Honey Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Update: At the end of this post is my FIRST EVER video on how I make this loaf of bread.

One of the first purchases I made after eliminating processed foods from our home was aย bread maker. I was scared to order something so expensive right out of the gate with our new lifestyle. However, as I started reading the ingredients while grocery shopping, I found it impossible to find a loaf of bread with ONLY real ingredients with which I was familiar. Every loaf contained preservatives so that it could sit on a grocery store shelf for weeks. I knew if I wanted to do a real foods-only lifestyle “right,” I had to make my own bread. So, I took the plunge and made the purchase! I was nervous I might not use it enough or that I wouldn’t be able to make sandwich bread we all liked, however, this hasn’t been the case at all and I would highly recommend a bread machine to anyone that would like to make their own bread at home. YOU control the ingredients! I make a loaf of sandwich bread every 2-3 days now, depending on what we have going on. Not only do I make my own honey whole wheat sandwich bread, I also use it to make French Bread, Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread, Honey Whole Wheat Sandwich Buns, and Whole Wheat Pizza Dough, and Overnight Cinnamon Rolls.

I actually only use my bread machine to make the dough. The machine can bake the bread as well, but I don’t like the tall, short shape of the finished loaf. Because of this, I now make the dough in the machine, let it rise in a loaf pan on the counter, and then bake it in the oven. I will admit that it’s kind of a lengthy process from start to finish…but the actual “work” involved on my part is very minimal.


I should share that my husband thinks slicing the bread is a pain. It doesn’t bother me one bit…so, clearly, I must have awesome bread-slicing skills. I can cut the perfect slice each and every time! He has told me he now fully understands the saying, “The best thing since sliced bread.” ha

Check your regular sandwich bread. What are the ingredients in it? Are they ingredients that you would bake with at home? All of them? The biggest reason I bake my own bread is to avoid many of the preservatives contained in so many brands. The one that shocked me the most is a foaming agent called Azodicarbonamide, which is used in the production of foamed plastics. This chemical is banned in many other countries, but allowed in the United States because it extends the shelf life of bread. Of course, I found that pretty alarming and was even more frustrated when I saw that the bread we had been buying for YEARS contained this chemical as well. Thankfully, we’ve been eating my homemade bread since March (of 2013), so at least we avoid eating “plastic” on a day to day basis these days.

A few months ago, I decided to add groundย flaxseed mealย to my dough…and it turned out great! Just 2 tablespoons contains as much fiber as 1 1/2 cups of cooked oatmeal. To get the natural antioxidants called lignans contained in flaxseed, you’d have to eat 30 cups of fresh broccoli. And the oil in it is about 50% alpha-linolenic acid, which is a plant version of omega-3. As you can see, adding just a little flaxseed to the dough boosts the nutritional content of each loaf by quite a bit!

Here is my recipe. I’ve made this loaf so many times now, I don’t even have to think about it anymore!

Honey Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
  • 3 cups white whole wheat flour* (to be exact, I measure 14¾ oz on my scale)
  • ¼ cup vital wheat gluten flour (1¼ oz on the scale)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-2 T ground flaxseed (optional)
  • 1 cup (plus a tad extra) warm water (9 oz to be exact)
  • 1 T milk (I use organic whole)
  • 2 T organic butter, chopped up into pieces
  • 2 T honey
  • 2¼ tsp fast rise yeast
  1. Put all ingredients (except the yeast) into a bread machine (in this same order, unless otherwise noted with your particular machine).
  2. Add the yeast into the yeast dispenser.
  3. Set the machine to the 'wheat cycle, dough' and press start.
  4. When the timer beeps, press the dough into a greased loaf pan (I use coconut oil) and cover with a towel for 1 hour to let rise.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Bake in the oven for 24 minutes.
  7. When it's lightly golden on top, remove from the oven and pop out of the pan onto a cooling rack. (I use a butter knife around the edges to help loosen it.)
  8. Let cool, slice, and enjoy!
*I started using King Arthur's Organic White Whole Wheat flour recently and seem to be having better results. It's not easy to find in stores, though. I've only been able to find this exact kind of flour at Whole Foods (and the closest one is 90 minutes away from me)!

