t expect it to be 100% perfect the first time (who knows, maybe it will be), but what I’m trying to say is that a 75% successful homemade loaf is so much better than a storebought one – at least for me.

The most important thing for me is the satisfaction of feeding my family healthy, whole foods. Bread is a convenient food for most of us, but I used to feel guilty whenever I picked up a loaf at the supermarket. I mean, have you ever looked at the list of ingredients on a packet of bread? Making bread at home gave me the convenience of having breakfast sorted for a couple of days but also not having to worry about feeding my family junk because I know exactly what has gone into it.

On the note of store-bought bread, I urge you not to go into breadmaking expecting it to turn out exactly like the ones you’re used to buying. Especially when it comes to whole wheat bread because you’d be hard-pressed to find a whole wheat loaf at the store that doesn’t have any refined white flour added. On top of that, commercially-produced bread has a whole load of additives, preservatives, leaveners, and softeners added to give it that “perfect” texture.

Let me be clear, I’m not saying homemade bread is in any way inferior to store-bought bread. It tastes amazing and is soft and springy – plus, it can go from the oven to your mouth in just a couple hours! For all the reasons I’ve mentioned, and more, I believe homemade whole wheat bread is way better than anything you can buy at the supermarket.

What are the ingredients needed to make 100% Homemade Whole Wheat Bread?
  • 1 to 1 1/8 cups (227g to 255g) lukewarm water*,
  • 1/4 cup (50g) vegetable oil,
  • 1/4 cup (85g) honey or kitul syrup*,
  • 3 1/2 cups (397g) whole wheat flour,
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast or active dry yeast*,
  • 1/4 cup (28g) milk powder, full cream or nonfat,
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt,

* Use the greater amount in winter or in a dry climate; the lesser amount in summer or a humid climate.
* I use kitul syrup or coconut treacle usually, but the original recipe calls for maple syrup or molasses. You can use any liquid sweetener of choice.
* If using active dry yeast, dissolve it in 2 tbsp of the water from the recipe and let it bloom for 5 minutes before adding it to the rest of the ingredients.

How to make 100% Whole Wheat Bread at home?

A lot of people may be intimidated by making their own bread at home, but it is actually a very simple recipe. The tricky part is nailing the timings and temperatures because every baker, every oven, and every home is different. When working with yeast, these things can matter more than usual. Here is the process to make homemade bread:

  1. Combine all the ingredients together until it comes together and let it sit for 20 minutes. This resting time allows the whole wheat flour, which is tougher than all-purpose flour to absorb the moisture and soften.
  2. After 20 minutes, begin kneading the dough. I do this for at least 8 minutes. A good indicator to stop is when the dough is completely smooth and pliable.
  3. 1st proofing: We let the dough rise until it doubles. This can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on the weather.
  4. 2nd proofing: Once the dough has doubled, we punch it down and shape it into a roll. Then we place it in a greased loaf tin and let it double again.
  5. After the second rise, we bake it in a preheated oven for 35-40 minutes.
  6. Then the crust gets a slathering of melted butter as soon as the loaf comes out of the oven to maximize flavour and texture.
  7. Let the bread cool completely before slicing with a bread knife.

That’s it, your freshly-baked homemade whole wheat bread is ready to be enjoyed with a slathering of butter, jam, or whatever your heart fancies. I’ve used this bread to make french toast, bread pudding, croutons, and more with great success.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between instant yeast and active dry yeast?

If you want to learn about the difference between these two types of yeast in-depth, I suggest you read this article. However, in the context of this recipe, you can use either. Just make sure to follow the instructions mentioned for using either.

Why didn’t my bread rise?

More often than not, the answer to this question is related to yeast. Either your yeast was not fresh enough or the water was too hot/cold. Make sure to check that your yeast is fresh and use water that is around 43 degrees Celsius or 100 degrees Fahrenheit. For a more detailed answer to this question, check out this article.

You should also make sure to knead your dough really well, stretching it and working it as much as possible until it is completely smooth. This helps in the development of gluten, which makes your bread rise and also makes it really soft and delicious.

Can I use sugar?

Technically, yes, you can use white or brown sugar. However, note that this will affect the moisture levels and you may need to add more water. You will have to experiment to figure out how much extra water is needed.

Can I use regular milk?

Again, yes, but I have not done it. I would suggest replacing half the water with fresh milk if you plan on skipping the dried milk powder.

Is this recipe vegan?

The version of this bread I make is not vegan because I use cow’s milk, but you can easily replace it with any plant-based milk and make it completely vegan!

Here’s a video of how to make whole wheat bread at home:

Let’s get on with the step-by-step recipe for homemade whole wheat bread.

100% Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

Prep Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 40 min

Yield: 1 loaf

Step 1: Combine all the ingredients.

  • 1 to 1 1/8 cups (227g to 255g) lukewarm water*,
  • 1/4 cup (50g) vegetable oil,
  • 1/4 cup (85g) honey or kitul syrup*,
  • 3 1/2 cups (397g) whole wheat flour,
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast or active dry yeast*,
  • 1/4 cup (28g) milk powder, full cream or nonfat,
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt,
  1. Add all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix with a spoon until it comes together.
    Note: I live in a tropical country and have found 240g of water to be the perfect amount. You will need to do a bit of experimentation to figure out what the perfect amount is for you. As a general rule, you should use the greater amount in winter or in a dry climate; the lesser amount in summer or a humid climate.
    Note: you can also use other liquid sweeteners like maple syrup or molasses.
    Note: If using active dry yeast, dissolve in 2 tbsp of the required water and let bloom for 5 minutes before adding it to the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Let it rest, covered, for 20 minutes.

Step 2: Kneading.

  1. Using a stand mixer or by hand, knead the dough on medium-high speed for 8-10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.
    Note: The dough should be soft and elastic, but not wet or sticky.

Step 3: 1st rise.

  • 1 tbsp oil
  1. Place the dough in a bowl brushed with some oil and cover it with a kitchen towel or cling wrap.
  2. Place it in a warm place and let it double in size (about 1-1 1/2 hours).

Step 4: Shaping and 2nd rise.

  • 1 tbsp oil/butter
  1. Grease a loaf pan with butter or oil.
    Note: I like to line my pan with parchment paper as a precaution. It is optional.
  2. Punch the air out of the dough and knead it for a minute.
  3. Roll it into a log, pinch the seams close, and place it into the prepared loaf pan.
  4. Cover loosely with some plastic wrap that has been brushed with butter or oil.
  5. Let it rise for another 45-60 minutes, or until it doubles.

Step 5: Baking.

  • 1-2 tbsp butter
  1. Start preheating the oven 10 minutes before the end of the second rise.
  2. Bake your bread for 35-40 minutes, tenting the top with aluminium foil (I even use an old newspaper at times) halfway into the baking time to prevent the top from burning.
  3. Once the bread is baked, take it out of the pan immediately and place on a wire rack to cool.
  4. Note: Check if the bread is properly baked by taping the underside. It should sound hollow.
  5. Brush the crust with some butter and let it cool completely before slicing.


– I use a measuring scale and weigh the ingredients out in grams (including the water) to ensure I follow it as accurately as possible.

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Have you made this recipe? I would love to hear your feedback in the comments below! I would also love to hear your thoughts, questions, or doubts.

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