Best Wheat Bread Recipe – Yup We Said BEST!

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Are you in search for a delicious, soft, healthy whole wheat bread recipe? We thought we would finally share with you our FAV! Bread made with fresh ground wheat. It is healthy, delicous, and helps you to use your Food Storage.

A couple years ago, we found this recipe and have never looked back! One time Julie told her husband’s best friend (who loves this bread) that she was going to try a different recipe. He got visibly upset, a little panicked, and said: “Don’t fix what ain’t broke!” The recipe she was wanting to try was actually just a variation of THIS recipe using a bunch of other grains… NOT another whole wheat recipe…don’t worry! This recipe comes from the Deals to Meals blog. Their blog is one of our favorite food storage recipe blogs.

A few things that are fantastic about this recipe:

  • No need to double rise this bread!
  • Few ingredients, without any dough enhancers made of artificial ingredients
  • Doubles as pizza dough, and cinnamon roll dough
  • Uses 100% freshly ground whole wheat, but still tastes light and fluffy
  • The sponging process (explained below) makes the bread a great consistency
  • Cooks up great in the Sun Oven if you are needing to cook without power

Emilie’s Whole Wheat Bread

(From Deals to Meals blog, directions are modified for Julie’s methods)

7 c. whole wheat flour (grind your own with your Wondermill)
2/3 c. vital wheat gluten (buy at Honeyville)
2 1/2 T. instant yeast (we like the SAF brand)

5 c. hot water (120-130 F)

2 T. salt
2/3 c. oil
2/3 c. honey or 1 c. sugar (we like honey the best!)
2 1/2 T. bottled lemon juice

5 c. whole wheat flour

Mix together the first three ingredients in your mixer with a dough hook (we both use and love our Bosch for this). Add water all at once and mix for 1 minute; cover and let rest for 10 minutes (this is called sponging). Add salt, oil, honey or sugar, and lemon juice and beat for 1 minute. Add last flour, 1 cup at a time, beating between each cup. Beat for about 6-10 minutes until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. This makes very soft dough.

Spray counter with pam and take dough out of the bowl. Do NOT flour your counter, this will add dryness you don’t want in the bread. You basically want your dough to feel a “little” sticky. Separate dough into bread pans, and let rise until double in size. Bake at 350 for 22-30 mins or until browned. This depends on your oven, just watch it a little and cover with foil if it looks like it’s getting brown too fast. On the Deals to Meals blog, they do a quick rise with this bread, but I find that by the time I’ve cleaned up the kitchen and gotten all my ingredients put away, the bread is ready to go in the oven anyway.

This recipe will make 6 loaves of bread. I usually half the recipe, make 2 loaves of bread and one pizza dough for dinner that night. We have pizza once a week around here because it’s YUM and it kills 2 birds with one stone.

And here’s a picture of Julie making this very bread recipe using her Bosch (best appliance ever) for the New York Times, when they did an article about Mormons and Food (including Food Storage) back in January.

  • Demarie Jones

    Okay so you say it cooks great in a sun oven but you have directions for making it with an electric mixer. How can you make this if the power has gone out? I would love the directions for that

  • gumps99

    I haven’t tried this recipe, but the one I use is very similar. I always cook it to 190 deg and it comes out perfect. Having a temp probe (especially one you can leave in the oven – most can’t so make sure yours can before you do) takes the guess work out of the “when is it done” question.

  • Heather

    I usually HATE wheat bread. I have not stored any wheat at all because most of the time I would rather go hungry than eat whole wheat bread. I figured my space was better spent on rice and such that I enjoy eating. This recipe is a game changer. I tried it with King Arthur’s White Whole Wheat flour (One of your other posts made me think I’d like white over red) and it blew me away. The texture is exactly what I want. It’s moist, doesn’t crumble and is great for sandwiches. NO evil chewy cardboard. Not big on the crust but it is SO thin and easy to cut off. I can finally be a better example for my kids and eat bread without feeling guilty about it. Also, I did the math and this bread only has 95 calories per 1.5 oz slice. Now I seriously need to consider getting some wheat and a grinder.