*Tips: If you’re not going to eat some immediately (like with dinner), wait until it cools completely before trying to slice off the pieces you need. You’ll have a better results. Also, just slice each piece as you need it, otherwise it will go stale more quickly. We never have any bread go to waste, however, if you find that you can’t eat an entire loaf within a few days, then you can either freeze individual slices OR make homemade breadcrumbs.

Here is the bread machine I use:

And here is what I use to store my bread. (I bought two: one for our regular sandwich bread and another for whatever else I made.)

The process of bread making in pictures! So easy…

Put ingredients in the pan.
Put ingredients in the pan.
When the timer beeps, the dough is ready.
When the timer beeps, the dough is ready.
Press the dough into a greased loaf pan.
Press the dough into a greased loaf pan.
Cover for 1 hour, then bake.
Cover for 1 hour, then bake.
Let cool
Remove from pan and let cool.
honey whole wheat sandwich bread

It really is that easy to enjoy your own homemade bread on a daily basis. I have only purchased two loaves of bread this ENTIRE year…and they were both when we went on vacation to Florida and I didn’t have access to making my own. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s worth the investment.

Here is a video showing how I create this loaf of bread in just 10 minutes of ‘hands-on’ time! It’s my first video post ever and I did not prepare at all. I apologize in advance for the bad lighting, my occasional mumbling of words, and the overall production level. ๐Ÿ˜‰

And if you want to know how you can have soft, spreadable REAL organic butter at all times, read my post:ย How Does a Butter Crock Work. This is such a cool concept to me and I’m loving my new crock. Before this, I struggled with buttering our toast as the hard butter would damage whatever I was trying to butter. Definitely don’t have this issue any more! (I’ve also had many readers tell me that a basic butter dish will work, as well, but I feel more comfortable with the cool water seal of the crock.)

So are you ready to make your own bread now???

Update: Over the last year, I’ve had several readers ask if this recipe could be made without a bread machine. A couple people then experimented with it and told me it worked great! So, if you don’t have a bread machine and aren’t sure if you want to invest in one, you can still use my recipe! This is what reader Andrea K. had to say about it:

“I have used your bread recipe without a machine and it’s a hit! The only ingredient change I made was the yeast. I used active yeast whereas a bread machine calls for fast rise yeast. Using active yeast requires an extra rise time, but it’s not hard. I have made it byย dissolving the yeast in water before mixing it in the mixer and I have added it to the dry ingredients, as well. It doesn’t seem to matter as long as the water is warm enough. (I’ve also used almond milk since I cannot drink cow’s milk. The switch doesn’t seem to change the end result.) First, I mix all the ingredients in a stand mixer (KitchenAid) with the paddle attachment. Once it’s mixed, I switch to the dough hook. I pay attention and switch attachments as soon as it looks mostly mixed so it doesn’t get stuck all over the other. I mix it on slow with the dough hook for a minute or so to see if I need to add more flour and then I lock the mixer and turn the speed up. I usually runย it on medium for a couple minutes and then high for a couple more until a smooth ball has formed. I put it in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel, and then let it rise until it’s doubled in size (maybe 45 minutes?). After that, I flip it out onto a floured surface and punch some of the air out and knead it some. Then I form it into a bread shape, put it in an oiled pan, and let it rise again until it’s doubled in size or rising out the top of the pan. Then follow the instructions to bake at 350 degrees for 24 minutes. (You could also do the kneading the first time by hand, but it would take longer and I like that I can clean up my mess while it’s kneading in the mixer. I tend to make a flour mess lol! I also used the KitchenAidย mixer to make your cinnamon rolls and pizza dough! I tend to use the active yeast rather than instant or fast rise because it only has yeast as an ingredient. It does take it a little longer because you have to let it rise twice but it’s not hard at all! And my niece loves to help in the kitchen so the mixer is fun because she can help add the ingredients!”

Thank you so much for the instructions, Andrea! I hope this helps others!

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LeAnn Nome

Hi there! Here's a little info about me: I've been married to my husband for over 10 years and I'm a stay-at-home mom to our three young kids (a six year old daughter and four year old twin boys). As you might imagine, they keep me quite busy! In early 2013, we decided that we wanted to be a healthier family. To do this, we cut out all processed foods from our home and we now eat only REAL, whole foods. (When we're on vacation or at someone's house, we're not quite as strict.) We also try to exercise every day. Our goal is to raise healthy, happy kids...while maintaining our own health and happiness along the way! I hope you will follow along with us in our journey.

