Thursday, October 13, 2011

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

One of my favorite things in the whole world is dense and chewy whole wheat bread. One of my favorite places to get this is Great Harvest Bread. I have loved their Honey Whole Wheat bread for years! I am not a great baker and I have only made homemade bread a handful of times but I have always wanted to find a recipe that tastes like Great Harvest's Honey Whole Wheat bread. One of the reasons for this is it only has 5 ingredients; 100% freshly ground whole grain wheat, water, yeast, sea salt, and honey. They add NO oil or fat and no dough enhancers! All the ingredients most people have in food storage already. I have been searching for years and I am happy to say I found a recipe tastes just like it**! The best part about this recipe is not how amazing the bread turns out but how easy and quick the recipe is. You will seriously be amazed!

Here is how to make it!

First and foremost to make this bread taste the best you really need to use freshly ground whole grain wheat. This also makes the bread packed with more nutrients because the longer flour is ground the less nutrients it has. I have never tried this recipe with store bought whole wheat flour so I am not sure how it will turn out, if someone wants to try it and let me know then that would be great*! Lucky for me my parents have buckets and buckets of wheat in their food storage and a wheat grinder they said I could use as long as I bring them a loaf of bread whenever I make it. I use Wheat Montana Farms and Bakery "Prairie Gold" wheat. Although I bet that any wheat will due.

3 tablespoons yeast (I use the Red Star Active Dry Yeast you can buy at Costco)
4 cups really warm water
1/2-3/4 cup honey
10-11 1/2 cups whole grain wheat flour (freshly ground if possible)
3 teaspoons sea salt
1/4-1 cup anything else you would like: oats, ground flax seeds, sunflower seeds, etc. (I use 1/4 cup ground flax seeds just because I have them)
cooking spray

1. Grind wheat.
2. Add yeast, water, and honey then gently mix.
3. Let rest for 5 minutes until yeast foams.
4. Then add flour, I just add all the flour at once then gently mix with my paddle attachment (I use a KitchenAid stand mixer. Also if you have any leftover freshly ground flour store the remaining flour in the freezer. This helps preserve the nutrients longer.)
5. Then add salt and anything else, if you choose to.
6. Then gently mix again just until the salt or other ingredients are mixed in.
7. Knead for 4-6 minutes. (I use my KitchenAid for this so if you don't have one you might want to knead a little longer.) Now this dough is really sticky and you are going to think that you need to add more flour. Sometimes I have had to add the entire 11 1/2 cups but sometimes I am fine with just 10, however just know that the dough will be very sticky and you only want to add enough flour that the dough barley pulls away from the bowl.
8. Let dough rise for 15 minutes.
9. Spray the back of your hands with cooking spray and punch down the dough really well, I like to actually count to 30 but that is not necessary.
10. Form into loafs, this will make 3 smaller sized loafs. Put into greased loaf pans. I like to make two larger loafs for toast and sandwiches and one smaller loaf for snacking.
11. Let rise in pans for 30 minutes*.
12.Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. I like to put a large glass baking dish filled with water on the lower rack.
14. Remove from pans immediately and let cool on a cooling rack.

Detail Instructions With Pictures:

Grind the wheat.

Add yeast, water, and honey to bowl and gently mix. (I use honey from a huge bucket of Honeyville honey that my parents had in their food storage, it is REALLY old but honey never goes bad so I just heated some in the microwave to soften and store it in a mason jar.)
Let sit for 5 minutes until it foams like this...

Add 10 cups of flour.

Add sea salt and other ingredient(s), if desired.

Knead on low for no more than 4 minutes if using a stand mixer, probably longer if kneading by hand. See how sticky it looks, this is what it is suppose to look like. If you are kneading and it looks wet and soggy add more flour 1/2 cup at a time, just until it barley pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Store remaining flour in the freezer.
Let dough rise in the bowl for 15 minutes. It should look like this...
Spray the back of hands with cooking spray and punch down the dough really well. Since the dough is sticky the cooking spray is a must or your hands will just get covered with dough.
Dump out on a lightly floured surface.
I like to spray my knife with cooking spray and cut into three sections then form loafs. Put into greased loaf pans. I like to make one small and two large loafs. As you can tell I am not very good at making the two larger loafs equal sizes yet...

Put loafs into pans.

Put water in large baking dish and put on lower rack of the oven. I have hears that this helps the bread cook better but I don't know. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Let loafs rise for 30 minutes, they should look like this. Once again I know my loafs are not even.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes and dump out of pans and let the loafs cool on a cooling rack. I bumped my pans right before I put them in the oven and the tops on all of them fell! :(

And that's it folks! So easy, so quick, so good for you, and so very delicious!!

