Whole Wheat Bread

*Update (3/2014): In 2010, I added a 3rd whole wheat bread recipe (Darcy’s recipe) and since then, over the last 4 years, it’s pretty much the only one that I make. The other two recipes are delightful, but if you are wanting to know which one I use weekly to make my family’s bread, it is Darcy’s recipe.

For the last several years, I’ve been making all of our family’s bread. It seemed like a daunting task at first but now it is such a part of my routine that it barely makes an impact in my day (and the bread is done start-to-finish in about 2 hours or so). I make a bread every week or so and freeze it after it has cooled. I’ve found that slicing the bread before I put it in a freezer bag makes my life much easier because I can take out a slice at a time and avoid the dry, crumbly, homemade bread phenomenon that my kids despise when I am making their sandwiches. I simply pull out a slice or two of bread and microwave it for 25 seconds at 50% power. Woila! Tender, fresh bread ready for sandwich making (or for a nice slather of butter and jam).

I know that many of you have your own favorite whole wheat bread recipe. There are so many good ones out there. I’d like to share with you my favorites. I alternate making these and love them both equally. Both recipes produce a light but sturdy loaf, perfect for sandwiches or just for eating with dinner. And don’t even get me started on homemade bread for toast in the mornings. Oh, divine. The first recipe is one perfected by my friend, Mel’s, mom. Her bread has quite a legacy and lives up to it’s fame. I’ve adapted the recipe slightly to fit what I normally have on hand (as in, I never have dough enhancer so substituted gluten and powdered milk). It is a bit lighter in texture than the second recipe, due to a couple cups of white flour. The second recipe is one I’ve had for years and mimics the recipe from the notorious Bosch bread mixer. It has less oil than the first recipe and a few other different ingredients (like honey instead of sugar).

Here are a couple tips I’ve found to help with breadmaking:

  • I follow Bosch’s recommendations and use instant yeast. Because of this, I only ever let my bread rise after shaping the dough into loaves and placing them in the pans. They rise once in the pans and then I put them in a cold oven, turn it on to 350 degrees and bake for 32 minutes exactly. It turns out beautiful, not burned, loaves. (Update 03/14: I’m learning that each oven is different; after moving into a house with a different brand/style of oven, the cold oven method doesn’t work as well for me anymore because the oven “rapid preheats” and is an option I can’t turn off. Most recently, I let the bread rise high above the pans and then put it in a preheated oven for about 25 minutes. The moral of the story is to do what works best with your particular oven.)
  • I have a specific loaf pan that I absolutely swear by: The Chicago Metallic Commercial Bread Pan. I’ve done side-by-side baking comparisons with my other non-stick loaf pans, dark loaf pans, glass loaf pans, and hands down, every time the Chicago Metallic pans turn out a perfect loaf. The edges don’t get burned, the bread slides out perfectly without leaving crusty remnants, and they are heavy and durable. Love them. I use the standard 1-pound loaf pan (which is the equivalent to the 9X5-inch loaf pan).
  • As long as we are talking brands, let me tell you another product I love for breadmaking: these perfect bread bags. I was sick and tired of trying to stuff my loaves in ziploc bags or other ill-fitting plastic bags. These bags are perfect. I freeze the bread right in them and they are the perfect size. (Incidentally, I also order my vital wheat gluten from King Arthur Flour.)
  • I personally like to use white whole wheat flour. I prefer the light texture over red whole wheat but either kind will work in these recipes. I used to grind my flour with a Nutrimill wheat grinder, but now have a Wolfgang Flour Mill. Here is a post on popular wheat grinders and another on wheat/wheat grinding in general for more information.

Granted, bread making can be time consuming but the rewards are worth it when my son heartily exclaims that he doesn’t want to eat the French Toast Sticks at school and would rather have a sandwich on mom’s bread (and this is the kid who hates sandwiches). Hallelujah for the exit of French Toast Sticks in his diet.

One Year Ago: Toasted Orzo with Peas and Parmesan
Two Years Ago: Asian Chicken Salad

Darcy's Whole Wheat Bread {The Recipe I Use Most}

Yield: 5-6 loaves of bread

Darcy's Whole Wheat Bread {The Recipe I Use Most}

As with all yeast doughs, I never use the flour amount called for in the recipe as a hard fast rule (unless a weight measure is given and then I pull out my kitchen scale). Because humidity, temperature, altitude and a multitude of other factors can impact how much flour you need in your yeast doughs, I always judge when to quit adding flour by the texture and look and feel of the dough rather than how much flour I've added compared to the recipe. This tutorial on yeast may help identify how a perfectly floured dough should be. Also, here's a later post I added with step-by-step instructions and pictures (and even a video at the end on shaping the dough into loaves) to get the perfect whole wheat bread.

Ingredients

  • 15-17 cups wheat flour (about 80 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1000 mg Vitamin C, crushed, or 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar
  • 6 1/2 cups very warm water
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 2/3 cup honey or sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt

Directions

  1. In a large bowl (or stand mixer, like the almighty Bosch), mix together 5 cups of wheat flour, yeast, vital wheat gluten and Vitamin C (or lemon juice or vinegar). Add the warm water and mix well. Add the oil and honey (or sugar) and mix again.
  2. Cover the bowl and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. Add the salt and start the mixer (or mix by hand), adding the remaining flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl to form a soft dough. You may not need to add all of the flour! Judge the dough by feel not by the amount of flour you've used. It might be slightly sticky but should hold it's shape.
  3. Let the dough knead for 7 minutes in the stand mixer (or 15 minutes by hand). Form into 5 loaves (for the 8 1/2 X 4-inch loaf pans) and place into greased bread pans. Let rise until the bread is 2 inches above the top of the bread pan.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes (I like to let the bread rise 1 inch above the top of the pans and then put the bread in a cold oven and turn the oven on to 350 degrees and bake the bread for 32 minutes).
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/delicious-whole-wheat-bread-two-recipes/

LuAnn’s Whole Wheat Bread (with my adaptations)
*Note: as with all yeast doughs, I never use the flour amount called for in the recipe as a hard fast rule (unless a weight measure is given and then I pull out my kitchen scale). Because humidity, temperature, altitude and a multitude of other factors can impact how much flour you need in your yeast doughs, I always judge when to quit adding flour by the texture and look and feel of the dough rather than how much flour I’ve added compared to the recipe. This tutorial on yeast may help identify how a perfectly floured dough should be.

*Makes 4 loaves

5 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 tablespoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
2 cups white flour
8-10 cups whole wheat flour

Lightly spray bread pans with cooking spray and set aside. Mix the water, sugar, oil, yeast, salt, gluten and dry milk together in the bowl of an electric mixer or by hand. Add the white flour and mix well. Continue adding the whole wheat flour until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl and the dough is soft but not overly sticky. Knead for 10 minutes until a soft, smooth dough has formed. Using oil or cooking spray to grease your hands and countertops, form the dough into 4 loaves. Place the loaves into the bread pans and cover with lightly greased plastic wrap. Let them rise until the dough has risen about 1 1/2 inches above the top of the bread pan. Place the bread pans carefully in a cold oven. Turn the oven on to 350 degrees and bake for 38 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn out the bread onto a wire rack. Let cool completely before placing in bags to put in the freezer.

Recipe Source: Mel B.’s mom

Bosch Foolproof Whole Wheat Bread
*Note: as with all yeast doughs, I never use the flour amount called for in the recipe as a hard fast rule (unless a weight measure is given and then I pull out my kitchen scale). Because humidity, temperature, altitude and a multitude of other factors can impact how much flour you need in your yeast doughs, I always judge when to quit adding flour by the texture and look and feel of the dough rather than how much flour I’ve added compared to the recipe. This tutorial on yeast may help identify how a perfectly floured dough should be.

*Makes 6 loaves

6 cups warm water
2 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons salt
1/2 cup oil
2/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
12-15 cups whole wheat flour

Mix 8-9 cups fresh wheat flour and 2 ½ tablespoons yeast together in the bowl of an electric mixer (or in a large bowl by hand). Add 6 cups warm water and mix to paste consistency. Cover and let sponge 10-15 minutes. Add salt, honey, oil, and gluten. Mix by hand or if using an electric mixer, turn to speed 1 or 2 as motor bears down and add additional flour until dough pulls away from sides of bowl (be careful not to add too much flour). Let the mixer knead the dough for five minutes. (If using hands, knead for 10 minutes.) Use oil or cooking spray on your hands to form six equal loaves. Take dough immediately from bowl and fill lightly greased (or nonstick) loaf pans ½ to 2/3 full. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap to keep moist. Let the bread rise until doubled, approximately 1 ½ inches above the top of the pan. Place the bread carefully in a cold oven. Turn the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 38 minutes. Let cool completely before placing in bags to put in the freezer.
Recipe Source: Bosch Universal

230 Responses to The Best Whole Wheat Bread

  1. Danielle says:

    I have been looking for some good loaf pans. Even better is they are buy three get one free on Amazon right now! Thanks!

  2. Liz K. says:

    I am still in the stage where I bake a loaf here and there. I would love to bake all of our bread. I know I will love both of these recipes. I have needed some good loaf pans so I ordered the ones you like on Amazon. I know I can’t go wrong when you recommend something.

  3. Jenn says:

    Mel, you are inspiring me to make all of our bread again. I fell off that wagon when I returned to the work force a few years ago and I miss home made bread so much!

    Which size bread pan do you have? I see there is a 1 pound and a 1 1/2 pound size.

  4. Rebecca says:

    Thank you so much for this post!! I have been wanting to make my own bread for a long time. It just seemed like such a daunting task. I am going to get some of those pans asap. Thanks again!

  5. Amanda says:

    I have been searching for a great whole wheat recipe forever! Thank you! Absolutely love your site!

  6. Steph says:

    I just started making all of our bread about a month ago… I’m never turning back! Something that I do after the loaves have cooled is get out my electric knife and slice them all up. I love that it allows me to control the width of the slices better and they’re perfect for sandwiches!
    I love the recipe that I use but will definitely try yours!

  7. Looks great Melanie! I have been making whole wheat bread for my family for many years now, but have just recently heard about a new trick. I use 5 HEAPING tablespoons of Vital Wheat Gluten, instead of the usual 2 T my recipe calls for. Sounds like over kill, doesn’t it! It makes the bread absolutely heavenly. And, it really helps the bread stay fresh for days afterwords. It’s made a real difference.
    Your new site looks wonderful as well. Great job, thanks for all of the great recipes!

  8. Mel says:

    Jenn – I use the 1 pound size but I’m sure either would be fine, just depends on how big you like your loaves to turn out!

  9. Janine says:

    Hello, longtime lurker, new commenter, love your website and your recipes. I was heading out to buy a nutrimill tomorrow to start grinding my own flour as well, but saw your post, and was wondering about the other grinder you mentioned, the Wolfgang one? I haven’t heard of this one, and was quite taken with the Nutrimill. Can you possibly tell me some of the pros and cons of it, and why you like the other one? I value your insight, as you seem to be on the same path as myself in the cooking department, although I think you are perhaps a mile or two ahead of me on the path!! Thanks so much!

  10. Laura says:

    Congrats on the move!!!

  11. Sara says:

    Love the new look! And I love these loaves! Mmmm, bread and carbs. 🙂

  12. Cindy Thomas says:

    Hi. I really enjoy your blog and all your wonderful recipes!

    I purchase the vital wheat gluten by the bulk (6 or 8 cans) from a vendor in Mesa AZ. (I bake 4 to 5 loaves weekly.) Troy will mail for $5 a case and he’s at http://www.preparingwiselyonline.com.

    Your Bosch recipe is very similar to mine. I use only 1/4 cup oil (canola or grapesee) and 1/4 cup honey. I also increase the yeast and salt to 3 TBSP each. Also, I use 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten. I’ve never had an issue with “crumbly” bread… 2 TBSP sounds like not enough, but I think I will start lowering my 1/2 cup because that seems kinda’ high. I also purchased the William Sonoma bread pans that are coated. I think they were more expensive; but they are lifetime and that’s worth it to me. Happy Spring Break!

  13. Wow! You’ve hit the big time now Mel! I love it…..

  14. Kaitlyn says:

    Melanie,
    What do you use to grease the Chicago Metallic pans? Or, how do you get the bread out without sticking if you don’t use anything to grease them with? Thanks!