70 thoughts on “Honey Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

  1. I used to make my own bread all the time, then got lazy about it. I just made pizza dough the other night in my bread machine, so along with your post, I’m now inspired to go back to making my own bread :). Like your husband, I find slicing it to be a pain; do you have a knife that you recommend? I also like the storage container; I’m going to get one of those! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Janine…don’t know how your comment slipped through without me seeing it! So sorry for taking this long to reply!! I just use a long serrated knife and do small saws back and forth. It’s kind of a pain, but I really don’t even think about it anymore!

  2. I made this on Friday and it was good! I tried making 100 Days’ recipe a few months back and just wasn’t loving it (too dense). This definitely made a lighter-tasting loaf. I don’t think my family is ready to give up “grocery sandwich bread” in favor of homemade (DH says homemade is just too dense for a sandwich for his taste) but we all very much enjoyed it spread with butter and jam for breakfast, and DH and I ate it with salads for dinner as well. Right now I’m buying Whole Foods “organic honey whole wheat” which still has a few ingredients I don’t love (molasses, evap cane juice) but *no one complains that it isn’t Sara Lee* so it’s a good gateway drug to REAL bread ๐Ÿ™‚ LOL. In any case, thanks for this recipe! I will make it again.

    1. Hi Valerie! So glad you liked it! I agree, I tried 100 Days version, too, and wasn’t entirely impressed. Yes, my version is still a bit denser than “grocery store bread,” but we’ve gotten used to it. I’m not sure my husband ‘loves’ it…but he deals with it because he knows it’s better for us (and cheaper). My kids? They think I make the best bread ever…but they have less experiences to compare with. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The Whole Foods brand you’re buying sounds pretty close to real as ‘grocery store bread’ can be. And I still use molasses from time to time, so I think that ingredient is ok. Thanks for the feedback on the recipe–I always appreciate it!

      1. When you started adding flax meal did you have to add any water to the original recipe? I want to sub flax meal for flour in some of my recipes.

        1. Hi Jennifer, I really just added the flax meal in order to boost the nutritional value of each loaf of bread. So, no, I didn’t add any additional water. I haven’t experimented much with subbing flour with flax meal in recipes, so I can’t really give you any ‘real’ input on how to make that work. Sorry. I hope you’re able to figure it out! Good luck!

  3. I tried making this twice and it didn’t turn out quite right, so I’m wondering what went wrong… I don’t have the same bread machine (I have a Breadman) so I wonder if that’s it? When you use your dough cycle how long does it run before you take it out? My cycle went for an hour and twenty minutes. The first time I let it go the entire time and the second time I took it out when it was done kneading and did the hour rise in the pan.

    Both times the dough was kind of clumpy and just didn’t “gel” together, if that makes sense. Should I have added more water? I just bought the yeast so I know it was good. Thank you!

    1. Hi Stephanie,
      Sorry it hasn’t turned out for you! I know bread can be really tricky and if the ingredients are even the slightest bit ‘off,’ it can mess with the results. Occasionally, I’ll have a loaf that doesn’t want to rise as much and turns out “dense”…but, I’ve never had a loaf that didn’t ‘gel’ together well or wasn’t edible (we still eat it when it’s dense, but it’s not as enjoyable). ๐Ÿ™‚ My dough cycle lasts 3 hours and 15 minutes–so that’s a big difference from yours! My breakdown (according the manual) is Rest: 55-75 min, Knead: 15-25 min, and Rise: 1 hr 40 min-2 hours. After the 3 1/4 hours, I press it down into the greased pan and then let it rise for ANOTHER hour before baking it. It’s definitely a long process…but my actual work is very minimal. Other than that, just make sure all the ingredients are the exact same: WHITE whole wheat flour (I measure mine out so it’s consistent from loaf to loaf), vital wheat gluten, water, etc. I’m very careful with my measurements so that’s the only other thing I can think of other than the dough cycle being so much shorter compared to my machine. I hope that helps! Keep me posted–I hope you it works for you! We love this sandwich bread!

      1. I have the same Panasonic bread machine and made this today. The bread is delicious, but did not rise near enough to make sandwiches out of. Any tips? Maybe to much yeast or not enough water? I noticed our machine only recommends 1 teas pests per load rather than 2 1/4 teas.

