Whole-Wheat Sandwich Bread

Homemade whole wheat bread that tastes just like the sandwich loaves you buy at the store.
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Prep 40 minutes
Cook 40 minutes
Resting time 18 hours 30 minutes
Total 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 16 servings (Two 9x5-inch loaves)
Calories 236 kcal
Author Michelle


For the Biga:

  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup warm water (100-110 degrees F)
  • ½ teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast

For the Soaker:

  • 3 cups whole-wheat flour, plus extra for kneading
  • ½ cup wheat germ
  • 2 cups whole milk

For the Dough

  • ¼ cup honey
  • 4 teaspoons table salt
  • 2 tablespoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Bread flour for work surface
US Customary - Metric


  1. 1. Prepare the Biga: Combine the bread flour, water and yeast in a large bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until a uniform mass forms and no dry flour remains, about 1 minute. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature overnight (at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours).
  2. 2. Prepare the Soaker: Combine the whole-wheat flour, wheat germ and milk in a large bowl and stir with wooden spoon until a shaggy mass forms, about 1 minute. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Return soaker to the bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight (at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours).
  3. 3. Prepare the Dough: Tear the soaker into 1-inch pieces and place in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.
  4. Add the biga, honey, salt, yeast, butter and oil. Mix on low speed until a cohesive mass starts to form, about 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Turn out dough onto lightly floured counter and knead for 1 minute. The dough will be very soft and slack. Transfer the dough to a large clean, lightly greased bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature for 45 minutes.
  5. 4. Lightly flour your fingertips. Gently press down on center of dough to deflate.
  6. Holding the edge of the dough with your fingertips, fold the dough over itself by gently lifting and folding edge of dough toward the middle. Turn the bowl 90 degrees and fold again. Turn the bowl and fold the dough 6 more times (for a total of 8 folds).
  7. Cover and allow to rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.
  8. 5. Adjust the oven racks to middle and lowest positions, place a baking stone on the middle rack, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spray two 9x5-inch loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray. Transfer the dough to a well-floured work surface and divide into 2 equal pieces. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, pat each into an 8x17-inch rectangle. With the short side facing you, roll the dough toward you into firm cylinder, keeping the roll taut by tucking it under itself as you go. Turn the loaf seam side up and pinch it closed. Place the loaf seam side down in the prepared loaf pan, pressing it gently into the corners.
  9. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Cover the loaves loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature until almost doubled in size, 60 to 90 minutes (the top of the loaves should rise about 1 inch above the edge of the pan).
  10. 6. Place an empty baking pan (not glass!) on the bottom oven rack and bring 2 cups of water to boil on the stove. Using a sharp serrated knife or single-edge razor blade, make one ¼-inch-deep slash lengthwise down the center of each loaf.
  11. Pour the boiling water into the empty loaf pan on the bottom rack and place the loaves on the baking stone.
  12. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees (177 degrees C). Bake until the crust is dark brown and the internal temperature registers 200 degrees F (93 degrees C) on an instant-read thermometer, 40 to 50 minutes, rotating the loaves 180 degrees and side to side halfway through baking.
  13. 7. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove the loaves from the pans, return to the wire rack, and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. The bread should be double-wrapped in plastic wrapped and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days. The loaf can be wrapped with an additional layer of aluminum foil and frozen for up to 1 month.

Recipe Notes

Nutritional values are based on one serving

Nutrition Facts
Whole-Wheat Sandwich Bread
Amount Per Serving
Calories 236 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Cholesterol 14mg5%
Sodium 597mg26%
Potassium 180mg5%
Carbohydrates 35g12%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 180IU4%
Calcium 47mg5%
Iron 1.2mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.