This homemade honey wheat bread is a perfect sandwich loaf. The 50% whole wheat flour will win over the adults. And its soft texture and slightly sweet flavor will make it a favorite of the kids.
Some bakers make beautiful sourdough boules every week, slashed into intricate patterns. And then there are those of us who have to make loaves of bread for the family’s lunch sandwiches.
This honey wheat sandwich bread recipe can be made easily with a stand mixer or by hand. And it is sure to become one of the favorite sandwich breads in your household too.
Key technique: making bread in a stand mixer
The stand mixer is a great kitchen tool for making homemade bread. The mixing bowl of a stand mixer is the perfect size for bread-making. And your stand mixer can take over the work of kneading your bread dough.
ProTip: This honey wheat bread recipe shouldn’t challenge your mixer, but be aware that many home stand mixers do not have motors that can knead really stiff dough. Be kind to your mixer and switch to the dough hook attachment (below, right) when your bread dough starts to come together. You may sometimes have to knead your bread dough by hand if your mixer sounds like it is struggling.
There are a few things that make this bread special. The first is the use of a sponge, a technique adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible. The second is my inclusion of wheat germ, which adds vitamins and minerals.
Tips and tricks
Making the sponge
The first step is to create a sponge starter in the mixing bowl of your stand mixer (Panel #1, below). I think of this as slowly waking up the yeast.
Sprinkle the top of the sponge with the flour, the instant yeast, and wheat germ (Panel #2). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it sit in a warm place in your kitchen for an hour or three. It will be bubbling up through the flour layer (Panel #3).
Mixing the dough
Start by mixing the dough in your stand mixer on low speed with the paddle. When the bread dough starts to come together (see below), switch to the dough hook attachment.
Add the salt and vegetable oil and beat on medium speed for about 10 minutes until it is elastic and stretches without breaking. The dough will be slightly tacky but not sticky. If the dough is too wet, add more bread flour, a tablespoon at a time, as you are mixing. If it is too dry, add a teaspoon of water.
Shape the dough into a boule (Panel #1, below) and let it rise in the mixing bowl, covered with plastic wrap in a draft free place, until it is about doubled in size (Panel #2). This first rise will take about 2 hours, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
If your kitchen is cool, you can create a warm place to proof your bread by heating up a cup of water in the microwave. Remove the water and put your bread in the microwave. Alternatively, you can heat your oven to 80 to 90 degrees and let the bread rise there. Just remember or put a note that there’s bread rising, so no one tries to preheat the oven!
Grease a 9 inch by 5 inch loaf pan with butter or non-stick cooking spray and shape the dough (Panel #1 below). If you aren’t yet an experienced bread-baker, I’d recommend this youtube video on how to shape a bread loaf. Again let the dough rise in the greased loaf pan (Panel #2) in a warm spot in your kitchen.
About 30 minutes prior to baking, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, until your honey wheat bread reaches an internal temperature of 190 degrees on a digital thermometer. It will make a hollow sound when you thump on the bottom of the loaf.
Let cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before slicing.
If you are going to eat your bread in the next few days, keep it wrapped in a plastic bag or an airtight container on your countertop at room temperature. Never store bread in the refrigerator, or it will dry out.
Bread can be kept for longer in the freezer. Just slice it and freeze it in freezer bags.
It’s a good habit to get into to weigh your ingredients, but it’s not as critical for bread as it is for other baking.
Unless you’re in a hurry (e.g. you’re a contestant on the Great British Bake Off), you can use less yeast and allow for longer rising times. Longer rising time, even an overnight rise like in my Ooni pizza dough recipe, results in better flavor. Longer rising times are critical for breads like French bread that are made of only flour, yeast, and salt.
Note, if you are on the GBBO or you just want bread quicker, you can double the yeast and use warm water to start.
Honey Wheat Bread
- Stand mixer with bread hook attachment
- 1 cup (150 grams) whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ½ teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 cup (240 grams) warm water
- 1½ cup (187 grams) bread flour
- ½ cup (75 grams) whole wheat flour
- ½ cup wheat germ, toasted
- ½ teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1½ teaspoon salt
- Make the sponge. Combine the 1 cup of whole wheat flour, honey, ½ teaspoon of yeast, and water in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a medium bowl and whisk until well-combined and frothy.1 cup (150 grams) whole wheat flour, 2 tablespoons honey, ½ teaspoon instant yeast, 1 cup (240 grams) warm water
- Create a layer over the top of the sponge with the remaining flours, wheat germ, and additional ½ teaspoon of yeast. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at warm room temperature until the sponge is bubbling through (1 to 3 hours, this can be flexible to your schedule, see pictures).1½ cup (187 grams) bread flour, ½ cup (75 grams) whole wheat flour, ½ cup wheat germ, toasted, ½ teaspoon instant yeast
- Combine the mixture on low speed using the paddle mixture until the dough starts to come together.
- Switch to the dough hook and add the oil and salt. Knead on medium speed for about 10 minutes using the mixer (longer if doing by hand). The dough will be smooth and not sticky at all.1½ teaspoon salt
- Shape the dough into a boule, put in an oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in volume (about 2 hours, see pictures).
- Grease a 9 inch by 5 inch loaf pan (I use butter because I find the bread releases more easily) and shape the dough into a loaf. Cover with plastic wrap and again put in a warm place to rise. It will rise to about one-half to one inch above the sides of the rim of the loaf pan (see pictures).
- Approximately 30 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Bake the bread for approximately 30 to 35 minutes until the internal temperature reads 190 to 200°F.
- Remove the bread from the pan immediately and let it cool on a wire rack. Do not cut into it for at least one hour.
This recipe was originally posted on May 6, 2021. It was last updated on September 17, 2022.
If you make this stand mixer honey wheat bread recipe or have questions about how to make it or any other sandwich loaf in the archives, please leave a comment.