  15. Mel says:

    Janine – I don’t own the Wolfgang Flour Mill (otherwise known as KoMo Fidibus Classic) but I’ve read some great reviews and seen some other bloggers who have it and swear by it. So it is on my wish list and I need to save my pennies for it (it’s a bit more expensive than the Nutrimill). The main advantages I’ve seen of the Wolfgang mill over the Nutrimill that makes me very interested in it is that you can keep the Wolfgang mill on your counter (it is enclosed in a wood box) and it does not get a speck of flour or grain anywhere. You can grind a tablespoon of wheat at a time and not have a mess to clean up. Not only that, but it is self-cleaning and you don’t have to take it apart to clean it out. It is also much quieter than the Nutrimill. I’ve been leaning toward it because I could grind the flour I need RIGHT then, as needed, which keeps the nutrition levels higher in your wheat flour and also means I don’t have to pull out the Nutrimill everytime I want to grind (which necessitates grinding it outside or in my garage and cleaning everything up). I’ve found that the Nutrimill is quite messy. It gets flour everywhere. It’s not bad at all if I grind it outside but that’s hard in the winter and because of the mess and loud noise, I can’t grind whenever I want or as needed. I grind in bulk and then freeze a lot of the wheat flour.

    Now, I must say that although the Wolfgang flour mill has merits, the Nutrimill is also an amazing mill. I’ve used it for 7 years and although I have a few gripes with it (like the noise and the mess), it is one of the top-ranked flour mills and really lives up to it’s name. I’ve never had a part break on it and have only ever replaced the filters (which are about .25 each). I’ll use it for a while still and really, really like it, but I have my eyes set on the Wolfgang mill, still. I just wanted to reassure you that the Nutrimill is still a great purchase, in my opinion, but if you are interested in any of the issues I have with it, it might be worth checking out the Wolfgang mill. Let me know what you decide!

  16. Mel says:

    Kaitlyn – I lightly coat my Chicago Metallic bread pans with cooking spray. The ones I linked to in my email are not non-stick so a little grease helps the bread come out. Just a light coating. Hope that helps!

  17. Mandy says:

    Mel,

    I just wanted to let you know that I LOVE LOVE LOVE your website! I love the new layout and I try almost all of your recipes (once I am settled again I will be trying this yummy wheat bread). Just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate the extra effort you put into explaining your dishes and the easy and yummy dinner ideas that you post. My husband thanks you too, he is a big fan of meatballs now! Thank you again for your awesome website!

  18. Yay you got a new look and an address! Congrats! This bread looks really good! I just went and got some whole wheat flour so I’m excited to make this bread. Thanks!

  19. Veronica M. says:

    I’ll have to try these both! I love making bread at home–well, I love eating it but am a bit impatient with the baking process–but haven’t done it in a few months. Thanks for sharing your favorite w/w bread recipes!

  20. grace says:

    soft and fluffy and ultra-nutritious! i’m proud to say that i haven’t bought a loaf of bread for over a year. that said, i still find your bullet points very useful–i’ll be looking into those bread bags!

  21. Amy Wein says:

    Mel… Why do you grind your own flour??

  22. Emily says:

    Melanie, I LOVE your recipes and am now intrigued to try my hand at making bread. I’ve never done it before, but you’ve never led me astray. I did have a couple questions, though. With these recipes making so many loaves, will a Kitchenaid mixer be able to handle the dough, or would I need to halve the recipe?
    Also, can I find vital wheat gluten anywhere other than online?
    And finally (sorry so many questions!), can i buy white whole wheat flour, or is that something I’d have to grind myself?
    I love your stuff. Thanks for all the time and fabulousness!

  23. Mel says:

    Amy – I grind my own flour because a) I was lucky enough to get a wheat grinder about seven years ago for Christmas b) I have a lot of stored wheat in my basement and c) because as I did more research about grinding wheat I learned that the faster it is used after it is ground means it has more nutritional value – wheat loses health benefits after it is ground. By grinding it myself, I can use it immediately and get the most nutrition out of it.

  24. Mel says:

    Emily – thanks for your comment! I’ve never used a kitchenaid for making bread but I’ve had friends that do it all the time, however, I know that different Kitchenaids have different size motors and the larger the motor the better capacity to knead the bread (I have had a few other friends burn out their motors). To play it safe, I’d definitely halve the recipe or make it by hand.

    And yes, you can usually find vital wheat gluten at any major grocery store (and sometimes even at Walmart). It is usually by the flour. When I’ve run out and don’t have time to buy it online before I want to use it, I’ll get it at the store, but where I live, sometimes I have to go a couple places before I find it.

    About the flour, you can definitely buy whole wheat flour. I know many people do, since it isn’t feasible for everyone to grind their own wheat. Every grocery store I have been in has the whole wheat flour by the regular flour. I’ve heard great reviews about Bob’s Red Mill brand as well as Montana Wheat, if they have it. Good luck!

  25. Kira says:

    I can’t wait to try this! A quick question though, I noticed in one of your bread recipes that kneading by hand vs. mixer the time was different. Is that always the case with kneading? I wonder if that is why my rolls were not as beautiful as yours when I made them. How does kneading the wrong amount of time affect the dough?

  26. Katie says:

    Couple ?’s!
    1) I just got the Bosch Universal mixer. So when making bread are you just using the one bowl (mixing up 1st ingredients with the dough hook?) then adding the flour? Or do you mix 1st ingredients in one bowl with a spoon or hand electric mixer and then add the ingredients in your bosch with dough hook?

    2) Also, do you find with your bosch mixer if you do not have much in the bowl it does NOT knead or mix? I halfed a bread recipe for BBQ chicken bread braid and it just spun the dough in the bowl….
    Also, when I tried to make your blueberry muffins (delicious by the way) to cream the cup of sugar and butter it was not even combining them – I had my cookie paddles on it at the time……just wondering if I have a faulty machine?

    Any thoughts would be great! Thanks so much for your blog – love it!

  27. Coreen says:

    I also recieved the Nutrimill and a Bosch several years ago for my birthday and used to make all our bread, but I had a couple of babies and got out of the habit. I wanted to thank you for inspiring me to get back to it, I’m excited to try these recipes. One question though, if I do have dough enhancer on hand and wanted to use it, what would the substitution be?

  28. Lindsay says:

    Yay! Milk and corn free bread that won’t taste like Bark! My fiancee is allergic to corn and milk and the 2nd recipe has neither! MWAHAHA!

  29. Sara says:

    I just started making bread and look forward to trying your recipes. I’ve loved everything I’ve tried of yours.
    I just thought I’d let the person know who is interested in buying a Nutrimill know that the new one is self-cleaning, and it has never gotten a speck of flour in my house when I grind. I don’t know what loud is in terms of a wheat grinder, but I don’t think it’s very loud. I’m pretty sure you can grind as little as you like, too. I’ve absolutely loved it! It is a little too big to keep on the counter, though.
    I also thought I’d tell you a tip a neighbor gave me. Maybe there’s a reason you don’t do this, but it saves a lot of time and my bread turns out great. Once your dough is in the pans, preheat your oven to 225 for one minute and turn it off. Put the loaves in the over and let them raise. They raise in my oven in about 20 minutes. The lady who told me this said hers raise in 10-15. Then turn the oven on to 350 and cook 30 minutes total.
    Thanks for all your tips and wonderful recipes!

  30. Mel says:

    Hi Kira – kneading does differ based on doing it by hand or with a mixer. Kneading by hand requires more time to develop the gluten in the bread, especially if you are making a whole wheat dough. Not kneading long enough (either by hand or mixer) can make your bread/rolls hard and dense. Hope that helps!

  31. Mel says:

    Katie – I’m so happy for you that you have a Bosch. I love mine (which is already pretty clear since I talk about it all the time). Anyway, I just use the Bosch bowl to mix up my bread – I don’t combine any ingredients in another bowl unless a recipe specifically calls for it, and even then, I usually throw everything together when making bread.

    As for your second question, as unbelievable as the Bosch is for making bread, it doesn’t tackle small projects very well so I almost always use my hand mixer for making muffins, cakes or when I have to cream a small amount of butter because mine does exactly what yours does. I use my Bosch almost exclusively for breads, cookies and large batches of frostings.

    Let me know if you have any other questions!

  32. Mel says:

    Coreen – if you have dough enhancer, use three tablespoons for this recipe. Have fun making bread!

  33. Mel says:

    Sara – thanks for your tips. I definitely don’t have that version of a Nutrimill because as wonderful as mine is, it is not self-cleaning and it makes a huge mess. I’m so glad you love yours!

  34. Bridgette says:

    Of course he would prefer home made bread.;-)
    It’s healthier anyway.
    Barbados has a great sweet bread that Barbadians enjoy at Christmastime.
    It’s fairly easy to make.
    http://www.xomba.com/bajan_sweet_bread_christmas_barbados_style

  35. Danielle says:

    I have to say I figured a bread pan was a bread pan. But since I needed some new loaf pans anyway, and you have NEVER steered me wrong, I ordered the pans you recommended in this post. WOW! My bread has never looked so good! The bread came out beautifully and they cleaned up like a dream. Once again I find my self saying, “Thanks, Melanie!”

  36. angie says:

    this is probably a dumb question… but how do you slice your bread?? i love making homemade bread, but am never able to get thin “sandwich bread” slices. any tips or suggestions on this?

  37. Mel says:

    angie – no dumb questions here, I promise. I just use an every day serrated knife to cut my bread but my sister-in-law uses her electric knife and cuts perfect slices. I am going to try that next time – slicing all the bread with the electric knife and then freezing it. Other than that, I’m afraid I don’t have any other tips – my slices are usually pretty irregular!

  38. Veronica M. says:

    I also prefer using an electric knife on homemade bread–you can get slices much thinner and more uniform.

  39. Sally says:

    Where can you get vital wheat gluten? Do they sell it at the store or health food stores? Thanks.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Sally – I can usualy find it at most grocery stores by the flour but I’ve noticed that there are a few that don’t carry it. Health food stores normally carry it or I like to buy mine online (at kingarthurflour.com).

  40. Sally says:

    Sorry, another question. Can you do this in a KitchenAid stand mixer?

    • Mel says:

      Sally – I only have experience using a Bosch mixer to make bread. I have friends that use Kitchenaid mixers, although I don’t know what size the motor is they are using. I know a Kitchenaid can overheat pretty easily so take it slowly, and I think it will be ok! If anything, you could mix the ingredients in the kitchenaid and take them out to knead it by hand.

  41. Lisa says:

    You mentioned that you adapted the 1st recipe and use gluten and powdered milk, since you don’t have the dough enhancer on hand. I never have powdered milk on hand, but I do have dough enhancer and vital wheat gluten. 🙂 So would I do 4 Tbs. of dough enhancer to equal the 2 Tbs. of gluten and the 2 Tbs. of powdered milk?

    Thanks so much!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Lisa – the 2 tablespoons of gluten was my own addition to the recipe so if you have dough enhancer, substitute 2 tablespoons of it for the powdered milk. Hope that helps!

  42. emily says:

    where do you buy wheat gluten? OK, does it matter that I have a kitchenaid and not a bosch? I think with a bosch you can make more bread but with a kitchenaid you can’t. do you know? thx!

    • Mel says:

      emily – I buy wheat gluten at my grocery store. It is usually by the flour (but I can’t find it at Walmart – just my everyday grocery store). I also buy it online at kingarthurflour.com when I am planning ahead. I don’t know much about making bread in a Kitchenaid. I’m guessing it will still work if you cut the recipe down but I don’t want you to burn out your motor so it may be best to check with the manufacturer.

  43. Marian says:

    Mel, I was so excited to try your wheat bread. I started putting ingredients in my Bosch and realized that I have normal yeast, not instant yeast. I tried to use my normal yeast by adding an extra rise, but it was quite a mess in the end. Do you think I could use normal yeast doing your recipes exactly as above? I have a Costco pack of normal yeast and really don’t want to go buy instant yeast.

