A golden brown crunchy crust with the most amazing flavour-packed light and chewy centre, this simple healthy whole wheat bread recipe is sure to become your new favourite. So much so that I bet after you make your own whole grain bread, you’ll never even look at store-bought loaves ever again!
Most of us eat bread once a day at least. Whether it’s covered with healthy three-ingredient strawberry chia seed jam for breakfast, holding together a bbq cheddar chickpea burger for lunch or in the form of homemade Panko-style breadcrumbs used to make a healthy chicken parmesan for dinner. Unless you’re actively avoiding it, bread probably features heavily in your daily diet. And now you’ve got your hands on this healthy whole wheat bread recipe, you’ll never need to rush to the store and settle for an okay-ish loaf full of chemicals and nasties for as long as you live!
I’ve started watching repeats of the Great British Bake Off again (I’ve seen all the series about 4 times now!) and whenever I do, I always end up in a baking frenzie. Last week I made a loaf of the most amazing smoked cheddar and caramelised onion whole wheat bread, but it wasn’t exactly healthy. This basic whole wheat bread recipe on the other hand definitely is. It contains just a tiny amount of brown sugar and olive oil and has a 50-50 ratio of all-purpose and whole wheat flour, so you get lots of filling fibre whilst still having a light and chewy loaf.
It’s so much easier to make your own whole grain bread than many people think. Yes, this recipe does take 4 hours to make from start to finish, but less than 1 hour of that is active time! And putting a homemade bread loaf on the table that you’ve made entirely yourself 100% from scratch without any cheats or weird ingredients has got to be worth a few hours of your time, right? Better still, this recipe makes 2 loaves, so you can serve one up the same day you make it and freeze the second one for later on in the week!
- 2 cups warm water separated, 110F-120F or 43C-49C
- 3 tablespoon brown sugar separated
- 1 tablespoon active yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil + extra for greasing
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- butter for greasing
- In a large bowl, or the bowl of your electric mixer if you're using one, stir together 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.
- Sprinkle over the yeast and cover the bowl with a cloth so the contents are in the dark. Leave to bloom for 10-15 minutes, according to the instructions on your active yeast.
- When the yeast has bloomed, add in the salt, olive oil, egg, lemon juice, remaining 1 cup of warm water and remaining 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.
- Whisk for 1 minute by hand or 20 seconds with an electric mixer until all the ingredients are well combined.
- Thoroughly stir in the whole wheat flour then cover the bowl with the cloth you used earlier and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, stir the all-purpose flour into the bowl. Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes by hand or knead in the bowl of your electric mixer with the dough hook attached for 5 minutes, until you've got a strong dough. You might have to add more warm water or all-purpose flour to get the right texture.
- Rub a little oil on the inside of a large bowl and drop the bread dough into it.
- Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to rise somewhere warm for 45-60 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- Punch the dough down and leave it to rise, covered, for another 45-60 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 350F/175C and grease 2 loaf pans (I love these ones with butter.
- Punch the dough down again and evenly divide into two. It's a good idea to use a set of scales for accuracy.
- Form each piece of dough into a loaf-shape (here's a short video tutorial that shows you how) and place them inside the loaf pans.
- Lightly cover the loaves with a cloth and leave to rise in a warm place for 20 minutes, or until the tops of the loaves are poking 1 inch or 2.5cm above the sides of the tin.
- Bake the risen loaves in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, until the tops are a dark golden brown and you hear a hollow noise when you tap the bottoms of the loaves.
- Remove the loaves from the baking pans and leave to cool to room temperature on a wire rack before slicing.