        1. Hmmm… It’s hard to say for sure. Every once in a while I have a loaf that doesn’t rise as much and is kind of dense. Most of the time, though, it’s nice and fluffy. Could depend on the temperature in your kitchen and the humidity level on that particular day. I would try again…and then if it’s still not rising enough for you, try making small variations. I know that for me, I have it down to a science, but in different climates, you may need to make little tweaks so that it turns out perfect for you each time, too. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope that helps!

  4. I don’t have a bread machine, but I put everything in my stand mixer. Used the paddle to combine and then the dough hook to knead it for 3-5. Then baked it like you said and it was great! Thank you so much!! This is becoming a staple in our house now!! I’ve been following you on FB for a few months as I have transformed my family’s diet to real food. Just signed up for your newsletter.

    1. Yay! I’m so glad it worked for you without a bread machine, Alyssa! And thanks for letting me know. I’m sure this will help others who want to know if they can do it without, as well. So glad you found me and are enjoying my blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Christy–sorry for the delay in response (just got back from vacation)! The pan I use happens to be 10 x 5.75″, but I would think any regular loaf pan would do the job. Here is what I use (I have two): http://goo.gl/Q7cPcq Hope that helps!

      1. Thanks! I ordered one along with the bread maker that I just got in the mail about an hour ago! Yay! I’m in the middle of putting all of the ingredients in the pan and just noticed my yeast says active dry..not fast rise! Think it will make a difference?

        1. I don’t know if it will make a difference…but I’m definitely not an expert when it comes to bread yeast. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve only used the one kind. I say use it and if it doesn’t turn out…then you’ll know. ha ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck! Hope you like it!

          1. It turned out although I’ve got on my grocery list to get fast rise just to experiment to see if there really is a difference (I’m low on my active dry anyways)!! Thanks for a bread recipe that my whole family enjoys! I just have to learn how to cut my slices thin so we don’t go through it so fast.,lol. I’ve been making the crust into breadcrumbs so it’s awesome that nothing goes to waste! Do you have any recipes that call for breadcrumbs? Thanks again..went exactly be the recipe except it took my bread 20 min. to finish. ๐Ÿ™‚

          2. Thank you! Just double checking..is that the only recipe that calls for breadcrumbs on your site or do you have anymore? I’m going to give this one a try next week, thanks!

          3. I have lots! ๐Ÿ™‚ Quinoa patties, hamburgers, baked tilapia sticks, turkey nuggets, parmesan pork chops, and meatballs! Just go to my recipe index and you can find them all that way.

  5. I’m not sure what has happened but my bread is not turning out anymore! It’s not rising enough and I’m trying to figure out the problem.
    Do you keep your flour in the freezer?
    Do you keep your yeast in the freezer?
    How hot is your water you add?
    Do you microwave your water or is it warm tap water?
    Thank you so much!!
    P.S. I never get follow up comments even though I check the box ( I believe I did only once). Just wanted to let you know. May be something wrong on my end though :).

    1. Hey Christy! Thanks for letting me know about not getting follow ups. So frustrating! I will have to look into it. (Maybe have a family member test it out so I can confirm.) ๐Ÿ™‚ Hmmm…bread… I keep my flour in the pantry because we go through it ‘fairly’ quickly. Though, I’ve heard keeping it in the freezer is ideal. And I keep my yeast in the refrigerator. I microwave my water for exactly 20 seconds and then pour it in. You know, a while ago, I had the same issue with the bread…but eventually it stopped and all was okay again. I honestly think it has to do with the weather conditions sometimes! Bread is so finicky. I would make it the exact same every time, and once out of every so many loaves, it wouldn’t rise as much and be super dense. We’d still eat it, but it wasn’t ideal. However, thankfully, this hasn’t happened in a while. I didn’t make any changes…but it’s been turning out perfectly every single time! Maybe you have a bad batch of yeast? I have no idea, really… It was weird, but mine have all been great lately. Good luck! Hope they start turning out regular again soon! I know it’s such a pain when it doesn’t. ๐Ÿ™

  6. LeAnn, do you ever make more than one loaf and freeze them? We go through bread quickly and feel I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the demand. Also, the flour you used for the bread, you say, is whole wheat? My husband can only have 100% whole wheat bread which I feel is different than the flour you used. Are you able to elaborate on that a bit?

