Making Homemade Whole Wheat Bread from Scratch

Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

For today’s Happy Homesteading post we are heading to the kitchen!! I found the perfect Homemade Whole Wheat Bread Recipe and made it from scratch just like the pioneers would have made.

History

farming-001I can still remember my Grandmother talking about homemade bread. She remembered her mother making homemade bread once per week growing up. She said it was the best tasting bread ever. This picture above is my Great-Grandmother Lillie Olson’s brother Herbert Olson. He has a sad story – he died at the age of 26 years old from a well accident leaving behind a young wife and 2 small boys. I think this is one of my most favorite pictures from my family history. I love the way he is holding the wheat after a long hard day. They all worked so hard on the farm gathering up that wheat.

Making my Homemade Whole Wheat Bread Recipe from Scratch

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I have made rolls, pie crusts, cookies, cakes but I had never made a loaf of whole wheat bread. So I asked around and got an amazing recipe from April Homer. I tried to make one recipe by kneading it by hand (in honor of how they used to do it back in the old days), and one using my kitchenaid.  Lets just say I will be using my kitchenaid from now on.

The trick to making this Whole Wheat Bread Recipe is to use vital wheat gluten and to grind your own hard white wheat. There is a huge difference in wheat types – the hard white wheat makes awesome bread.

Grinding The Wheat

First thing I want you to do is watch the 1 minute video of my little son grinding some wheat we used to make whole wheat pancakes. It’s entertaining.

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I busted out my Back To Basics hand wheat grinder and got to work grinding out a bunch of wheat flour. I had to grind out 24 cups of wheat to make my two large batch recipes. And I did it all by hand.

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After the first few minutes of grinding I discovered how NOT FUN grinding wheat is. It is a workout on the arms for sure.

I called out “Who will help me grind the wheat??” Said all the kids, “Not I”. Said my husband, “Not I”. How irritating.  At this point I starting feeling quite sorry for the Little Red Hen.

After I finished it was time to begin making the bread. I decided to use my Kitchen Aid mixer for this first batch.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 Cups hot water
  • 1 Tablespoons salt
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 Cup oil
  • 3 Tablespoons yeast dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2-3/4 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 11-12 cups freshly ground hard white wheat flour

DIRECTIONS

Mix together 4 Cups hot water, 1 Tablespoons salt, 1 Cup honey and 1/2 Cup oil in your Bosch or Kitchen Aid mixer using dough hook. Mix until dissolved.  Then add in 6 cups of whole wheat flour (hard white wheat), one cup at a time.

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Mix about 10 minutes until stringy in Bosch with dough hook at speed 2 or KitchenAid speed 2nd one in. It will look like this:

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Then add 3 Tablespoons yeast dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water, 1/2-3/4 cup vital wheat gluten, and 5-6 cups more wheat flour.

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Add flour until dough starts to come off sides of mixer, and you can pinch dough where it doesn’t stay on your fingers. The recipe says she never measure flour…just to go by consistency.

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Then mix for 5 minutes using the dough hook on lowest speed.

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Place in oiled bowl, cover with towel and rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes. Here is my beautiful dough!!

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I stuck mine in the oven with the light on to help it rise nicely.  Next is the fun part! Punch it down and rise in the bowl again another 30-45.

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Punch down the dough again.

My grandmother handed me down these beautiful old bread pans – aren’t they cool? Look how the metal is wrapped on the pan. I decided I wanted to try to use these old pans as well as my own pans to see if there was a difference.

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Here are all three pans sitting next to each other – 2 old ones and my own favorite 12″ loaf pan I purchased on Amazon.

Next I cut the dough and shaped them into loaves (will make 4-5 regular sized loaves or (3) 12 -inch pans).

bread-soap-087bread-soap-092bread-soap-095bread-soap-112Let rise in pan until 1 inch above pan, about 30 minutes. I think I could have let the ones on the ends raise a few minutes longer. 

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Then bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, then turn down to 325 degrees for 25 minutes more.

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Cool for 10 minutes, then place in bags and freeze while still warm. Look how lovely they all turned out!!! And it tasted like heaven….heaven with butter.

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It took around 3 hours to make bread – most of it waiting to rise. I was so happy it turned out looking and tasting like actual bread!!

So then I got the big idea to try to make another batch using a different recipe all without electric tools. We mixed by hand, and then I kneaded for 15 minutes with my own fabulous muscles. My young helper joined in with the kneading too.

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I don’t know what happened this time. Maybe I didn’t knead it good enough, not really sure. But it never would rise up above the pan, so I just baked it anyways. It looked and felt like a brick. Not good.  You can see the difference between my first batch and second batch.

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So the next day we decided to go and feed some birds with my mishap. It was fun. And all that grinding and kneading bread by hand literally went to the birds. I wonder if that’s where that saying came from..

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I am going to stick with my first recipe and try to make it a lot more often. We have already eaten through 2 loaves of it, it is super delish!

