There are some people who make beautiful sourdough boules every week, slashed into intricate patterns. And then there’s me, making sandwich loaves for our lunches. So this honey wheat sandwich bread recipe gets a lot of traffic as one of the favorite sandwich breads in our household.
50% whole wheat flour wins over the adults, and yet it’s soft and light enough for the kiddo.
There are a few things that make this bread special. The first is the use of a sponge, a technique I learned from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible. The second is my inclusion of wheat germ, which adds vitamins and minerals.
If you aren’t yet an experienced bread-baker, I’d recommend you check out this youtube video on how to shape a bread loaf.
Steps to making this honey wheat bread recipe
Panel 1: the starter
Panel 2: the starter should bubble through the flour layer on top after an hour or two
Panel 3-4: before and after rise #1 in the mixing bowl
Panel 5-6: before and after rise #2 in the greased loaf pan
FAQs about this honey wheat sandwich bread
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. You should definitely do this if you are making a loaf of only flour, yeast, and salt. I don’t ever use more than 2 tsp, if that.
The steam helps to create a perfect crust. You can read more about this on the King Arthur website.
Basic yeast breads are done when the internal temperature reaches 190F, enriched breads at 200F. They should make a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom.
If we are going to eat it in the next few days, I keep it wrapped in a plastic bag on the countertop. Never in the refrigerator. If we have more bread than we can eat, I slice it and freeze it in freezer bags.
Honey wheat sandwich bread
- 1 cup (150g) whole wheat flour
- 2 tbsp honey
- ½ tsp instant yeast
- 1 cup (240g) warm water
- 1 ½ cup (187g) bread flour
- ½ cup (75g) whole wheat flour
- ½ cup wheat germ, toasted
- ½ tsp instant yeast
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- Make the sponge. Combine the 1 cup of whole wheat flour, honey, 1/2 tsp yeast, and water in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a medium bowl and whisk until well-combined and frothy.
- Create a layer over the top of the sponge with the remaining flours, wheat germ, and additional 1/2 tsp of yeast. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at warm room temperature until the sponge is bubbling through (1-3 hours, this can be flexible to your schedule, see pictures).
- 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 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.
- 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'x5' 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 1/2 to 1 inch above the sides of the rim of the loaf pan (see pictures).
- Approximately 30 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350°F and place a cast iron pan on the bottom of the oven.
- When ready to bake, throw a handful of ice cubes into the oven and bake the bread for approximately 45 minutes until the internal temperature reads 190-200°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.
If you make this honey wheat bread recipe or have questions about how to make it or any other sandwich loaf in the archives, please comment here or share a pic with me on Instagram.