Whole Wheat Bread

I get a lot of questions regarding yeast and baking bread. A lot. It can be tricky to know when to stop adding flour, how long to knead, what yeast to use, etc, especially when you are just starting down the bread making road. A few years ago, I wrote up a tutorial on yeast which answers many of those questions. However, I have yet to do a step-by-step picture tutorial on simple bread making. Enter today’s post!

Several years ago I transitioned to making all of our bread. Not only has it saved us money but we have come to far prefer the taste of homemade bread to storebought. Even if you aren’t up to making all of your bread, conquering a loaf of bread for special occasions or an occasional indulgence is surely worth it! And I promise, it isn’t hard. In my carb-centered world, there is nothing more divine than a piece of warm, homemade bread fresh out of the oven slathered with butter.

A few notes:
1) For the purposes of the step-by-step instructions below, I am using Darcy’s Whole Wheat Bread recipe from this whole wheat bread post. That post has several recipes but I almost exclusively use Darcy’s recipe.

2) I have a Bosch mixer which is pictured in the instructions below and which I use to make all of my breads/rolls. You might need to tailor each bread recipe you try to the size of your stand mixer (or the size of the motor in the mixer) or to what you can accomplish by hand. The pictures below are a simple guideline to follow – adapt according to your equipment or lack of.

3) I grind my own wheat flour (with the Wolfgang Grain Mill) when I make bread although you can definitely use storebought wheat flour. I prefer hard white wheat over hard red wheat for it’s delicate texture and flavor but either can be used. Here are a few informative posts I did on wheat (varieties, where to buy) and wheat grinding (different wheat grinders on the market with lots of reviews). When using freshly ground wheat flour, you will need to add more cups of flour than if using flour that has settled in a bag, since the flour is more aerated and fluffy from being freshly ground. That is a minor issue since I harp on the fact that when making yeast doughs the flour amount given in the recipe should be a guideline only – the real test is the look and feel of the dough.

4) Just to restate from an earlier post, I use these bread pans and once the bread is cooled, I package it in these lovely bread bags with the plastic bag clips from IKEA and freeze until we are ready to eat.

5) As always, please let me know if you have any questions! I hope this tutorial is helpful for those of you wanting to conquer the art of bread making.

Click here for a printable PDF version of the picture tutorial.

Update 4/2015: If you have issues with your bread rising pretty well in the pans but deflating a bit in the oven, you might consider changing the way you shape your dough. I’ve included a video below with a quick 2-minute tutorial on how I shape my bread dough these days. I used to do it as pictured in the post above (and I know it works for many of you so I’m leaving the pictures as is) but over the last several months, my bread hasn’t risen well in the oven and I’ve realized it needs a tighter loaf. So I simplified how I shape it by pressing it in my hands into a much tighter loaf. I’ve indicated this in the comments but many of you wanted a visual so here you go. I literally grabbed the video camera in the middle of making bread when I remembered you asked for this – and so please don’t mind the quirky editing and my little sidekick. 

183 Responses to Whole Wheat Bread {Step-by-Step}

  1. Aubrei says:

    Hi Mel.
    Im just getting into baking my own bread and remembered reading a post not too long ago about you switching to different bread pans. Is the link provided above the current bread pans you would recommend? I would love your current recommendation as I would like to purchase some better pans. Thank You!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Aubrei, I still use the Chicago Metallic ones linked in the post but a friend gave me two USA bread pans (the 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 size) and they are amazing, too!

      • Aubrei says:

        Thanks so much! Love your site and all of the hard work you put into it! You and your recipes are a favorite around here!

  2. Corkey says:

    Hey guys…..I’m looking for a recipe from The Magic of Wheat Cookery….bought it with my Bosch years ago. It was a honey wheat bread using powdered milk. I sure would love to have the recipe again …..there are plenty of new recipes out now but all have adding enhanced ingredients. Please help me find this. Thx

  3. Janice Kurdilla says:

    Hi Mel. I have a question about your revised WW bread. It says to bake in preheated oven instead of a cold oven. Which do you prefer? Also I recently bought dough enhancer. If I use that do I still need the vital wheat gluten. I’m trying to find the perfect ww recipe instead of white bread. I have a vitamix that I use to grind the flour and a 5 qt kitchen aid mixer. I have had pretty good luck making bread but am still trying to perfect it. Thank you, Janice..

    • Mel says:

      Hi Janice – I don’t use dough enhancer so you might need to do a little looking online to see how it converts to subbing in for gluten. As for the oven, I alternate between methods. Lately, I’ve found I let it rise on the counter and put it in an already preheated oven (mostly because I got a new oven a few months ago and the cold oven method was drying out my bread/browning it too much).

      • Janice Kurdilla says:

        Mel, thanks for your quick response. I have another question before I try this recipe. Looking at your response to Marci and your revised recipe, you state that you halved the recipe except for the water which you cut back to 3 cups, however, the altered recipe is the same as the original except for a little less flour. I’m thinking I will try just halving the original recipe and maybe just making 2 or 3 loaves.

        • Mel says:

          Hi Janice, I believe that recipe has worked better for Marci. I actually use the original recipe in the post because after revising the way I shape it into loaves (making a tighter loaf), the original recipe is working great for me as it did for years. Good luck with whatever variation you try. Let me know if you have other questions.

  4. Mel says:

    For those of you following along in the comment thread, I’ve added a short 2-minute video to this 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.

  5. Kim in MD says:

    Camryn’s video debut! 🙂 You are both adorable! I always love your tutorials and videos, Mel!

  6. Marci says:

    One more thing, my 4 loaves are never more than 28 oz each but I can’t imagine adding anymore flour, it’s barely sticky as is. My dough and bread is so much different than how you describe yours that I keep rechecking the recipe to see if I’m missing something big, but I’m doing it just as you describe. I guess it’s time for a road trip to your house. Now to figure out how to explain to the hubby that I’m leaving him with the kids for 3 days so I can learn to perfect my bread…

  7. Marci says:

    Hey Mel! I’m back ;). So my bread has been so disappointing lately. When it rises it’s always a rippled look, not a beautifully shaped dome like yours, and then the other half of the time it rises beautifully only to deflate in the oven into the same old rippled look. I’ve tried doing 2 1/2-3 T of yeast and while this has seemed to get a better rise out of it, my bread ends up being really light and airy on the top half and heavy on the bottom half. I know it’s hard to tell me what’s wrong when you can’t see it, but do you have any idea what’s up? I had one lady suggest to me I might need more dough in my pans but I bought the same pans as you and have been doing 4 loaves instead of 5. So frustrating! I love the taste of this bread and I wish I could get it right!

    • Mel says:

      Marci – what recipe are you using? The one in the post or the revised one in the comments that we talked about a few months back? I actually have my post all ready to go on my perfected whole wheat bread, I’m just trying to set some time aside to post it. I’ll be interested if it helps you to get the perfect bread. Also, I know you were joking, but if you are ever in my neck of the woods, you could totally come over to make bread. In the meantime, I’m not above face timing or skyping to figure it out if that might help. How are you shaping the bread into loaves?

      • Marci says:

        I’m still using the Darcy recipe using the revised version you made awhile ago with using 6 cups of water and making 4 loaves instead of 5 etc. my husband and I usually end up out that way at least once during the summer for a motorcycle road trip (I love McCall and Stanley!) that would be a dang fun detour to make to your house! I can’t wait for your post! I have 3 loaves of bread in my freezer so I may hold out til your post to make anymore. Thanks for everything!

  8. JK Zinda says:

    Hi Mel,
    I just found your website at the beginning of this year and love it! Such great recipes. I own a Bosch as well and have been making my own bread for about seven years, but I love to try new recipes. Also, I have always used the smaller bread pans (as I have smaller mouths to feed and the smaller size bread is great portions), but I wanted to try bigger loafs. When I got to the end of your post on rising and baking, I was very surprised to see you put your bread in a cold oven! How does that work without you burning the top of your bread when preheating? How do you time that?