    • Mel says:

      Marian – is it active dry yeast that you are referring to? If that is the case and you want to use it in this recipe, add an additional 1/2 tablespoon yeast to the recipe and proof all of the yeast in the warm water before adding the other ingredients. Let the yeast foam and bubble – then you’ll know it is ‘active’ and you can proceed with the recipe (oh, also if you use active dry yeast, the bread will probably taste better if you give it a first rise in a large bowl). Hope that helps!

  44. Beth says:

    I love Lu Ann’s recipe for Whole Wheat bread! I have made 2-3 loaves every Sunday after church for over a month now and am hooked. My kids are eating it a lot, and I’m constantly looking for an excuse to have it toasted. I also love giving it to others as a thank-you for something as the loaves always turn out so pretty. I have found that adding 2 Tbs of fresh lemon juice in the first step with all the other indredients gives an even better rise (this was recommended on the back of a whole wheat flour bag). I am a working mother right now, and with this recipe I can still fit in making bread for my family. LOVE IT! Thanks so much for sharing this gem.

    • Mel says:

      Beth – thank you! I’m thrilled to know that this whole wheat bread recipe has been a great thing for your family. I agree – it is the best toasted! I’ve heard actually that adding a bit of vitamin c helps with the rise. Sometimes I’ll throw in a crushed vitamin c tablet. Thanks for letting me know!

  45. Chavah says:

    Hi, just made the Bosch w.w bread tonight. It was awesome. I did have one question, though. I’m new to making bread, and I’m kinda naieve, so, how do you fit 6 loaves in the oven all at once? And if you only do half, how does the other half not get over-proofed while waiting?
    Just want to make sure I’m doing this right….it was actually my first time making loaf bread.

    • Mel says:

      Chavah – I do bake all six loaves at once. I put three in the back and three in the front – one of the front side ones I have to angle a little bit to fit in there but they are all crammed in there together. I notice that the back loaves get a little more browned and if I was on top of things, I would probably rotate them all halfway through baking but I don’t want the bread to fall so it is what it is. I agree, if there are half left out, I think they would over-rise so I bake them all at once. Hope that helps!

  46. Karen says:

    Hi Mel, When you put your dough in the cold oven, then turn the oven on to bake, does it matter if you have a gas or electric oven? I love your recipe and have been using it for a month now, it’s my husband favorite.

    • Mel says:

      Karen – that’s a good question and the answer is I don’t know. I’ve never baked with a gas oven so I don’t know how it heats up differently. Do you have an electric or gas oven? And has this recipe worked out ok for you?

  47. Karen says:

    Mel, I have a gas oven. So far I’ve been preheating the oven, then putting the pans in. Next baking day, I am going to try your way. I will let you know how it works. Thanks again. Oh, by the way, regarding WI winters, I found out that for me, by getting out in the winter (snowshoes are my new passion) I actually enjoy winter 🙂

  48. Kathy Kellar says:

    Add some applesauce to whole wheat bread recipe…..I have been doing this for years and makes the bread taste better!

  49. Vlad says:

    how do you glase bread before the oven?

  50. Kira says:

    I am going to attempt LuAnn’s ww bread this afternoon and wondered if I understood all the comments previously entered. So if I use active dry yeast, I should increase amount by 1/2 TBSP, proof it first, then follow the recipe. Then do I put in a large bowl to let rise until double in volume, punch down and then proceed to shaping the loaves and let rise again??? Or just one rise in the pans???

    • Mel says:

      Kira – did you make this already? Sorry for the delay in answering your comment. If you use active dry yeast, yes, increase the amount by 1/2 tablespoon, proof it in warm water and a bit of sugar first and then follow the recipe. You’ll want to let the dough rise once in a large bowl, punch down, shape into loaves and then let them rise in the pan (with instant yeast you can sometimes skip that first rise but you don’t want to skip it if you use active dry yeast). Hope that helps!

  51. Kira says:

    No I did not make it yet, didn’t want to waste/ruin four loaves of bread. Thanks! I will be making it tomorrow, hopefully! I did make the parker house rolls again -so good!

  52. Ciara says:

    Hi Mel. I’ve been diving into bread/roll making here recently. I’m wondering how necessary the vital wheat gluten is. Is it more of a flavor thing and I could leave it out, since I don’t have it on hand? Or, is it more of a vital component to the bread turning out well? I’d hate to ruin my first atempt. Thanks for your help, and as always, sharing your great recipes!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Ciara – the gluten basically helps the dough to remain elastic and tender. It definitely isn’t necessary but if you choose not to use it, you’ll probably want to increase the kneading time by 10-15 minutes by hand or 5 minutes by mixer. The kneading is what develops the gluten in the bread. Let me know if you have any other questions. Good luck – I know you can do it!

  53. Shannon says:

    I just wanted to chime into this discussion and say I made Darcy’s ww bread today and it was really good. But, like Mel has said, it’s not so much the amount of flour measured as getting the right texture of the dough. I think I ended up using around 14 cups of flour to get the right texture. It is very soft and yummy! The vital wheat gluten is very helpful in getting a good texture I think. I used mostly red wheat freshly ground, but I added a few cups of bread flour to get a good dough, so it’s not 100% whole wheat. Red wheat is a lot heavier and I prefer mixing when I use it. You probably wouldn’t have to add any white flour to freshly ground white whole wheat. Just my 2 cents.

  54. ann says:

    Hi! Mel,
    I have made the French rolls twice. We love them. Now I am ready to make the whole wheat bread. I was just wondering why the dough does not get raised twice- once in the bowl and then again in the pans. Also, how would you recommend splitting the dough into the loaves? Do you use a knife?
    So grateful, Ann

  55. Ali says:

    Can anyone tell me if for the last wheat bread recipe I can halve the recipe…? My mixer can’t handle 10 cups of flour but could handle 5…or will that screw things up? Also, about how long does it take the bread to rise? Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      Ali – yes, you can definitely halve the “Darcy’s Whole Wheat Bread” recipe. When I make the bread, it usually rises for about an hour in the pans until it is 1-2 inches above the rim of the pan.

  56. Ali says:

    Thanks! When making Darcy’s recipe do you guys let it rise in a bowl and punch it down as mentioned above if you use instant yeast, or with instant do you skip that step and put it directly into the bread pans and let it rise? Also, can I cut down the sugar in the recipe or is that needed for the yeast to be fully active? I am new to breadmaking, so that you for your help.

    • Mel says:

      Ali – if you use instant yeast, you don’t need to let the dough rise in a bowl first. You can mix the dough, knead it, and then immediately form it into loaves and let it rise in the loaf pan. You could probably cut down on the honey – you need a little to help the yeast activate but you could experiment with amounts.

  57. Hilary says:

    Just found your website and I have to say I LOVE it!! You have inspired me to try my hand at baking bread! Quick question though, for a novice bread-baker, which recipe would you suggest I try first? They all look wonderful!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Hilary – I would suggest Darcy’s whole wheat bread. You can even leave out the vitamin c pill to make things easier. It is an easy, delicious recipe. Let me know how it turns out if you make it!

  58. Hilary says:

    Hey Melanie – just wanted to let you know I tried your recipe for Darcy’s whole wheat bread! While it tasted wonderful (and was outstanding warm with jam!!), I had problems getting it to rise properly – it looked more like a flat “rectangle” then a what a typical “loaf” of bread should look like. I used instant yeast, and let it rise in the loaf pans for maybe an hour and a half, but it never really seemed to rise over the pan. (It did rise though) Since I didn’t have any vitamin C tablets on hand, I used a vital wheat gluten with vitamin C already added in – could this possibly be the problem? All in all however, it was a success and I am definitely going to try it again – I’m on a mission to get it “right”!! Any tips? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Hilary – no, the gluten with added Vitamin C shouldn’t have made the difference in the bread. Do you think you might have overfloured the dough? That is a classic cause for bread not rising well (that and too hot of water that kills the yeast – although if that happens, the bread won’t rise at all). My dough is extremely sticky when it is done kneading. So sticky that I have bread dough covering my fingers after removing it from the bowl, although it has enough flour to clear the sides of the mixing bowl. After splitting it into loaves and shaping, it comes together and isn’t as sticky, but it is definitely a very, very soft dough. Conversely, if it is too sticky, it will also not rise very well because there won’t be enough flour to give it substance and structure. It is a fine line between a soft, sticky, tender dough and an overfloured dough. I hope that helps a bit! I’ve actually been thinking of doing a step-by-step how-to when I make bread next in case it could help someone.

  59. Hilary says:

    Hey Melanie – I’m pretty sure I overfloured the dough and thats the reason my bread didn’t rise into pretty loaves. The dough was sooo sticky that I kept adding more until (I thought) I was getting the right consistency. I’m going to give it a go again (without adding more flour) and see how that goes – I’ll keep you posted 🙂

    ps- If you do end up doing a step-by-step bread tutorial, you’ll at least have one happy bread baker in Minnesota 🙂

  60. Bri says:

    Hey Mel, this is kind of a weird question, but what oils could I substitute for canola and vegetable oil? I’m trying to cut out all genetically modified foods in our diet. Do all oils work the same? Peanut oil?

    Loved seeing the cowboy cookies on your blog! I feel famous:-). I hope people love them as much as we have.

    I was asked to do a healthy cooking class/presentation for enrichment in a couple of weeks and all the things I will be sharing come from your site. THANK YOU!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Bri – I’ve never used an oil other than canola in these breads so I’m not sure how the result would be if you modified. I’m not sure if all the properties in other oils (olive, peanut) work the same. You might try googling the issue – I’m sure there are others much smarter than I am in this area. Let me know if you try another variation! And good luck with your presentation – sounds like fun!

  61. Catherine Rich says:

    I have made Darcy’s Wheat Bread 3 times in the last 2 weeks. The best result was the first time. It was the most moist, non-crumbly wheat bread that I’ve ever had. But each time it has taken a lot more flour than the recipe calls for. I’ve measured very carefully and followed the directions for each step. I can’t figure out why. I ground my own wheat (I think it is white wheat) in my K-tech grinder when I made the bread. When I baked today, instead of 10 cups of flour, it took 18! And I had to make it into 6 loaves. It only took 30-35 minutes to rise one inch above the pan. Then I put it in a cold oven, turned it on and set the timer for 32 minutes. It was quite over done. Now, I could have tried to form the loaves when it was at 15 cups, maybe they would have worked. But that’s still one and a half times the amount on the recipe. Do you have any ideas?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Catherine – don’t be overly worried about how much flour you are adding. I always use a guideline amount of flour on yeast doughs because the real test is the look and feel of the dough. This tutorial on yeast has more information about that. Have you always baked it in the cold oven? Even the first time? If it was overdone at 32 minutes, I’d suggest cutting back the time even more. Each oven’s temperature will vary and if yours happens to bake hot, you’ll want to decrease the time so your bread isn’t dry and overbaked. I am planning on doing a step-by-step tutorial on this very bread recipe next week and I’ll have pictures to show what my dough looks like, but until then, I’ll let you know that my dough is extremely sticky when it is finished kneading. It clears the sides of the bowl, but just barely. It sticks all over my hands but when I form it into loaves, with the help of a little cooking spray on the counter, it magically comes together into beautiful loaves. Let me know if you have any other questions.

    • Mel says:

      Catherine – also, I meant to mention that whenever I use freshly ground wheat, I always have to add a lot more than the recipe calls for. Coming right out of the grinder it is much fluffier and less compact that wheat flour from the store or home-ground wheat flour that has had time to settle.

  62. Catherine Rich says:

    Thank you, Mel. The next time I try it I will keep your suggestions in mind. I’ll form the loaves when they are stickier and I’ll shorten the bake time. The first time I made it I halved the recipe and the bake time was just right. One other difference I just thought of: the time it came out over done, there was a pizza stone on the bottom shelf of the oven and the bread 2 shelves above it. The first time I baked it, the pizza stone wasn’t in the oven. I wonder if that could have made a difference in the heat. I have a convection bake option which I used all 3 times.I guess I’ll have to experiment with all these things.
    Have you ever tried a bread recipe that calls for soy lecithin? I have not, but I was told it helps make good bread.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Catherine – oh, yes, the pizza stone will absolutely make a difference in baking the bread because of the heat radiating from the stone. A while ago I read an article in Cook’s Illustrated where they actually tested out cakes baked in an oven where a pizza stone was in the bottom (because several people had asked whether they could just leave their pizza stones in the oven all the time, even when baking other items) and the results showed a huge difference in the cakes baked in the oven with the stone and ones baked without the stone. The cakes baked with the stone were dry and burned on the bottom and had fallen in the middle – so I’m sure it would have an effect on bread baking, too. I’ve never used soy lecithin because it is hard for me to find in my average grocery stores but I have seen it in other recipes.

