Food Network Kitchen’s The Best Whole Wheat Bread as seen on Food Network.
Recipe courtesy of Sarah Holden for Food Network Kitchen

The Best Whole Wheat Bread

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 6 hr 50 min (includes rising times)
  • Active: 35 min
  • Yield: 1 loaf
This whole wheat bread is perfect for making sandwiches, plus it toasts up beautifully — staying soft on the inside with a crisp exterior. The flour and water are mixed two hours before adding the other ingredients; it’s a technique called “autolyse” that allows the flour to hydrate, the gluten structure to begin to form, the dough to become easier to work with and more flavor to develop. Spraying the dough lightly with water just before baking will help create a flexible crust that expands in the oven, much like how professional bread bakers use a steam setting in their ovens. Be sure to let your bread cool completely before slicing — if you cut into it while it is still warm, it can result in a gummy texture.



  1. Combine the whole wheat flour, bread flour and 1 1/4 cups water in a large bowl and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Once the dough starts to form, switch to mixing with your hands, lightly kneading until there is no flour left. It will be stiff. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours.
  2. Whisk 2 tablespoons water with the instant yeast in a small bowl until the yeast is dissolved. Add to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook along with the rested dough, brown sugar, milk powder, vegetable oil and salt. Mix on low speed for 8 minutes to combine the ingredients, then increase the speed to medium-high for 8 minutes. The dough should be slightly sticky but have good gluten development, meaning it should be stretchy and slowly bounce back when pressed with your finger.
  3. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover and let it rise until doubled in size, 1 hour 15 minutes to 2 hours.
  4. Spray a 5-by-8-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, flatten it gently and press into a 7-by-9-inch rectangle. Brush off any excess flour. With a shorter side of the dough facing you and starting at the opposite end, roll the dough downward tightly into a log, tucking the ends in. Pinch the seam with your fingers to seal. Transfer the dough to the prepared loaf pan, seam-side down. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover the dough and lightly spritz the top with water. Bake until the bread is an internal temperature of 210 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer and sounds hollow when tapped on top, 35 to 45 minutes.
  6. Immediately remove the bread from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. The bread will keep, tightly wrapped, at room temperature for 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.