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Honey Wheat Bread

by Chef Megan Joy on May 14, 2012

This is my go-to bread recipe when I want something that is tasty, soft, and can be sliced like regular sandwich bread.

I baked it for my trip to Moab, Utah, recently. I also had a loaf in the car while I drove across the country back to my home state, Indiana, to visit my family. At one point I was driving through Iowa and using one hand to reach into the bag and grab slices to scarf down for lunch. But hey, it makes my body feel better than eating fast food. I also like knowing what is in the food I put into my body.

And a bonus for us mountain/foothills people: bread rises much faster at altitude so we get to enjoy it sooner.

Sometimes you would think the opposite with high altitude baking. But the low air pressure found at high elevations causes the yeast to grow much faster than normal. This can be really handy when you’re short on time.

When I worked at the restaurant, I could bake bread or rolls (start to finish) for staff meal in under an hour and a half. The biggest thing you have to worry about is over-proofing, which will produce a spongy textured bread.

If you want your yeast breads to have a stronger, more developed yeast flavor, let them rise overnight in a refrigerator, which will slow down the yeast.

How to make this high altitude recipe:

Honey Wheat Bread (adapted from AllRecipes.com)

2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup grapeseed, safflower, or canola oil
5 cups all-purpose flour (I like Wheat Montana flours)
2 cups whole wheat flour

Dissolve yeast in the warm water. Let sit for five minutes until foamy. Add the salt, honey, oil, and flours. Knead 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. You should be able to stretch a small ball of the dough thin without it tearing. With any flour-based recipe at altitude, your flour may be drier than normal, so adjust by adding a little water if you find that to be the case. This step can also be completed using the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 20-30 minutes. Punch down the dough and shape into two loaves. Place each loaf in a greased 9 x 5 ” loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until the dough has risen to just below the rim of the pan (3/4-1″), about 20 minutes.

Bake at 350 F until the tops are a light golden brown and they sound hollow when tapped, around 20-25 minutes.

Let the bread loaves cool in their pans for 5 minutes, then invert and finish cooling on a wire rack. Slice thick and enjoy with homemade jam or local honey.

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Michela Hart October 28, 2012 at 10:43 am

I have been having the hardest time baking bread because I live in Salt Lake City at 4800 altitude! And every high altitude recipe I have found is ridiculously hard and complex, but not this one. I’m going to be trying this tonight and definitely checking out your other foods! Thank you!

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Chef Megan Joy October 28, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Good luck Michela! Just remember that with yeast breads the only adaptations you may need to do are use a little less yeast and flour, and the rising time is much shorter.

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Stephanie January 11, 2013 at 5:02 pm

I live at 6,000 feet.. I am having a terrible time making bread, I am going to try this recipe next.. I am bound and determined to make my own bread!!

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j west January 25, 2013 at 4:22 am

Is there any other, more common oil I can substitute? Like butter, veg oil, or shortening?

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Chef Megan Joy January 26, 2013 at 12:15 am

Canola/Vegetable oil will work fine and should be fairly easy to find.

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Lora August 25, 2013 at 5:55 pm

I use coconut oil.

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Roger A January 28, 2013 at 9:14 am

Might be an off question, but what is “warm” for warm water for the yeast? My wife and I differ on what warm is. I don’t want it to be too cold for the yeast, and I’m not sure if it is too warm, what it will do to the yeast. My bread receipe is from my mothers memory, who makes great bread… but she doesn’t use a receipe and you can’t really measure “about that much”.

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Chef Megan Joy January 28, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Hi Roger. For active dry yeast, between 105-110 F is best. For fresh yeast, 95-100 F is recommended. Measure the temperature and see how it feels on the back of your hand. After awhile you won’t need to use a thermometer. I usually go with water that is not too tepid, nor too hot, as the right temperature.

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Roger A January 29, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Thank You! Coming from my Architecture background, I need to at least start with “numbers”.

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Tressa February 25, 2013 at 11:48 am

Hello. I live at 7200 feet in Colorado. I just made the dough, it didn’t rise much during the first “rise”, I am hoping that it will rise during the second “rise”. My fingers are crossed.

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Chef Megan Joy February 25, 2013 at 11:59 pm

Hi Tressa. There’s a few things that could have prevented a nice rise with your dough. First, make sure your yeast is fresh and not expired or old, otherwise it will not work as well. One way to test this is in the first step of the recipe, when you combine the warm water and yeast to activate it. If the yeast does not get foamy or bubbly, then it is not good. Another reason for your dough not rising could be the temperature of your water. For optimal rise it needs to be between 105-110 F. One last factor- the temperature of your room. If it’s a cooler temperature, it will take a bit more time.

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Erin October 21, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Another tip I’ve been implementing since moving “to altitude” (~5900 ft) is to let the plastic wrapped dough bowl rise in a microwave oven that you’ve just steamed by bringing 1c water to a boil for a few mins.

