honey whole-wheat sandwich bread (no bread machine needed)

Since starting our real food challenge, I’ve been trying to make as much of our food from scratch as possible.  I’ve made things like tortillas, biscuits, pizza sauce, pasta sauce, and salsa.  Most of the recipes I use have come from Lisa at 100 Days of Real Food.  I also wanted to try making our sandwich bread but Lisa’s recipe calls for a bread machine, which we don’t have.  I read through all the comments and found some advice on how to make this bread without a bread machine.  I tried it several times but each time it just wasn’t quite right.  On my third try I finally got it to turn out the way I wanted it!

Thanks to a sweet friend who read my post about my bread frustrations and offered me her bread machine, pretty soon I should be able to use Lisa’s bread machine recipe.  However, I know that many people don’t have a bread machine and might appreciate knowing how to make this bread without one.  The process is a little time consuming but not that difficult and totally worth it.  Here’s what has worked for me.

what you need: whole wheat flour, oil, yeast, honey, and salt

mix the flour, salt, oil, and honey

dissolve the yeast into warm water

add in the yeast+water mixture, as well as some more water

place dough in an oiled bowl


let rise

punch it down

oil and flour a loaf pan

place dough in the pan

let it rise some more

bake it

enjoy your healthy, homemade bread!

Recipe (adapted from here)


  • 3 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur White Whole Wheat)
  • 1/4 cup oil (I use olive oil)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 packet or 2 1/2 tsp yeast
  • approximately 1 – 1 and 1/4 cup warm water


  • Mix the flour, salt, oil, and honey together.  I mixed mine in my KitchenAid mixer using the dough hook, but you could definitely mix this by hand if you don’t have a stand mixer.
  • Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water.
  • Add the yeast+water mixture to the flour mixture.
  • Slowly add more warm water until the dough forms a ball and starts banging around in the bowl.  If you accidentally add too much water and the dough becomes wet, just add a little more flour until it’s a firmer consistency.  I usually end up using 3/4 cup or less of water.
  • Put the ball of dough in a lightly oiled bowl (this keeps the dough from sticking as it rises).
  • Cover the bowl and let rise for 1 hour.  I don’t know if keeping it in a dark, undisturbed spot makes any difference but I remember my mom doing that with bread when I was little so I did it to0, just in case.
  • Oil and flour a bread pan.
  • After the first hour is up, punch the dough down and place it in the bread pan.
  • Cover and let rise for another 45 minutes.
  • Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
  • After removing from the oven, let stand for 15 minutes.  Then remove from pan to finish cooling.


  1. There does not seem to be any kneading involved- mine has not risen after 45 minutes- could this be why?

    • There wasn’t really that much involved for me – I felt the bread hook kneaded the dough pretty well on its own so I didn’t do any extra. Did you use a stand mixer or mix it by hand? If you mix it by hand, I think you will need to knead it. If you use a stand mixer, I think it should do it for you. I’m still new at this so I don’t really have much advice – sorry!

  2. Very yummy! Turned out great following the recipe and instructions you have listed on here! Now if I can stop myself from eating the entire loaf! ;) Thanks!!

  3. I’ve made this twice and it didn’t rise in the oven while baking. Thoughts?

    • Hmmm, had it risen a good amount before you put it in the oven (i.e did it rise during the second rest period when it was already in the pan)? Mine usually didn’t rise much more in the oven once it had risen in the pan outside of the oven. If the dough itself isn’t rising, then I might try just a bit more yeast. Also, is it very humid where you live? I’ve heard that can affect the dough rising. If it is rising fine until you put it in the oven then I’m honestly not sure. Sorry!

    • I know this was posted over a year ago but most of the time (and rightly so) bread recipes only contain biological leavening agents (aka yeast). Yeast cause bread to rise because they produce gas. Once you start cooking the bread the yeast begin to die, it is too hot for them and no more gas is released. Things like cakes and cookies often contain chemical leavening agents such as baking soda that release gas when they react with the heat of your oven. That is why bread needs time to rise in a location that is warm but not too hot.

      I’ve made this recipe three times now and it has turned out wonderful! All three times I let the dough rise for a total of 3-4 hours although it probably don’t need that much time. Great recipe, thank you!

  4. regular yeast?

  5. This is my FIRST time making bread, so I have a few questions.
    1.) When you say dissolve yeast, is there anything special other than adding water to yeast and stirring around?
    2.) Do you mix the first batch of ingredients, then add the yeast and mix more, then add water? Is that correct?
    3.) It got very wet and goopy when I added the 3/4 c of water. In fact I only added about 1/2 a cup. Any idea why? Never really became a stiff ball clunking around in bowl.

    Thank you so much! I am so excited to try this and will give it a go again tomorrow if this batch doesn’t work out?

    • 1. Yep, just mix the yeast and water together. I usually use a fork to stir it to help break up any clumps.
      2. Yep again!
      3. Depending on all kinds of things (the weather being a big one) you may not need a full 3/4 cup. After you add the yeast and water mixture, evaluate how wet or dry your dough is. It should still be pretty dry so then add water until it forms that stiff ball. I wouldn’t dump it all in at once – add a little, let it mix, see how that is, and then see if you need to add more.

      Let me know how it turns out!

  6. Just made this following directions exactly and it turned out great! Thanks!

  7. Kirsten Holte says:

    Didn’t rise much, but I also had to cut the rise time short because we needed to leave the house. BUT, it still tastes wonderful! I’ll definitely be making it again.

  8. Tried it and my whole family loves it! Thanks for posting :D Never buying bread again!

  9. I just made this yesterday although it does taste very good it still came out a little more dense than I’d like. Any advice on how to avoid that? Also when it was supposed to rise in the bread I didn’t really see too much difference after 45 Min. Also is there a difference between the texture of whole whest flour and white whole wheat flour? I just used whole wheat. Thank you!!

  10. Christina says:

    How would I double this recipe using whole wheat flour? I do have all purpose if I need to use it but I prefer to use all whole wheat.

  11. Thank you for this recipe! I made it last night and it turned out delicious. I will be making this a staple in my house. So good :)

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