  63. Cami says:

    Can I purchase vital wheat gluten at the store? Does it need to be ordered?

    • Mel says:

      Cami – yes, vital wheat gluten is available at most grocery stores near the flour. I order mine online at kingarthurflour.com because I like their products but you can find it locally, most likely.

  64. Angie says:

    Just wanted to share a tip that has helped me never to have overdone bread. Instead of the amount of time telling me when to take out my bread, I always use an instant read thermometer to test the temperature in the middle of the bread. I just slide it in at the edge so the little hole isn’t noticeable. When the bread registers 200 degrees, I take it out. Every oven is different, so knowing the temp you need can help achieve perfect loaves every time.

  65. Angie says:

    After looking at Darcy’s recipe, I thought I’d share one more thing. You can sub the vitamin c tablet for a tablespoon of vinegar to get the same results.

  66. Kim says:

    I have a question on the wheat gluten. I have been making bread for at least 15 years and I have never used wheat gluten. Is it really necessary if you are using fresh ground wheat? I always used freshly ground wheat flour, and I put my warm water and wheat flour in the bowl and mix it with my beaters until it turns shiny and “gloppy.” Then I add everything else, the honey, oil, salt, flour and yeast that I have proofed in a measuring cup. The bread recipe that I have is almost exactly the same as your last recipe, “Darcy’s bread recipe,” and it is by far my favorite bread recipe. I usually use my beaters on the warm water and wheat flour, then knead it by hand, just because I don’t feel like getting my Bosch out.

    • Mel says:

      Kim – if you are successfully making bread without gluten, I’d say you don’t need to change your ways. I use it because a) the kind I buy is all-natural so I feel fine using it and b) it helps me feel like the bread is no-fail. Basically, from the little I know about it, gluten helps develop…well…the gluten without having to knead for a really long time. Obviously bread bakers have been making bread for years, especially in older times, without it but I think it is widely used now that it is more available.

  67. Kim says:

    Soy lecithin makes a very soft bread, and I think usually if you use lecithin you don’t use oil. Lecithin can also be used in place of oil in all other recipes such as pancakes and quick breads. My extended family uses it and loves it.

  68. Catherine says:

    Hi, Mel!
    I’ve been practicing with Darcy’s wheat bread for about 6 weeks now. Thank you for your tips for the problems I was encountering earlier. I can say that my family loves this bread–even the 4 kids aged 3-9! I think that speaks volumes. My bread even impressed my mother, who has been baking wheat bread for decades!
    I tried substituting vinegar for the Vit C, as was suggested, but I don’t think it was good. Instead of having to crush up a Vit C tablet every time, I bought Fruit-Fresh, which is ascorbic acid=vitamin C. I use 1 tsp of it and I think it works well. Regarding flour amounts, I had used up to 18 cups of freshly ground flour, but after your suggestions I tried stopping at 13 or 14, even though it is extremely wet and hard to form loaves. I just looked at your tutorial on forming loaves and I think that will help me next time. Thank you for your help- it turns out great bread! We go through the 5 loaves of bread every 4 days. (My little boy lives on PBJ sandwiches)

  69. Rachel says:

    I have been doing some research the past several days, because I would really like to start baking my own bread. I am so glad to have found your site! Right now, I’m only baking for two as my baby is only 7 months old and won’t be eating bread quite yet. I was wondering, how long will the bread keep in the freezer?

  70. Emily says:

    I noticed in earlier comments that you said you can halve the Darcy’s recipe. But it makes 5 loaves, so if you halve it, how many loaves would you make? I bought the Chicago metallic pans you use. 🙂
    What about the other 2 recipes? Can they be halved? I am only asking because I have a small Kitchenaid and it can’t handle these recipes. I am wishing on a star for a Bosch, but until then … 🙂

  71. Melanie says:

    Emily – if halving Darcy’s bread recipe, I would make two loaves (if you are using the 8 1/2 by 4 inch bread pans). The Bosch recipe, if I remember right, halves perfectly for three loaves.

  72. Emily says:

    Great to know! Thank you–can’t wait to try them.

  73. EmilyL says:

    Made Darcy’s bread today … SO good! I bought the bags, clips and vital wheat gluten at KAF and bought 3 Chicago metallic pans. I feel so accomplished. 3 loaves of bread–though 1 1/2 are already devoured). Thank you!!

  74. Jolayne says:

    I made your bread and loved the texture. I like to have a little sweeter flavor to my bread. Can I had more sugar or honey (I used honey in my recipe) to make it sweeter? If so, how much?

    • Mel says:

      Jolayne – yes, you could definitely add more sweetener to taste. You’ll have to experiment with how much – especially since I like the bread’s sweetness with the amount in the recipe. I’d start with a few tablespoons more and see how it goes.

  75. Denise says:

    I love making bread and have no problem making white bread, but have always struggled and failed at making whole wheat. I tried your Bosch recipe this morning and it didn’t work at all. I have six heavy bricks on my counter right now. What am I doing wrong??

    On a separate note. I am also a mom to four boys and I love your blog! You have so many wonderful recipes that I have tried and I cant wait to try more! Thank you.

  76. Mel says:

    Denise – thanks for the nice comment – I love hearing from moms of boys!

    About the bread, usually heavy, brick-like loaves are due to a couple of factors: potentially too much flour and/or the bread needs a longer kneading time to help develop the gluten. What was the texture/softness of the dough when you shaped it into loaves? Did it leave a sticky residue on your hands or was it a fairly stiff ball of dough?

  77. Denise says:

    The dough was stiff when I shaped it into loaves, not soft/sticky at all. I added more flour when I was mixing because it was still sticking to the side of the bowl, but my kitchen aid was also having a hard time with it and I stopped it early because it wasn’t keeping up.

    • Mel says:

      Denise, have you seen the step-by-step wheat bread tutorial that I did? It is located here:
      http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2011/05/whole-wheat-bread-step-by-step.html

      It might help you identify how much flour you need to add. It sounds to me like your dough was overfloured and so it didn’t properly rise. That may also be the reason your mixer was having trouble kneading it. I always err on the side of adding less flour because it can be added later. My dough is soft and quite sticky, although it will clear the sides of the bowl. Check out the tutorial and let me know if you have any other questions!

  78. jennifer says:

    hello! i just discovered your blog and i am in love! can’t wait to try this recipe tonight! though, on the LuAnn’s Whole Wheat Bread recipe. can i just omit the dry milk? my daughter is allergic to dairy. thank you!!

    • Mel says:

      Jennifer – did you make the bread? Sorry for not responding earlier. I’m not sure how the bread would turn out without the milk but it should be ok. The other option is to make one of the recipes (like Darcy’s whole wheat bread) that doesn’t call for powdered milk at all. Good luck!

  79. jennifer says:

    Thanks Mel! I haven’t made that one yet. But made an easy 5-Ingredient, 5-Step Wheat Bread instead. LuAnn’s will be next. I will just go ahead and leave out the milk powder and see what happens. 🙂 That recipe doesn’t call for a Bosch maker right? Thank you!!

  80. Heather B. says:

    I just tried Darcy’s recipe. I loved that I could make both the English Muffin bread on here and this recipe and they baked the same time. This is an amazing whole wheat bread recipe. The bread is moist and fluffy. I did use white whole wheat that I had just ground. It is delicious!!! I’m love that my family is eating more whole grains and from scratch items and loving it at the same time! Thanks again!

  81. Jessi says:

    I tried to make the LuAnn’s recipe. I had dough in four bread pans, and they did not rise too much over the top of the pan. I let them sit overnight (which I’m thinking I shouldn’t have done?), and baked two loaves in the morning. These came out in a rectangle form and didn’t really look like a “loaf” of bread. I took the dough from the other two loaves I didn’t bake and kneaded them some more (by hand as I don’t have a mixer or anything like that). These did rise a little bit more. I baked them, but they turned out similar to the previous two loaves. They were rectangle in form and just didn’t look like a loaf of bread. I did try them, and thought they tasted really good, but the bread was more dense and not as fluffy as bread normally is. I kneaded for about 30 minutes the first time. And an additional 15 minutes with the last two loaves. Are they not rising because I didn’t knead enough? Or maybe overfloured? I thought I had the flouring down, but maybe not! I did follow your tutorial; but it’s still kind of a guessing game! Help! 🙂

  82. Mel says:

    Jessi – my guess is that the dough might have been overfloured. It’s pretty easy to overflour, especially if kneading by hand, and can definitely make it so the bread doesn’t rise very well. I think you are kneading for long enough – so next time, try adding a bit less flour. If the dough is sticking to your counter while kneading, try using cooking spray or a bit of oil to help it not stick instead of flour. Good luck!

  83. Kevin Pepin says:

    I’ve been trying to make bread, on and off again, for a couple of years now. FINALLY, after following all of your suggestions and getting a new oven, I have made some of the best bread I have ever tasted! THANK YOU! I used Darcy’s recipe, made 2 one pound loaves and 2 pound-and-a-half loaves and they came out perfectly. Thank you again!

  84. Carlie Hughes says:

    Hi, I am new to your blog but I am totally in love. I just bought a mixer that is just like the Bosch and I was given a wheat bread recipe when I bought it that calls for dough enhancer. I like the idea of this stuff and was wondering if you knew how much I should add to your Bosch recipe? Or do you have one that calls for it?

  85. Mel says:

    Carlie – thanks for checking in! I don’t use dough enhancer so I’m not sure how much you should add. My suggestion would be to look at the flour amounts in the recipe you already have that calls for the dough enhancer and compare the flour amount to the recipe you want to use and add the right amount of dough enhancer (decreasing or increasing from the recipe you currently have). Good luck!

  86. tonya says:

    I halved LuAnn’s recipe & tried it yesterday. My mixer could not handle it. The bread looks & tastes pretty good, but I’m sure it’s not quite right. Anyway, I’ve found the new mixer that I want & convinced my husband that we need it. :o) I’m on the lookout for a 30% Kohl’s coupon code & it will be mine. Then, I will try the bread again! We eat plenty of sandwiches so I’m very excited about the possibilities!! Will let you know how the next batch goes when I get my new toy!!

  87. Carlie Hughes says:

    Mel Help!!! I have made Luann’s recipe a few times and it has never turned out right. This last time I tried it I had just bought a wonderful new mixer and it turned out softer and fluffier than before because I used less flour with this machine. However my loaves totally sank!!! The tips went flat and flush with my pans. Could this be because I have been using whole grain flour instead of whole wheat? I need to make some more but I am starting to get frustrated. I want mine to look like yours!!!!

  88. Mel says:

    Hi Carlie – sorry you are having issues with your bread! I’m not sure exactly what you mean by whole grain flour (is it like a 7-grain blend?). That could be part of it…you may need to supplement or substitute part of it with whole wheat or white flour. But another thing to consider is that sometimes if my bread flattens in the oven I’ll realize it was probably a bit underfloured or I let it rise too long before putting it in the oven and then it deflates. Both of those things can make a big difference.

  89. Carrie says:

    Thanks SO much for these great recipes and all the great tips on products. After 4 batches of the first recipe in the past few weeks, I am committed to making all of our bread. I bought the pans you recommend and LOVE them. I did want to give you a money saving tip on the bread bags. I was kind of frustrated that King Arthur Flour wanted to charge me $17 in shipping alone for ONE package of 100 bags…but I was also frustrated with trying to fit the loaves into bread bags that were too short. Then I found this deal on Amazon.com. For what King Arthur wanted to charge me for 100 bags (including shipping), I got 1,000 bread bags with free shipping, since I do Prime. They feel very sturdy, and are 2 inches longer than King Arthur’s. Here’s the link if any of you want to give them a try:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004MDM6TY/ref=oh_o02_s00_i00_details

    Thanks again for all the recipes and tips!

