a go-to whole wheat bread recipe

A few years ago, my mom passed along a recipe for an easy overnight-rise yeasted bread. My mom is a fantastic cook. She is not, however, much of a baker. I’m sure she could be a great one if she wanted to be, but sweets just aren’t her thing. This bread, however, was GREAT. Really really good.

I started making it occasionally for dipping in soup or if we had friends over for dinner. But a year or so ago, when I came out of the fog of having a newborn, I started making it regularly as our only bread. I use it for sandwiches for the kids. I doubled the recipe my mom had given me, and played around with the proportions of whole wheat flour until I got it just right.

I make the dough about once a week. It makes two loaves; we usually eat most of one right when it comes out of the oven. Sometimes I freeze a few slices of bread for sandwich backup. Especially important now that school has started and making lunches is a daily occurrence!

Overnight Whole Wheat Bread

375g / 3c white all-purpose flour*
360g / 3c whole wheat flour
20g / 1t salt
1t yeast
3c room-temperature water

one / Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl with a lid (alternatively cover with a towel or beeswax wrap). Dough will look a bit scraggy but if it’s super dry, add a tad more water.

two / Wait 12-18 hours for dough to rise, depending on how hot your kitchen is. It should have at least doubled in size.

three / Place a large dutch oven (such as a Le Creuset) in the oven and turn the heat to 450 degrees. Leave the empty pan in the oven while the oven heats, at least 30 minutes.

four / Remove dutch oven and line bottom with a small circle of parchment paper.

five / Remove lid from rising dough, and sprinkle the top with flour. Use your hands to divide roughly in half. Make a loose ball with half the dough. Drop in dutch oven on the parchment paper.

six / Bake for 25 minutes with the lid on the dutch oven. Remove lid and bake for 5 minutes longer or until the top is nicely browned. (Make sure your kids are a safe distance when you open the oven; it’ll be HOT!)

seven / Let cook for a couple of minutes, and then grab a bread knife and enjoy straight away.

*You need 6 cups of flour, total. Feel free to change the proportions if you prefer a whiter bread, or you are short on one type of flour.

What about you? Do you bake bread? Do you have a go-to recipe? Do you use the oven or a bread maker?

Melissa Colonno