Boil water, remove water, place covered dough bowl inside and close door for desired rise time (don’t open!) … the mixture of moisture and slightly elevated temp does wonders.

This won’t help matters if your yeast is bad, but it does seem to help ensure a nice rise during colder months of the year or if your kitchen is particularly drafty.

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Lourdes Leather March 16, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Hey Megan! I tried this recipe tonight – baked bread for the FIRST time thinking it would be the hardest thing on earth but it was incredibly easy and fast! Thank you so much for posting this and for your blog! I love to bake and cook – I’m on a new adventure trying to bake from scratch with my hubby and we’re loving it so far. We are new fans to your blog and will be using it as tool often! All the very best!

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Chef Megan Joy March 19, 2013 at 11:54 pm

Welcome to HAB Lourdes! Wishing you and your hubby happy baking.

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Marci March 20, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Would white whole wheat flour work in this recipe if you are trying to make a higher fiber bread?

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Chef Megan Joy March 21, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Hi Marci- you can definitely use white whole wheat flour. It may be a little more dense, but it should still be delicious!

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Raini March 30, 2013 at 3:56 pm

I have been unsuccessful in registering. The site continues to inform me that I need to register, however when I click on “register” I receive an error message.
Your assitance is appreciated.

May I have access to the Carrot Cake Cupcakes etal?

Kind regards,
High Altitude Raini

Reply

Chef Megan Joy March 30, 2013 at 5:28 pm

High Altitude Bakes.com visitors: The registration login is for visitors who have purchased The High Altitude Bakes Holiday Cookbook (http://highaltitudebakes.com/cookbooks/). It’s a downloadable instant-access cookbook which can be retrieved at any time through the website. When you buy the cookbook, you create a member id and login, which allows you to login and access your purchased cookbook. If you have not purchased the cookbook, disregard the member login, you do not need it.

With the exception of the High Altitude Bakes Holiday Cookbook, everything else on this site is free and accessible to everyone.

If you would like to receive e-mail updates for new blog posts, then you can enter your information into the email subscription sign-up box on the main page.

Thank you!

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Marcia April 18, 2013 at 12:28 pm

I’d like to add some King Arthur Flour harvest grains blend to this recipe.
Based on 7 C total flour, if I added 1 C of their blend, how much should I increase the liquid?
Thanks!
p.s. at 7,000′

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Chef Megan Joy April 18, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Marcia- I’d recommend soaking your grain mix in hot water for 30 minutes before you start. Just pour hot water over the grains to cover. When you’re ready to proceed, drain the excess water. The initial ‘soak’ is going to give those grains some time to absorb water and not zap it out of the dough later. Mix the dough for 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic, then add the soaked grain mix until incorporated. Continue the recipe as directed. Sometimes, whole grain breads take a little longer to rise, so take note. Let me know how it comes out!

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Marcia April 21, 2013 at 10:55 pm

Thanks, Megan — I’ll try that and will let you know.

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Helen May 11, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Thanks Megan,
I live in Northern NM 7400ft above sea level. I have tried other recipes that have failed and yours turned out perfect! Can you provide an approximate kneading time as I kneaded my dough for nearly 40 minutes before it became smooth. It seemed perfect when I turned it out onto the counter (not sticky nor dry). Thanks, Helen

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Chef Megan Joy May 11, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Hi Helen, in this recipe I recommend kneading the dough for 8-10 minutes. Sometimes kneading by hand will take an extra couple of minutes. It will be elastic and slightly tacky. The main factor to achieve is proper gluten development. You can tell if the dough is ready when a small piece of dough stretched between your two index fingers and thumbs makes a ‘gluten window’. The dough will stretch to almost translucent-thin without easily tearing.

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Mari Jo Brown May 22, 2014 at 8:49 pm

Merci beaucoup for sharing this wonderful honey wheat bread recipe. This is the second time I’ve made it, and I bought Wheat Montana flour this time. Just took out of the oven, and I am thrilled that I made good bread, finally, after many attempts. Looking forward to trying more recipes on your site, and maybe buying a cookbook.

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Chef Megan Joy May 31, 2014 at 11:11 pm

I’m glad to hear that Mari Jo, happy baking!

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Dean Randall June 10, 2014 at 11:02 am

I love Morton’s onion bread. Can add onion to this?

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Chef Megan Joy June 10, 2014 at 6:20 pm

Hi Dean, yes you can. Happy baking!

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Michi September 9, 2014 at 10:16 pm

Hi Chef Megan,

One of my joys in life was making whole wheat bread. When I lived in Los Angeles, baking bread was a monthly affair. Always came out right. Now I’m living in Boulder, CO at 5430 and tackled my first attempt. the bread was ok. I used a recipe from Pie in the Sky. The bread was spongy and had a texture like corn bread but spongy. a bit odd. I’m going to try this recipe. My big question is can i sub the 5 cups of AP flour with bread flour??

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