  90. Beth says:

    I’m bummed, Mel. After making Lu Ann’s recipe for over a year, I decide to try out some of your others. I love the taste and texture of the Bosch recipe, and I like that it’s 100% whole wheat. Unfortunately, every time I’ve made a batch (three times), there is a large channel or space running through the top third of the bread. These aren’t air bubbles under the crust that you can see from the exterior; these loaves look perfectly normal until you cut into them and there is this huge whole in each slice. It still tastes amazing (hence my relentless pursuit to figure this out), but is not great for sandwiches and makes me feel like I can’t give a loaf away. I know you’re about to have your baby and probably busy, so I tried to figure this out on my own but to no avail. I’ve never had this issue with Lu Ann’s recipe and I feel like I’m shaping the loaves the same way. Do you have any idea why this would happen? Has it happened to you? Thanks!

  91. Mel says:

    Hey Beth, I have to admit, I’m completely baffled as to why you would be getting that air channel through your bread! I have to admit I haven’t made the Bosch recipe in a while now (I usually stick with Darcy’s whole wheat bread recipe) but I’ll make it next time (probably next week if I haven’t had my baby yet) to see if the same thing happens to me. If the bread is rising fine and not flattening (which would indicate either over rising or it needing more flour), the only other thing I would suggest is forming the loaves differently. Perhaps taking the dough in your hands and rolling the sides to the bottom to form a smooth loaf (as compared to pressing it into a rectangle on the counter and rolling it up). If I come upon another solution, I’ll let you know!

  92. Beth says:

    Mystery solved! So, I followed your advice to not roll up the dough to form the loaves. I also paid closer attention to making sure the loaves were doubled before putting into the oven rather than measuring 1 1/2 inches above the pan. This time I made them, they were better– no holes. However, they were quite a bit shorter than my previous loaves (approximately 1lb, 4 oz. each for raw dough). I think I was way over-proofing to get to the 1 1/2 inch mark. Today I made another batch and made five loaves (approximately 1lb. 9oz each), proofed to the 1 1/2 inch mark and baked for 29 min. and they were perfect. No holes, really soft, not burnt, regular sandwich sized bread! I guess I was on the lower end of the flour amounts, and it just wasn’t enough for 6 loaves. It’s silly how happy it’s making me to have figured this out. I’ve been giving away bread all afternoon I’m so excited. Hopefully I can replicate in the future. Thanks for your advice, Mel.

  93. Melissa says:

    I love your Bosch recipe and it, along with your yeast tutorial, turned me into a bread-making superhero in no time. I had a hard time committing the time to the weekly endeavor, though, so I just got a breadmaker this week. I tried the whole wheat recipe that came with it, and it was NOT GOOD. So I adapted your recipe and it turned out AWESOME! Hallelujah, I am free from bread-buying forever!

  94. Emily says:

    I am interested in starting to make our sandwich bread and bagels from scratch, (you inspired me to do it) and I think it will be very fun! Thank you for sharing your recipes!

  95. Julie Williams says:

    Thanks for your amazing blog! Love it! I also love the idea of making 4-6 loaves of bread at a time. What kind of bags do you freeze them in? Ziploc? And do you reuse your bags? I don’t mind using disposable bags, I just don’t want to go through 4-6 per week. I would love to hear what you do.

  96. Mel says:

    Julie, yes, I do reuse the bags…probably at least 2 or 3 times per bag. I use the bread bags from kingarthurflour.com and most recently these from amazon.com ( although you have to buy them in bulk):
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004MDM6TY/ref=wms_ohs_product

  97. […] finally found a recipe that is easy and good! The recipe comes from a great cooking website called Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. We don’t use a bread machine, just our handy KitchenAid Mixer and our […]

  98. Rebecca says:

    Hi Melanie-
    I LOVE your website and use it weekly as a go to for trusted recipes. I was hoping that you would do one more Whole Wheat Bread post and do it for just two loaves. I live in Rwanda, have a tiny oven and a regular KitchenAid mixer. I don’t know for sure, but I figure there are a lot of folks who want to make your bread, but don’t want or have the capacity to make or room to store, 4-6 loaves. Could you post one that is scaled down? Thanks.

  99. […] and tips for a whole wheat load bread that is perfect for sandwiches.  I adapted this recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe ( it’s based on the third recipe – Darcy’s Whole Wheat Bread ).  This recipe make […]

  100. Suzanne says:

    Am I going crazy- I can’t find Darcy’s WW bread recipe! I’ve made it several times now and I thought it was on this page- but now I don’t see it. When I search it doesn’t come up either. Any clues?
    Thanks!

  101. Mel says:

    Suzanne – Darcy’s recipe is the one in the recipe box. I didn’t realize the title had changed – I’ll change it back.

  102. Suzanne says:

    Thanks for the quick fix! Is it the same recipe as before? I didn’t think there used to be pwd milk in it (I made it as recently as last week, but I am tired with a new baby so maybe I am more in the mental fog than I realized).

    • Mel says:

      Suzanne – I included a note above the recipe that explains the adaptations. It didn’t use to have powdered milk but I use the powdered milk now in place of the 1000 mg of vitamin c.

  103. Mame says:

    Hello there! I made your bread today and I was determined to not over-flour … and I think I under-floured?! (when I let it rise in the dough pans, after a first rise in the bowl bc I used dry-active, and I moved the pans, kind of plopped them on the counter, lightly mind you, and the dough fell a good inch!) I only have a kitchen aide, and did half the recipe but used just under the ‘full’ amount … So here is my issue, the edges are the bowl are ‘clean’ at first, but then as the flour gets mixed in it starts clinging again. Bc I have a KA and not a Bosche I thought maybe it was because the bread hook doesn’t scrape so close to the bowl. I know you don’t have one but do you have an opinion about this? Should the dough still be ‘accumulating’ in the middle and pulling away from the sides? Bc I feel like I always add more than the asked for amount!?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Mame – it sound like to me that you do need to add a bit more flour. The dough shouldn’t be sticky on the sides of the bowl as it kneads. Even an extra 1/4 to 1/2 cup flour may help without overflouring the entire thing. Also be careful not to plop the pans at all – when moving, slide them around or gently pick up and put down because even a light pound on the counter can cause them to fall.

    • Erin says:

      I have a Bosch and I get the same results as Mame. I add flour until it pulls away, then after kneading about 4 minutes the dough becomes super sticky. I add more flour, about a 1/2 cup until it’s not as sticky, but still is a little bit. I’ve added too much flour before with bad results. After making this kind of bread every week for 3 months, I have a better sense of when to stop kneading, but I’m often still wrong. I’ve even tried pulling the dough out at 4 minutes before it turns into a sticky mess, and it’s not kneaded enough and doesn’t rise well. I have even tried adding the extra flour in at the beginning, but the dough still becomes sticky usually at 5 minutes of kneading, and then I end up adding too much flour. But I have yet to produce a loaf that doesn’t fall at least a little when I move it to the oven. I also learned that even letting it rise 5 minutes more than 25 minutes (if I forget to put it in) will cause it to fall. I also don’t cover mine anymore, since they fall every time I remove the cover, and I rise them on the counter (my house is about 74 deg) because it would fall when I carried it into the slightly cooler air of another room. it also falls when I put it into a hot oven, but it rises too much on the top half only when I put it in a cool oven. And the bread falls apart in the top half. But even after all this I’m not willing to do a double rise recipe because I love the ease of this one, and even if the texture isn’t perfect when I make it, it still tastes good, and my kids will still eat it.

      • Mel says:

        Hey Erin! Thanks for detailing your experience with this bread. So after reading through your comment a couple of times, I’m pretty certain that the reason your bread is falling so often (and the top half of the bread is falling apart) is because it needs more flour. I’ve done the same thing you described and added too much flour with bad results but I think from what you’ve described, your bread needs a little more flour/structure to help it not fall (and it will give more substance to the bread so the top half doesn’t fall). Have you read the above comments that Marcikae and I were having back and forth? She’s had better luck with the slightly revised recipe (it uses a bit less water which can help depending on the climate you live in). It might be worth a try.

  104. Sheri says:

    Hi Mel! Thanks so much for the recipes and tutorials! I made the recipe that was Darcy’s only with powdered milk and not the vitamin C (I think) because I don’t see that one anymore. It had the exact same ingredients and amounts as Darcy’s only it had powdered milk instead of vitamin C. Do you know which I am talking about? I am wondering how much powdered milk instead of vitamin C because when I made that recipe I loved it and would like to make it again. Thanks so much!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Sheri – sorry about that. I’ve been tweaking this recipe and editing it so I apologize if a prior version isn’t available anymore. It was 2 tablespoons powdered milk.

  105. Isabelle says:

    I always make my bread in my Kitchenaid. I have a Classic Plus, which has a motor that’s a little more powerful than the classic. I only make 2 loaves at a time, and I have to hand-knead it a little at the end, but it works great. 🙂

  106. Shona Doornbos says:

    Our family loves LuAnn’s – I always make it 100% whole wheat and it’s never failed me. As soon as I buy a couple more loaf pans I am going to give Darcy’s recipe a whirl! Thanks for the recipes!

  107. lindsey hall says:

    I went ahead and used my bread machine on the dough cycle, took it out and raised in it the pan and then followed the 32 minutes in the oven like you said. Timing was perfect and this was my best homemade whole wheat bread yet! I was able to slice it thinly and it didn’t crumble like my other whole wheat attempts. I halved it and halved it again (that’s how I do math) to trial it but I think I can fit just one half of the recipe in the bread machine next time. Going to try tomorrow anyways! I love your blog Mel. Dinners are getting compliments instead of complaints these days!!!

  108. Laura Matthews says:

    Wondering if you let the Bosch knead on speed 1 or speed 2 for 7 minutes?

    Thanks.

    Laura

  109. Haley says:

    Mel, thank you so much for the wonderful blog!! I discovered your website a few months ago and it has quickly become my go-to food blog for recipes! I made the recipe for Darcy’s whole wheat bread today and everything looked great until I took them out of the oven. They had slightly sunk (however still tasted delicious!) and I am wondering if my problem is possibly too little flour? (I was a little paranoid abt over-flouring…) I covered the loaves with saran wrap sprayed w/ Pam and they sunk a little when I pulled it off before I put them in the oven so maybe that was it? Do you cover your loaves with anything when they are rising? Thanks so much!!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Haley – I do the same thing you did – cover the rising loaves with greased plastic wrap. If they deflated before you put them in the oven, my guess is what you suggested, perhaps slightly underfloured, but also, sometimes if a dough rises too much before baking, it can deflate easily so keep an eye on the loaves to make sure they haven’t over risen. Good luck! Let me know if you have other questions!

  110. Emily says:

    I realize this is an old post so you might not answer but can I use an organic vitamin c powder in place of the tablet? If so how much? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Emily – I’m not familiar with the properties of organic vitamin c powder so I can’t say for sure but it’s definitely worth a try. Does it have a flavor/taste? The tablets I use do not and I’m not sure if flavored powder would impact the taste of the dough.

  111. Trisha says:

    Mel, I LOVE your blog! I have learned so much from it. I love homemade bread. I would love to try Darcy’s bread recipe, but have a KitchenAid that can’t handle as much flour. I can try cutting the recipe in half (my KitchenAid can do 7 cups whole wheat flour), but have never tried adding Vitamin C. Do you know if I can just crush a 500mg Vitamin C tablet & get the same result?

    • Mel says:

      Trisha, I think even with cutting the recipe in half you should be able to use the entire Vitamin C tablet. Or crush the entire thing and try sprinkling in half? But really, I don’t think the extra Vitamin C will make a difference.

  112. Trisha says:

    I love your blog! I would like to try Darcy’s recipe, but only have a KitchenAid. I can cut the recipe in half but haven’t used Vitamin C in bread before. Do I just use 500mg if I divide the recipe? That simple to get same result? Thank you!

  113. Trisha says:

    Yikes! Sorry! My computer was being funny. I didn’t even see that my comment posted previously and you already responded. Sorry about that! Thanks for the fast response! I am excited to try making the bread now. 🙂

  114. Marci says:

    Have you ever tried adding seeds of any kind? I like the crunch they give bread

  115. Marci says:

    The pans I bought say Chicago metallic better bake medium loaf pan, 8.5×4.5×2.5. Is this basically the same thing you use? The amazon link said they were the 1 lb but I believe they have the same measurements other wise. I don’t know if it’s that big of a deal but this is my first time making my own wheat bread so I’m following your tips exactly. Also I bought a bottle of absorbic acid (fine granular). Any idea how much I use to equal the pill you crush?