Oh and by the way kids love it too! :)

* I have had a few people try making the bread with store bought flour and they say it doesn't turn out as well as using fresh ground flour. It seems like if you use store bought flour you should use less than 10 cups. However, they say that it still turns out really good just not as amazing as it does when you use fresh ground wheat.
* I live in Utah and during the winter the air is very dry and my kitchen is usually cold so I have figured out that if I put my loaf pans in the microwave with a cup of steaming hot water and close the door they rise much better (you don't turn the microwave on, obviously ;) when I do this the loafs rise much quicker so keep an eye on them and don't let them rise too long)
**DISCLAIMER: I am not claiming that this is the Great Harvest Bread exact recipe. However it uses the same ingredients and because of that it tastes practically identical. I don't know what their exact recipe is or the exact method they use to make their bread. However, if you are looking for a recipe that is healthy and tastes like Great Harvest's Honey Whole Wheat Bread then look no further.


  1. I love this recipe! It is so dense and yummy... thanks for sharing it :)

  2. What kind of wheat grinder do you have?

  3. TYVM for posting this. I love GHB but I live too far to access it. I much prefer the dense wheat to anything fluffy. Really appreciate it!

  4. @Jennae: I have an ultramill that my dad bought about 9 years ago and only used once so he gave it to me. I don't think that they make this particular grinder anymore, I can't find it anywhere online.

  5. I made this with store bought white whole wheat flour, it was the best quality I could get, but still not freshly ground. I only used 8 cups of flour and had to mix the last bit by hand as it was more than my artisan mixer could hold. I ended up adding about 1/2 C extra water and my dough still wasn't as soft and wet as yours, but it raised just fine and made 2 loaves and 6 big sandwich rolls. The taste is good, though I think I might add the salt to the water and yeast mixture next time so it's more evenly distributed.
    I made the one loaf a little too large and took it out at the same time as the other and it split in half as I tried to get it out of the pan. I threw it back in the oven for a few minutes and while it's still a split loaf, I'm sure I'll be able to find some use for it and the taste is great.
    Thanks for the recipe!

  6. i work for great harvest... do they know you are giving out a recipe and claiming it is theirs?

  7. @level1biscuit: I am sorry if it came across in my post that this is the exact Great Harvest Bread recipe. I didn't claim that it is the same recipe, after all I am pretty sure it is not because this bread does have a slightly different texture and Great Harvest Bread definitely has some great secrets on the exact amount of each ingredient and other tricks that help the bread rise better than I have ever been able to get this bread to rise. However, this recipe does taste like their honey whole wheat bread, probably due to the fact that this recipe has the same five ingredients. Since there are only five simple ingredients I am sure anyone could make bread that tastes like their bread after just a few tries, I just thought I would save people time and post a recipe that I have found works really well. Since you were confused and thought that I claimed that this is the exact recipe I will make sure that doesn't happen in the future. I will edit my post and explain more clearly that this is not their recipe but one that uses the same ingredients and tastes very similar.

  8. I am making my 2nd half batch of your recipe and I have used store bought flour both times. It taste great to us. I love the honey in it and use the full 1/2 cup for the 1/2 batch. Let it rise siting on the TV, that way hopefully someone will see when it's done. Thanks.

  9. Oh my this is DELISH! So easy too! I don't know how many recipes I've tried with tons more ingredients to make it moist or rise better, etc. This is by far the best I've made... tastes delish... stayed moist (but it does only last us a few days since we devour it) I'm in Utah as well and my kitchens freezing so I usually do laundry every time I make it so I just throw them on top of the dryer to rise... works like a charm! Anyways thanks for sharing!

  10. Do you really have to punch it down 30 times? Wow! That's a lot! Amthough, I am sure it is worth how labor-intensive it sounds. :)I am going to make this TODAY! Thank you!

  11. That was supposed to say although... not amthough. Oops. :/

  12. @Lindsey, I don't think you have to really punch it down thirty times, I think that it is just important that you make sure it gets punched down really well. When I learned how to make bread, not this particular recipe but another one, I was taught to punch down the dough 30 times so that is just always what I do. Good luck today! I think you will be really happy with how easy and delicious it is!

  13. Love this recipe! I might even buy a wheat grinder now. I've heard Great Harvest uses fresh yeast (which I've never seen here, but supposedly you can buy little cakes of it in the refrigerator section of the grocery store). That may be why theirs rises better. My husband said this is the best bread I've ever made!

  14. Delicious recipe! I think the key to successful rising and soft dough is to mix it longer. The gluten needs time to process. I mixed the water, yeast and honey together for a few minutes, then added the salt, then 4 cups of flour (whole wheat, whole grain from costco). After ingredients are combined, mix on Medium for 2 minutes. Then add 3 more cups of flour and mix on medium for another 2 more minutes. Then I added just almost one more cup till the dough was coming from the sides. Was super soft and raised just fine for me! Thanks so much for the recipe!