    1. Hey Melissa! No, I’ve never made more than one loaf at a time, unless I was trying to make extra for something special (like breakfast casseroles on Christmas morning). The bread IS freezable, but it may not taste quite as fresh coming out afterwards. However, if you freeze it, you can slice it first and then take out the pieces as you need them and toast them! I’ve done that before. When we eat a lot of bread, we can go through a whole loaf in two days…and sometimes it stretches out to 4 or 5, but I usually wait until we’ve run completely out until I bake another loaf. It seems that I have a pretty good routine down these days. ๐Ÿ™‚ And the flour I use IS 100% whole wheat. I know it’s confusing, but “White Whole Wheat” is just another variety of whole wheat. Even though the word ‘white’ is in the title, it is whole wheat! Promise! ๐Ÿ™‚ I am using King Arthur’s organic white whole wheat in this video, but before that I was using Kroger’s white whole wheat. I hope that helps!

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  8. Hi LeAnn!
    Thank you for sharing your recipes and providing inspiration! I can’t get my hands on white whole wheat flour where I live. Have you ever tried the recipe with regular whole wheat flour? Thanks.

    1. Hi Sophie! I have not personally tried it with regular whole wheat flour, but you absolutely can! It will probably make for a little bit denser loaf, so just be aware of that. Some people have a hard time adjusting to that (which is why I like white whole wheat), but if you need to, at least at the beginning, you could always do a mixture of whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour…and then slowly work your way up to 100% whole wheat. I hope that helps!

  9. Hi there! I read through the comments and didn’t see this answered, but forgive me if I missed it. I’m curious as to why you bake the bread in the oven instead of leaving it to bake in the bread machine. Is it less dense that way?

    1. Hi Jordanne! I *can* bake my bread in my machine, but I don’t like the tall shape that it produces. I would much rather bake a ‘traditionally shaped’ loaf of sandwich bread, so that’s why I take it out and bake it in the oven instead. I think the end result is the same, just different shapes.

  10. Any ideas how to make this gluten-free? My husband has Celiacs so a couple of your ingredients we’re unable
    to use. I know from reading your blog that you went gluten-free for some time and I was wondering if you adjusted this recipe to be able to consume or if you just eliminated it from your diet.

    1. Hi Nicole! Yes, I went gluten free for a while, but I didn’t eat my bread. I made it the same way for my kids and just didn’t eat any, myself. The only thing I can recommend is to try it with a gluten free flour mix and see how it turns out? Though…it could be a total flop. I have no idea! If you try, please report back with the results so I will know for future reference! Sorry I’m not much help!

  11. We are just beginning our quest to eating less processed foods. I would love to try your bread, but don’t currently own a bread maker. Is there a way to still make this?

    1. Hi Christy… Yes! I’ve had a few readers tell me they’ve made this recipe without a bread machine and it turned out great. And I actually have instructions from one of them! Give me a couple of days and I will get those on the blog post for those that want to try it without. I think the main difference is that she used regular yeast (not fast rise) and had to let it rise twice, but I will confirm that when I update the post.

  12. I found this recipe on Pinterest and bought a bag of vital wheat gluten just to make this. I wasn’t getting my hopes too high because I’ve made whole wheat bread in the past that turned out really dense. To my great relief, this bread turned out perfect. Just perfect! I’m so happy. It’s nice and moist and chewey. It’s tall enough for sandwiches too. Best part is that my toddler liked it. She’s kind of a food snob in that she prefers homemade stuff to store bought stuff…lol. Don’t know if I’ll be buying any more bread at the store! This was so easy. Thanks!

  13. Leann,
    Thanks so much for the recipe! My kids loved it! I also tried the whole wheat from the 100 Days of Real food site, but it wasn’t “fluffy” enough for my kids. I was wondering if you think this same recipe would work with whole grain spelt flour? I use it as a 1:1 substitution in other baked goods with success and was wondering if it would work the same way with this bread recipe. Love your blog! Thanks in advance!

    1. Hmmm…I’m not sure! Every flour is so different when it comes to baking, especially with regards to the ratio of liquid ingredients, etc. If you try, I would love to hear the results!! Good luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

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