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Basic Bread - Easy Wholemeal Recipe (Whole Wheat)

Updated on October 29, 2012

Basic Bread Formula

If you have read any of my previous recipes then you might have an idea about kneading and rubbing in or you may be an experienced baker but I will go through some of the basics again for first timers in this one.

Most bakers professional or not nearly always base their recipes on this basic formula. You can amend and change the formula to suit when you are experienced but for what most of you have everyday for your daily bread then these are the ratios of basic ingredients that should go into your home baked loaf:

(Note: When baking with wholemeal flour I add 5% more liquid than with White as it absorbs far more)

One of my Favourite Baking Books

1000 Grams
Water / liquid
600 Grams
20 Grams
10 Grams
50 Grams

What about extras?

You can replace water with yoghurt, milk, buttermilk or any other consumable liquid, experiment and see! If you do add a thick liquid other than water like thick yoghurt or honey then remember to add an extra glug to compensate for the thickness.

There are all kinds of seeds, dried fruit, sweets, cheeses, herbs and even meats that you could add to your bread. I would add up to 50 grams of any of the ingredients listed below (remembering to try out some combinations).

Some ideas for extras for you...

Fresh Herbs and other bits
Also Try...
linseed (Flax)
Thyme (Leaves only)
Honey (replace with some water)
seasame seeds
Rosemary (Leaves only)
Pumpkin seeds
Chopped Parsley
Good Quality Beer (Guinness works)
Sunflower seeds
Olives (Chopped or not)
Milk (Makes it rich and soft)
Poppy seeds
Cheese (Sprinkled)
Cumin seeds
Any Chopped nuts
Chutney (Best layered in)
Fennel seeds
Paprika (Dust over top)
I wouldn't do all of the above, but you get the idea I'm sure, in particular, Fennel Seed makes a particularly suprising and pleasant taste and aroma!

Matt's Seeded Wholemeal Loaf...

Below is a basic recipe I use often. It makes great day to day bread for sandwiches, toast or as a side to a nice salad or hearty stew!

  • The wholemeal (Whole Wheat for you Americans) contains more B vitamins and has a higher Fibre content than White (Wheat) Flour.
  • The little Honey makes it sweet, aromatic and appealing to kids, (contains natural sugar which is the best kind).
  • The Linseed (or Flax) contains fiber and has been known to reduce cholesterol!
  • Sunflower seeds contain all kinds of essential nutrients the list would never end!

Note: To shape your dough into a round / spherical loaf check out 'Perfect Bread Recipe' or alternatively click here which is pretty similar to what I do.

Cook Time

Prep time: 3 hours
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 3 hours 20 min
Yields: 1 Medium loaf


  • 500 Grams Wholemeal 'Strong' Bread Flour
  • 300 Grams Luke warm water
  • 25 Grams Honey, This does take the liquid content to 65% however wholemeal will take more liquid than white flour.
  • 10 Grams Salt
  • 5-10 Grams 'Fast Action' Yeast
  • 2 handfulls Linseed (Flax)
  • 2 handfulls Sunflower Seeds
Rubbing in
Rubbing in | Source
Adding Seeds
Adding Seeds | Source


  • Wholemeal (Or Whole Wheat) creates a closer crumb structure than white flour, so if you want it to be a bit lighter then replace 100 grams of wholemeal flour with 'Strong' white flour to give it a bit of extra gluten!
  • Never Open your oven door after you have put your dough inside until at least 10 minutes have gone by. If you do the loaf will collapse and be dense!
  • If you leave a baking tray at the bottom of your oven then throw some cold water into it just before closing the oven door, the steam it creates helps make the crust go crusty!

How good was the recipe below?

4.5 stars from 2 ratings of Matt's Seeded Wholemeal Loaf

Useful bits!

Prime Pacific Stainless Steel Bread Box, Brushed
Prime Pacific Stainless Steel Bread Box, Brushed

It's actually really important to keep your bread properly - it will last longer and taste better!


Step by step...