    • I LOVED reading this. Thanks for sharing and we are soooo glad you love this bread too 🙂

      • Heather

        I purchased my very first bucket of hard white wheat and a back to basics grain mill. If everything goes well I’ll buy an electric mill for regular use (I got the mill for $35 used so I’m not out much if I don’t like it). I’ve looked around your site but I can’t seem to find a conversion for how much wheat to grind for X amount of flour. I’m only going to do half the recipe So I need 6 cups of flour, is that 6 cups of wheat?

        • 1 cup of wheat berries will get you about 1 1/4 cups of flour. So for 6 cups you could probably do about 4 1/2 – 5 cups of berries.

  • Howard

    Sadly, I don’t own a mixer of any kind outside of a bread making machine. Is there ANY way to make this bread without the use of a mixer? I have a very (!) small kitchen and wouldn’t have room for storage any way. 🙁 Thanks for the help and recipes.

  • Vickie Houser

    Heavy loaves? That was me… the bread was delicious, but would not rise much. I discovered that I was using the wrong kind of yeast. I was using active dry yeast instead of instant yeast. Honestly I did not know there was a difference, but there is. This time I gave my yeast a little sugar and some hot water for a few minutes first (till it was nice and foamy). Then added it with the rest of the hot water for the sponging. My dough had a much better texture and the loves doubled in size – YEA! I love this recipe!

    • Oh yes that would make a difference for sure! So glad you figured it out and that you love the recipe!

  • judi

    Ok, so i made your bread. 3rd times was most successful, but need help. I’ve never made bread before this wth yeast (i make a yummy pumpkin bread at christmas time, but no yeast.). So, first time, i realized the yeast i had was expired so idn’t rise. 2nd try, much better, actually looked like a loaf of bread, but didn’t cook all the way through. I think prtly due to not mixing long enough (6-10) after adding flour, and using bigger loaf pan. So, 3rd time, mixed about 8 minutes or so and baked 30. Looked like bread, cooked all the way through, but BIG hole in the middle of the loaf – not good for pb & j sandwiches. :- suggestions and tips please!! Btw, all 3 loaves taste delish. 🙂

    • Judi,

      How did you form the loaf? That used to happen to me sometimes when I would roll it out and roll it up into a tootsie roll shape. Lately I’ve just been forming it into a loaf shape with my hands and plopping it in the pan and that seems to avoid the hole in the middle. Also, I usually put tinfoil on top after about 15 minutes to avoid too much browning and cook it for a lot longer than you would think. I’ve had soggy middles before and it is no bueno. Hope that helps a bit!

      • judi

        Thanks, ladies. Since my mixer can only handle a half recipe, I’ve just transferred the dough straight from the mixer to the pan… My loaf pan holds just that amount of dough – so I thought. Maybe there’s just too much dough? My loaf pan is 9.25 x 5.25. My husband loves the denser bread, but maybe if I just take out a third for pizza or pepperoni rolls? Or should I do half? I planned on doing the foil next time. Is there any trick to knowing when it’s done?? I figure sticking a toothpick in, like with my cakes, won’t do the trick, or would it? Sorry for all the questions! I absolutely know nothing about baking with yeast so any help is appreciated!!

        • Oh definitely using too much dough! I would do two loaves with a half batch. It won’t seem like enough to fill your pan but they will rise quite a bit if you let them. The bread will sound hollow when tapped on what it’s done. Also probably trial and error for your own oven/etc.

  • Janet Vinyard

    Thanks so much for the best recipe for whole wheat bread – it’s great! I plan to make hamburger buns with it next.

    • Ooo let us know how it goes. I haven’t tried making those yet!

  • sarah stevens

    Can this be done by hand?

    • Yep it definitely can be done by hand and it still turns out great!

