Easy whole wheat bread

Easy whole wheat bread

I didn’t learn how to make bread until I was 30 years old. I never thought I needed to learn because I would go out and buy it at the store. But after learning a few basic bread-making skills, I realized it can be a very satisfying experience to knead and bake bread. On top of that, there's nothing more rewarding than being able to combine flour, yeast, and water to form something comforting and filling that can feed many people. My easy whole wheat bread recipe is simple to make and doesn’t take the whole day in the kitchen. 

About the ingredients

Whole wheat flour: For this bread recipe, I use whole wheat flour from King Arthur. I like the flavor and texture of it. I think it yields a hearty loaf. You can use regular, white bread flour (sans molasses in this recipe), but you may need to use more of it, such as 5 cups instead of 4, to get the same height and volume. 

Active dry yeast: This is a granulated form of baker's yeast that is a living organism that is dormant until activated with warm water and sugar. This helps add volume to bread. For best results, dry yeast should be at room temperature before use.

Nutritional yeast: This is a deactivated yeast that is sold as a food product. It is made from baker's yeast but is fermented and heat-treated to deactivate it. Nutritional yeast is full of vitamins and minerals and has a nutty, savory flavor.

Molasses: The incorporation of molasses into dough not only enhances the rise and texture but also adds a distinctive flavor that can elevate the overall quality of the final product.

Olive oil: Olive oil helps the bread stay soft and moist and adds a subtle flavor. Breads made with fat don't dry out as quickly, so the shelf life is improved. And the oil can help with slicing. 

Sugar: Sugar is important for this bread recipe. It provides food for the yeast, which helps the yeast grow and produce carbon dioxide. This helps the bread dough rise. Sugar also adds flavor to this bread recipe while also tenderizing it.

Water: Lukewarm water helps active the yeast. You want to make sure you don't use hot water because that can kill the yeast and thus prevent your dough from rising.

Salt: Add salt to the flour. This will give it flavor. Do not add salt to the yeast and water mixture because that can deactivate the yeast while it is blooming.

Recipe: Easy whole wheat bread (no bread maker needed)

  • Yields: 1 loaf, 12 slices 
  • Prep time: 15 minutes 
  • Kneading time: 10 minutes 
  • Proofing time: 2.5 hours 
  • Baking time: 30 to 40 minutes 


  • 2 cups warm water (not hot)
  • 1 tablespoon of active dry yeast 
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • ¼ cup of granulated sugar
  • 4 cups of flour (possibly ½ cup more for kneading)
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast 
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of molasses (optional, but adds color and boosts flavor)


Step 1 

Add sugar, molasses, and active dry yeast to warm water and stir until the color of the water changes to a deep brown color. That’s the molasses diffusing into the water. The water temperature should be warm like bath water, not hot. Let the yeast bloom for 10 to 12 minutes. You know it’s ready when the top of the water is foamy. 

Yeast, water, sugar, molasses mixture.

Step 2

Add 4 cups of whole wheat flour, nutritional yeast, and salt in a separate bowl. Mix well, then pour in your yeasty water and olive oil. Mix with a wooden spoon. The dough will be very sticky. 

Flour, yeast, water, and oil added to a bowl.

Step 3

Pour the dough onto your clean countertop and begin to stretch and fold. Add flour to help manage the stickiness and form the dough into a ball. You will knead this dough for 10 minutes. This will help the dough develop gluten which will help give it chew and prevent it from being crumbly. 

Dough kneaded for 10 minutes

Step 4 

Once you finish your stretch and folds, put the dough in an oiled glass bowl and cover it with a cloth. Let the dough proof in a warm, dark environment for an hour and 30 minutes. An ideal environment would be the oven with the light on (no heat). 

Dough doubles in size after first proof

Step 5

Take the dough out of its proofing location. It should be double its size. Punch the air out of it and place the dough onto the counter. You can roll the doll out and then roll it up so that it forms a log shape. After you form your bread log, add the dough to a greased pan (8.5 x 4.5 x 2.75) place a cloth over it, and let it rise for at least 1 hour in a warm, dark location. 

Bread after second proof in bread pan

Step 6 

Once the dough has done a second proof, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. When the oven reaches temperature, place the dough in the middle rack to bake. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes. If the top of the bread is getting too brown during the baking process, you can add some tin foil on top so it doesn’t burn. 

Baked bread cooling on rack

Step 7

Once the bread is done, let it rest on a wire rack for at least 10 to 20 minutes. Slice and serve immediately. The bread will have a nutty flavor and can be enjoyed with butter, jam, peanut butter, soups, and more. This bread will last in an air-tight container for 1 week in the refrigerator. Or you can slice and freeze it. It should keep for 2 months in the freezer. Just toast the bread whenever you want to use it. I hope you enjoy! 

Bread slice

Did you make this recipe? Let me know what you think by adding your comments below!

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