Honey Wheat Sandwich Bread – 100% Whole Grain

Whole Grain Honey Wheat Sandwich Bread - Sliced

This 100% whole wheat loaf is my idea of the perfect homemade bread. The ingredient list is fairly short and calls for only a few kitchen staples in addition to the requisite whole wheat flour, salt, water, and yeast. Compared to white flour loaves, whole grain breads are also undoubtedly the healthier choice, but its more assertive flavor and denser nature understandably takes a bit of getting used to.

Based on the master formula in Peter Reinhart’s award-winning whole grain breads book, the recipe may seem intimdating at first. The process is spread out over two days, but after trying it a few times, you’ll find that the techniques and scheduling are far more forgiving than other traditional methods.

recipe adapted from Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads
Yeastspotting at Wild Yeast Blog

Honey Wheat Sandwich Bread – 100% Whole Grain

makes one 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch pan loaf

Whole Grain Honey Wheat Sandwich Bread

For the Biga (Pre-fermented Dough):

Ingredients                  Volume          Ounces          Grams
whole wheat flour             1 3/4 cups          8            227
instant yeast                   1/4 tsp
water, at room temperature      3/4 cup           6            170

Biga (Pre-fermented Dough) Instructions:

Mix the biga ingredients until a shaggy ball of dough is formed. Knead the biga for about 2 minutes or until the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Place the biga in a bowl and cover. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. Let the biga sit at room temperature for about 2 hours before using in the final dough.

For the Soaker:

Ingredients                  Volume          Ounces          Grams
whole wheat flour             1 3/4 cups          8            227
kosher salt                       1 tsp            .14           4
whole milk                      3/4 cup + 2 tbsp  7            198

Soaker Instructions:

Mix the soaker ingredients until evenly hydrated. Cover and leave at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.

Final Dough Formula:

Ingredients                  Volume          Ounces          Grams
all of the biga, cut into small pieces
all of the soaker, cut into small pieces
whole wheat flour                 7 tbsp          2             57
kosher salt                     1/2 tbsp           .18           5
instant yeast                 2 1/4 tsp            .25           7
honey                         2 1/4 tbsp          1.5           43
unsalted butter, melted           1 tbsp           .5           14

Final Dough Instructions:

Mix             Mix all of the ingredients until evenly incorporated

Knead           8 to 10 minutes

Rest            5 minutes

Knead           1 minute to further strengthen the gluten

Bulk Ferment    45 to 60 minutes at room temperature in a lightly
                oiled bowl, or until 1 1/2 times its size

Shape           loaf pan shape, in a greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pan

Preheat Oven    425ºF/218ºC

Final Proof     45 to 60 minutes at room temperature, or until
                1 1/2 times its size

Whole Grain Honey Wheat Sandwich Bread - Proofed
Proofed whole grain honey wheat sandwich dough.

Bake            Lower the temperature immediately to 350ºF/177ºC.
                Bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the loaf if necessary
                and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the
                loaf registers 195ºF/91ºC in the center.

Cool            At least 1 hour

Whole Grain Honey Wheat Sandwich Bread - Crust
Whole grain honey wheat sandwich bread crust.

Whole Grain Honey Wheat Sandwich Bread - Crumb
Whole grain honey wheat sandwich bread crumb.

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48 Responses to “Honey Wheat Sandwich Bread – 100% Whole Grain”

  1. Rosa says:

    What beautiful loaves! Perfect for making gourmet sandwiches!



  2. W says:

    Hi Jude,
    This is related to whole wheat baking but more to do with another post of yours on Peter Reinhart’s whole wheat Anadama bread. I hope you dont mind my posting it here.

    Inspired by your lovely photo, I followed your adapted recipe but ended up with a totally dense and inedible brick that tasted totally yeasty…

    If you don’t specify otherwise, does ‘whole wheat flour’ refer to ordinary whole wheat flour as opposed to STRONG whole wheat flour? I had used ordinary whole wheat in my (pathetic) attempt.