    • Mel says:

      It’s the way I’ve always made it so I guess I’ve never really second guessed it – I don’t have a problem with the tops of my bread getting overly browned so I keep with that same method. It probably depends on how quickly your oven preheats.

  9. Jonathan says:

    Mel, I see that a lot of recipes call for all-purpose flour. If I grind my own wheat berries (let’s say, hard white) then I get whole-wheat flour. What do I need to add to make it all-purpose flour? I’ve seen some things that add wheat gluten. How necessary is this? Thanks in advance, love the site!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Jonathon – I’m not entirely sure. I don’t know if it’s possible at home to make whole wheat flour into all-purpose flour – all the portions of whole wheat would have to be stripped out of the flour to do that. Adding wheat gluten will help the flour be more like bread flour (higher protein) and helps whole wheat baked goods turn out light instead of dense.

  10. Ally Cathey says:

    Hi Mel,

    I finally have the courage to make this!

    What oil do you use?

  11. Paulette says:

    Have you ever substituted Xanthum gum for the vital wheat gluten in your recipe? If so, how did it turn out?

  12. Kasandra Miller says:

    Hi Mel,
    I made this recipe last weekend and we’ve gone through all 5 loaves already (family of 7). The flavor of the loaves were great but they definitely didn’t rise like in the picture and were much more dense. They were not crumbly at all, so I don’t think I over floured the dough. Any thoughts on how I might get a fluffier bread?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Kasandra – it sounds like they might need to rise longer before they bake. Either that or tack several minutes onto the kneading time. If they didn’t get a high rise and you think the flouring is pretty spot on, I’d say let them rise higher before baking.

  13. BW says:

    Hey Mel, I finally got a grain mill – yahoo! My question is – the first picture looks like a white loaf from white flour vs whole wheat from hard white wheat berries. What is the crumb like on the whole wheat?

    • Mel says:

      Actually, all the pictures are of the 100% whole wheat loaves. I use white wheat (as compared to red wheat) so the texture and color of the bread is lighter, even if it is 100% whole wheat.

      • BW says:

        Oh wow! I didn’t realize it would be that light with all the bran in there because tortillas are pretty dark.

        Thanks! I’m super excited to try this.

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  15. angie mitolo says:

    Thank you for giving me the confidence to make my own bread! I started with baby steps and my kitchen aid mixer one loaf at a time. Then came the rolls, pizza dough, bagels, cookies, brownies. I then saved enough money to purchase the bosch universal mixer and my life changed! I can never eat a store bought item again, thanks to all your fabulous recipes. Saved enough money to buy a KoMo grinder and a 40lb. bag of hard white wheat berries.
    I just made 5 loaves with my freshly milled flour:) Taste great, looks different than yours. (yours looks like a white loaf, mine looks like whole wheat)
    Thank you Mel, for creating this fabulous blog, it truely is my go to site, when I need a recipe.

    • Mel says:

      I love to hear this, Angie! My Bosch mixer and KoMo grain mills are some of my most treasured kitchen tools and I’m so thrilled that you are enjoying them as well and that it’s allowed you to make bread from scratch. Yay!

  16. Laurie says:

    How would I alter this to use a food processor?

  17. Colten says:

    Mel we have been cooking loads of your recipes. They are delicious. When making Darcy’s bread we end up with a nice large loaves that come out nice and golden brown. However, most times the middle of the bread is still doughy. I feel like it is done, because the outside looks nice and delicious, but like stated, it can get slightly doughy towards the middle. Do we just need to cook the loaves longer?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Colten, yep, it sounds like you might need to tack on a few minutes to the baking time – that could be due to how ovens vary in individual temperature. 3-4 extra minutes should help!

  18. Marci says:

    It didn’t seem too sticky but I’m gonna add more flour and see what happens. I can’t wait for that post! How exciting!

  19. Marci says:

    I’m having a new problem with this bread. I’m making the 4 loaves with 3 T of yeast and while I’m getting a much better rise, my bread is coming out very airy on the top half and more dense on the bottom half. My 4 loaves have only ever weighed 27-28 oz. could I just not be putting enough flour? The dough seems to meet your description but definitely isn’t the 32 oz you said you were getting.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Marci – is your dough overly sticky? Do you think it needs more flour based on how it feels? If so try adding a half cup or so to see if that helps. I’m working on a new and improved bread recipe that hopefully will be virtually foolproof – to be posted soon I hope!

  20. Sarah says:

    Can I still ask a question several years later? I use active dry yeast, because that’s what I have a scrap load of. Switching to instant as soon as it’s gone. Anyway, with Darcy’s recipe, do I need to do two rises with ADY? Or can I stick with the one rise? Thanks for you website, by the way. I love making my MIL jealous with what she thinks are my mad cooking skills. Nope. It’s just Mel!

    • Mel says:

      Ha! Thanks for the smile, Sarah! As for your question, yes, if you use active dry yeast, you want to have the dough rise once (in a large greased bowl or something like that) and then again in the pans. Also, you might consider upping the amount of yeast. Usually it’s about 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast to 3 teaspoons active dry yeast.

  21. Kellie says:

    Have you ever tried making the bread with applesauce instead of oil?

  22. Karen says:

    Ugh…failure again. After 20 cups of flour I stopped counting and it was still sticking to my counter top and giving me monster fingers. I can rock all your roll recipes but those darn loaves remain elusive.
    Is the dough supposed to be about as sticky as your French roll recipe or more sticky? That might help me out. Also do you think it would work if I turned your French roll recipe into loaves or is that just nonsense? Thanks Mel!

  23. Anne says:

    Hello Mel , it’s me again with another bread question!! 🙂 i ve been Attempting this whole wheat bread for a few months now and have have varied results.. Initially I let the dough Proof once before forming the loaf and then let it rise again.. And the bread came out pretty good.. Today I did as you suggest, only let the dough rise once.. The bread was a lot denser than the twice proofed ones.. Now, I must say that I knead by hand.. In this case do you think I’m not kneading enough, or that a second rise might prove benifiacial in developing the gluten and a softer loaf??

    • Mel says:

      Hi Anne – I definitely think the kneading by hand could be an issue. It’s a bit harder to develop the natural gluten by hand (but definitely not impossible, you just have to knead it for about double the time you would in a mixer). If you are having better luck letting it double rise, I would definitely continue with that method as long as you are hand kneading the bread (and maybe try kneading a few minutes longer to see if that helps, too). Good luck!

  24. Sara says:

    Thank you so much, Mel! We devoured the first batch these past few days…onto the second. I will try freezing the whole loaves, getting out one at a time (like you suggested). I do have one more question! I just now realized that the vital wheat gluten I bought says Vital Wheat Gluten with Vitamin C. Would you think I should then omit the additional Vitamin C from the recipe, or throw that in as well? I put it in last time and it was great, just wondering if it was unnecessary.

    • Mel says:

      Sara – Whenever I use that type of wheat gluten, I still add the vitamin c tablet – seems to work just fine. I’m so glad the bread is working out for you!

  25. Sara says:

    OK, I have had your recommended bread pans, King Arthur Freezer bags and all the ingredients for this bread for months, and I finally gave it a whirl. I tried the Darcy’s bread recipe (using your modified amounts/directions that you had given in your last comment) and it turned out FABULOUS. I am so excited…have been wanting to switch to homemade sandwich bread for a long time. I do have a question about freezing, though. (I apologize if you have already clarified this somewhere else and I just missed it.) Do you freeze the whole loaf intact, or do you cut it into slices first? If I freeze the loaves and just get one loaf out at a time, will the bread stay fresh enough that way (we probably eat a loaf in 2 to 3 days) or do you prefer getting each slice right from the freezer? I baked the bread yesterday, sliced, then froze in the bags. This morning when I went to get a slice out, they were so stuck together and really difficult to break/cut apart. Thoughts??

