This Bread Machine Whole Wheat Bread recipe results in a chewy bread with a firm crust and a large crumb. It's moist, healthy, and delicious! Sprinkle the top with optional omega rich seeds for an extra crunchy and delicious loaf.
This Bread Machine Whole Wheat Bread recipe was inspired by my super fluffy bread machine white bread, which also gave way to my garlic sandwich bread, italian bread and delicious bread machine cheese bread.
There's one caveat- this recipe uses weighted ingredients with a high percentage of water. Doing so produces a moist, tender loaf with a springy texture that makes a great sandwich or toasting bread.
Using a lot of water is necessary when using whole wheat flour. This is particularly true when making 100% whole wheat bread, like we're doing in this bread machine recipe. The correct amount of water as a percentage to your flour weight is key to producing the perfect loaf.
Making whole wheat bread doesn't need to be difficult. It gets a bad reputation because it can be trickier than basic white breads when not done right. But if you follow the strategies and tips below, you'll have a better chance at producing a successful loaf every time.
So put those measuring cups aside and let's get to making this fantastic whole wheat bread in the bread machine!
MORE BREAD RECIPES
- Cheddar Jalapeño Bread
- Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread with Bacon
- Pepperoni Bread
- Chocolate Pumpkin Bread
- Bread Machine Zucchini Bread
- Whole wheat flour: always weigh the flour for the recipe.
- Vital wheat gluten: vital wheat gluten will give the bread a protein boost and strengthen the gluten process to give the bread a larger crumb, crispier crust and chewier bite.
- Yeast: active, instant, and bread machine yeast all work for this recipe.
- Warm water: always use water warmed to approximately 115°F. An acceptable substitute is warm milk, which will make the end loaf a little more springy.
- Olive oil: extra virgin olive oil is my go to for cooking, but regular olive oil will work fine.
- Butter: using some butter in addition to the olive oil gives loaf more depth in flavor.
- Honey: honey takes the place of white sugar in this recipe. Use pure, organic honey if possible.
- Salt: a necessary ingredient in yeast breads. Make sure the salt and yeast do not interact prior to kneading.
- Triple omega seed mix: an optional ingredient to add to the top before baking starts. It consists of chopped hemp seeds, chia seeds, and flax seeds.
- Sunflower seeds: also optional and can be added to the top with the omega mix.
I like topping my whole wheat bread with seeds, as it gives it extra flavor, crunch, and nutrition. Use any of your favorite seeds. Or, skip this step.
Baker's Percentages for Whole Wheat Bread
Because flours are aerated differently, the same amount of flour measured used cups will weigh differently across varieties and even brands.
When making bread, just a small change in the amount of flour used can have a big impact when the rest of the ingredient amounts are not altered. So it's important to weigh the flour for this recipe.
It's also important to weigh the yeast, salt, and water according to the following baker's percentage.
Weigh 24 ounces of flour. Then use 83% of water, 1.5% salt and 1% yeast.
For this recipe, I use 24 ounces of weighed whole wheat flour. This equated to a little over 4 cups of flour measured using measuring cups for the brand that I had. 24 ounces of flour for your brand may equal less than 4 cups or it may equal more.
83% of water amounts to 20 ounces. Water weighs the same as it measures, so 20 ounces in weight equals 20 fluid ounces, or 2 ½ cups.
Depending on humidity and flour brand, you may need to go all the way up to 103% of water. The range in water percentage is due to the humidity in the air and the brand of flour you've used. Always start on the lower side and add more water in small quantities throughout the kneading process if needed.
STEP 1: Add the ingredients to the bread pan in this order: warm water, olive oil, butter, honey, salt, whole wheat flour, vital wheat gluten, and yeast.
💡 Ingredients are listed in the order that Cuisinart machines require. Check your brand's manual for the correct order. If it differs, add them in the order that your manual states.