  15. Wow! I made this bread this morning and I LOVE it! It has just the chewiness that I've been looking for. I've been making whole wheat bread for years (a much more complicated recipe), and this one might just be taking its place. My kids and I all give it 5 stars! (The 3-year-old keeps coming in the kitchen asking for more's all she's eaten all day!) Thanks so much for sharing.
    Tammy @ PeppermintPlum

  16. I'll have to try this! I make a bread that is REALLY similar...only, I add equal parts honey and olive oil (1/4 cup ea. per loaf). It's delicious, but I also use half whole wheat flour, and half AP flour. Maybe THIS will be the recipe that rids me of the AP flour! Thanks!

  17. I have loved Great Harvest bread since I was little but we don't have a store where I live now. I have made this bread twice and while it tastes delicious, I cannot get it rise very well once I put it in the pans. Should I not let it rise so long in the bowl? I'd like the bread to be a little less dense, any tips?

  18. Great recipe! Thanks for posting. I have some bread rising as we speak. Just an FYI for those who do not have a mill, just bought freshly ground whole wheat flour from Great Harvest for $2 a lb. here in SEattle Worth it for sure!

  19. Can you clarify the amount of flour. Is it 10 1/2 cups (5 cups) or 10 full cups. It says both at two different places in this post.

  20. It is 10 and 1/2 cups, but you might need to put 11 cups. Sorry for the confusion! :)

  21. Just made some for dinner. LOVED IT!

  22. Great recipe, just made it last night and my family loves it. (And my husband used to work in a bakery, so impressing him with bread has been hard in the past.) I used store bought stone ground whole wheat and only needed 8 cups. Great chewing texture and holds together great. The only problem is now I need to make more because everyone loved it so much.

  23. Thanks so much for this recipe! I love it! I've got my second batch in the oven right now. It's hard to find a bread recipe that holds together well when cutting it, but this one does just fine, which makes it perfect for sandwiches. Thanks again.

  24. can anyone suggest half a recipe for bread machine?

  25. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I'm in the process of trying to switch my family from white to wheat bread and I think this is the ticket :) my fave memories was coming home to homemade whole wheat bread that my mom made but I could never find a good.recipe until this one-thank you thank you!!!

  26. LOVE this recipe!!! THANK YOU so much for sharing!! Me and my family will never be the same because you have ruined store bought bread FOREVER - thank you!! You are awesome!

    I am blogging about your recipe at

  27. Love this recipe, I have made it a least a dozen times, but I have one problem. My dough seems to rise really fast and the loaves always have a huge air bubble in the middle. I don't know if I need to do something different with my shaping (I just kind of knead the dough in hands until it looks like a log but I feel like the 2nd rise only takes about 15-20 min and I need to put it in the oven or is way too huge. Anyone else have problems with giant air bubbles?

  28. Wow... this bread is so good. I always thought that to get a good moist texture you needed to add eggs, gluten, or fats to the bread and you couldn't get a 100% whole wheat bread to be this good...until now. Your recipe is better than I could have imagined. It's so light and dense at the same time, and flavor is perfect! I think the secret to it's tastiness is that that dough is really wet and it's mixed really well. I make artisan french bread where the dough goes through a fermenting process and it's the only other recipe that I have used that uses just flour, yeast, water, and salt that has a chewy texture. It too, is a very wet dough. This is such a great recipe! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! It's my new go to recipe for bread and I won't be spending $4 on a grocery store wheat loaf anymore that's stale and yucky compared to this.

  29. Hi, I am a brand new you use regular or quick rise/bread machine yeast? It looks like the dough rose quite a bit in 15 mins so was just curious if that's what to expect or if it was the type of yeast you used. Thanks so much!

  30. Hi! This is my first time making any homemade bread so I said a prayer and let the fun begin! So far it's going quite well...I'll update ya on the final test when hubby gets home :) blessings and thanks for the recipe and making it so much less intimidating than I imagined!

  31. Well... The bread was a hit! Thanks again for sharing the recipe! God Bless and happy baking!

  32. I loved the taste of the bread but had problems. My first loaf turned out okay, but I had to slice it thick because it feel apart. The second batch, my loaves had holes in them. Help! :-)

  33. Yummy, yummy, yummy! This was my very first (EVER) bread attempt, and I am so glad I started with this recipe. It was very easy to follow, and produced great results! I used Bob's Red Mill Organic 100% Whole Wheat Flour and 3/4 cups of honey for the recipe. It took about 9 cups of flour. I chose to make four small loaves, since I have four small pans and no larger pans (I need to get some now, though). My kids both said this bread is so yummy, and my 8 year old actually said I had outdone myself! :-) Thank you for this easy-to-follow recipe!