90 Minute Whole Wheat Bread

Whole wheat bread lateral view

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I think you will agree with me when I say:

It’s REALLY hard to make 100% whole wheat bread come out right every time.

Getting whole wheat bread right takes persistence and best practices must be followed. If not, the result will be a dense or crumbly loaf that no one will want to eat.

We’ll show you how to make this whole wheat bread in only 90 minutes and make it come out consistently good every time.

Steps For Success

Add some vital gluten

Many wheat recipes add white flour in order to lighten the bread. We are not going to do that.

Our goal is to have a whole wheat loaf that is not too dense. So we will add a small amount of vital gluten which increases the elasticity of the dough.

An elastic dough will rise higher and have more air pockets.

The bread can be made without vital gluten if you are out or don’t want to use it. The only issue is that the loaf will be shorter and more dense. The taste will be the same.

Light Kneading for about 5 minutes

Whole wheat breads require some kneading. I realize this is more work than no knead recipes, but it’s not that big of a deal.

You only need to work the dough for about 5 minutes or less. 50 or 60 turns will do it.

The difference between kneading and not is dramatic. I found this out through experience.

Therefore, we recommend spending this time so that you will be proud of the loaf and get the results the same as we do.

If you would like to see me make this bread from start to finish, then watch this video:

 

Equipment you will need.

  • A stand mixer with dough hook
  • A kneading board
  • 1 5.25 x 9  x 2.75  bread pan – using a wider and longer pan works well for whole wheat bread

Ingredients

  • 2 cups hard winter wheat flour – freshly milled
  • 1/8 cup vital gluten
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 cup water heated to 110 degrees

Procedure

Heat 1 cup of water to 110 degrees. An instant thermometer works great to check the temperature.

image of a thermometer in water heated to 109 degrees
Heat to about 110 degrees so that the yeast activates vigorously.

Add the sugar, honey, and yeast to the warm water if you would like to skip a step.  If not, then proof the yeast normally, then add all wet ingredients at the same time to the flour.

side view of honey being added to the warm water
Mix all wet ingredients together for simplicity. The yeast loves it.
Active dry yeast being added to warm water
Add the yeast to the warm water.

Stir, then allow to activate for about 10 minutes. The foam on top should almost double in size to the 2 cup mark.

side view of activated yeast ready to be added to dough
This yeast is ready to go.

Combine all dry ingredients, then mix with a spoon.  When the yeast is fully activated, add the entire mixture to the dry ingredients plus the additional warm water.  Mix with a spoon to roughly combine, then start the stand mixer on low.

As soon as the ingredients have combined well, start adding more flour until the sides of the bowl are clean and a ball forms on the hook.

image showing when to stop adding more flour to dough, the sides begin to come clean
As soon as the sides of the bowl come clean, stop adding any more flour.

Turn up the stand mixer to 2 or 3 , then allow to mix for 7 minutes. As the gluten develops the ball should clean the bottom of the bowl.

top view showing a dough ball
It’s at the right consistency when the bottom of the bowl is clean.

Remove from mixer with oiled hands, then transfer to a floured kneading board.  Knead for 50 to 60 turns, then form into a ball and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

top veiw showing how to knead dough by hand
Knead by lifting up, folding over, then pressing down.
top view of dough resting
Before resting
side view of dough after it has rested
After resting.

Turn the dough a couple more times, then place into the bread pan with the seam side down.  Coat the top of the dough with a light film of canola oil.

side view of dough ready to rise in a pan
Oil the bread lightly to prevent it from drying out.

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the dough in a warm place or preferably a proofing oven at 100 degrees.  Allow to rise until the peak of the dough is about 1 inch above the pan – about 30 minutes.

side view showing dough that has rasied one inch above the top of the pan
This is the perfect time to transfer into the oven.

Carefully transfer to the oven, then bake at 375 degrees until the internal temperature is 190 degrees, about 30-35 minutes.  Remove bread from oven and bread pan, then allow to cool prior to cutting.

side view showing finished 100% whole wheat bread

Printable Recipe

90 Minute Whole Wheat Bread
 
Recipe Type: Bread
Author: Smart Penny Pincher
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1 loaf
Easy whole wheat bread, done in 90 minutes from start to finish.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups hard winter wheat flour – freshly milled
  • 1/8 cup vital gluten
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 TBS canola oil
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • 1 TBS honey
  • 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • 1 cup water heated to 110 degrees
Instructions
  1. Heat 1 cup of water to 110 degrees. Add the sugar, honey, and yeast. Stir, then allow to activate for about 10 minutes. The foam on top should almost double in size to the 2 cup mark.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients, then mix. When the yeast is fully activated, add the entire mixture to the dry ingredients . Mix until combined, then start the stand mixer on low.
  3. As soon as the ingredients have combined well, start adding more flour until the sides of the bowl are clean and a ball forms on the hook.
  4. Turn up the stand mixer to 2 then allow to mix for 6 minutes. As the gluten develops the ball should clean the bottom of the bowl.
  5. Remove dough with oiled hands, then transfer to a kneading board. Knead for 50 to 60 turns, then form into a ball and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Turn the dough a couple more times, then place into the bread pan with the seam side down. Coat the top of the dough with a light film of oil.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  8. Place the dough in a warm place or preferably a proofing oven at 100 degrees. Allow to rise until the peak of the dough is about 1 inch above the pan – about 30 minutes.
  9. Bake at 375 degrees until the internal temperature is 190 degrees, about 30-35 minutes.
  10. Remove bread from oven and bread pan, then allow to cool prior to cutting.
 

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