STEP 2: Select the whole wheat bread setting. Choose the 2 lb loaf size and your preferred crust color. Brush the loaf lightly with milk and sprinkle on the seeds (optional). Depending on the crust color, the cycle will take between 4 hours 15 minutes and 4 hours 40 minutes. During the first kneading cycle, frequently check on the dough. If it's too dry, add more warm water 1 tablespoon at a time until it's sticky.
OPTIONAL: After the last rise and before the bake cycle begins, brush the dough lightly with milk and sprinkle on the seeds.
💡 Most whole wheat bread cycles include a 30 minute preheat at the beginning.
STEP 3: When baking is complete, turn off the bread machine. Remove the pan from the machine and then remove the bread. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
If you prefer to bake the loaf in the oven, you can do that too. Baking it in a loaf pan allows the bread to take the shape of traditional sandwich bread.
Oven Baking: If baking in the oven, follow the steps above but remove the dough from the bread machine after the last rise. It will be very sticky, this is normal. Put in a 9x5 loaf pan and cover with a heavy towel. Let rise for 20 minutes. Transfer to an oven preheated to 350°F . Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Remove bread from the pan immediately and let cool completely before slicing.
- Weigh your ingredients. I know there can be a great amount of resistance to this when you're used to measuring cups. But weighing your flour, yeast, and salt is necessary to get tricky breads to turn out, especially breads made with 100% whole wheat flour.
- Use the recommended baker's percentages above. Start on the low end of the range for 83% of water per flour weight. Add more water in small amount throughout the beginning of the kneading process if the dough appears dry.
- Don't be afraid of the high amount of water. It's critical for whole wheat baked goods.
- Whole wheat bread dough will be very sticky, as compared to bread made with all-purpose or bread flours. This is a good sign!
- Brush the top of the loaf with a little milk prior to baking to create a soft browned crust.
Whole wheat bread needs lots of water, as the whole wheat flour absorbs much more water than all-purpose and bread flours. Water is what creates light and fluffy loaves, so without enough water you'll end up with a dense bread that doesn't rise.
Over kneading and cool temperatures can also cause breads not to rise, but since this recipe is made in a bread machine, that shouldn't cause your bread not to rise here.
Your whole wheat bread may be turning out dense because there is not enough gluten. Whole wheat flour has little gluten compared to all-purpose flour, which is why vital wheat gluten is added to this recipe. It's an important ingredient, so don't skip it.
Use a pastry brush to lightly coat the top of the dough with milk prior to the start of the bake cycle. Milk will create a soft browned crust.
Bread Machine 100% Whole Wheat Bread
- 20 oz water warmed to 115°F
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon butter cut into small pieces
- 2 tablespoon honey
- .4 oz salt weighed, but approximately 1 ½ tsp
- 24 oz whole wheat flour weighed, but approximately 4 cups
- 2 tablespoon vital wheat gluten
- .24 oz active, instant, or bread machine yeast weighed, but approximately 1 ¾ tsp
- Add the ingredients in the order listed to the bread maker pan. *The ingredients are listed in the order that Cuisinart machines require them to go. Check your brand's manual for the correct order to add ingredients. If it differs, add them in the order that your manual states.
- Select the whole wheat bread setting. Choose the 2 lb loaf size and your preferred crust color. During the first kneading cycle, frequently check on the dough. If it's too dry, add more warm water 1 tablespoon at a time until it's sticky. *Depending on the crust color, the cycle will take between 4 hours 15 minutes and 4 hours 40 minutes.
- After the last rise and before the bake cycle begins, brush the dough lightly with milk and sprinkle on the seeds (optional).
- When baking is complete, turn off the bread machine. Remove the bread pan and the bread immediately. Cool on a wire rack completely before slicing.
- Oven Baking: If baking in the oven, follow the steps above but remove the dough from the bread machine after the last rise. It will be very sticky, this is normal. Put in a 9x5 loaf pan and cover with a heavy towel. Let rise for 20 minutes. Transfer to an oven preheated to 350°F . Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Remove bread from the pan immediately and let cool completely before slicing.