    • Mel says:

      Sara – I’m so happy the bread turned out so well. Yay! About freezing, I used to slice the loaves and then put them in the freezer but I haven’t done that in years. Instead I bake them and let them cool, then put them in bread bags (trying to get out as much air as possible) and close with a clip. I just take the loaf out of the freezer when we want bread. If it sits on the counter for a few hours it’s good to go but if I need it right away, I microwave it for about 2 minutes on 50% power. It makes it cuttable without defrosting the entire loaf. We eat a loaf of bread within 2-3 days also. By the third day, it’s definitely on the drier side, but when that happens, I just put the slices of bread in the microwave for 5 seconds or so and they soften right up. Hope that helps!

  26. Laura says:

    Hi Mel! I’ve made this recipe 4 or 5 times now, but I am having such a HARD time getting my dough to rise over the bread pans. I half the recipe because I don’t think my tiny mixer could handle all that dough, but I’ve only been successful once at getting the dough to rise up and over the pan. Any suggestions? Is it because I’m halting the recipe? I weigh the dough and it seems like I’m adding enough dough, but not too much. The taste is there and the bread is moist and fluffy once cooked; it’s just a flat loaf of bread. 🙂 Any help would be much appreciated!!!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Laura – when you halve the recipe how many loaves are you making? My guess is that your dough isn’t rising enough because a) it’s overfloured (what’s the texture like – soft and slightly sticky or a bit tough)? or b) you need to use more dough in the pans. I’ve been helping another reader (Marci) troubleshoot her bread also on the other whole wheat bread post I have. When I was experimenting with the recipe I found the magic combo when making just four loaves. Here’s what I wrote to Marci – see if it helps (and be sure to let me know if you have any other questions):
      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!

      • Laura says:

        Thanks so much for your reply, Mel. I usually split the dough into 2 loaves and have left-over dough which I then roll into dinner rolls.

        I broke my collarbone recently so I haven’t been able to try your suggestions. I am feeling good today, so it’s bread-making day! I will let you know how the altered recipe goes for me. Thanks again!!!

  27. McKenna says:

    I have a probably stupid question, but I am new to bread making and wanted to make sure I am doing things right. I use the 8.5X4.5 inch glass pans (which are 1 pound pans). Does this mean that my loaves/dough should weight 1 pound? And if I was using the 1 1/2 pound loaves I should make sure my loaves/dough is 1 1/2 pounds? My loaves were ending up 2 pounds each, when I was using the 1 pound pans and I think that might be why my bread is ending up dry after a couple days. Tastes great, but wondering if that was a big mistake!

    • Mel says:

      McKenna – to be honest, I don’t know the official answer to that question but for my bread (whcih I make every week), I put about 26 ounces of dough in each 1-pound pan. I’ve tried less and it makes for flatter, smaller loaves. Perhaps it really should be just a pound of dough for each pound loaf pan, but I do more than that. You might try cutting it back from the 2 pounds (in the 1 pound pans)…and you could certainly try doing just a pound of dough but like I said, that never worked for me. Good luck!

  28. Cortney West says:

    Thanks for sharing your amazing recipes. I just found your website and have loved everything I have made so far. Forgive me if this has been asked and answered but what is wheat gluten and where can I purchase it? And do I need it if I buy my flour instead of grinding it?

    • Mel says:

      Cortney – Yes, you need gluten whether you are using freshly ground flour or not. It is widely available in most grocery stores (usually on the top shelf above the flour). It helps develop elasticity and tenderness in the bread since the gluten in the wheat flour can be hard to develop on its own. It is a natural product harvested from the wheat. I hope that helps.

  29. Farzana says:

    Stupid question . . what would be the amounts for 2 loaves. i.e. how much to decrease yeast, salt, etc. I would really appreciate it because I would LOVE to try your recipe !! Thanks !!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Farzana – I’m not sure, to be honest, since I’ve never cut down the recipe. I think someone in the comment thread did do that, though, so you might try reading through to see. Good luck!

  30. lindsey hall says:

    would you be able to use this in a bread machine (obviously you would have to cut down the size of the recipe)

    • Mel says:

      lindsey hall – definitely worth a try although I don’t have a bread machine so I can’t tell you how to adjust the quantities. Good luck if you try it!

  31. Brenda says:

    I did it! I did it! I did it! It was the pans! My loaf pans are the traditional 9×6 and I was w a i t i n g… forever for it to rise “1-2 inches above the pan” (which it NEVER would have done because the pan is so much bigger) and that’s why it fell in the oven. I ordered your pans and they worked perfectly! The texture is so great and I’m hooked! Also, for the initial rise in the bowl, I reduced the flour to only 1 cup and let it rise a full 15 plus minutes. I really got a nicer rise with less flour. Then I added another cup and a half during the kneading step (so 2 1/2 total for the recipe) and it’s perfect! This is magnificent! I feel like shouting from the mountaintops! You are a genius! Thanks for sharing all the great tips, pictures and this recipe!

    I am curious of one thing though. I keep my flour in the freezer and the yeast in the fridge. Would you let it warm up to room temp before you start or just go with it?

    Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Brenda, I’m so happy the bread worked out. Thanks for checking back in to let me know. As for your question, I never bother letting the ingredients come to room temp. I use yeast from the freezer. Although my flour is usually freshly ground so you may want to take the chill off your flour if its coming from the freezer.

  32. Brenda says:

    🙁 I’m so sad I can’t make this recipe work! I’m using a KitchenAid, but I really don’t think that’s the issue. I cut the recipe down to make one loaf but I’m certain all my measurements are correct.
    2-3 cups flour
    1 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
    5 tsp. vital wheat gluten
    200mg. Vitamin C
    1 1/3 warm water
    7 tsp. oil
    7 tsp. honey
    1 1/4 tsp. salt

    Initially, I use 2 cups of the flour for the rise in the mixer bowl and then add the third cup while kneading. That first rise in the mixer is unimpressive. Not as poofy as yours but I’m only doing one loaf also. The dough is sticky but not as sticky as yours in the bowl and when I get it out onto the counter, it’s still sticking to my hands a bit. I’m using a 50/50 mixture of freshly milled hard red and hard white. When it goes into the pan, it won’t really rise. I’ve tried a warmer kitchen and in the 100 degree oven. It’s a pathetic rise really. But then, crazy as it is, it rises in the baking process and falls! Ugh! The texture is divine and I REALLY want to get this right! I’ve researched and “they” say when your bread falls it means there isn’t enough flour/structure to hold the rise but I’m thinking that I really do have enough in there. I’ve played with the ratio of flour to water a bit and I only lose the light texture with more flour. My yeast is brand new and it’s Fleischmann’s Active Dry Yeast. I’m going to try using less flour for the initial rise in the mixer to see if I can get better results that way.

    Any amount of energy you want to send my way is GREATLY appreciated!
    Persistant but weary in MN.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Brenda – I’m sorry you are frustrated with the bread! I’m sure we can get things right. I’ve never cut the recipe down for one loaf but I know that even in the full recipe, many commenters have indicated they have to add much more flour than what is called for in the recipe. If your dough is overly sticky you might need a bit more flour. It’s surprising that it doesn’t rise initially but it does in the oven. I can attest that not enough flour has caused my bread to fall in the oven, too, so even though I always caution against overflouring, I think you probably need more like 3 1/2 cups to 4 cups flour for this recipe (and I’d increase the gluten to a full 2 tablespoons).