  • Julie in the south okanagan

    This recipe is simply fantastic! More so because it is SO simple. We bought some locally grown whole wheat a year or so ago…..and a grain milll….and although we are experienced bread bakers, we could not make anything much with it apart from chapatti,roti etc. we tried all sorts of recipes found on food storage blogs….potato water, soya lecithin, malt…..sometimes all of the above… an attempt to mimick the ” improvers” found in most commercially prepared whole wheat flours. All, “meh”. This, however, WORKS! Granted, I don’t have instant yeast so I am having to let the dough proof before knocking it down and shaping into loaves….but so worth it. Great flavour. Great texture. You can feel your body being nourished by this…..even my picky eater teen boy loves this bread! Thank you for sharing this….you’ve saved my sanity….and about 100lbs of wheat that we have in our pantry!

    • We’re so glad that you like it! We seriously tried so many before we finally discovered this and fell in love.

  • Emily

    I am wondering what size bread pan you use. From my experience 2 cups of flour per loaf of bread is a relatively small loaf of bread. That’s fine of course, I’m mostly just curious about this. I end up making 2 loaves with half a recipe (instead of 3) and I do struggle with it looking nice. The taste is great and that’s what matters but I’m wondering if I had a smaller amount in my bread pans if it would come out “prettier”, meaning the nice rounded top and such. Are there different sized bread pans? Does your bread rise above the top edge of the pan? And also do you think there’s any difference between glass or metal pans? Thanks much – love the recipe – sorry for all the questions!!

    • It makes 6 smaller loaves and we do let them rise quite a bit.

  • Jen

    Just tried this recipe today and I give it 5 stars for sure! This is coming from someone who is NOT a good baker.. It turned out perfect. I baked it in my sun oven and left the lid un-clasped so the top got crispy but the sides stayed with a very thin soft crust. My hubby who is a bread connoisseur loved this bread even eating it later tonight. Thank you! I now have hope in making my own bread!

  • cindy

    Im disappointed in this. I followed your recipe exactly, did the half recipe and it turned out heavy, didnt rise much at all. I feel the dough was too dry. Though it had a good flavor, I will need to try some variations to end up with a bread Id call ” the best”

    • cindy

      well so far second try is looking better….used 1/2 c less flour in the second adding of flour and let them raise longer. finally got that 2x raise. Also used 1/3 for cinnamon rolls, they are done and delicious with some cream cheese frosting I made.

      • Glad it is working better for you! Sometimes different altitudes, types of flour, types of yeast can cause variations, but this method has been the way we make all our bread for a few years now 🙂 We have tried others, and stick to this one as our go to 🙂

  • Tricia

    I make 100% whole wheat bread using my Bosch Kitchen Machine and Whisper Grain Mill. My family has been using these items and the same recipe since the late 70s. My recipe does not require or use Vital Wheat Gluten. Can you tell me the purpose for using it in this recipe that you posted? Thanks.

    • It makes it a little spongier, more like store-bought bread.

      • Sue

        Do u hav to use the wheat -gluten?? I don’t know what that is.

        • It makes it spongier like store-bought bread. You can find it in the baking aisle at the grocery store usually.

    • Shanon hole

      Tricia, could you email your recipe without gluten to me? My email is
      I’d appreciate it. I’d like not to add gluten, but all recipes for fresh ground wheat seem to call for it. Thanks so much

  • NancyB

    I tried to mix the bread recipe as written BEFORE I looked in the manual for my stand mixer. I have a KitchenAid stand mixer with a 5 qt stainless steel bowl. I had to dump the dough into to my largest dough bowl to knead in the last cup of flour. When I found the manual for my mixer on line, it said to never try to mix a bread dough calling for more than 6 cups of whole wheat flour and to always use speed 2.
    I’m just hoping I haven’t burned out the motor on my mixer because I can’t afford to replace it. You might want to put a warning in for people like me who don’t always read the manual! I would have been fine with half the recipe.

    • Yikes! I would usually think people would know the capacity of their mixers but we can definitely see about adding a disclaimer.

