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Honey Whole Wheat Bread with Seeds

whole wheat bread

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For my first recipe, I figured I’d post something tried and true. It’s my mom’s honey whole wheat bread with seeds recipe. I grew up on this bread and eventually I began making it for myself. It’s hard to go back to wimpy, thin, store-bought slices after eating a buttered-up piece of this hearty loaf!

This bread is just called “Your Mom’s Bread” among my friends. It has been there for us so many times… a snack break during childhood playtime, a solid breakfast in high school, a perfect hangover cure in college, and now an impressive recipe that makes me feel adult when I make it. Only REAL adults make their own bread. And it makes your house smell amazing when it’s baking. My mom makes this bread so often that her house permanently smells like it. It’s a great smell for a home to have.

This honey whole wheat bread is chock full of SEEDS which is what I really love about it. Seeds are super healthy! They are full of fiber, good fats, protein, and plenty of nutrients. Plus, they add an extra little crunch and texture to the bread. But never fear—if you don’t like a seedy bread, you can leave them out and it’ll be just fine.

seeds in the whole wheat bread dough

I feel good about eating whole wheat bread because it’s made with half bread flour and half whole wheat flour (as the name suggests!). Bread flour has a higher protein content than regular all-purpose flour. This gives it a higher gluten content which helps make the dough stretchy and the final result more airy and chewy. I always use King Arthur bread flour. The whole wheat flour evens things out with less gluten and is more nutritional than all-purpose flour. The mix of those two makes a nice hearty loaf that isn’t too dense or too soft. Acidity from the buttermilk tenderizes the gluten and helps the dough rise into the beautiful puffy dough baby that we want it to be.

This is the best whole wheat bread recipe because it is so easy to modify. You could use different flour, add nuts or other additions, a combo of greek yogurt & milk for the buttermilk, etc. Also, it’s super forgiving. If you decide to take a “quick” trip to Target while your dough is rising and it ends up rising for 3 hours, that’s okay! Your dough baby is going to be just fine and it is still going to turn into delicious, amazing bread. The only thing that happens with a longer rise is that it starts to ferment which is completely harmless but gives it a slightly sourdough-like flavor.

whole wheat bread dough

How to Make Honey Whole Wheat Bread with Seeds

I know making your own bread can be intimidating but it’s really not that hard!! You don’t even need a Kitchenaid mixer or any special appliances, though it does make this recipe easier if you have one. We start the recipe by activating our yeast in a mixture of warm buttermilk & water. For me, I think this is the hardest part. Your liquid mixture should be between 105–115 degrees, and it can be hard to make it to that mark without going over. Some bread recipes just say to use “warm water” so maybe it doesn’t matter that much? But I always use a kitchen thermometer to be sure it’s in the right temp zone. I usually heat the buttermilk in my glass quart measuring cup in the microwave to around the right temp or maybe a little over (if it starts to separate from the heat, it’s totally fine) and then measure my tap water with the thermometer until it’s the right temp (or a little lower if my buttermilk is too hot) and add it to the cup. Then we add our yeast and put the mixture in the bowl we’re going to use to make the dough.

If you’re using a stand mixer, you can just turn it onto a medium speed and keep it going as you add ingredients. You don’t have to worry too much about overmixing it. If you’re making the recipe by hand, get ready for a little workout. First, we add bread flour and mix it up. Then, we add salt, honey, plenty of seeds, and the other half of our flour, our whole wheat flour. At some point, if you’re not using a stand mixer, the ingredients will become too difficult to mix with a spoon, so you’ll dump it all out onto a clean counter and start kneading. I try to knead the bread for 10 whole minutes by hand, or 5 minutes with the stand mixer. This is to really get the gluten developing so that we have a tasty, tender loaf. With either method, we aim to have a nice, elasticky ball of dough that’s not shaggy or sticky.

The hardest parts are over! Now, we wait. Grease your dough bowl with oil or cooking spray and return your dough baby to its bed. (The bowl. I’m talking about the bowl.) Tuck the baby in, (cover the bowl with a dish towel) and give it a little rest for an hour. The dough should about double in size during this time. After the hour is up, punch it down and turn it back out onto the counter to give it a few kneads. Divide it in half and place them into loaf pans, then cover and let them rise again for 35 minutes. At this point, I like to start preheating my oven with the loaves sitting on top. The heat from the oven gives their rise an extra boost while it gets to temp. Once your oven is at 350 degrees, pop the loaves in and bake for 50 minutes. Let them cool in their pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out on a wire rack to let them cool completely before slicing.

