Oh yes, I know, bread recipes ABOUND on the internet. I’ve used many of them. My husband has politely eaten many of them. It was one of my life goals to find a whole wheat bread recipe that he would say that he loved, not just liked. Loaf after loaf, they were good the first day, and then just….dry. After years and years of tweaking and trying, we’ve finally found the solution…are you ready for it?
ROLLS. Yes, rolls. Somehow the fact that each individual bread portion is wrapped in its own crust extends the soft and tasty period by days. Most of the time we make the recipe into 8 rolls (which are perfect for toast, sandwiches, burgers, etc), but have made them into 10 hotdog or brat buns as well with good success.
The second critical component of the soft delicious 100% whole wheat bread recipe is the bread maker. For years I made my bread by hand or in a stand mixer and while those methods got the job done, using the bread machine to mix, knead, and do the first rise for the dough saves so much time. Using the bread machine’s dough setting to do the first rise results in a much nicer texture and higher rise because it controls the temperature to make for a great rise every time.
It takes under 5 minutes to load the bread maker and get it started, and then the typical dough setting gives you an hour and a half of free time. LOVE IT.
Once the bread maker has done its magic, you turn the dough out onto a parchment lined pan and shape into 8 equally sized rolls. They may look small, but they will rise up beautifully on the second rise in the oven. (Tip: If you are making a baking day of it, just re-use the same sheet of parchment for each batch)
While the rolls are in the oven getting their second rise, I usually take the opportunity to throw another batch of dough into the bread maker and get it started. It’s worth noting, that since the bread maker does most of the work, if you can make several batches of rolls in one day, they freeze really well. As long as they go into the freezer once they have just cooled, they thaw and taste as fresh as the day they were baked.
My last tip is, if you want them to be 100% whole grain, you should find hard white wheat (if you grind it yourself) or hard white wheat flour. I’ve also used the recipe with Spelt and gotten a fluffy texture. If you use regular whole wheat flour or hard red wheat then you will want to reduce the amount of whole wheat flour to 2 1/2 cups and add 1/2 cup of regular bread flour, otherwise it will be much denser. So try to find the hard white wheat if you can. We get ours from UNFI and grind it ourselves, but if you do a quick internet search you should be able to find where to get it pre-ground if necessary.
So are you ready? I am!
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1 egg (or 1TBSP arrowroot powder + 2 TBSP water)
- ¾ TSP sea salt
- 2 TBSP brown sugar or honey
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 cups whole wheat flour (white wheat or spelt preferred)
- 1 TBSP instant yeast
- Fill bread maker pan with all ingredients.
- Set bread maker on dough setting and press start.
- Once bread maker has completed the dough cycle, turn dough out onto a parchment lined sheet pan.
- Divide dough into 8 evenly sized rolls or 10 evenly sized hotdog buns.
- Put into oven and set temperature to 170 degrees or as low as your oven goes.
- Allow the rolls to proof for 15 minutes in the oven.
- Once 15 minutes have passed, turn the temperature up to 400 degrees and start the timer again immediately for another 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, the rolls should be baked and ready to cool.