    Any idea what happened to my poor loaf? It was looking all right until it went into the oven. I noticed that i didnt get much of a rise in the second proofing. Should it have risen above the top of the bread tin? Mine didnt but i went ahead anyway because it did nonetheless fill up the sides of the tin. It collapsed to half of its height in the oven and had that nasty yeasty taste.

    Also, by molasses you meant liquid molasses right? I read somewhere that sugar has an effect on yeast. hmm…

    I’m also wondering if it has something to do with my oven. I used a conventional top & bottom heating oven setting – i am currently in between ovens and don’t have a fan-assisted setting. I noticed that the top was very cooked and hard. Could the fact that the top baked too fast have impeded the baking of the insides?? what setting do folks use for baking bread anyway, by the way??? I’m talking amateur, non-professional baking of course: top-bottom or fan-assisted???

    SO many questions! sorry! But i don’t want to give up on whole wheat breads and you seem like a good person to ask, having pulled off many beautiful loaves. If you clarify only those questions related to the recipe you posted, i would be grateful already.

    THANKS! and happy baking!

  3. arundathi says:

    Beautiful! I’ve never worked with a starter and biga before – this bread truly inspires me to try!

  4. snookydoodle says:

    this looks great and its healtier too.

  5. Haley W. says:

    This looks perfect! I have been wanting to start baking my own sandwich bread, and this is exactly like what we prefer. I can’t wait to give it a try.

  6. Ning says:

    I love your loaf pans! Sorry, that was the first thing I noticed! Aside from the beautiful pics, of course! :)

  7. Susan/Wild Yeast says:

    I usually like a scored loaf but I have to say that smooth and perfectly rounded crust is calling my name. Awesome as usual.

  8. Caitlin says:

    That looks incredibly light for a 100% whole grain bread – not dense at all. Love the color of it too.

  9. MyKitchenInHalfCups says:

    This is one that’s been on my must bake list ever since I got his book.
    Why are there so many gorgeous breads I want to bake?

    I really love whole wheat and this looks grand!

  10. Claire says:

    Lovely loaves! I absolutely love this recipe. It has become a weekly staple for me. You should try Reinhart’s variations on this one. The Oat Bran Broom Bread (I know it sounds ominously fiber-rich) is delicious too.

  11. lalaine says:

    I can only imagine the satisfaction that comes from baking your own sandwich bread…!

  12. Natashya says:

    Beautiful bread! Your loaves look perfect. Gotta love P.R.! I just got this book for the collection.

  13. Audax Artifex says:

    Great photos they looked perfection, I saw them on tastespotting.com Fab recipe I will try. Yours Audax

  14. Baking Soda says:

    Jude! I’m smitten, what a lovely loaves of bread! Want to bake some right now! As a matter of fact I think I will!

  15. Y says:

    Whoa.. a pumpkinless post.. have you, dare I say it.. run out of pumpkins?? ;)

    Awesome bread, Jude.. you are bread baker extraordinaire, in my books!

  16. grace says:

    how do you come out with perfect loaf after perfect loaf after perfect loaf? amazing. :)

  17. Lori says:

    This looks great. Seems to have a really nice crumb. I am always on the look out ofr good whole wheat bread recipes. This one sounds like a keeper.

  18. Adam says:

    Honey wheat is one of the best combos of food out there. I love the pretzels, twists, and bread… its delicious :)

    When were you living off of bricks and skim milk? Totally puzzled at that…

  19. maryann says:

    This looks like a wonderful recipe! Thanks so much :)

  20. Kevin says:

    That bread looks good. I am imagining some nice sandwiches made with it.

  21. redmenace says:

    Thank you! I’ve just started making my own bread and this will come in handy!

  22. W – Did you use whole wheat pastry flour by any chance? I used high-protein whole wheat flour made of hard red wheat from King Arthur Flour. Try this whole wheat recipe and see how it works out for you.

    Ning – I am a pyrex whore.

    Susan – I was going to cross hatch but it seemed so.. fragile.