Toast a slice, spread it with butter & sprinkle a little salt on top. Or, top it with The BEST Tuna Salad with a SECRET Ingredient for a protein-packed lunch. YUM!

whole wheat bread

Questions About Making Bread, Answered…

Do you have to have a bread machine to make bread?

NO WAY, JOSÉ!!! This recipe is made with your sweet, sweet hands (or a stand mixer if you are lucky enough to own one). All you need is a big bowl, the motivation for a lil arm workout, and loaf pans. And an oven. Can’t forget that, haha.

How do you store bread so it won’t go stale?

As soon as your bread is cooled, slice it all up and put it straight into the freezer in a freezer-safe bag. That way, it will stay as fresh as when you first baked it! You can take slices out of the freezer and put them directly into the toaster for crisp, fresh toast.

Can you use all-purpose flour instead of whole wheat flour to make bread?

You sure can. The bread will be a bit lighter and fluffier than if you use whole wheat flour because it has more gluten. You could even use all bread flour or all all-purpose flour. The texture and fluffiness will change a bit but it will still turn out delicious.

How do you slice bread perfectly without crushing it?

The key to this is to use a large serrated knife and focus more on quick strokes back and forth rather than pressure down. You’re not cutting a block of cheese here so you don’t need much force. Let the knife do the work!

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whole wheat bread

Honey Whole Wheat Bread with Seeds

  • Author: Megan B-L
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 2 loaves 1x
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking

Description

Honey Whole Wheat Bread with Seeds is made with buttermilk, honey, whole wheat flour, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds. This recipe is made easiest with a stand mixer, but you can absolutely make it by hand as well. 


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Combine 2 cups buttermilk & 2 cups water in a 1-quart glass measuring cup and microwave until liquid is between 105°–115°. Make sure it is not hotter than 115° or your yeast will die! Add yeast, then pour into the bowl of your stand mixer or a large bowl if using arm strength. Continue with Stand Mixer or Arm Strength instructions, then move to Rising & Baking

Stand Mixer instructions:

  1. Fit your stand mixer with a dough hook, then add the 4 cups of bread flour and mix at a medium speed for 3 minutes.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt and ¼ cup honey, mix for a couple rounds. Add the ½ cup of each: sesame, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds, and 4 cups of whole wheat flour, continuing to mix on medium speed for 5 minutes. If the dough is still sticky at this stage, add another ¼ cup whole wheat flour. 
  3. Once the dough has all come together, dump it out onto a floured surface and knead it for about a minute, adding flour if it’s still too sticky. 

Arm Strength instructions:

  1. Add the 4 cups of bread flour to your bowl with yeast & liquid. Stir with a wooden or other sturdy spoon to combine.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt and ¼ cup honey, stir. Add the ½ cup of each: sesame, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds, and 4 cups whole wheat flour, and continue stirring with the spoon until it’s too hard to do so. Dump everything on a clean counter and begin to knead the ingredients together.
  3. Knead for 5 minutes or up to 10 if you can! Add another ¼ cup whole wheat flour if the dough is too sticky. 

Rising & Baking

  1. With either method, you should have a nice elasticky ball of dough that doesn’t stick to your hands. Spray the bowl you made the dough in with cooking spray and plop the dough ball back in there. Cover it with a kitchen towel and set it in a cozy warm place in your kitchen. Let rise for an hour.
  2. After the hour is up, the dough should have just about doubled in size. Punch it down, then dump it onto the counter to give it a few more kneads. 
  3. Divide the dough in 2 equal parts and place each in a greased 8×4 or 9×5 loaf pan. Either size should work. Let rise again for 35 minutes. 
  4. Start preheating your oven to 350° at the 35 minute mark and let it come to temp as the dough finishes the last few minutes of its rise. 
  5. Bake for 50 minutes. After bread is done, let it cool in their pans for 10 min, then take them out and cool the rest of the way on a wire rack. 
  6. Once bread is completely cool, use a serrated knife to cut it into 1/2 inch slices. Slather with butter & enjoy!


Notes

  • Storage: Make sure the sliced bread is fully cooled, then put  into gallon freezer bags and freeze immediately. This way, the bread will be fresh every time you want a slice. When you’re ready to eat, pop frozen slices directly into the toaster!
  • If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can always sub with 2 cups of milk + 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon.
  • You could also use all-purpose flour instead of whole wheat flour. It will be a little lighter and fluffier.
  • Don’t like seeds? You can omit them entirely. You could also replace them with 1/2 cup of cornmeal for crunch, or 1 cup ground flax seeds for health. Or both! 

Keywords: bread, dough, flour, seeds, whole wheat

This recipe was updated on 1/7/22 to provide better clarity and expand on the directions if you’re not using a stand mixer.

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