      • NancyB

        I made a half batch today and no problems. I have been baking bread for years, but really never used my mixer. Very good textured bread. Now I just need to get a grinder. Always good to read the manual!!

      • Deb Weller

        I also have a KitchenAid mixer, which I got used. No manual at all, so a lot of my mixer experience is “by guess and by golly”. Good to know that I might have to make a smaller batch – at least the first time. Gives me a reason to break in my flour mill as well as practice with the dough hooks on the mixer.

  • Quilty

     Would you have any idea on how to convert this to a bread machine recipe?  We grind our own wheat but use a bread machine.

    • Since the bread machine does its own processes, and sponging is what makes this different, I’m not sure you can convert it exactly. I’d probably stick to a bread machine recipe.

  • Chris

    Just made my first bread from fresh ground wheat using Emile’s recipe. It didn’t rise very much only about 2- 1/2 inches tastes great just kind of short. Any comments or suggestions?

  • Amber

    I have tried so many different recipes and you are right this is the best!  The only change I made was I used twice as much lemon juice since mine was fresh squeezed, just to make sure it had enough acidity.  

    Also just a note.  I had a friend drop by while my dough was in the sponging process and completely forgot about it for about 45 minutes+  my mixer was filled to the top with sponge.  I just mixed it down and continued anyway and it still came out perfect.  I love that it was so forgiving!  The dough didn’t fall back, and the bread was not too coarse.

  • AvonelleRed

    I assume we should grease the bread pans before putting the dough in them to rise? I didn’t see that listed in the steps, but I do want to try this bread recipe!
    Thank you.

    • AvonelleRed

      I went ahead and buttered the loaf pans and made this recipe, and it turned out fantastic! A+ recipe.

      • Sorry we didn’t write back fast enough! I usually spray my pans with pam and it works great. Glad you liked the recipe 🙂

        • AvonelleRed

          No worries! I am just impatient. =) I appreciate knowing that it was correct to use something on the pans. I loved this recipe so much that I made a second half batch to freeze for later. I did the sponging, then finished the recipe, then froze it in Pam-sprayed Ziploc bags. When I am ready to use it, I will take it out of the freezer, let it thaw in the refrigerator, and then put it in loaf pans to rise before baking. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

  • Susan

    I haven’t baked bread in years.  Our last house had some sort of bread baking curse on it because bread would never, ever rise.  I would try different yeasts, different recipes, turn up the thermostat.  Let it rise in a cold over to keep it away from drafts.  Nothing.  Hard-tack.  We’re in a new house now but I am so rusty I would love a beginners, beginners recipe that doesn’t require an electric mixer.  Can anyone help?

  • Kmp1961

    When you save a piece for pizza dough, where do you store it, in the fridge? Do you do this right after the last mix then take it out to rise then form the pizza shape, or take it out form the pizza shape then let it rise. I don’t make very much pizza.

  • Kynihe

    Hi. Your recipe looks really yummy and I can’t wait to try it. I especially like the idea of cutting the recipe in half, making 2 loaves, and then doing pizza dough. Sorry to sound so thick, but I have never had any luck with homemade pizza dough. Would you kind posting your instructions? Do you use a stone? Thanks!

    • I split the HALF recipe into 3. 2 loaves of bread and the rest is for pizza. I roll it out right away, and then just use a metal pizza pan, although I have used a stone as well and it has been great. I usually let it rise 1 hour or more. I find that the pizza dough getting MORE of a rise than the bread makes it yummier. You can also put it in the fridge for the day, then bring it out an hour or so before you want to cook it as well. Cook at for about 15 minutes or so at 425 with sauce, cheese and toppings on it. Spray your pan with pam if you’re not using a stone. If you like crunchy crust, you can take the pizza and put it right on the rack (take the pan out from under it) for the last 3-4 minutes. Just watch it closely – I can’t say the timing exactly, as I’m a watcher for pizza, not a timer. Wheat pizza takes a little longer to cook than white but this recipe is GOOD for pizza!