  33. Melissa says:

    My bread doesn’t seem to rise as high as your bread does after putting it in the oven, I’m not sure why. Mine also never seem to have that nice round dome top. What could I be doing wrong? I mean the bread tastes good, I feel like it just never rises as high as I want it to and that the end product doesn’t look like the pictures you post. I’ve been making it by hand as well, I don’t know if that makes a difference.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Melissa – are you starting it out in a cold oven or putting it in a preheated oven? I would suggest letting it rise a bit higher before putting it in the oven so that it bakes up a bit taller. It’s pretty easy to overflour dough when making it by hand and that will affect how high the bread rises so take care to still leave it a bit tacky and not overflour.

  34. Mame says:

    Ok, so silly question. The bread in the top photo, sliced, is that this bread recipe?! It looks so much lighter/fluffier than my bread last time. I did for sure under flour though, so I am going to try, try again!!

    p.s. TOTALLY congrats on the 15 acres. May I suggest a mini-horse? they are AMAZING.

  35. Brandie says:

    Thanks to you I have been inspired to make all of our bread. I have been at it for a month or so and love it! I have outgrown my kitchenaide and am upgrading to a Bosch :). Very excited. Tired of only being able to make 2 loaves at a time. My family and myself thank you for the inspiration and making it so simple!

  36. Amanda B says:

    I have baked a lot of homemade bread, but I’ve always felt a little unsure of when to stop adding flour. This post has upped my confidence in bread making SO much. I even taught a few friends how to make bread about a week ago!
    Thank you for taking the time to document this process for others. Bread making truly is the gift that keeps in giving, huh? ;^)

  37. Nikki says:

    Thank you SO much for this tutorial and recipe! I have had so many failed attempts at bread until now. Thank you for taking the time to give us all of the steps. My bread turned out fantastic and that is a miracle for me!

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  39. Mel says:

    Rachel- I’m sure it would work fine. Just keep an eye on flour amounts to make sure the dough doesn’t get over floured.

  40. Rachel R says:

    Would this work with all purpose white flour? I ran out of wheat.

  41. Emily says:

    Thank you very much for the tutorial! I want to try this very badly, and when I do this will be a very big help! =)

  42. Cynthia says:

    Mel, I just finished making “Darcy’s whole wheat recipe” and it turned out perfectly. I cut the recipe in half and it made 3 loaves but next time I think I will make 2 loaves and use the remainder dough for a pizza crust. The only change I made to the recipe is that I didn’t add a vitamin C pill but instead added one and a half Tablespoons of dough enhancer. The bread rose well, baked at 325 for 31 minutes, browned just right and tastes wonderful. I did use my Nutrimill and ground my own flour and my Bosch Mixer which makes the job so much easier. Your step by step tutorial was the key to helping me to add just the right amount of flour and helping me to determine when the dough was the right consistency. Thank you for your helpful advice. I feel like a success!!!!

  43. Jen says:

    Just found one of your recipes on pinterest and I’m totally hooked!!! I subscribed to your email and facebook and now have printed 7 recipes for the week. Can’t wait to make these loaves of bread. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

  44. Bonnie says:

    I know this is an old post but I just wanted to thank you for this recipe! I’ve made several different types of whole wheat bread and this has been my favorite! Finally a light and fluffy whole wheat recipe. Thanks again and congrats on your baby girl.

  45. Crystal says:

    Last night I made bread following your tutorial. (I only have 2 pans so I divided the recipe by thirds.) It was my third attempt at bread making, but the first time using the tutorial (after I found it last week). Oh my goodness … it worked! It didn’t rise as high as it should have, but I think that I started it too late in the day. I noticed that once it got dark outside, the kitchen seemed to cool down fast. Your recipe was the first recipe that I came across to use vital wheat gluten. That’s the only difference between the recipe I had tried before and yours. I’m sold on it now. I will be making bread again in a couple of days. I’ll start earlier in the day. LOL. We’ve tried several recipes from your site and love them all. In fact, we just had the frozen lasagna last week.

  46. […] BreadTriple-Rich Whole-Wheat Bread | Eating WellCinnamon Raisin Bread Recipe : : Food NetworkWhole Wheat Bread {Step-by-Step} – Mel’s Kitchen Cafe —How to Make the Perfect Loaf of French Bread | Steamy Kitchen RecipesOlive Bread Recipe : : Food […]

  47. Mel says:

    Hi Anissa – sorry this was a frustrating process! I know a lot of professional bakers (definitely not me!) use an instant read thermometer to test the doneness of their bread. I don’t know the exact temperature but a quick google search might be able to shed light on that. My method has always been trial and error – really professional, I know! When we’ve moved and I’ve had to adjust to a new oven (which means slightly different heat control), I just tweak the baking time by a few minutes, more or less, each time I make it until it is just right. Good luck!

  48. Anissa says:

    Just made this bread today. I should have read through all the comments before starting and I think I would have saved myself some frustration. I thought I was on track with the amount of flour and stickiness test, but once I dumped it all out and had a huge sticky mess I knew I should have done more. I tried to kneed a little more flour by hand, but in the end I did my best to form the globs into logs and get them peeled off my counter and into the pans.
    They rose beautifully though, so I baked them as outlined. The first loaf we cut into tonight was underbaked. Not to the point where we can’t eat it (I admit I love me some slightly underdone doughy bread), but probably not ideal for sandwich making. Do you know of any way to test the breads doneness while still in the oven? They were plenty brown on top… wish there was a simple toothpick test like with cakes.
    I’m going to make this recipe again with more flour and longer bake time because the flavor of the bread is terrific.
    Thanks for a great tute! 🙂

  49. Rachel says:

    Mel, thank you for this fabulous tutorial. Your website is beautiful and your recipes are delicious – you have good taste! You have turned me on to making all of our whole wheat bread and I have outgrown my kitchen aid mixer. Bosch has a good reputation as a heavy duty bread mixer, but it seems big. Do you use your bosch for other things such as cookies and cake?

  50. Carmen says:

    Hi Mel,
    I just made your bread last night, ground my own white wheat and was hoping the bread would turn out white like your picture but it didn’t. How do you get your bread so light? Do you use 100% whole wheat?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Carmen – yes, I do use all whole wheat. I use hard white wheat in case that might make a difference. What kind of wheat are you using?

  51. Mel says:

    Marie – I use it for all my breads rolls and cookies!

  52. Marie says:

    I just got a bosch mixer for Christmas. I can’t wait to try and make some bread in it! What else do you use it for?

  53. Kat says:

    I just made this bread today (after inheriting an old wheat grinder) and it is wonderful! I used all red wheat (that’s what I had on hand) and we loved the taste. I’m so grateful for your tutorial–I would have WAY overfloured my dough without it. I couldn’t believe how sticky it still was, but I trusted you and my bread was light, fluffy, and amazingly delicious. Thanks for the great recipe and tutorial!

  54. Mel says:

    Hi Anna – I use hard white wheat almost exclusively, although I have a ton of hard red wheat in my food storage I’m trying to use up so lately I grind half white wheat and half red wheat. When I lived out West, I would buy the big white buckets of white wheat at the Macey’s grocery store when they would have their caselot sales. Oddly, I’ve found huge 25 pound bags of the white wheat berries at Walmart out here (in Wisconsin) and so I’ll pick it up there, too. I also use the LDS Bishop’s Storehouse when I am close (but currently my closest location is 3 hours away).

  55. Anna says:

    Mel-where did you get your stash of wheat? What kind do you use?

  56. Vickie says:

    Thank you for the pictures. Based on what I see here, I have definitely been adding too much flour to my breads, and this would explain their dense texture and crumbly crumbs. Can’t wait to try again!

