This braided honey whole wheat bread is hearty, chewy, and sure to please. From start to finish it takes one hour or less and is easier to shape than it might look.
100% whole wheat bread from scratch. One that's soft, fluffy, and sweetened just a tad with honey. From start to finish it takes one hour or less.
A homemade yeast bread so speedy, you can make it on a Tuesday after work and use it to make your Wednesday lunch sandwich before you even go to bed. And that, my friends, is gold.
Gold, Jerry, gold!!
There's nothing too out of the ordinary going on with this honey whole wheat bread ingredients list, and at its base is white whole wheat flour. White whole wheat flour is still 100% whole wheat, just a different variety that's milder in flavor and lighter in color. You can use regular whole wheat flour for this recipe if you prefer something even a bit heartier.
The other ingredients are just as basic, including yeast, water, oil, honey, an egg, salt, and a little bit of baking soda. This bread is soft and rich, like a cross between standard bread and almost challah? The egg, honey, and oil really bring the tenderness, and it basically calls out for you to rip pieces off and eat straight-up, which is my usual behavior around a loaf of challah.
And don't be scared of the yeast. Getting the water at the right temperature is all you need to ensure everything rises just as it's supposed to. Just take note of which form of yeast you have. Two tablespoons of active dry yeast, as is called for in the recipe card, is equivalent to 4 ½ teaspoons of instant (or rapid rise) yeast.
Start by dissolving the yeast and warm water in a large mixing bowl, and then add the oil and honey. Let everything it sit for 5-10 minutes, or until the yeast is frothy. You generally want the water to fall between 110-115°F so it's warm enough to activate the yeast, but not too hot that it kills it. While it may seem like overkill, I use an instant-read thermometer to take all the guesswork out of determining the water temperature.
Next add the egg, salt, baking soda, and three cups of flour. Stir to combine, then knead for several minutes. If you're using a stand mixer the bread hook is a great option to use here. The dough will likely be very stick still, so add additional flour, a little bit at a time, until it's just barely sticky. I usually add around ½ cup of flour during this step, resulting in a recipe total of 3 ½ cups of flour used.
After a quick rest (ten minutes), section out the dough into four equal sections. It's time to shape! You can see the bread being braided into a four-strand braid in the recipe video, but I've also linked to the King Arthur Flour bread braiding tutorial I find very helpful in the recipe card notes section below.
This honey whole wheat bread bakes at a relatively high temperature (425°F) and it only requires around 20 minutes or so of bake time. Let it cool on a wire rack and enjoy a multitude of different ways!
What's great about this bread is that it doesn't produce a mountain of crumbs when you slice through, so sandwiches are totally in the picture. It's just sweet enough to eat plain (remember those pieces I told you to rip off?) or zhushed up with a drizzle of honey, but it makes a wonderful peanut butter and jelly upgrade, too. It also freezes well!
This honey whole wheat bread recipe makes a fairly large loaf, so despite your best intentions you may be left with slightly stale excess. What I love to do in that scenario is to use it in this chai blueberry french toast bake instead of a personal french toast favorite, challah.
Swinging things decisively onto the savory side, Old Bay buns are another simple yeast-based bread recipe that doesn't take very long in the oven. A slight zip from the seasoning adds wonderfully to sandwiches or burgers.
- Regular whole wheat bread would be fine to use instead of white whole wheat. If desired you can likely substitute in up to half all-purpose flour without issue.
- An instant-read thermometer is a surefire way to determine your water temperature if you're not great at estimating it by feel alone (like me).
One Hour Braided Honey Whole Wheat Bread
- 2 tablespoon active dry yeast, or equivalent of instant
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsp warm water (between 110-115°F)
- ⅓ cup canola oil or other neutral-tasting cooking oil
- ¼ cup honey plus additional for topping
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/16 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 - 3 ½ cups white whole wheat flour, start with 3 cups
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Pour in oil and honey and give it a stir. Let yeast mixture sit for about five minutes to activate, or until yeast is frothy.
- Add egg, salt, baking soda, and 3 cups of flour and knead for a few minutes. Depending on how sticky your dough is, you may add up to an additional ½ cup flour if needed.
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Place dough in a bowl and cover with a dish towel or plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and portion out dough into four even sections. Shape as desired (I've linked to the King Arthur Flour tutorial I follow for making a four-strand braid in the notes section below).
- Once dough is shaped, place the loaf on a greased baking sheet and brush the top with honey and sprinkle oats, sliced almonds, or whatever you'd like over top.
- Bake until crust is golden brown (about 10-12 minutes). Remove from oven and drape aluminum foil loosely over top of the loaf. Place back in oven and bake for an additional 7-10 minutes, or until the bread is cooked through. The bread is done when the outside is firm to the touch and a tester inserted into the thickest part of the bread comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.Food Safety and Nutrition Disclaimer
Dough adapted from Taste of Home 40-Minute Hamburger Buns.