  •  Whole wheat bread is a favourite of mine. And since you say this is the “best” without any hesitation, I will take your word for it. I have just pinned this and will get into baking this weekend. Cheers.

  • Wingedgirls

    Hi, just got a wondermill and can’t wait to try this recipe. Can you Agave for a substitute for the sugar/honey? Does the quantity change?

    • I haven’t tried with agave yet, but I have a friend who uses agave in her bread. I think I’ve heard agave is a little sweeter than sugar, so maybe only do 2/3 or what it calls for and see how it turns out?

  • Marcrose

    I hate to be a stick-in-the-mud.  NEVER cook or bake with honey. It forms a toxic mass which can impact in your intestines causing a medical emergency. It happened to me years ago and the doctors wanted to do exploratory surgery on me before I found out myself what it was. I was exhausted, allergic to everything, having muscle cramps and gaining a lot of weight. It was all from the honey I used to make a similar type of whole grain bread. I was eating a loaf or 2 a week. I was sick for over 3 years and couldn’t work. The ancient Ayurvedics also warned about not using honey to cook with because they knew about the risks. Honey is healthy raw but should only be used as honey and never heated.

    • I haven’t heard of this one yet? I’ll have to look into it.

    • Dmchaney

      Pretty sure that is bunko.  Have cooked and easten honey for 54 years.  Work for a surgeon who has 4 daughters raised on honey and no sugar.  No problems for them as well.  Could have been something in your system that caused the problem but honey is perfectly fine to heat and eat.

    • Monica

      Pretty sure it was all that bread you were eating that did it. I’ve eaten honey cooked in my food for years. The difference is, I don’t eat grains of any kind, and certainly not that much bread in a week. The symptoms you describe are wheat belly. Google it.

    • Mahere

      I use honey all the time in baking and have never had a problem.

  • Carin Richardson

    It would be helpful to have a print option on your recepies for those of us who don’t pin things 🙂

    • We haven’t figured out that technology yet, but we should put it on our list of things to do. It’s a HUGE list. haha. You could copy paste it for now into a word document though. Sorry!

  • Amanda

    When you add the additional flour one cup at a time, do you beat 6-10 minutes between each cup  or 6-10 minutes total? Thanks 🙂

    • You add the flour slowly, but THEN beat for 6-10 minutes. Not between each cup 🙂

  • Stephanie

    12 cups of flour is huge.  What kind of a mixer do you use?  I have made bread a lot, but not 6 loaves.  What is the best way to freeze the dough?  How does freezing affect the bread?

    • I use a bosch. I have frozen the dough for pizza but not for bread yet. For pizza, I have just rolled it out onto the pizza pan, then put wrap over it. When I used it, I just pull it out a few hours ahead of time.

    • Sarah Lee

      Think of Rhoads’ frozen bread rolls. You just warm them up and they rise just fine. I’m sure there’s an expiration date that you’d want to use your bread dough by though, like after a few months.

  • Can you make this recipe without a stand mixer?

    • If you did I would half it for sure, maybe even break it up into a third. That would be a lot of kneading… but hey – if you’re looking for a great workout, why not? haha

    • I make this bread with just a wooden spoon and a giant bowl. I don’t even do the last 6-10 minutes of mixing I just kind of knead it for a few minutes with my hands and the bread still comes out lovely and delicious!

  • Gotberg

    This bread recipe is absolutely amazing. Every time I share the bread with someone they LOVE the taste and consistency. The first time I made it was a little confusing but I’m not super awesome with recipes. I followed word for word and now I’m a pro! This stuff rocks.

  • Scott

    In a true emergency, you may not have the Vital Wheat… Can you use anything else, like Vit-C, or does anyone know of a Whole Wheat Recipe that doesn’t require Vital Wheat and is still able to be used as sandwich bread?

