Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Favorites - Honey Whole Wheat Bread

To kind of go along with the book review I did yesterday, I thought I'd share a recipe with you for something my family loves.

I don't just mean we love it with all small letters. We L-O-V-E with all caps this recipe.

For some reason this winter I started making bread. To be honest, Jo-Lynn was my inspiration--she's the one who introduced me to Michael Pollan and is really into healthy eating. And she bakes her own bread. Imagine.

But I got to thinking that my family would probably enjoy a slice of homemade bread every now and then, plus it's so much better for them, so I bought a bag of whole wheat flour and went to town.

Not literally--I already live in town. You know what I mean.

Anyway, the recipe I'm going to share with you came from and is really not that hard. You can do it. I know you can. I've made this about five times and it has turned out perfectly every time. (And thank goodness it cooperated this time since I was taking pictures and blogging about it and all.)

First, you mix together 3 cups of warm water with 2 packages yeast, 1/3 cup honey, and 5 cups white flour (or "bread flour" whatever that is).

Let those ingredients get happy for a while, as Emeril would say. Oh, about 30 minutes, until it's ooey and gooey.

Mix in some melted butter, another 1/3 cup honey and some salt. Here's where you need some whole wheat flour--about 3 or 4 cups.

Stir it into the rest of the dough and then knead it, adding whole wheat flour as you go until it's still slightly sticky.

(The recipe says to knead it with your hands, but this is where I pull out the trusty Kitchen Aid mixer. Even though mine is a smaller model and the dough spills up over the dough hook, it's worth it.)

Let all this mess rise for about an hour or so until it's doubled. Like this.

Shape it into three loaves and let them rise in the pans for about another hour.

Bake them. When they are done, you'll have three gorgeous loaves of whole wheat bread that your family will L-O-V-E.

Now, I hear the weather around these parts is going to be on the nasty side this weekend (don't tell anyone I said this, but the weatherman said something about little white flakes falling from the sky again. I just can't bear it, can you?), so I think it would be a very good time to practice your bread making skills. Seriously. Get the pans out and have fun.

Your family will L-O-V-E you!

Here's the recipe in case you couldn't follow what I was saying up there.

Simple Whole Wheat Bread (from

3 cups warm water (110 degrees)
2 packages active dry yeast
1/3 C honey
5 C bread flour
3 T butter, melted
1/3 C honey
1 T salt
3 1/2 C whole wheat flour
2 T butter, melted

1. In a large bowl, mix warm water, yeast, and 1/3 C honey. Add 5 C white bread flour, and stir to combine. Let set for 30 minutes, or until big and bubbly.

2. Mix in 3 T. melted butter, 1/3 C honey, and salt. Stir in 2 C whole wheat flour. Flour a flat surface and knead with whole wheat flour until not real sticky--just pulling away from the counter, but still sticky to touch. This may take an additional 2 to 4 C of whole wheat flour. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the surface of the dough. Cover with a dishtowel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled.

3. Punch down, and divide into 3 loaves. Place in greased 9x5 inch loaf pans, and allow to rise until dough has topped the pans by one inch.

4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes; do not over bake. Lightly brush the tops of loaves with 2 T. melted butter when done to prevent crust from getting hard. Cool completely (unless you live in my house and the bread does not even make it to the cooled stage).

For a printable version of this recipe, click here.

Hey, I'm linking up to Hillary's Friday Favorites today. Hop on over there for some more favorite ideas.


  1. Travelling over via Hillary-I recently started using my bread machine and have been a bread making fool. My favorite recipe is my Rosemary Bread, so good! I cannot tell you how fragrant it is. But alas, I have not been brave enough to make bread without my breadmaker. This recipe makes me really want to give it a go though!

  2. I don't have a bread machine, so I need to try this. Or would that be I KNEAD to try this? Looks dee-lish! I can smell it already!!

  3. I made bread once with my Kitchen Aid and the hook - so easy. But all this was before kids. I'll have to try again now that my kitchen is done....does a new kitchen help inspire the process? I do love homemade bread, although my carb intake drastically increases (and butter) until the loaves are gone. Oh well, I could blame that one on pregnancy!

  4. I have been toying with the idea of making bread today -- it would complete my "becky homecky" day where I'm putting away clothes, washing sheets, doing a little quilting, and flipping back and forth between NASCAR qualifying and NCAA basketball.

    I'm saying that it makes me MORE of a Renaissance woman.

    Regardless, you've made me want to make bread! :)

  5. ooh, yum! Thanks for the pictures, too. I need pictures when I attempt projects in the kitchen.

  6. Hillary you are the cheesiest commenter ever! I did laugh though.

    I'm wondering if I could dump all of this in the bread maker because I have to admit, I'm super lazy about things that need to be kneaded. It sounds really good though!

  7. Michelle, glad you're here! Thanks for stopping by. I don't think this would work in a bread maker for some reason--it seems too sticky for that. I bet if you googled "honey whole wheat bread for bread machine" you'd get something similar.

    Come on, ladies. You don't need (KNEAD!) a bread machine! :)

  8. Wow, Shelly - those loaves look FANTASTIC! I've not been entirely successful with yeast bread recipes yet, but maybe there's hope for me, with the help of your good instructions and those photos . . .

  9. I just did a similar post the other week! I'd never made homemade bread before and it turned out great. I used the recipe off of the back of the Gold Medal bag--and no bread machine here either! Congrats, those loaves look great:)

  10. I didn't make the bread, but I did just finish making those awesome cinnamon rolls! I had a girlfriend over who wanted to watch me make them. Fortunately, they turned out well . :)

  11. Oooh, Jodi, cinnamon rolls. Yum! We may have to have you do a guest post sometime. :)

  12. Hi, Shelly, just stopping by to say hi after meeting you today. Thanks again for speaking at the WEBC retreat. I know God had us both there for a good reason! I just recently enjoyed studying Daniel, and that same verse (9:17) spoke to me, too. Be blessed! :)

    Sara from KY

  13. Gorgeous! I tried baking bread. Once. Let's just say it didn't turn out quite so beautifully as yours.

  14. Hey Sara! I had a great time meeting everyone today. Thanks for your encouragement. (Stop on by my blog anytime--I'd love to hear from you!)

    Lisa--sorry it didn't work out. Try again?

  15. As usual...great photos, and a great recipe! I can't wait to try this one.

    And just for the record: Shelly is one the best cooks I know, so I'm sure you're going to L-O-V-E this recipe!

  16. I'm going to make this for sure! I've been wanting to. I have a bread machine but have been wanting to do it myself. I enjoy the whole process of making it. Thanks for sharing this!

  17. I am going to bake bread this week.
    Your blog and pictures were wonderful. I could just smell the fresh homemade bread.
    Reading some of the books on your list, baking bread, quilting, goodness I may not have time to golf. Lena