Whole wheat bread can be kept at room temperature for up to 5 days. To keep it fresh, cover it nice and tight with cling wrap. It can also be frozen for up to 4 weeks. Use instant yeast for the recipe if possible. If using dry active yeast, you will need liquid to activate active dry yeast. Use milk instead of water because it creates a more tender crumb. The sugar in the milk also contributes to a softer, more deeply colored crust. Start by dissolving your yeast in a little warm water. This usually takes about 5 minutes. Once that’s looking kinda frothy, throw in the honey and butter. Then add just 2 cups of the flour.
Beat that in for about 3 minutes, then gradually add in more flour until you see the dough forming a ball. Once that ball of dough is pulling away from the sides of the bowl cleanly, it’s time to knead. After about 10 minutes of kneading, you’ll see that the dough looks really smooth and elastic. If the dough ends up feeling dry and is difficult to knead, you can add more moisture by sprinkling your kneading surface with water as if you were dusting it with flour. Just mist your mixing bowl with non-stick spray, pop in the dough, mist the top of that too, cover with plastic wrap and allow it to proof for about an hour.
- 2 1/2 cups warm 2% milk
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 3 1/3 cups (395g) bread flour plus more for dusting
- 3 1/3 cups (410g) whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 2 1/2 tablespoons butter, plus more for brushing loaves
- 2 1/2 tablespoons honey
- Butter a large bowl and a 9×5-inch loaf pan and set aside.
- Warm the 2 1/2 cups of milk in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring in between, just to take the chill off.
- Stir the yeast into the warm milk and let it hang out for about 5 minutes.
- The yeast should mostly dissolve and you should see some small bubbles on the surface of the milk.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients and melt the butter: In a large bowl, whisk whole wheat flour, bread flour, and salt. Make a well in the center.
- In a small, microwave-safe bowl, warm the butter in 30-second bursts in the microwave until just melted.
- Add honey. Let it cool until no longer hot.
- Pour the milk and yeast mixture into the well in the flour. Add the butter and honey mixture.
- Stir with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms, most of the flour should be incorporated.
- To knead by hand, turn the dough and any loose flour onto a countertop and knead for 10 minutes.
- Start by bringing the dough together with your fingers then smooshing it with the heel of your hand.
- Pull the dough back over itself with your fingers, rotate the dough a quarter turn. Smoosh with the heel of your hand and repeat.
- Place the ball of dough into the buttered bowl. Use your fingers to gently spread a thin layer of softened butter on top of the dough ball.
- Cover with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and let it sit on the counter until it has just about doubled in size. This should take 45 to 60 minutes.
- Gently punch the dough down two or three times. Take the dough out of the bowl and form it into a ball.
- Gently flatten the dough with the tips of your fingers to form a puffy oval roughly the width of your baking pan.
- Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Let rise for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the bread rises just above the lip of the pan.
- Preheat your oven to 375-degrees and bake for approximately 40 minutes until loaves are golden brown, have risen.