How To Make Soft, Whole Wheat Bread Like You Get From The Bakery

Posted on: 31 March 2015

Have you noticed that the whole wheat bread from your local bakery is always tender and fluffy, while the loaves you make at home tend to be tough and heavy? Making fluffy whole wheat bread is not always easy. The high fiber content of whole wheat flour tends to make this type of bread naturally more coarse. The bran and germ left in whole wheat flour also tend to soak up water, which can lead to a dry loaf if you're not careful. 

Simply substituting whole wheat flour for the white flour in your bread recipe won't yield good results. You need to use a recipe designed specifically with whole wheat flour in mind, such as this one:


  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
  • 1 cup warm water (approximately 115 degrees F)
  • 1 cup warm milk (approximately 115 degrees F)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg white, beaten


  1. Combine the yeast, water, milk and whole wheat flour in a mixing bowl, and stir to combine. This mixture will serve as your "sponge." Let it rest on the counter for 3 hours, at which point it should look fluffy and bubbly.
  2. Add the salt, oil, sugar, wheat gluten, and 1 cup of the bread flour to the sponge, and beat on low speed until combined. Slowly add the remaining bread flour, stirring until all of the flour has been incorporated, and you have a soft dough. The dough will likely be softer than what you're used to if you usually make white bread. Don't worry -- the excess water will be absorbed by the flour as the dough rises.
  3. Knead the dough for 10 minutes by hand, or for 6 minutes in an electric mixer with a dough hook.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and place it in a warm place for 90 minutes. The dough should double in size.
  5. Gently press down on the dough to release the air. Turn it onto a countertop, and shape it into a round loaf, using flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.
  6. Place the loaf on a lightly greased backing sheet, and let it rise for 30 minutes.
  7. Brush the loaf with the beaten egg white.
  8. Bake your bread at 400 degrees F for 40 - 45 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into its center reads 200 degrees F.

Resist the temptation to skimp on the rising times for this bread. Long, slow rises are one of the keys to making professional, bakery-quality whole wheat bread. Go to websites for more information.