    • Lisl_collins

      I never use vital gluten, mainly just to cut down the cost.  Here is my bread recipe and we all (including my 7 children) like it.  I’m quite sure the gluten makes it better, but this recipe works just fine.
      5C hot water
      1/3C oil
      1/3C sugar or honey
      3T yeast
      I let this combination set while I grind my wheat- about 10 minutes, but I want to try the sponging thing mentioned above.
      2T salt (never forget the salt!)
      about 12C hard white wheat flour
      makes 4 loaves- I used to do the 2/3C for the oil and sugar but found 1/3 works too and makes it kind of chewier which we like.  Also, I do let it rise in the bowl once and then let it rise in the pans too.  Bake at 350 for 37 minutes.  Hope you like it. lisl

    • I’ve heard of Vit-C being used as a dough enhancer. I’m not completely sure if this would be something that would substitute the gluten though. It would probably serve as a good substitute for the lemon juice, but I’m not sure about gluten. Gluten is to make the dough “stick together” more so to say. So the dough wont be as crumbly with gluten. In a true emergency if I didn’t have gluten (which I actually store quite a bit of it) I could deal with crumbly bread.

  • Betsy

    Can fresh lemon juice be used?

  • Stephanie

    Does it matter if you use fresh ground white wheat or red wheat?

    • Either way will work. The red wheat has more of a “wheaty” or “nutty” flavor, and the white wheat has more of a softer flavor. Whichever you prefer is what you can use.

  • Julie Gillette

    Can you use anything to sub for the vital gluten? Thanks!

    • Sue

      I use Wheat Protein Isolate (from Honeyville) instead of VWG – it’s more concentrated than VWG, less expensive, and I need less to get the same boost from the protein for a soft crumb.  I use about 1/3 to 1/2 as much of the WPI as VWG.  🙂

    • The gluten is what makes it soft and fluffy. If you have a really good mixer that develops the natural gluten the bread may not turn out too bad, but I think it would be a little more crumbly. Maybe I’ll have to try without gluten one of these days. I don’t know of a substitute persay. One thing though- if your bread turns out too crumbly, you could try adding part of the flour to be white flour.

    • Oh, later in the comments someone wrote this : I use Wheat Protein Isolate (from Honeyville) instead of VWG – it’s more concentrated than VWG, less expensive, and I need less to get the same boost from the protein for a soft crumb.

  • Karren

    I have read and enjoyed your blog for some time now.  My sister mills her own grains and all are wonderful.   Having a mill of my own would be a dream!  Keep writing – you are appreciated and enjoyed!

  • Julie

    Homemade bread is the best, especially warm!

  • Emilyg Allen

    Question: Step one of the instructions says to mix together the first three ingredients, which includes 7 cups of whole wheat flour.  Later, it says to “add last flour, once cup at a time.”  What “last flour” would that be?  It seems  to me we added it all in step one so it could sponge. Could you clarify?

    • Later in the ingredients list it has another batch of flour…. it’s 5 cups. Good luck and enjoy!

      • Pokeythepatriot

        I am stilled confused like Emilyg – what are the additional 5 cups for? I read the recipe again but it still isn’t clear..can you clarify?

        • The answer is:  This recipe makes 6 loaves of bread from 12 cups of flour. You start out with 7 Cups of flour to do your initial mixing and then add the remaining 5 cups while the mixer is running.  I think you really need a big stand mixer with a dough hook to do this recipe.

          • I should clarify that you need a big mixer for this recipe!

        • You use 7 cups of flour in the first step – then you sponge the bread. After that you add the other 5 cups called for all at once slowly, then knead.

    • liann

      There are two amounts of flour listed: 7 cups to make the sponge and then at the bottom of the list of ingredients is 5 cups of flour.  Those are the additional cups you add one at a time at the end.

  • Emilybriggsbreton

    This recipe really is THE BEST whole wheat bread recipe! I tried for 7 years(!) on and off to find a WW bread recipe that my family would eat. I found this one last summer and have not bought a single loaf of bread since. In fact, I have 2 loaves baking in my oven right now! It even freezes beautifully.
    Emily B.

    • Diane

      Below the lemon juice it calls for an additional 5 cups of flour. 

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