  57. […] This Whole Wheat Bread (Step by Step) isn’t really a recipe so much as it is a tutorial, but I just thought it was fabulous. There was a time when I had no idea how to make a yeast bread and something of this sort would have been incredibly helpful to have had. I basically had to teach myself and it took me quite a lot of trial and error runs to get it right. A lot. Way more than necessary. So, if you need help or are interested in learning about yeast breads, check it out. […]

  58. Angie says:

    OK. For the first time ever, I dipped into my food storage, borrowed my sister-in-law’s Whisper Mill, and ground hard white wheat. The wheat is canned and has been in the garage (in hot AZ) for 5 years. When I ground the wheat, there was a smell to it. Not the same smell as the quality whole wheat flour you’d buy in the store. The only way I can describe how it smells is that it reminds me of powdered milk or baby formula?????? I did notice the flour was warm when I was done grinding it. I read somewhere that if the wheat gets to warm during grinding, it can develop a rancid smell/taste? I just don’t want to go through the effort of making bread with this flour, only to have it taste bad. Any thoughts?

    • Mel says:

      Angie – my flour gets warm, too, when I grind it but it isn’t hot, by any means. I’m not familiar with the tidbit about wheat developing a rancid flavor/taste if it gets too warm while grinding. Most grinders heat the flour up a bit while grinding the wheat berries so I think it is pretty normal to have warm wheat flour after grinding. I know that most food storage products should be stored in a cool room temperature location so it may be that the hot AZ weather hasn’t been good for the wheat for five years. Unfortunately, I don’t really know a test to determine if the wheat is still good. The only real way to know is to probably make bread/rolls with the flour and see how they turn out. Good luck!

  59. Angie says:

    Yes, the loaves did rise well, so will try to knead a little longer next time. I’ll let know how it goes. Thanks so much Mel!!

  60. Angie says:

    Hi Mel. Love the bread tutorial! I use a recipe very similar to Darcy’s that does not use vital wheat gluten. I just made it yesterday, and my loaves turned out dense on the bottom and light & airy on the top? Any idea where I went wrong?

    • Mel says:

      Angie – hmmm, I can’t be completely sure, but the dough might have needed to be kneaded more for a lighter loaf (kneading also develops the gluten in the bread). Rising could also be a factor – did it rise well in the pan?

  61. Kendra says:

    Ahhh! My mom always made homemade bread in her Bosch. Her recipe wasn’t the best, but it was better than store bought stuff, so I would love to make my own bread too, using a recipe like this. I can’t at all afford a Bosch right now….and just thinking about making it completely by hand tires me out. (Have you ever done it? Is it hard?)

    …but when the fateful day comes, I will be sure to try this recipe!

  62. Jeny Park says:

    Oh I am not a great bread maker. I have tried this twice and don’t know what I am doing wrong but it is just a sticky gob even though the first time I added in 4 extra cups and the 2nd time I added in 7 extra cups…I did use honey and replaced the Vitamin E with 2T vinegar (which I have heard you can add vinegar as a replacement and you just use as much as the yeast you used). It barely pulled away from the bowl but kept sticking to the sides and then made a huge cloud at the top of the mixer but was still super sticky. What is the range you use for Darcy’s bread in the amount of cups of flour you use. I am terrified of over-flouring and yet it is just sticky for me and I live in super-dry Utah so I am perplexed. Any help would be great, I have made 15 of your other recipes and they turned out perfect so I know that I am the only thing standing in the way of making this bread recipe. Thanks, Jenny

    • Mel says:

      Jenny – I’m sorry you are having trouble with this recipe. I hate to admit it but I don’t measure my flour (other than the five cups that sponges in the first step). I go completely based on the look and feel of the dough, which is why I constantly tell others that have questions on yeast doughs that the flour amount in my yeast dough recipes are just guidelines. If your recipe is still as sticky as you described, don’t be afraid of adding more flour in order to achieve a dough that will be easier to handle. It seems that you probably have a ways to go before you are at risk of over flouring. I’ll try to keep track next time when I’m making this bread, since I make it weekly, but I’m guessing I probably end up adding 12-14 cups total. If you have to add even more than that, it’s not a big deal, just try to get the dough to clear the sides of the bowl and still be soft. Feel free to ask me any other questions. With practice, you’ll get this down!

  63. Vieve says:

    Beautiful tutorial! Gorgeous blog! Such talent! Keep it up! Question: have you ever used White Whole Wheat? Is that what you meant by hard white wheat in the comment above? We just can’t get used to regular whole wheat and I just discovered White Whole Wheat. Apparently it is also a whole grain, not as bitter and as high in nutritional value. Just wondering if you have used it. I will most likely make bread with it first and add vital wheat gluten. I know King Aurthur sells it, but I did find it in my local store.

    • Mel says:

      Thanks, Vieve! Yes, I use white wheat flour (I grind it from hard white wheat berries). We much prefer it over hard red wheat but I have a lot of hard red wheat I need to use so sometimes I’ll use half and half.

  64. Nicole says:

    I have a question about the vital wheat gluten. Do you, by chance, know the protein content of the wheat you are using? Is this why you add the extra gluten? I use a really high protein-content wheat and am wondering if it’s necessary to add the extra ingredient/step/expense if I’m already using a high quality wheat. For example, wheat from the LDS cannery only has about 7% protein in it, it’s really low quality. But, the wheat I buy has a minimum of 12%, so I’m wondering if that’s why you add the gluten and what difference the gluten would make with the wheat I use vs the wheat you use. Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Nicole – I use gluten because I like the result of it in my bread, no matter the protein in my wheat. It gives my bread a softer, lighter texture and I use it no matter what the protein amount in the wheat. However, you could achieve the same results without the gluten, I believe, if you knead the bread for even longer. Kneading is what develops the natural gluten (as you probably already know). I use the LDS cannery wheat a lot but I also buy wheat at a local granary here and the protein content is upwards of 14%. (Also, the wheat I got at the LDS cannery recently has 12% protein – the hard white wheat). You’d have to experiment to really see the difference in your bread using gluten vs. not using it. Like I mentioned, I really think if you knead long enough you should get a delicious result without the gluten. Hope that helps a little!

  65. Kailee says:

    Does it matter what number setting you use on your bosh when you’re mixing (2,3,4)? I tried Darcy’s recipe a few weeks ago and looked at your tutorial and had success! This has been the best tasting and lasting WW bread I’ve done. I think with all the other recipes I’ve tried, I over floured. I really needed to be patient and let the flour mix and knead. Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Kailee – I’m glad this bread worked out well for you! I usually use the 1 setting on my Bosch until it starts to wear down the motor and seem sluggish – then for the longer, heavier kneading, I move it to a 2.

  66. Crystal Lorree says:

    I love your site and your recipes. I’m 26 and I love baking and cooking for my family, thank you so much for the wonderful advice, photos and recipes!!! =)

  67. Melanie says:

    Well, today I’m trying Round 2 using this tutorial. I’ve been around the whole wheat bread block many times, in search of the perfect recipe, so was super excited to try yours, with the lovely tutorial.

    I don’t know if it’s because I live in the currently very drippy Pacific NW, but after adding the full amount of flour, I still had soup – not just sticky, but soup. Trying a half batch to start, I used 2/3 Bob’s Red Mill WW Pastry Flour (white wheat) and 1/3 Bob’s WW Flour (red wheat), and everything else exactly. I just couldn’t leave it as soup, so added roughly 3 cups additional flour until it even remotely resembled bread. Of course, I got lead loaves. Rose great, but lead.

    So today, I did the whole recipe, and still had soup after kneading and adding 1 cup additional WW white (used 90% ww white this time). Trying to be faithful, I poured it out onto my countertop, but just couldn’t put that into the loaves. So, I kneaded in about 2 cups AP flour until I could at least make a solid-ish form. Used a bit more flour to help form them, and now they’re rising. Here’s hoping they turn out! Don’t know what the issue is with me/my home/environment/curse!