    • Mel says:

      Marci – Yes, those are the same size pans I have from Chicago Metallic; mine are the light aluminum – not a dark nonstick finish in case that matters. As for the pill conversion, I’d use 1/4 teaspoon.

  116. Marci says:

    My bread rose but not enough to get the domed top. My dough was quite sticky and almost impossible to roll up to put in the bread pans unless my hands had some nonstick cooking spray on them. Would not enough flour have prevented a proper rise? It was clearing the sides when I dumped it out. It was still light, chewy, and tasty but looked ridiculous. If it tastes that good now, I’ll definitely have to give this another try so I can get it right.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Marci – it sounds like that if the dough was that sticky that yes, you do need a bit more flour. In answer to your question, under floured dough can definitely have issues rising since it doesn’t have the structural support to rise (usually deflates easily). Definitely give it another try! Flour amount will vary even by day based on so many factors so judge the dough again by feel – even if it clears the sides of your bowl, make sure if you roll a bit between your fingers that it can easily form a small ball without leaving a lot of residue on your fingers (a bit of stickiness is fine but not if it is impossible to form the little dough bit into a ball without using cooking spray, etc.).

  117. McKenna says:

    Thank you for the wonderful tutorial! I am new to making my own bread weekly (started in January) and each time I try something different. The past few times I have been substituting half of the water for buttermilk. Have you ever tried using buttermilk? If so, do you know if it changes anything, for good or bad?

    • Mel says:

      Hi McKenna – I haven’t used buttermilk in whole wheat bread so I’m not sure what affect it would have. Sounds like a worthwhile experiment though! I know a lot of people use whey for water and that has a similar makeup to buttermilk. As for the flour, I never really go by the cup measure in a recipe – I go solely by the feel of the dough and how it looks (clearing the sides of the bowl, not overly sticky but still soft). It’s ok if your loaves weigh a bit more than mine do as long as the bread is turning out nice and tender. Good luck!

  118. McKenna says:

    Another question 🙂 I add the amount of flour it says in the recipe (6 cups for 2 loaves) and my loaves always weight about 2 + pounds. But I feel if I did less than 6 cups, it would be very under-floured. I grind my own hard white wheat right before using it. What would your suggestion be? Add less than the 6 cups that it says in the recipe?

  119. Marci says:

    Okay, attempt number 2, my bread was perfectly sticky, easy to roll up and put in the pans, and for awhile was raising beautifully. Then suddenly it started deflating and it was no longer the beautiful rounded wheat bread I was hoping for. I baked it up anyways and it’s delicious, just not as tall as I wanted. Theres a Couple things I did that I’m wondering if it could have made them deflate. The bread was sitting on top of the stove and I heated up the oven to cook squash while the bread rose. With the heat under the bread, they suddenly rose very rapidly, and that’s when they deflated. I was also opening and shutting the oven…don’t know if this could have caused the problem. Sorry for all the questions, I just really want to do this right!

    • Mel says:

      Marci – yes, if bread rises too quickly it can deflate just as quickly. A steady slow rise is the very best. The danger of them rising too quickly is that they overrise and deflate…the shutting door may have been an issue but I think it’s probably mostly related to the extra warmth and fast rise.

  120. Marci says:

    Okay, 3rd try. Perfectly floured (I think) but I seem to keep having a problem while rising. This time they were rising perfectly then suddenly seemed to be rising unevenly throughout the loaf (instead of a rounded pretty top). They were about an inch above the pan so I put them in a cold oven as you stated and they never seemed to rise Into the pretty, big loaf I wanted. Any idea where I’m going wrong? The bread tastes So good that I really want to nail it.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Marci – I recently discovered with a new oven (we moved into this house a few months ago) that not all ovens preheat the same. In fact, I need to go update the post. The oven I have now has a rapid preheat cycle that isn’t optional (meaning I can’t turn it off) and so it preheats in just a few minutes which is great…unless I want my bread to rise longer. So I’ve actually started letting my bread rise 2-3 inches above the lip of the pans and putting it in a preheated 350 degree oven and baking for about 25 minutes. It really does depend on your oven but if the cold oven method doesn’t seem to be working, try letting the bread rise 2-3 inches above the lip of the pan and baking in a preheated oven. It’s definitely worth trying to see – I made the best bread of my life last week doing it that way which kind of surprised me because I was such a convert to the cold oven approach. Also, if it is rising unevenly, it could be due to how the loaf is shaped. Just make sure that it is an even thickness throughout – no bubbles or low spots.

  121. Marci says:

    Hopefully I can nail this so I can stop bugging you. I stopped by kitchen kneads here in logan to pick up more flour and picked her brain a little bit. Her thought was that maybe I didn’t have enough dough in the pans and that was why they were small loafs. She suggested trying to make 4 loafs with my recipe. She also said her bread only needs about 30 minutes to rise so my hour and a half may have been too long and that’s why they started to deflate. Any thoughts? I use the rapid rise yeast. I use your same pans and my dough weighed the same as yours when I out it in the pans. How long does your bread rise to get 2-3 inches above the top?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Marci – those are good ideas from the lady at Kitchen Kneads. Remind me what recipe you are using. How many loaves do you normally make? I use the Darcy’s whole wheat bread recipe almost exclusively and always make 5 loaves (between 26 and 28 ounces each). Yesterday I tried splitting it into six loaves because that’s what my friend Darcy does – each loaf was about 22-24 ounces. In both cases, the bread rose well, even with smaller loaves. If you are using the same size pans as I am and using the same weight of dough, you definitely don’t need more dough in the pans, at least based on my experience. If my kitchen is right around 69 to 70 degrees, it usually takes about 45 minutes for the bread to rise an inch above the pans and more like an hour or an hour and 15 minutes for it to rise 2-3 inches above the pan. Bread can definitely deflate if it has overrisen – I’ve had that happen in the oven when I’ve let it rise too long on the counter. It continues to rise a bit in the oven and then it’s like the bubbles burst and it deflates and gets kind of ripply on top of the bread. But that has only happened with the bread is clearly above the 3-4 inch mark above the edges of the pan when I’ve put it in the oven. I would definitely try baking it in a preheated oven (not a cold oven) and since I’m not completely sure which recipe you are using, it might be worth trying 4 loaves instead of 5.

  122. Marci says:

    Correction, if it matters, I use saf red instant yeast.

  123. Marci says:

    It’s is Darcy’s loaf I’m trying to master. It’s that rippled look that it gets when it gets only about an inch above the pan. It starts out looking perfectly domed and then sinks and ripples. I bought new yeast just to see if this might be the problem but do you have any other pointers. The only thing I’ve done different than you is I use a 1/4 tsp of ascorbic acid instead of crushing a vit c tab.

    • Mel says:

      Marci – hmmm, if it is getting rippled like that and it is only 1-inch or so above the pan, I’m thinking it is either how the loaves are formed (not enough structure at the top of the loaf) or like the lady you talked to suggested, perhaps not enough dough in the pan. I would make sure that the loaf is formed solidly instead of any bubbles at the top and it’s probably worth trying to put more dough in the pan. The fact that your bread isn’t rising as high but is still soft makes me wonder if you might need to add more flour. I know I harp on not overflouring but flour can help add structure to the bread (which aids in rising, too).

      • Mel says:

        Hey Marci – I hope you check back here because I had a breakthrough that I think might help you. This morning my friend came over to get a hands-on bread making tutorial. She’s been having some of the very same problems you have described in your comments so I was especially interested to make the bread today. Because my friend has a KitchenAid (a 325 watt motor) and not a Bosch, I altered Darcy’s whole wheat bread recipe. Basically, I halved the recipe except for the water, I brought it down to 3 cups. She made this altered batch in her KitchenAid while I made the same altered batch in my Bosch. The dough was perfectly floured, pulled away from the sides of the bowl – slightly sticky but could easily be rolled into a ball in the palm of my hands without leaving a sticky residue. When we split the dough into loaves (4 total, 2 loaves for each altered batch), we put 32 ounces in each bread pan. That’s more than I usually put in the pan (I usually put about 26 ounces or so). We let the bread rise to 3 inches above the edge of the pan and baked it for 28 minutes in a preheated 350 oven. It was perfection. The most glorious, beautiful bread ever. It’s by far the best bread to come out of my kitchen. In fact, it rose SO high during baking that next time, I think I’ll put it into the oven with slightly less rise on top (the bread was huge). So I think what that lady told you might be true about more bread in the pan. I’m going to be using this altered recipe from now on:
        6 cups very warm water
        2 tablespoons yeast
        1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
        1000 mg crushed vitamin C
        2/3 cup oil
        2/3 cup honey
        2 tablespoons salt
        10-ish cups flour

        Follow the directions for Darcy’s whole wheat bread recipe, except split the dough into 4 loaves instead of 5-6, let the bread rise in the pans about 2 inches or slightly more above the edge of the pan and baking in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25-28 minutes.

        Good luck!

        • Tracy Glasgow says:

          Hi Mel. This is my 2nd time to make Darcy’s recipe. The first go around, I did the recipe that makes 5 loaves. I realized my yeast was expired. It still made bread, but didn’t work. Today I tried again and went with the 4 loaf recipe about that uses 6 cups water and 10+ cups flour. My experience with both versions is that I have to add a lot more flour than that, and after reading through lots of comments on here, I think it’s still not enough. My bread rises, but then falls a little in the oven, gets a little bit of a rippling effect on top, and the top half of the bread doesn’t hold well when cut. (Still tastes great, and my family is devouring it as I type.) I want to try again next week. I’m guessing I probably used about 15 cups flour total, but divided into 4 loaves, they all weighed about 32 oz. I’m using a Bosch and the bread pans you suggested. The dough was a little hard to work with after 7 minutes of kneading on level 2; it was still too sticky. So I do think I need more flour. Or do you suggest that I decrease the amount of water slightly? I love the recipe, and we love the flavor of the bread. So I’m really hoping that I can figure it out. Any suggestions you have would be great!! Thank you.

        • Mel says:

          Hi Tracy – the exact flour amount isn’t as important as the texture of the dough. I consistently add less flour than a lot of people probably based on how I measure flour (or how I grind it, I suppose). Either way, you want that soft tacky dough that clears the sides of the bowl (have you seen this tutorial on yeast?). I wouldn’t decrease the water – just continue adding flour until the dough is soft and workable. The rippling effect you are getting in the oven might be related to how you are shaping it. I added a little video tutorial for a different way to shape the dough that has made a huge difference for me (I was often getting that same problem you described). Creating a really tight loaf of dough helps it rise better in the oven without falling. I usually get a great loaf of bread using anywhere from 27-30 ounces of dough per loaf. Does that help at all?

        • Marci says:

          Hey Tracy, if you want my 2 cents, Ive had the same issues as you do, and my last 2 batches have worked out quite well. I follow the 6 cups of water recipe, use 3 T of yeast, I check the temperature of my water to make sure it’s 120-130 degrees, and I use the new rolling method that Mel recently posted a video about. I didn’t count how many cups of flour I used this last time, but I had to grind some more so it must have been more than usual. My 4 loaves were about 32 oz and were so big that I wished I’d done 5 loaves. The taste and texture of this bread is so good that I continue to try and perfect it. Doing these things has got me closer to the perfect loaf.

    • Tracy says:

      Hey Marci,

      Thanks for your comment about the bread. I’m still trying to get this recipe down because we really like the flavor. I’ve been doing 5 loaves, but I’m going to try doing the 6 cups recipe next time with 4 loaves and see if that works better. I feel like I need a little more dough in the pan!