  1. First measure out your ingredients one by one. This will allow you to have everything to hand and not get floury hand prints on your cupboards when you go looking for things.
  2. Now, take your chopped up butter and put it in the bowl. Start picking up handfuls of the butter and flour together and sprinkling it back into the bowl. Do this for 5 minutes and your butter will disapear and the flour will look like fine bread crumbs. This is called 'Rubbing in'.
  3. Next add your yeast and salt to the flour and butter bowl. Remember to keep them on seperate sides of the bowl at first (Salt kills yeast if pilled together) Now mix the salt and yeast seperately then together with your fingers until they both disapear into the flour.
  4. Now its time to add the liquid. I like to make a crater in the centre of the flour but this is not essential. If you do make your crater then pour in the water, then squeeze in the honey. Now start collapsing the sides of the crater into the bowl. Press and mix with your hands until the whole thing comes together and you are able to start cleaning the side of the bowl with your brand new dough!
  5. Knead your dough. If you are an experienced baker then you will know the drill here. If you are not however then turn the dough out onto your work surface. Use one hand to hold the dough in place and use the other to roll the dough out in front of you, breaking the surface and stretching it out. Then roll back up and repeat. Eventually your dough will become very elastic, and feel less sticky as you knead. When you can stretch the dough out as thinly as possible and are almost able to see light come through it then you know you are there.
  6. When you have been kneading for about 7 minutes, stop for a moment and flatten out your dough to about pizza size. Take your two different types of seed (Linseed and Sunflower Seeds) and sprinkle all over. Then roll up your dough with the seeds inside and seal the edges all round by pinching tightly. Then continue to knead for at least a further 3 minutes to distribute the seeds evenly.
  7. Once kneaded, oil your dough bowl and put your dough back inside it. Cover with a damp tea towel or failing that some cling film and leave it in a warm place in your house until it has at least doubled in size.
  8. Push down on the dough to knock the air out of it and transfer to your work surface again to shape. (There will soon be a hub on shaping your bread but for now follow any of the links I have given higher up the page)
  9. Once shaped carefully place onto an oiled oven tray and re-cover with your damp towel to double in size once more. (about an hour total)
  10. Turn the oven on 20 minutes before the dough has finished rising and gently cut the tops two or three times. This will allow the cuts to widen a little and the oven to get to the right temperature.
  11. After the rising time put the dough in the oven at up to 230 degrees Celsius or 459 degrees Farenheit for the first 15 minutes. Then quickly open the oven and rotate the tray so that it browns evenly all round for another 10 minutes. Tap the bottom to test - if it sounds hollow when you do then your loaf is ready. Leave to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before slicing!

Slice and enjoy...


Nutritional Information or Wholemeal Flour (Whole Wheat)

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 2 Thick Slices
Calories 407
Calories from Fat18
% Daily Value *
Fat 2 g3%
Saturated fat 0 g
Unsaturated fat 0 g
Carbohydrates 87 g29%
Sugar 0 g
Fiber 15 g60%
Protein 16 g32%
Cholesterol 0 mg
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.


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    • Matthew Kirk profile image

      Matthew Kirk 5 years ago from Liverpool

      Wiki picture replaced - thanks Horatio!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 5 years ago from California Gold Country

      Beautiful, explicit directions. Making bread is almost as satisfying as eating it. Thanks for your excellent tips and presentation.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 5 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      After reading this hub I can see where you would be critical of lesser recipes. It looks wholesome as well as tasty. Well done.

    • Matthew Kirk profile image

      Matthew Kirk 5 years ago from Liverpool

      Hi Hortatio

      Thanks for your advice. You are probably right but I didn't want to take a picture of the same loaf 3 times! Will have to bake something similar this weekend and replace it. Appreciate the assistance!

    • Horatio Plot profile image

      Horatio Plot 5 years ago from Bedfordshire, England.

      This is a great hub. I love baking bread. But It's not as good as yours methinks.

      Top Tip - Replace the wiki picture with one of your own.



    • Matthew Kirk profile image

      Matthew Kirk 5 years ago from Liverpool

      Thanks Lathing and Clover :)

    • cloverleaffarm profile image

      Healing Herbalist 5 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

      Ah, what a great hub. I can smell the bread baking. I love baking my own bread, and add herbs and grains all the time. Voted Up +.

    • LaThing profile image

      LaThing 5 years ago from From a World Within, USA

      Great hub! I love trying breads with different seeds, and things in them. My favorite one is cumin seeds. Like your charts, and the pictures..... Sharing, and useful.

    • Matthew Kirk profile image

      Matthew Kirk 5 years ago from Liverpool

      Appreciate the comment Breadbaking-101, going to check out some of your hubs right now I think!

      I tend to use a mixer with a dough hook attachment of wetter doughs, like traditional french baguettes or foccacia. I think you can achieve amazingly high gluten levels with your mixer but I just love getting my hands dirty.

      Next one will be a how to shape various loaves... making something look good though isn't nearly as important as the way it tastes and the shape won't change that either way :)

    • BakingBread-101 profile image

      BakingBread-101 5 years ago from Nevada

      Well, as I write, I have several loaves of whole white wheat bread in the oven. I enjoyed your hub, although I must say I let my mixer do most of the "work". After baking bread weekly for the past 35+ years, it never dawned on me that people might not know how to shape the bread. I just roll the dough up jellyroll style, pinch the seam and tuck the ends under. This was a nicely written hub!

    • Matthew Kirk profile image

      Matthew Kirk 5 years ago from Liverpool

      Thanks blaeberry, noticed your hubs have increased. Really loving them!

    • blaeberry profile image

      blaeberry 5 years ago from Scotland

      Really useful. Bread is one of those things I have tried and failed to make but your hub has inspired me to give it another try. Voted up