    But thanks so much for the great recipes and tutorials!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Melanie – I’m sorry this bread hasn’t turned out that well for you. How did round 2 turn out after baking? Just remember that the flour amount in the recipe is just a guideline. There are times (depending on where I live – humid vs. dry, etc) that I am adding upwards of 6-8 extra cups of flour to the recipe. I think based on what others have said that the flour amount is too low in the recipe, anyway, but either way, don’t rely too much on the actual number of cups of flour – go instead based on the feel of the dough. I agree, you can’t form soupy bread dough into loaves so I think you are doing the right thing by adding extra flour…but perhaps you need to let it knead longer once that extra flour is added, that way you don’t end up with really dense loaves. Let me know how the second round turns out. I’m confident we can get fabulous bread coming out of your oven!

  68. Michelle says:

    What kind of oil do you use? You are awesome, as always!

  69. Bri says:

    One more quick question. I went on the link to get the bread pans and they are out of stock. On the page it said newer version of the bread pan is available. I know you love these pans so I want to make sure these newer ones are basically the same. Here is the link;


  70. Bri says:

    Hey Mel, we don’t eat a lot of bread in our house (I’m sure if it is home made we will eat a lot more) so I am wanting to cut the recipe down. How would I go about that? Do you just cut it in half? Including the amount of yeast? Since this makes 5 loaves, seems like the recipe can’t be cut in half. I would love to be able to start making all our own bread!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Bri – yes, you can easily cut the bread recipes in half. My friend, Darcy, who gave me her bread recipe (the one I used in the picture tutorial) actually makes six loaves out of that batch, so if you want to halve it, try making three. It all depends on how dense you like your bread. I make one fewer loaves so my bread is slightly more dense. Also, the new link you sent for the bread pans looks exactly like the ones that I have. I’m not sure why the different link – maybe an updated pan – but they look exactly the same! In fact, I’m going to update the link in my post. Thanks!

  71. Karen says:

    Hi Melanie, from your tutorial, it looks like you bake your loaves on the lowest position in the oven, do you like this better than the middle position ?

    • Mel says:

      Karen – actually, it looks like from the picture it is the lowest level, but actually it is the middle level of my oven – I remove the top rack so the loaves brown more evenly but I definitely recommend the middle level of the oven rather than the lower level. I think the loaves might burn that way, don’t you?

  72. I def need to up my bread skills. I don’t do too well with dough yet. I need to go through some of yor tuturials and master that next 🙂

  73. Amy M says:

    I’ve cooked with both residential and commercial convection ovens. While a convection oven does cook hotter and faster than a regular oven, if you have a newer residential convection oven there’s probably a built-in adjustment to the temperature. For example if I turn on my mother’s convection oven with a temperature of 350 degrees it will automatically adjust the temperature down; the digital display reflects the lower temperature and I don’t have to do anything. Models vary however so you should check your manual or manufacters website. I’ve also seen people remodel their kitchens and put in a commerical oven and well, I’ve gotta say that if this is your situation you cannot depend on automatic temperature adjustments or a gentle blower. A commerical convection oven is MUCH different than a residential oven. It’ll be a workhorse but you’ll need to spend some time getting used to it. The first time I used a commerical convection oven I made cornmeal muffins and the blower blew over the muffin tops so they all looked like ski slopes; high only on the opposite side of the blower. I don’t have a convection oven and have more experience cooking with traditional gas heat but if I had one I would start using it, trying my favorite recipes and noting the differences, if any, and get used to cooking only with convection because it will cook your food faster and more evenly because of the circulated heat. I think the only thing you would need to make sure of is that you are setting your kitchen timer for less time that what the recipe states. For a 10 min cookie, I would check at 7 min. Just imagine your next Thanksgiving when you get to take the turkey out an hour early 🙂 Good luck.

  74. Melanie says:

    This is SO helpful! I just cannot seem to make bread. I’m determined to learn how to make bread, but whenever I try, something goes wrong and I swear I’ll never try bread making again! I’ve had friends give me recipes they love and tell me tips, but what I’ve been needing all this time was someone to show me each little step! I think I definitely overflour, and I know I didn’t knead long enough. I just have a small kitchenaid, so maybe I’ll start with a half batch.

    One question: what size/brand bread pans do you use?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Melanie – above the recipe, I linked to the bread pans I use. They are chicago metallic and I buy them on amazon.com. I think they officially measure 8 1/2-inches by 4 1/2-inches.

  75. Megan H. says:

    probably a dumb question… BUT Im askin anyway 🙂

    We just moved into a new house with a gas oven/stove. im in 5 burner heaven! And the oven can be used for convection cooking. Is it better to bake bread with convection or regular baking? Or is convection better for more than one loaf?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Megan – congrats on your new awesome stove/oven! As for the convection oven, I have no idea since I’ve never baked with convection. You’ll probably have to experiment and bake both ways unless someone more knowledgeable than I can chime in and help.

  76. Miranda says:

    So I am a new follower of (what I call and tell everyone about) the best recipe website ever. I was talking to a friend of mine at the first of the year and told her my new years resolution was to make more from scratch meals for my family. She told me about this website and I have been loving it ever since. It’s good to have a fellow lover of bread making with awesome recipes to boot. So….thank you so much for all the yummy recipes! I have to share my most favorite roll recipe ever with you because I think that you will love it!

    Easy Potato Rolls

    2/3 c. sugar
    2/3 c. shortening
    1 c. mashed potatoes(I mix up some potato pearls)
    2 ½ tsp. salt
    2 eggs
    2 packages yeast
    1 1/3 c. warm water
    6-6 ½ c. flour

    In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar. Add potatoes, salt and eggs mix again. In small bowl, dissolve yeast in 2/3 cup of warm water; add to creamed mixture. Beat in 2 cups flour and remaining water. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Shape into a ball. Do not knead. Place in a greased bowl. Let raise till doubled about 30 minutes. Grease a cookie sheep and roll into balls and place on cookie sheet. Cover with greased saran wrap. Let raise till doubled. Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes until the top is golden brown.

    Thanks for all the great recipes!

  77. Amy M says:

    Thank you for the tutorial! It’s a goal of mine to make 100% of our family’s bread in the near future. I’m partly there now but need all the help I can get. Can I just say for the record… If your husband is a workaholic like mine, a picture of bread just out of the oven texted to his phone will get him in the car 🙂 I’m just sayin. It works for me 🙂 I’ve also found that if said picture includes me slathering butter on warm bread he drives even faster.

  78. mary says:

    Yes, makes great sense! Thank you for getting back to me. I’m going to make it today 🙂 I’ll let you know how it turns out. Thanks again, and have a great day!

  79. Katherine D. says:

    I have been loyal to my bread recipe for nearly three years, but I may have to deviate this weekend when I bake again. Your bread looked so light for wheat bread – my kids would love their bread to be “white”.
    Regarding the discussion of letting bread rise in the oven – I don’t rise mine at all on the countertop. I preheat my oven to 170 degrees and put my loaves in the oven for 20 minutes. Then I turn up the oven (without opening the oven door) to 350 and bake another 25 minutes. You may have to alter that based on your oven and bread recipe but it saves me a lot of time, which we can all use.

  80. Lindsey says:

    First of all, I LOVE your website! It has become my new “go-to” place for any cooking ideas/questions I might have. This bread recipe looks great and I can’t wait to give it a try. Can you tell me what, exactly, vital wheat gluten is? And just how important it is? Can I only order it online or would I be able to find it in a grocery store? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Lindsey – vital wheat gluten is a natural protein found in the endosperm of the wheat berry. It is harvested and processed to become gluten flour. From what I’ve read and learned about it, basically it helps retain the gas and steam from baking and gives more volume to the baked bread. I order mine online because I usually can find a code or way to get free shipping and I just love King Arthur Flour (although I’ve also ordered Bob’s Red Mill gluten on amazon.com and it is free shipping). But in a pinch, I can usually find it in my local grocery stores by the flour.