  124. Marci says:

    Okay, I tried it this new way and it worked MUCH better. My loaves were more like 30 oz each and they are a touch gummy so I’m wondering if I needed to cook them longer. I baked them 26 min. But toasted, it is hands down the best toast I’ve ever had. I still had the issue with them falling a little bit. They were about 2 inches above the pan and I started to see air bubbles on top and when I put them in the oven they deflated a little. Not as much as usual but definitely lost some height. Do you think it could be the difference between me using the absorbic acid vs crushing the pill? I’m using a 1/4 tsp. My sister tried to make it today because she also loves it toasted and she also had it sink after putting it in the oven. You’d think I’d just try a different recipe but I love it as toast so much, I hate to give up on it. If you make your way back to Utah, we should really hang out and make bread!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Marci – yep, definitely up the baking time. I made this same batch of bread yesterday and ended up baking it for about 30 minutes. The air bubble thing is baffling to me. I’m not sure why that’s happening or why your loaves are deflating. Usually that speaks to underflouring. My loaves with this altered recipe weigh 32 ounces – if yours are 30 ounces you might need more flour to help keep structure for rising. I really don’t think the ascorbic acid is a factor – many recipes use lemon juice or even a bit of vinegar for the Vitamin C so I think that part is pretty flexible.

      Jill – thanks for the input on KitchenAids since I use a Bosch for bread making. Glad the extra yeast helped (Marci, you might try that – I wouldn’t double the yeast to 4 tablespoons, though, try 2 1/2 or 3 tablespoons). I don’t like an overly yeasty taste to my bread and the 2 tablespoons has always worked fine for this large batch when I’ve made it, but it’s always nice to know what works for others. Thanks!

  125. Jill says:

    Here are some specific answers for KitchenAid mixer capacity. I got a new 6-quart capacity KitchenAid for my birthday, and tried Darcy’s recipe in it. I started with a half recipe, because I didn’t want 5 loaves if it didn’t turn out well. The mixer handled that size just fine, but it took FOREVER to incorporate all the flour. The spiral dough hook is not very efficient, in my opinion. Then I tried the full recipe, since the mixer’s instructions said it could handle 14 cups of flour. Disaster! Again, it was so slow mixing the flour in, and by the time I had added about 13-14 cups, the mixer was very warm, and started making terrible grinding sounds. Back to the store it went!

    I pulled my old KitchenAid back out (4.5-quart capacity hand-me-down from the 1970’s with the regular dough hook). I scaled down LuAnn’s recipe to one loaf, and it worked fine. Then I tried making 2 loaves, and it was okay, but my mixer was getting warm. It can normally handle a bread recipe with 6 cups of flour, but I think that whole wheat flour weighs more than white flour and is much harder on the motor.

    So, my recommendations for the amount of whole-wheat bread dough to make in each of these sizes of KitchenAid mixers;
    6-quart: 2-3 loaves, 8 cups of flour at the most
    4.5 quart: 1 loaf, 4 cups of flour at the most

    Another tip for how a good dough should look in a KitchenAid: A perfectly floured dough should mostly clean the sides of the bowl, but I usually stop adding flour when the dough is still sticking to the bottom third of the bowl.

    Also, I had issues with getting a good rise on both recipes. Sometimes they didn’t rise enough, and other times, they fell when I baked them. I was using instant yeast, not overflouring or underflouring, etc. I looked at the other bread recipes I make that work out great, and I realized that these recipes have a very low yeast-to-flour ratio, especially considering they are whole-wheat. Most recipes have about 2T of yeast for 6 cups of flour, but these recipes only have about half that much yeast. So, I doubled the amount of yeast in LuAnn’s recipe and it was absolutely perfect! It rose in just under an hour, and it held its shape when it baked. Hooray!

  126. Krissy says:

    Hi Mel,
    You really are a rockstar in the kitchen! I finally got a bosch and so made the first whole wheat recipe you have listed here just yesterday and my family AND neighbors loved loved it! Thanks so much for sharing your recipes! You have truly made a difference in our kitchen and eating!
    Krissy

  127. Marci says:

    Hey Mel! I’m still completely in love with this bread recipe even though it’s taken me a half a dozen times to get it right. 2 1/2 T of yeast seems to work just right. I tried 3 T and what I ended up with was a loaf that rose well but was more dense on the bottom half and super airy on the top half…kinda weird. So thanks for all your help! I have never been able to get bread right but have made probably 5 of your yeast recipes in the past couple months and nailed all of them! My 3 year old is especially loving the bread varieties gracing our table each week :). Have you ever used a pastry cloth? Since experimenting so much with dough lately, I decided to kidnap my moms pastry cloth she always used when we were kids and I absolutely love it! My sister even did a blog post about it because I told her how awesome it was. Anyways, just wanted to share the love about it because I feel like I should be paying you for all the yeast lessons you’ve given me. You can see her blog post at http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2014/04/how-to-make-a-pastry-cloth-and-why-you-need-one.html. I don’t know if that’s tacky to link you to stuff like that in the comment section, but I just wanted to share with you something that’s made my hectic life with a 3 year old and 1 year old twins a bit easier :). Thanks again!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Marci – so wait, is that you and your adorable daughter in the pictures for that post? If so, you are so cute and it’s fun to put a face to your name (if not, well, just disregard my gushing). I actually do have a pastry cloth…never thought to really publicize about it because I didn’t know if others would find it helpful. Mine came with a circular board – it kind of wraps around it – and I use it for rolling out all my pie crusts, pizza dough, etc. They really are awesome but I think I should make sure I’m pulling mine out more! Thanks for the link – it was fun to see how to make your own pastry cloth – what a great gift idea! And I’m glad that your bread is finally turning out. Is it as perfect as you want it to be?

      • Marci says:

        That is me and my daughter but my sister is the one behind the sewing and photography. I can cook (well, I can use your recipes and make people think I can cook) but I seriously lack in the crafting/sewing department. I would call the bread perfect, I love it so much I have toast every morning! The pastry cloth I stole from my mom has made a permanent home in my kitchen since I’ve started experimenting with all your bread/dough recipes. Made the chewy Italian rolls last night, and well, I nailed it!

  128. Jennifer Kelly says:

    I just went to the store to by the Vital Wheat Gluten and vitamin C so I can attempt to make whole wheat bread. All the store had was Vital Wheat Gluten with vitamin C already in it. So do I not use the vitamin C pill or also use it. Thank you so much. I love your Blog it has changed the way we eat and I love to share your blog with everyone. Thank you.

    • Mel says:

      Jennifer Kelly – It honestly doesn’t matter either way. Whenever I happen to get gluten with Vitamin C I still throw in the Vitamin c tablets because I’m so used to it but you could probably leave them out. Both should work fine!

  129. Kristy says:

    Hi Mel! I’m trying Darcy’s Whole Wheat Bread for the first time, by hand. I’m curious if you know if I leave the knead time at 15 minutes if I’m going to halve the recipe? Thanks for your help! Kristy

  130. denny says:

    i’m not sure where to post this question, so i’ll just do it here. i’ve enjoyed the cook’s illustrated no knead and oatmeal american loaf bread recipes for years. based on your enthusiasm for grinding your own wheat, i’ve just ordered a grinder. my question is: if i use ground hard white wheat, can i still follow the existing recipes? if not, what changes would i need to make? should i add vital wheat gluten?

    thanks,

    denny

    • Mel says:

      denny – Unfortunately I haven’t made either of those recipes referenced so I can’t say for sure what changes would need to be made. Good luck with any experimenting! Usually it takes a bit of experimenting and tweaking when first starting out with home milled flour.

  131. nosh says:

    hello mel, ive tried almost alll your bread recipes and they are all the best!! i want to to try this but i have one question, whenever i meake any bread which has whole wheat it crumbles when i cut it in slices. even when i cut it after a day or after a couple of hours. is there anything i can do to help that and cut neat slices and have bread which doesnt crumble when i make a sandwwich. i just wanted to clear this before i attempt making your recipe. i use strong bread flour and no vital wheat gluten . thanks.

    • Mel says:

      nosh – I’m not sure what strong bread flour is – is it 100% whole wheat? The gluten actually does help soften the bread – also, making sure not to overbake or overflour will help the bread be soft and not crumbly. Good luck!

  132. nosh says:

    Thanks for the reply Mel. Strong whole meal flour or strong plain flour means added gluten here in uk. Its used for bread. I think maybe i overbake it slightly…but i do follow the time written in every recipe. Maybe i should get a thermometer to check internal bread temperature bit early? Anyways thanks . Ur helpful as usual . This is my fav blog !

    • Mel says:

      nosh – I know that a lot of online bread sources say to bake bread until it is 190 degrees F but I usually cook it about 20 degrees shy of that (190 degrees usually creates burned, dry bread for me).

      • nosh says:

        Aaaah yes ! I think that is the problem im having. Will try your recipe n baking time/ way. Thanks a million ! Recently tried your pretzel rolls n my husband couldn’t believe i made them at home ! 🙂

  133. Kira says:

    Hey Mel, I’ve been making the same whole wheat bread recipe for the last three years and love it, but decided to try Darcy’s recipe today. Have to change things up once in a while. It’s looking beautiful. After reading the comments, I wondered if you are still decreasing the water to 6 cups or if you’re using the 6 1/2 listed in the recipe? And are you making 4 or 5 loaves now? Thanks. I trust your way is the best way!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Kira – I have been changing up my whole wheat bread ways over the last several months and have a new updated whole wheat bread post in the wings (probably posted sometime in January) but here’s an adapted recipe that works great for four loaves:

      6 cups very warm water
      2 tablespoons yeast
      1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
      1000 mg crushed vitamin C
      2/3 cup oil
      2/3 cup honey
      2 tablespoons salt
      10-ish cups flour

      Follow the directions for Darcy’s whole wheat bread recipe, except split the dough into 4 loaves instead of 5-6, let the bread rise in the pans about 2 inches or slightly more above the edge of the pan and baking in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25-28 minutes.

      • Loretta says:

        Mel, I don’t understand why there is such a drastic difference in the amount of flour in the Darcy recipe originally posted (12-15 cups, then changed to 15-17 cups) and the modified version of the recipe with water decreased to 6 cups and flour only 10-ish cups. Like several others, I am working on perfecting this recipe, but have had a lot of trouble with sticky dough even after approaching 15 cups of flour. Is the point you’re trying to teach us to just go by the feel of the dough? My problem is I get nervous when I start adding too much over the recommended amount and worry I’ve done something wrong. I live in a humid part of the country, so have wondered how much that affects my dough. Anyway, sorry to be long-winded, but was surprised by the change to only 10-ish cups of flour and wondering why so much less than in the earlier recipe. Thanks for your wonderful blog. I am learning so much!

        • Mel says:

          Hi Loretta – I think the reason you see such a difference in flour is because (and I feel like I’ve harped on this a lot so sorry if it’s repetitive) I don’t like using a set amount of flour for bread and instead prefer to go based on touch and feel and texture of the dough. So many factors influence bread baking, like temperature and humidity and how one measures flour in the first place. I’ve made bread in various places we’ve lived – high altitude in Logan, Utah, sea level in Green Bay Wisconsin, in Northern Minnesota, and now southwestern Idaho. Each time, the exact flour amount changes. The modified version I included in the comments isn’t a recipe I use consistently – I use the Darcy’s whole wheat bread recipe (it’s the one I make every week for my family) and when I originally posted it over five or six years ago, the flour amount (12-15) cups was low since like I said above, I usually just add flour until it forms a soft, supple dough so I changed it to the 15-17 cups to give people a better guideline, even though I want it to just be a guideline. Don’t worry if you are adding more than the amount in the recipe. Much of that will depend on how you measure flour compared to how I or others measure it. The fact that you live in a humid area will definitely mean you’ll use more flour than those of us who live in a dry climate (when I lived in Wisconsin where it was more humid, I definitely needed more flour).

          Are you using the modified recipe or the posted Darcy’s recipe? I’d be happy to help you troubleshoot any issues you are having. Just let me know! 🙂

      • Loretta says:

        Thanks for your reply, Mel. Due to several flopped bread batches recently, I was seriously considering offering you an all-expenses-paid trip to Texas to give me bread making lessons! Either that or asking if we could Skype a lesson. But I am very happy to report that just today I made a perfect batch of Darcy’s bread!! So exciting!! Even before I heard back from you, I was sure 10 c. flour would not be enough. So I used the lesser amount of water (6 c.) and somewhere between 17-18 c. flour, and based on what someone else said, I upped the yeast to 2 1/2 T. I let the dough autolyse with about 13 c. flour for 25 minutes before kneading, but then had to add 3 or 4 more cups to get it to where the dough wasn’t sticky and sticking to the sides and bottom of the bowl. (Very humid day here.) So yes, I used the posted Darcy recipe but with less water and think maybe I am finally getting the hang of what to watch for in my dough. It was very helpful to me to know the weight of the dough you put in your pans and how tall to let the loaves rise. I really – really! – appreciate your willingness to coach me and so many others in our quest to master delicious, nutritious homemade bread.