    Claire – Your post inspired me to try it :) Can’t believe I skipped over the MASTER formula in the book after all these bakes. Oat Bran Broom is on the “queue.”

    Y – Taking a breather from pumpkins for a bit. Although there are a few coming up.

    Adam – It seemed like a good idea a long while ago… Now I know better.

  23. Miri says:

    That is one beautiful loaf of bread! Perfect crust and lovely texture from what I can see.

  24. Sunshinemom says:

    I love the look of this healthy brown loaf! Bookmarked:)

  25. Miri says:

    Jude, these loaves look amazing! I adore whole wheat breads – one of the few healthier foods that I actually prefer over less healthy versions :)

  26. YeastSpotting October 24, 2008 | Wild Yeast says:

    [...] Honey Wheat Sandwich Bread – 100% Whole Grain ~ Apple Pie, Patis, and Pâté [...]

  27. Rachel says:

    I tried your recipe this weekend, and it turned out fantastic! Very dense but super-soft and moist, lovely color to the crust…the in-laws loved it. Thank you!

  28. Katerina says:

    This looks really good, I have yet to try any of Peter Reinhart’s recipes but it is worth it for a good loaf of whole wheat isn’t it?

  29. Brianna says:

    This bread tastes as amazing as it looks! I was a little intimidated trying a whole wheat bread because they always seem to turn out really dense, but this is perfect sandwich bread. Great recipe and easy to follow. Thanks!

  30. Nervous Chef » Blog Archive » Spoiled says:

    [...] LCBO) so I needed to try a recipe first before I took the plunge. I found an adapted recipe of the 100% whole grain loaf. This is the recipe Reinhart wishes you start off with as it gets you familiar with the [...]

  31. Asli says:

    I made this bread following your directions, but it was way too wet a dough to knead. Instead, I stirred vigorously, and left the dough on the counter. Well, life intruded, and the dough sat there for 5-6 hours, and resembled soup. Since I couldn’t shape the dough, I used the Bittman no-knead baking method (covered Dutch oven in a very hot oven) and poured the dough in. The bread turned out FANTASTIC!! Nice rise, crusty on the outside, soft on the inside, delicious! Amazing!

  32. Grocery Spending Challenge — Day 3 « Merlot Mudpies says:

    [...] addition, I’m smelling a loaf of Honey Whole Wheat bread bake as I type this.  It’s a new recipe and if it tastes as good as it smells, [...]

  33. Aw, Nuts! (and Honey Whole Wheat) « Merlot Mudpies says:

    [...] And now for the new bread recipe I tried, Honey Whole Wheat: [...]

  34. Alexis says:

    Thanks for the recipe! My bread turned out fantastic. When kneading the dough, I was a little worried because it stayed fairly sticky, but it rose beautifully and had pretty amazing oven spring. I used King Arthur white whole wheat flour.

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  37. Susan says:

    I have made this twice. Both times I have followed the directions exactly and both times the bread falls within two minutes of being in the oven.

  38. Wheat Grinder says:

    It is very interesting to learn how prepare the perfect homemade bread. The recipe and process seems so simple and easy to follow. There is real honey in your “Honey Wheat Sandwich Bread.” Thanks for the information.

  39. Oat Roller says:

    The recipe you have made to create an actual wheat sandwich pretty impressive. And the extra honey you have added for the flavor seems really yummy.

    Oat Roller

  40. trap says:

    i think that 7tbsp of wheat flour is not 56grams…

  41. 100 whole wheat bread recipe says:

    [...] Honey Wheat Sandwich Bread Recipe – 100% Whole Grain | Apple Pie … Oct 20, 2008 … Honey Wheat Sandwich Bread Recipe – 100% Whole Grain -This 100% whole wheat loaf is my idea of the … [...]

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  47. Holly says:

    Has anyone else noticed the difference in water measurement in the biga. 6 oz. 170 grams, and 3/4 cup are all different amounts of water, which works best?

    I have made this recipe 3 times, each time getting a nice loaf, however it does taste a little bitter, is that because of 100% whole wheat?

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