  81. Deborah says:

    I LOVED this post Melanie! I would really like to transition to making all of our bread, and this is just more motivation!

  82. This is fantastic, Melanie! I especially liked seeing your dough during the process of kneading. Very informative!

  83. Susan says:

    How do you get such perfect slices? I love your recipes!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Susan – I just use a serrated knife and cut carefully, especially if I know I’m going to be taking a picture. Trust me, my kids sandwich slices don’t look this perfect.

  84. Aimee says:

    Wow this looks delicious! I might just have to give it a try sometime. Your tutorial is helpful too, love to see it all broken down like that.

  85. Lindsay says:

    Mel – this is amazing. I started making my own bread about a year ago and stopped buying bread from the store. I still need to try your recipe. Maybe I’ll send you mine too. But I think I’ve read this post 3 times, I think I am still over flouring my dough just a tad, but I’m determined to get it perfect. Thanks so much for these wonderful tips and pictures, it’s really SO helpful!

  86. JenB says:

    Thanks Mel.

    I use a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. I used to add flour, about a tablespoon at a time, just until the dough came un-stuck from the bowl. When I would remove it and knead it by hand, the dough was very tough.

    Now I take it out sticky and knead in extra flour by hand until I feel that the texture seems right (which is a rather uneducated guess for me).

    I once made an Emmer loaf, and I kneaded in more and more and more and more flour until I finally gave up and decided that no amount of flour was going to cure it. This boule didn’t hold its shape at all. It flattened into a pancake while baking on my preheated pizza stone.

    Do you have any idea what I do (or don’t do) that controls how many air bubbles are in my crumb? I usually get a really even crumb with no air bubbles {except for the occasional really big bubble at the top]. Is that a desirable crumb texture?

    I made a sourdough boule today and I kneaded it more by hand than normal (with the same amount of pressure), and I added a little less flour. No giant air pocket at the top. 🙂

    • Mel says:

      JenB – crumb texture is really an individual preference. Whenever I make bread with a biga or overnight starter, the crumb has nice, airy holes, like an artisan bread. For whole wheat bread, like in this post, I prefer the crumb more dense. Light…but not overly airy. I’m not sure what really contributes to that. I have a feeling kneading is part of that, as well as rising time. There are so many factors with bread making that you kind of have to play around with it to get the result that you really like. Glad your sourdough boule turned out so well today!

  87. Mary Karlee says:

    I’m so glad you posted this. I’ve been working on my bread baking skillz with this very recipe. I use my kitchen aid with dough hook and I have found it just can’t manage a recipe of this size. To get good results I have to split my recipe in half and knead each half separately. I also let the dough rise an hour before I shape it. Maybe I’ll try skipping that step next time and see how it goes. The bread tastes so much better than store bought that I can hardly keep it in the house it is eaten so fast. For a laugh you should see the post my husband did on our blog about one batch of my bread. http://marielleshow.blogspot.com/2011/05/heaven.html

  88. kelley says:

    Oh Mel, You are a trip girl! I never know what you are going to show me next. Baking my own bread? I never even thought of it! Now I can’t wait to try it…one slight problem is that my hubby and I are both on WW and I am not sure how bread fits into our points 😉 I might just hold onto the recipe and pull it out when I make some delicious soup or lasagna this fall! Thanks for sharing this (and everything else). Blessings to you and your fam!

  89. Kim in MD says:

    Wow, Melanie! That is some amazing tutorial- the best I have ever seen…EVER! I’ve been MIA for a few days (preparing for and cleaning up after my party), and look how busy you have been! I can’t wait to see what I’ve missed. This bread looks incredible…you make it look so easy! 🙂

  90. Hilary says:

    Thanks for such a great step-by-step tutorial with pictures! This is such a great tool – I was able to check my progress with yours – how cool! I still am having problems though and can’t quite figure it out. My dough rose the first time in the bowl. After the dough was shaped and placed in pans, it “lost” its shape and looked less and less like a “loaf” of bread (it mainly just took on the shape of the pan – a flat rectangle). It also never rose a whole lot in the pans – a little perhaps, but after about 5 hours it never even got near the top of the pan, much less 2 inches above. I went ahead and baked it anyways (at this point it was 11:00pm and I was tired 🙂 ) and although it tasted great, it looked like a very un-appetizing “brick” of bread so-to-speak. Any guesses? I’m determined though to get this right- its my goal for the summer, to actually have one loaf come out perfectly, like the ones in your tutorial 🙂 Thanks again for such a helpful tutorial!!!

    • Mel says:

      Hilary – are you using instant yeast? If so, the dough doesn’t need to rise in a bowl before shaping into loafs. After kneading, you can immediately shape it into the loaves. I’m not sure why your loaves had issues rising, to be honest. Sometimes dough that is under-floured (I know it’s confusing to reach that perfect balance between under and over-floured) won’t rise well because it doesn’t have enough structure to rise up. In fact, I made this whole wheat bread yesterday, like I have a million times, and was distracted while making it and significantly underfloured my dough but by the time I pulled it out on the counter I didn’t want to put it all back in the mixer and add more. My bread rose well in the loaf pans but fell once it went in the oven so the loaves were flattish on top. The bread was moist and delicious – just incredibly ugly. I know it happened because it needed a bit more flour to hold together. Do you think that could possibly have been the case with our dough? Don’t give up hope!

  91. JenB says:

    What happens if you over-flour your dough? Does it just get dense? Doesn’t too much moisture make it dense? How do I avoid getting one big air bubble just below the crust?

    I’m working with sourdough starter (from scratch) right now, and I’m never sure how much to knead it or when to stop adding flour. I can’t knead it if it’s sticking to my fingers and counter top. For me, cooking spray just makes the dough sticky-er once it’s all kneaded into the dough. I wish I could have one in-person lesson with an experienced baker.

    • Mel says:

      JenB – I’ve noticed mainly with overflouring that I get a really dry, crumbly loaf of bread and a lot of times, the loaves don’t rise well or quickly because there is too much flour. As for the air bubble, my theory on that (I’m sure there are more) is to really press down the bread while you are shaping it into loaves so that as you are rolling it up into a log, air doesn’t get trapped in between each roll. I’m not really familiar with sourdough so it might just be a stickier dough than non-sourdough breads, but I understand what you are saying about not being able to knead it if it is sticking everywhere. I think if that is truly the case, more flour is needed, gradually, until you can knead it without having monster dough fingers.

    • Mel says:

      JenB – P.S. I have noticed when I make breads by hand and don’t use my Bosch mixer that it is much easier to overflour the dough because of the stickiness issue. I’ve always employed the cooking spray to help with the issue but it sounds like you haven’t had luck with that. Maybe someone else who makes their breads by hand can chime in and help us both out!

  92. momstarr says:

    What kind of scale are you using to weigh the dough and where did you get it? I have never known where to get one or what kind!! Thanks! MomStarr

    • Mel says:

      Hi momstarr – I use a Salter kitchen scale. A very old, basic brand. I think I bought it at Bed, Bath and Beyond over eight years ago. There are a lot of brands out there. Cook’s Illustrated recommends this one, in case that helps narrow down your search.

  93. Kelli says:

    I tried for a year to get perfect wheat bread results. I got pretty close, but I can see now from your helpful pics that I had been adding too much flour apparently. I haven’t made homemade read for a few months now, but was just thinking yesterday that I needed to get in the groove of making it again. Perfect timing for the helpful post. Thanks!