        • Mel says:

          Oh, I’m so happy you had a perfect batch! Isn’t that a great feeling? Feel free to let me know if you still have other questions. I’ve skyped with other readers over bread issues and would be more than happy to do the same!

  134. McKenna says:

    Hello! I have been making bread for over a year and recently I have been experiencing some problems I was wondering you would know how to fix! When my bread is done cooking, it has fallen in the middle even though at the end of the last rise it looks right. Also, about a day or 2 later, my bread is crumbly but not dry. Could I be adding not enough flour? I do a combo of hard red and hard white freshly ground wheat. I add about 7 cups (for 2 loaves) but I stopping adding flour when I notice it isn’t wet anymore and it cleans the sides of the bowl. Anything else I am doing wrong?

    • Mel says:

      Hi McKenna – are you using one of the recipes on this post? It’s hard to know exactly what might be going wrong but it sounds like if the bread is falling during baking it could be because it rose too high during the first rise and deflated or it might be that it needs a bit more flour to help hold the structure. Usually crumbly bread is because of too much flour, though, so I’m not entirely sure. How much yeast are you using?

  135. Anita says:

    In your comment you said you added 2 cups of white flour to the first recipe (Darcy’s) …so instead of 15 cups of whole wheat flour do you use 13 c. whole wheat + 2 cups white flour? Did I understand right? Thank you
    “The first recipe is one perfected by my friend, Mel’s, mom. Her bread has quite a legacy and lives up to it’s fame. I’ve adapted the recipe slightly to fit what I normally have on hand (as in, I never have dough enhancer so substituted gluten and powdered milk). It is a bit lighter in texture than the second recipe, due to a couple cups of white flour. “

    • Mel says:

      I’m a little confused by your question, Anita, but I don’t add any white flour to Darcy’s Whole Wheat Bread recipe. I use 100% whole wheat. The only bread recipe listed in this post that uses white flour is the one from LuAnn and it is listed in the ingredients. But really, you can adapt any of the recipes the way you like. Ultimately, don’t worry so much about the written flour amount as the texture of the dough – just add flour until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl a little.

  136. Anita says:

    Thank You Mel…i got confused reading your introduction, I assumed that when you mention first recipe is Darcy’s and second recipe LuAnn.
    From your comment “It is a bit lighter in texture than the second recipe, due to a couple cups of white flour” i understood that the first recipe was lighter because you added some white flour. Anyway thank you for your reply …I am on my way to the kitchen to make some bread!

  137. Heather says:

    I have a health issue where I can’t have the additives (ascorbic acid & sorbitan monostearate) that are in instant yeast. If I use active dry yeast, how much do I add for these recipes?

    • Mel says:

      From what I understand, you can use the same amount (maybe slightly increase to a full tablespoon of active dry yeast for every 3/4 tablespoon instant yeast); you might also need to let the bread rise in one bowl before dividing it into loaves and letting it rise in the pan. I remember reading somewhere that active dry yeast needs the double rise whereas instant yeast doesn’t (but I could be wrong).

  138. Rebecca says:

    Hey Mel- I can’t find a way to print your LuAnn’s or Bosch bread recipes. I am doing some experimenting myself here in Rwanda and I only have a Kitchen Aide, which is much smaller than your machine. Anyway, if you have a chance, could you make those two printable?

    • Mel says:

      Hey Rebecca – unfortunately I can only make one recipe per post printable. So you might have to copy the text of those into a Word or other document and print like that. Sorry!

  139. Kirsten says:

    Question: why do you need to add vital wheat gluten and where do you buy that?

  140. Lois says:

    Hi! I’m very new to baking bread at all, and this will be my first try at grinding my own wheat berries and I really want to try this recipe. The recipe says oil, but what kind of oil should I use? I started having to bake my own bread because of food sensitivities, so I’m limited to high quality, no plain vegetable, and no soy at all.
    Thanks, Lois

  141. Rebecca says:

    I have read through the comments and can’t find an answer for this, so sorry if you are answering it twice. Could you tell me why there is only one rise on these whole wheat recipes? I make a lot, lot of bread and always have two rises. I make yours just as you have it and it works out just fine, I am just curious as to why with this whole wheat bread, there is only one. Dumb question, I know, but I am a nerd like that. 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Hey Rebecca – there’s no need for a second rise because the recipe calls for instant yeast. If using active dry yeast, it’s usually recommended that the dough go through two rises. Having said that, I use instant yeast for everything (rolls, breads, pizza dough) and in most other cases, I let the dough rise twice. This bread, however, I just stick with the one rise.

  142. Sandra says:

    Hi Mel, I have been reading some of these comments and I am getting confused. The recipe for Marcy’s bread is the one you use but then there are comments about using powdered milk instead of vitamin C. Which works better? Also, vinegar and lemon juice are a sub. so which is the best? If it is vitamin C like it says in the recipe I see in the post, where do you get vit C with no flavor? Are most flavorless? Thanks.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Sandra – I can understand your confusion. This recipe was posted several years ago and over time, I’ve changed the vitamin c component a little. For a while I subbed in powdered milk and took out the vitamin c but wasn’t happy with the results so the recipe you see posted (Darcy’s recipe up there in the post) is back to the original with the addition that lemon juice and white vinegar will work as a sub for the Vitamin C. Almost always now, I use lemon juice. It doesn’t affect the overall taste of the bread. Also, if using a Vitamin C pill, look for the kind that is non-chewable. Those are flavorless.

  143. Mel says:

    For those of you following along in the comment thread, I’ve added a short 2-minute video to this step-by-step post (at the bottom below the step-by-step tutorial) on how I now shape the dough into loaves. This has virtually eliminated any issues I had with the dough slightly deflating or getting bubbly and rippled on top.

  144. Becky says:

    Hi Mel, Great recipes you have – thank you so much for sharing them. I can’t seem to find the ‘Vital Wheat Gluten’ in my local grocery store. Is there an alternative, or would leaving it out ruin the bread? I may have to order it, but I’m antsy to give this recipe a try! 😉

    • Mel says:

      The gluten definitely helps achieve a lighter, fluffier bread. If leaving it out, I’d suggest kneading it for almost double the amount of time.

  145. Cami says:

    Hi Mel, I’m making bread today and read this post. I’ve been using your site for ages and love it. I feel like the world is a small place because A) I grew up with Darcy (same town, same ward- did you know her mom’s name is also LuAnn?!?) and love her to pieces and B) Mel B. is also one of my very best friends (we lived in a duplex together in Boston), and her mom (LuAnn of recipe fame) was a such a dear dear woman. I thought I would let you share in my “small world” moment. Thanks for your great website!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Cami – seriously, what a small world! I can’t believe you know both Darcy and her mom (and I didn’t know her mom’s names was LuAnn!) and also Mel. I’m kind of in shock, what are the chances? Thank you for sharing that today! It kind of gave me goose bumps.

  146. Monica Y. L Young says:

    I want to say thank you so much Mel for generously sharing your baking & cooking knowledge. The video where you demonstrate your new bread loaf shaping technique
    was so helpful & your recommendations on the brand & size of bread pans that work for you have been my saving grace, they have made my dream of baking succesfull
    sandwich size loaves of bread a reality, after so many failures. Much love and aloha, from Monica Y.L Young

  147. Kristi says:

    I’ve been using the Darcy recipe for a while now and it’s never failed me! I cut it in half because I only have a few loaf pans. We love it though. Thanks for another staple Mel! You need to come visit Austin and then add some Austin influenced Tex-Mex recipes to your site 😉 it’d be fun!

  148. Victoria says:

    This is probably a silly question- but I don’t have 4-6 bread pans, and my oven doesn’t have the capacity to fill that many anyway. Is it possible to refrigerate the dough that isn’t being used right away, and bake it in batches?

  149. Jessi says:

    Have you (or has anyone) ever used Bob’s Red Mill vital wheat gluten brand with good results?

    • Mel says:

      Yes, I have used that brand many times and it works great.

      • Jessi says:

        I am completely new to bread making, and have tried the Darcy’s recipe twice now. The first time, my loaves turned out more like a rectangle than a loaf form, and the bread itself tasted sort of dense for lack of a better word. I don’t have a scale to measure the weight (probably something I should invest in), so I just eye-balled them as I rolled the loaves to put in the pans. This time, they rose beautifully before I baked them; however, I feel like they did slightly deflate in the oven. One of the loaves seemed to turn out a little better (it stayed risen more so than the other and is slightly lighter in texture). And just for clarification, I halved the Darcy’s recipe and use a KitchenAid. I was hoping for a light, fluffy texture, but because it tastes more dense, I’m wondering if I underfloured? It pulled from the sides in the mixer, but definitely was very sticky and I had to wash my hands after rolling it into a ball. Once I took it out of the mixer though and rolled it out with some lightly dusted flour on the counter top, it seemed perfect. I’ve had the same issue both times, not rising enough and having that dense, thicker texture, so I’m wondering what your thoughts are to help me get a fully risen, lighter loaf? I’ve read all the comments on here, so my thought is underflouring, but I’m just not sure! Thanks for your help! P.S. I love your website!

        • Mel says:

          Hi Jessi – I agree with your initial thought that you might be underflouring slightly. You might try adding a bit more flour to see if the helps – the dough should be slightly sticky and tacky to the touch but a small piece should form a pretty neat, uniform ball if rolled in your hands. It might leave a little residue on your fingers but shouldn’t cake your hands with sticky dough. Also, have you seen the video tutorial I made on shaping the dough into loaves? I had the deflating issue for a while until I started shaping the loaves a little differently.

  150. Tim says:

    Hi Mell
    I am very happy to have just discovered your site. I have been milling my own flour for years, first using hard red winter wheat and then later discovering hard white spring. I have encountered most of the same problems as your other posters and have slowly been able to work around them. I started out adding gluten with great results, but I’m a bit of a fanatic and wanted to see if it was possible to get a well risen loaf using just the basic ingredients without the gluten. Instead of trying to measure flour, I started weighing the wheat berries(864 g) prior to milling. Immediately after milling while the flour is warm, I make a sponge using 3 cups of the flour, all the yeast(15.5 g) and 580 g of 110 degree water. I mix that well and let it set covered for 20 min. In that time it becomes very frothy and rises considerably. I then pour the sponge into my Bosch, add 1/3 cup each of oil and sugar and start mixing on level 2. After it is well mixed I simply add the rest of the flour slowly along with 17 g of salt. Depending on the humidity, within about four minutes the dough usually cleans the sides and center post and is fairly dry. At that point, I slowly add one or two tbsp. of additional water. The idea is to get a soft pliable dough that is not too sticky. I then let it continue mixing for an additional 3 or 4 minutes(7 or 8 minutes total), then dump it out onto a lightly oiled counter top and knead it into a neat ball. Cut the ball in half(I weigh the two to get it close as possible), form the loaves and put them in the 2 pans. For proofing, I discovered cheap disposable clear plastic shower caps to cover each loaf during rising. This works well but I later discovered I can set a heating pad on the counter, cover it with a towel, and set the two uncovered loaf pans on the towel with an inverted clear plastic tub over them so I can see it rise. It usually takes slightly over an hour to rise about 2 inches over the edges of the pans at around 90 degrees. 25 minutes in a 350 degree oven usually does it but just to be sure, I drilled a small hole in one of the loaf pans and about 5 minutes before it is done, I insert a temperature probe from a remote oven thermometer in one loaf. This takes all the guess work out of it. When it hits 195 degrees, I pull them out. This routine works well for me as long as I follow it and don’t stray too much. I have a little old neighbor lady who is gluten intolerant yet is able to eat this bread with no ill effects and is really excited to be able to eat bread again.

    • Mel says:

      Thanks for the detailed comment, Tim! I love the science and intricacies of bread baking and you obviously have a lot of experience, thanks for sharing!

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