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I still remember the first time I attempted to make 100% whole wheat bread. I had bought a new bread mixer and thought it would be fairly easy to do. Well...my first time was not easy at all! I followed all the steps (or so I thought) that were explained on the VHS video (yes, I'm that old!) that accompanied my new bread mixer, but I ended up with bread that was as heavy as bricks. Seriously! I was so disappointed.
After many years of trial and error, I am happy to report that this is by far the best 100% whole wheat bread recipe I've ever had. Your search for the best 100% whole wheat bread is over--and I'm happy to share it with you today. Make it your favorite too!
Add the warm water, then add the oil and with the same measuring cup measure the honey (it will slip right out). Add about 6-8 cups of flour, along with the yeast and powdered milk. If using the Bosch mixer, use the M switch to mix well. Let it sponge for 15-20 minutes (It will grow big!)
Give the M switch a few turns and add the salt, dough enhancer, and vital wheat gluten. Mix again with the M switch. Now, with your Bosch set to speed 1, continue to add flour until the sides and bottom of the bowl pull clean (don’t take longer than a couple of minutes to do this). Be careful not to add too much flour! The dough will still feel sticky but will hold its shape.
Knead on speed 1 for 5-6 minutes. Check for gluten development. At 6 minutes stop the mixer, take a piece of dough (grease your hands first) the size of a bouncy ball and check the gluten by stretching the dough (flatten and press out with both hands up in front of you--not on the counter). If you can get it to be super thin and you are able to see through it, then the gluten is developed and you're done. The dough should feel soft and elastic. If when you try to stretch the dough it breaks, then it needs more kneading. Knead another minute and check it again. Be careful not to over knead! Be patient--practice makes perfect!
Grease your norpro bread pans with nonstick spray, and using your dough cutter, split your dough between 4-5 loaves—this will vary depending on your pan sizes and the amount of dough with which you end up. I love to use my kitchen scale to get loaves that weigh the same and look perfect! The pan should be two-thirds of the way full--make sure you press out all the air bubbles from the dough and roll it nice and tight.
Brush your 100% whole wheat bread loaves with an egg wash and sprinkle oats or any grain mix you have on hand. It makes a nice presentation, but certainly not essential for great tasting bread!
Cover with a light towel and let rise until double in size (about 30 minutes). The time this takes will vary depending on the room temperature. One way to speed up the process a bit is by setting your pans on your stove top while your oven is warming up.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Release your 100% whole wheat bread from pans and cool completely on cooling racks before placing into bread bags. If you did not do the egg wash with the sprinkled oats or grain mix, take a butter stick and rub it over the top. It will darken the top a bit and give it a nice glow. This 100% whole wheat bread freezes nicely for up to a month (if it can last that long!)
Links to ingredients and other accessories are down below for your convenience.
If you live in the area and would like to sign up for a one-on-one bread baking lesson, don't forget to visit my Classes page for more information and my Shop. Feel free to comment down below and share it with your friends!