October 11, 2012

homemade whole wheat bread

I grew up with homemade whole wheat bread in my house. Always. I remember the first time I realized that bread came in white form. My friend's mom bought white bread and she also bought Buddig deli meat. I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I had a sandwich at their house with white bread, mayo and Buddig beef. Haha! My mom's wheat bread is delicious and she has made it so many times she could probably make it blindfolded. When she was a teenager she would make several loaves every Saturday morning and her little brothers would go door to door in their neighborhood and sell the loaves. With the money she made from the bread she would go buy some fabric in the afternoon and make a dress or skirt for that night's dance. And yes, if you were wondering, my mom is PPIEW.
There's something amazingly comforting about the smell of fresh baked bread to me. Maybe it's because our house often smelled that way and our home was a wonderful place to be when I was a child. I'm so grateful for that. I want my children to grow up with those feelings too. Of course, homemade bread is healthier and cheaper and trust me, it's incredibly easy. No, it's not as easy as picking up a loaf at the grocery store but most* of it is garbage.

My lovely sister, Alice, has shared some of the best recipes with me and her bread recipe is a winner. I would like to make my mom's bread but every time I ask her for the recipe she can't remember and she doesn't have it written down. It's OK though because Alice's recipe is pretty perfect and really easy too (if you don't have a Bosch then I don't know what to tell you but you can try it with a stand mixer and see how it works).
(makes four loaves)
5 cups warm water (microwave for 2 - 3 minutes to reach 110 degrees)
3 Tablespoons dry active yeast
2/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup honey
12 cups white whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons kosher salt

In a Bosch mixer (or a stand mixer) dissolve yeast in water. Add oil and honey and combine. Add 4 cups and flour and salt. Turn mixer to speed 1 (or low-medium speed). Continue mixing at that speed while adding the remaining flour one cup at a time (about 8 additional cups) until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl. Continue mixing at speed 1 (or low-medium speed) for 10 minutes (set the timer). Shape loaves (see note) and place in 4 medium greased bread pans. Let rise for 20 minutes in a warm place then turn on oven to 350 degrees while the loaves rise for another 10 minutes (while the oven preheats). Dough should be doubled by the end of 30 minutes. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool a couple of minutes before shaking loaves out of pan.

Notes: Obviously our small family doesn't go through four loaves of bread very quickly. Sometimes I give a loaf or two to neighbors but I usually just freeze them in Ziploc storage bags and pull one out as needed. To do this, make sure you don't bag the bread until it is completely cool. Also, do NOT pre-cut the bread. It makes it dry out. Even if you're not freezing the loaves, it's a good idea to not cut it until right before using the slices.

Also, If you've never shaped bread loaves before then take a look at this great video. It's pretty similar to the way I was taught to do it.

*If I do buy wheat bread, I usually go for Alpine Valley sprouted wheat (which I can buy at my local Costco) or Ezekiel bread. Unless, of course, I'm in Mesa and then I go to Whole Grain Natural Bread Co (and get a spelt cookie).


  1. I am a total bread baking novice (only made it 2 times in my entire life), so question: Can I use regular whole wheat or does it have to be white whole wheat? I want to make this bread asap because that picture is calling my name. I've got a bag of whole wheat in the cupboard and am wondering if I need to go to the store... Keep the recipes coming Liz, I am loving them lately!!!

    1. You can use regular whole wheat flour. Just don't use that red whole wheat from the cannery. My wheat grinder is crazy loud (and I'm usually baking during nap time) so I often just buy bags of the whole wheat flour from Trader Joe's and it works great! This recipe is soooo easy, you will love it. Do you have a mixer? I've been told (from the comment below) that the Kitchenaid didn't work very well. So you might want to try kneading it by hand - ugh! But try the Kitchenaid and see if it works.

  2. Hi there! I until recently was neighbors with your sister Helena. I always drooled over her homemade bread and had her teach me before I moved. I do not have a Bosch and so we tried to do it in my Kitchen Aid to see how it would go. It was not really successful. I ended up kneading it by hand. Perhaps over time I could perfect in in the Kitchen Aid but Helena advised playing it safe and doing it the old fashioned way (and I certainly trust her bread wisdom!). Thanks for your fun blog! My husband and I used your "Guide to San Diego" (per Helena's suggestion) back in July and absolutely loved everything you suggested! Thanks!

    1. Hi Julie! Helena makes great bread. She brought a loaf that she had made when she came to visit me this summer and it was delicious! The girls in our family sure love bread! :) Thanks for the tip about the Kitchen Aid. That's good to know for some other readers who may try it.

      Glad you liked the Guide to San Diego! The things I listed are fun for me, but I sometimes worry that they seem lame to other people. So thanks!

  3. I'm laughing because my mom is the same way!! Whenever I ask her for a recipe, she never has them written down and she will just tell me a little bit of this and a little bit of that! ha ha! I haven't made homemade bread in a long time, I always seem to mess it up. I am going to have to try this recipe! Looks delicious. Miss you Liz! :)

  4. Thank you so much for posting this! I made a 1/2 batch of this today and it's delicious! We enjoyed it with some cinnamon spun honey we picked up the other day. I was wondering if you have any advice on the crust-- mine had the crunch of a good crust, but it didn't get as pretty and golden as yours. Ideas?

  5. If you are using a Kitchen Aid (or any mixer other than a Bosch) you must cut the recipe in half. It will work, but you only get 2 loaves. Then start saving up for a Bosch! Worth every penny. :)

  6. Thanks Alice! I'll make a note of that in the post. Your recipe is quite popular! Cause its the best!

  7. I definitely want to try this! It looks and sounds amazing. I have a question though...do you let the yeast activate in a bowl before you put it in the Bosch? I really want this to turn out, but I just wasn't sure about that part. Thanks!

  8. just made your bread and used coconut oil. It worked good. Do the 3T of yeast need to be heaping? Thanks for the recipe!


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