Fast Whole Wheat Bread

Whole Wheat Bread

I am strictly a weekend baker because after a busy day at work the last thing I want is to spend the whole evening in the kitchen. But this week I needed to bake some bread — fast, if I could help it– when I came across this ridiculously simple recipe in the Joy of Cooking that promised a quick and delicious bread. I was intrigued.

This is not one of those no-knead recipes but what saves you a good deal of time is the fact that you can mix all of the ingredients at one go– no need to proof the yeast first– and you don’t need hour-long rises. The bread does need two rises, but they are just about 30-45 minutes each. And in the end you are rewarded with a handsome loaf of bread that smells amazing, has a perfect crust– not too thick nor too chewy– and a soft, delicious crumb. I made the bread part whole wheat, although you could make this white if you had a mind to.

Whole-Wheat Bread

Here’s the recipe for Fast Whole Wheat Bread, just in time for you to bake up a storm over the weekend. If you’re a new baker, look through Holy Cow’s archives for a ton of tips on baking bread and particularly this post. I am always urging you on these pages to try baking your own bread because believe me it is one of the most rewarding experiences you will have as a cook, and yet there are so many among us who are absolutely petrified by it.

Enjoy, all!

Fast Whole-Wheat Bread
5.0 from 1 reviews
Fast Whole-Wheat Bread
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Bread
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 2¼ tsp (1 package) active dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup warm water (not hot-- you will kill the yeast)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  1. Place  1 cup of the bread flour, the whole-wheat flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk to mix together.
  2. Add the water and the olive oil and mix. Add more of the bread flour if needed. How much flour you will need will depend on where you live and what the weather's like. I made this bread on a rainy day in Washington and I needed nearly the whole cup. If you live in a dryer region you might need less.
  3. Knead the dough for 10 minutes by hand or with your dough hook set to low speed.  You should now have a smooth, pliable ball of dough that's not at all sticky.
  4. Place the dough ball in an oiled bowl, turning over once to coat the top with oil.
  5. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set aside for 30-45 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
  6. Remove the risen dough from the bowl and punch it well to deflate all the gases. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a triangle about 10 inches long. Now roll the dough toward yourself and make a cylinder, tucking down the seams and pinching them in so you have a smooth loaf.
  7. Place the dough in a standard loaf pan, seam side down (most loaf pans are 9 X 4½ or 10 X 5 inches)
  8. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap and let the bread rise in a warm place about 30-45 minutes or until the loaf has risen and domed over the top of the pan.
  9. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  10. Place the loaf in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Then lower the heat to 350 degrees and bake another 30 minutes.
  11. Remove the loaf pan to a rack and let it stand until the bread is cool enough to handle. Remove the bread from the pan by loosening the sides with your fingers or a spatula. Place on a rack until it has cooled through.
  12. Slice. Eat.
 Whole-Wheat Bread

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  1. says

    Almost exactly the recipe I use! Generally I split the whole wheat flour and white flour evenly (1 and 1/2 cups each), plus add a tablespoon of vital wheat gluten. This works by hand, by mixer, or in the bread machine, and you just can’t mess it up, unless the water is too hot, as you say!

  2. Kristi says

    Just made 2 loaves of this bread today. They are almost gone. The second one I made I added cinnamon and raisins. They are both great! I’m so glad I found your site. I am looking forward to trying out more of your recipes! Thanks for sharing:)

  3. Lucia says

    I am so glad I found this recipe–gave it to my 81 yr old mom, since she wanted one that does not need kneading.

    I do, however, need help with the following:

    I wanted a recipe with only whole wheat flour, so I did not use any other kind (I realize it is not as fluffy, but my rationale is if I have to use white flour, then I might as well just go and buy some bread at the store).

    I substituted non fat milk for the water and brown sugar for the white.

    As I was expecting, it came out a bit on the dry side, so I would like to add some applesauce.

    How much of it should I add to the recipe?

    Thank you,


  4. SK says

    Very good bread! I’ve made it twice now. The 1 hour “total time” should be changed though. Both of my rises took 45 minutes and then 40 for baking, plus prep time. You’re really looking at 1.5 hours at the least. Also the second time I made it, I didn’t grease the pan. Bit of a mistake. I used a bit of coconut oil the first time and it came out of the pan easily. I bake in glass, perhaps that’s why it stuck, so I will continue to use a smidge of coconut oil on the pan.

    Thanks for the great recipe! It’s definitely my go-to now when I need bread!!


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