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WORTH THE COST? YES - each loaf cost $1.36 to make -most 100% whole wheat bread costs $3-$4.00 at store. If you regularly shop at Bakery Outlets though you might find a loaf for less there possibly.

WORTH THE TIME? YES if you have 3 hours at home you can make it. It’s mostly waiting for the rising process. NO if you are super busy, gone all day long working. 

Price Breakdown:

Whole White Wheat Berries about 6 lbs per recipe ($1.90)

  • Amazon: 5 lb. bag $11.95
  • Amazon: 50 lb bag $52.08
  • I get my wheat from LDS Canneries 25 lb. bag for $11.45 *best deal
  • Winco: around $0.57 lb. for hard red, not sure if they have hard white or not

Honey 10 oz ($1.60)

  • Walmart $7.38 per 32 oz. bottle 
  • Costco $12.79 for 5 lbs ($1.60) *best deal

SAF Yeast (0.15)

Vital Wheat Gluten ($0.33)

  • Winco bulk section: $2.68 lb. 

Oil + Salt (about $0.10) anywhere
Final for 3 loaves: $4.08 for the recipe = $1.36 per loaf
bread-soap-193Final thoughts on making my own Homemade bread.  I like that I know all the ingredients that went into making my own homemade wheat bread.  It is a great deal considering most whole wheat breads run close to around $3-$4 per loaf. The only better deal I think you can get is if you were to go to a Bread Outlet store – you might be able to get some for $1.00 per loaf. Probably won’t taste as good as your own though. I am going to try to make my own bread from scratch for the next month – once per week and see how it goes. 

 Do you make your own homemade Whole Wheat Bread? How often do you make it?  Also feel free to share your recipes in a comment below and I would love to try yours out too. 

5.0 from 1 reviews

Homemade Bread
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Ingredients
  • 4 Cups hot water
  • 1 Tablespoons salt
  • 1 cup honey
  • ½ Cup oil
  • 3 Tablespoons yeast dissolved in ½ cups warm water
  • ½-3/4 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 11-12 cups freshly ground hard white wheat flour
Instructions
  1. Mix together 4 Cups hot water, 1 Tablespoons salt, 1 Cup honey and ½ Cup oil in mixer using dough hook. Mix until dissolved.
  2. Then add in 6 cups of whole wheat flour (hard white wheat), one cup at a time.
  3. Mix about 10 minutes until stringy.
  4. Then add 3 Tablespoons yeast dissolved in ½ cup warm water, ½-3/4 cup vital wheat gluten, and 5-6 cups more wheat flour.
  5. Add flour until dough starts to come off sides of mixer, and you can pinch dough where it doesn’t stay on your fingers.
  6. Then mix for 5 minutes using the dough hook on lowest speed.
  7. Place in oiled bowl, cover with towel and rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes.
  8. Punch it down and allow to rise in the bowl again another 30-45 minutes.
  9. Punch down the dough again.
  10. Cut the dough and shaped them into loaves (will make 4-5 regular sized loaves or (3) 12 -inch pans).
  11. Let dough rise in pan until 1 inch above pan, about 30 minutes.
  12. Then bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, then turn down to 325 degrees for 25 minutes more.
  13. Cool for 10 minutes, then place in bags and freeze while still warm.

This is one recipe I like to make in advance and freeze. See some of my freezer meals I make too here.31 Comments

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Comments

  1. Absolutely loving your homesteading series! I have been making this recipe for over a year now, and throw it in my bread machine every day to every other day depending on our bread needs.

    • Thank you so much Holly! I haven’t tried to use my bread machine, but I will have to give it a go with this recipe and see how it does. Mine makes the weird upwards loaf though so it would need to be in pans for the final raising.

  2. I enjoy making my own bread, but I use a hand-me-down bread machine. It makes the job so MUCH easier. (You can often find inexpensive machines at thrift shops or garage sales.) I downloaded my owner’s manual from the web, and it has a wide variety of bread recipes and instructions to convert other bread recipes. Lately, I’m starting to experiment with using my digital scale to weigh primary ingredients. So far, my experience has been I can get more consistent results than with only volumetric measurements. Another advantage of a bread machine is you can move it outside in the summer rather than using the oven.

  3. Have you tried grinding the wheat with your new Vitamix blender? On Vitamix’s site, they mention that it’s not ideal if you do it a lot, but it works for occasionally grinding grains (and of course you can get the dry grains container if you’re going to do it a lot. Seems like it would save your arms!

    • Now, why didn’t I think of that? Ack..yes, I will try that next time.

    • Be careful the Vitamix will heat up your grain due to friction, Mom and my sister have one. Do it in small batches and see if it gets hot. Just say’in. Have fun !!!!!!!!!!!

  4. I giggled at the mention of the Little Red Hen. Too funny! I’m really enjoying your Homesteading series. How fun! I always feel so accomplished with each new thing I try to do on my own. Plus, like you mentioned, it makes me appreciate the pioneers and what they went through. Truly amazing.