  94. Veronica says:

    Excellent tutorial, and so useful. So many people are scared of making their own bread, and it’s nice to have somewhere to go to reduce those fears. Thank you!

  95. Kira says:

    So, I love to make bread! But have never seem someone shape their loaves the way you do – I can’t wait to try that !

  96. queenann says:

    What a great tutorial. So thorough. I’m going to try to adapt your recipe to make just three loaves, since that’s all my mixer can hold.

    I make all our bread, and I would LOVE to do it five loaves at a time. If only I had a bosch!

    Do you really measure each loaf piece every time? You are so meticulous. I am also sloppy about shaping my loaves–they still look lovely, but not Mel-perfect!

  97. Karen says:

    Thank you for this tutorial Mel, it’s just what I’ve been needing. I was never sure on just how much flour to add. I cant wait to try your method of rolling the dough, your loaves are beautiful, my baked loaves always have that mushroon top, I let it rise about 1 inch above the pan, sometimes a little less. I always thought over rising was my problem, now I’ll see if shaping differently will help. Any thoughts? I live in central Wi, we have a lot of country stores here, operated by local Mennonites, they carry the wheat berries also.

    • Mel says:

      Karen – thanks for the tip on the wheat berries. I should look for similar stores in my area. As for the mushroom top – I’m not really sure! It might be because there is too much bread in one pan (loaves are too large). They might over rise in the oven because of that but it’s just a guess. Let me know if shaping them differently makes a difference. Good luck!

  98. Kirstin Gardner says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I have a Bosch mixer, but I don’t have any pans or other tools. Is it possible to half your recipes- to see how it goes for me? If so, would it make two or three loaves? I would like to start, but don’t want to over-extend myself and Thanks!

  99. Oh just FYI I make dough in my kitchen aid mixer with the dough hook all the time and it works great! I’m excited to try your recipe in it!

  100. chelsea says:

    Hi Melanie!

    I need to bring a salad or pasta dish for a baby shower and I was wondering if you would give me a recommendation. What is your favorite thing to bring? I really trust your expertise! Thanks so much!

  101. Love the recipe and the awesome step by step photos! I love your site. Thanks for another great post!

  102. Stacie D. says:

    I am so excited about this! I have been afraid to try making my own whole wheat bread loaves, but I think I have enough experience with rolls and other doughs, that it is time to try this! I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks for all the time you spent putting this post together!

  103. Pat Nieman says:

    Yes…this is the recipe I’ve been using with my Bosch mixer for the last 40 years! Early on I discovered the benefits of adding the gluten…people are amazed that such light loaves result using all whole wheat flour…I also use a 1/2 C ice cream scoop(food server available at restaurant supply stores) to measure out the oil and honey…no scraping out measuring cups…thanks for the great tutorial.

  104. mary says:

    I make bread all the time and love to make it as well as eat it. I haven’t tried a new recipe in years though, and true I like my recipe, I love to try new things. I am looking very forward to trying this one. I have one question. You said you put your bread in a cold oven. Do you then turn the oven to 350 bake and time from the moment you put the bread in, or do you wait until the light goes off (indicting the oven is hot enough) and start timing from there? Anyway, thank you for posting this. It does make it easy to follow and exciting to try. I have loved your site and thank you for all the work you put into it! 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Hi Mary – I put the bread in a cold oven, close the oven door, set the oven to 350 and set the timer for 32 minutes (you’ll want to judge the exact time yourself based on your own oven since each oven bakes at slightly different temperatures). So the bread is in the oven through the preheating period – 32 minutes total…from cold oven to finished bread. Make sense?

  105. Martha Artyomenko says:

    That is alot more sticky than I have ever done it! I think I will try it! The bread looks like it turned out great!

  106. Randie Patterson says:

    Would using a stand up mixer, such as a Kitchenaide work the same way? I have the bread hook for it, just dont know whether it would come out the same in the Kitchenaide, or whether it would be worth it to invest in a Bosch mixer.

    • Mel says:

      Randie – I don’t have a kitchenaid so I can’t tell you yes or no but I have friends that make bread in their kitchenaid mixers. However, I have also had at least three friends burn out the motors in their kitchenaids making bread – so the size of the motor makes a difference. You don’t want to overload the mixer. I’m a little biased in favor of the almighty Bosch but it isn’t always practical to go and drop hundreds of dollars on a new mixer so perhaps try a half batch of bread in your kitchenaid first to see how it fares.

  107. Julie says:

    Wow this is almost exactly the recipe I inherited from my grandmother and I use a Bosch–perfect for bread!

  108. Frieda says:

    This is a great tutorial! I love watching the step by step process of bread baking ~ you did a great job! Picture 11 is where people get the most confused. They see a sticky blob and want to add more flour…you didn’t and instead, let the dough knead for 7 minutes. Doesn’t look like a sticky glob anymore, does it? Patience, practice, and touch are all key in making a perfect loaf. Well done!

  109. Mel, that is absolutely perfect looking bread. It looks – and I bet tastes – 10X better than anything you’d buy from the store. Thanks for sharing! I especially love your step-by-step photos, too. I’m sure that it took a lot of time and effort to document this process!

  110. Emily says:

    What a great tutorial! So helpful. I love your website so much! Never had a bad recipe from it…

  111. Robyn says:

    I love that you are using what looks like a Bosch mixer. About 5 years ago I attended a Relief Society class where a friend taught us to make bread and rolls with a Bosch mixer. Since that’s what I had at home- I felt much more confident going home and making it myself because I knew what it should look like at each of the different stages because we were using the same mixer! Since then, I have made bread and rolls hundreds of times and I love it! It’s become one of the “things” that I am known for. Thanks for the posts- I check out your blog everyday for new recipes.

  112. Erika says:

    I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am that you posted this. I was determined to make my own bread for my family also, so I used your recipe and I know I added too much flour because I had no idea how sticky it really was suppose to be. The bread is yummy but extremely dense, so thank you thank you!

  113. Katie says:

    This is an awesome tutorial! In Darcy’s wheat bread recipe could you substitute lemon juice for the vitamin C pill, and how much would you use?

  114. Whitney says:

    Thank you so much for this post! My husband gave me a Blendtec Blender last week for my birthday, and I’ve read that it can be used to grind wheat in small quantities. I’ve checked everywhere I can think of locally, and can’t find anyone that sells hard white wheat berries. Do you buy yours locally, or order them online? Do you have any thoughts on soaking the wheat after it’s been ground? I’m a little confused on whether or not soaking is necessary. One last question 🙂 Do you grind a bunch of wheat and store in the freezer, or do you only grind what you need at the moment?

    • Mel says:

      Whitney – believe it or not, I’ve found hard white wheat berries at Walmart just in the last couple of months. I live in Wisconsin so I don’t know if they are carrying them at all stores but they are on the very bottom shelf below the flour. When I can’t buy them there, I try to stock up when I make my semi-annual trips to the LDS (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) Home Storage Centers (which is open to members of the LDS faith and non-members). You can find storehouse locations here. I drive three or four hours to get to one but buy a lot of wheat when I go.

  115. WOW! Mel, you’re amazing. This looks incredibly easy to follow, and very inspiring. Thank you for taking the time to put this together. I can’t wait to try it when I get back the States in August. You bread loaves look PERFECT!

  116. Jen says:

    A friend told me about your website a few months ago when I always raved about her recipes. She said most of them came from your website. I have made several and have liked all of them. I never knew you milled your own flour or made your own bread until I read your post today. I bought a grain mill about a year ago and really like the taste of the bread and feel like my family is getting more nutritious bread. I look forward to going thru all your bread recipes and learning new tips.
    Thanks for the step by step tutorial.

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