    • Thanks Brittany, so glad you are enjoying this series. I am loving it so much too and so glad I am finally doing it (been thinking about it for a year now). It’s making me really really happy.

  5. Lachelle says:

    I make my Grandma’s whole wheat applesauce bread about once a week or I make rolls. I love homemade bread and won’t buy it. If we run out and it is a few days until I can get it made I don’t budge because store bread just doesn’t taste the same. I know, I am picky that way but homemade is the way to go. I don’t know what happened to your second batch of bread….did the yeast die maybe? Maybe the water was too hot or not hot enough? At least it got to provide some great memories with feeding the birds. Thanks for your post!

  6. Looks fab…I have made so many flops on bread, but really want to try again. I love homemade bread! What is SAF stand for? And I didn’t use vital wheat gluten ever before, which is probably part of my problem :) Must make a trip to Winco this week!

  7. How do you make the bread soft like the store? Is it possible with the upwards breadmakers too?

    I know this isnt about the bread subject, but I have a good desert recipe I would like to share.

    • I think it’s adding in the extra gluten like in this recipe that makes it more soft. My bread was pretty soft especially for wheat bread using this recipe.

  8. Elizabeth Hartsfield says:

    If you would send me a message at my email address I will gladly share my whole wheat bread recipe with you.
    Thanks,
    E.

  9. I’ve experimented with bread in the past with mixed results. My favorite though is a rustic beer bread. It makes a gorgeous rustic loaf you shape by hand. My friends daughter is autistic and refuses to eat bread because of the feeling in her mouth. I made this loaf for her mom and was told point blank by the girl that I must make it for her birthday instead of cake. She ate 3/4 of the loaf by her self they even left my house!

  10. Wow you need a bosch! Beautiful bread, as I was reading through your recipe/time it took, I was remembering this growing up and in my young adult years. I did not have a mixer, so I did it by hand though thankfully did not need to punch it down twice. 1 rise, then put in pan, rise again and bake. Then I found bosch… Dump the ingredients in, mix, knead on # 2 for 10 min, put right into pan to rise. Depending on house temp-rise time is 15 min to an hr. I make bread completely in under 2 hrs including baking time! I think it would turn out the same with a kitchen aid, just much faster. Your bread is beautiful! Have you tried hard red wheat?

  11. I make bread about once every two weeks (2 loaves). We aren’t huge bread eaters and I probably throw away more than we eat…though I guess I should find some birds to feed (here we have more geese that are a huge pain in the rear). I have not bought a loaf of store sandwich bread in over 2 years (though I WILL buy Italian bread, homemade just doesn’t taste right to me). I started using a 100% whole wheat recipe and recently switched to a half white flour half whole wheat, it was getting boring. I just made some brioche hamburger buns yesterday too.
    I have a kitchen aid mixer but mine is NOT the one with the bowl that screws in like yours. I would like to advise you to NOT use yours a lot for KNEADING 100% whole wheat bread, you will strip your gears before too long. MY friend did just that and then I lent her mine (mine is a well used machine from 1994, her’s was barely used only at Christmas time) and she somehow broke mine too!
    If you research on line you will see that the one with the arms (like I have) is fine for the whole wheat and so is the bosch too…but not the one like yours.
    I know all this because when my friend broke mine I wanted a new mixer and did research and found out why her’s broke and why mine has been a great workhorse considering how much it is used.
    Long story short, you can buy the nylon gears on line and get a utube video to fix it. You will also need the food grade grease. It was a lot cheaper for me to fix them (I fixed her’s and mine) than take it somewhere, though it was about $50 for one and I still have a bunch of grease left.

  12. leaving home to work all day doesnt mean you cant make bread just make the dough then put in the fridge. it slows down the rising process.

  13. I have made this recipe now twice. Both times it turned out perfect. Love love love your site, and your humor. Thank you!!

  14. I am looking to make this recipe. I’m new to baking bread. Wondering if it’s possible to freeze part of the dough so I can bake it fresh or if you think it’s the same baking it first. Guess there is something about warm bread :) Would I freeze it before letting it rise the third time in the pan, or change anything else?

  15. Christina & Nick Mclamb says:

    I am so glad I found your blog through pioneer homestead. I love finding good tested recipes and “craft” things like soap. Going to make this bread today.

    • Awesome! Let me know your thoughts..I personally adore this recipe. The bread is just so yummy!

      • Christina & Nick Mclamb says:

        It is so tasty! And im usually not one for whole wheat. We are going to try sprouting grains to use in this recipe next. But it’s definitely on my weekend baking list :).

  16. mary-jeanine says:

    I make a lot of homemade bread with a Bosch Universal and a Nutri-Mill. Delicious and easy, but not cheap (the equipment). But the Bosch is super strong and has lots of attachments so it pays for it self.I would submit that your second batch didn’t rise as much because of the kneading. Strong kneading is key, and most of us just aren’t physically strong enough to do it by hand.
    Thanks for the fun post!

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