I've recently tried out bread-making as a hobby, and I love it! It's so cozy, affordable, and very functional. It's fun to make bread with your own hands, have one less thing to buy at the grocery store, and enjoy the homemade goodness all week long!
Today I'm sharing my favorite bread recipe, which is a simple and healthy honey wheat bread. It works great for sandwiches, toast, or just enjoying a slice straight out of the oven! It's a very soft loaf, which is great because homemade bread can sometimes turn out crumbly. The honey also adds a nice complementary flavor level to the dense whole grain taste.
(Disclaimer: I ended up using white flour when I made the bread this time, but either whole wheat or white work very well! You can even opt for a half and half mixture.)
A smaller, printable version of this recipe can be found at the bottom of this post. If you want to see detailed step-by-step instructions with photos though, read through the post first. Let's get started!
First, gather all the ingredients:
The first step is to combine the water, yeast, and 2 cups of the flour in a large mixing bowl. Stir it to combine well. It's okay if there are some lumps.
Let the mixture sit for 15-20 minutes, until it rises and becomes quite bubbly. This process is called sponging!
Here is what my mixture looked like after 20 minutes.
Now it's time to add the rest of the ingredients. I set my bowl in the KitchenAid mixer, then added the honey, oil, salt, and remaining 4 cups of flour.
Next, mix it all up! The flour might try to jump out right away, so start on a low speed setting.
Once all the elements are nicely combined, it's time to knead the dough!
Did you know you can actually use a KitchenAid mixer for kneading? If you choose to do it this way, switch to a dough blade. You'll stir the dough for 6-7 minutes, adding flour a small amount at a time if it starts sticking to the sides of the bowl.
If you opt for kneading by hand, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes.
After kneading for 6 1/2 minutes with the mixer, I noticed my dough was still too sticky and soft. So, I turned the dough out onto the counter and added some flour, then kneaded it in with my hands.
Once your dough is kneaded, split it into two sections.
Now it's time to get the loaves shaped! This is the part where you could go two ways. The simpler way is to use your hands to form the dough into loaves, then set them in the pans. You can skip straight to the rising process if you do this.
If you want to try something new, you can try this method I just learned! I've found that this helps the bread turn out beautifully tall and fluffy. Use a rolling pin to roll each piece of dough into a rectangle shape. The rectangle should be just as wide as your loaf pan is long. To measure this, I set my loaf pan at the end of the dough as I roll it.
Your dough should be about half an inch to an inch thick when you're done rolling it out. Then, starting at one end, start rolling the dough in a spiral shape. After each turn of the roll, press down firmly on top of the roll. This is important to ensure there won't be gaps on the inside of the loaf.
When you're done rolling, turn each end under itself, and set the dough in a greased loaf pan.
Do this for each loaf, then cover with a thin cloth and allow to rise for about 60 minutes. Depending on the temperature of your kitchen, you may need to rise for 15 minutes longer. The dough should be risen to about 1 1/2 inches above the edge of the pan.
The rising process is so amazing! I love seeing how the dough changes in such a short amount of time.
One reason I love this recipe is that it only requires one rise (other than the 20 minute rise in the beginning). This makes the entire process much faster than other bread recipes.
About 10 minutes before the loaf is fully risen, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Then it's time to bake the bread!
Bake for 30 minutes. You can switch the loaves halfway through baking if you're worried about getting an even bake, but I've never had a problem with that. I just leave them alone for 30 minutes, and they turn out beautifully!
Immediately after removing the pans from the oven, run a butter knife along the edges to loosen the loaf. Turn the pans upside down to release the bread onto a cooling rack (or a cutting board, if you don't happen to own a cooling rack).
The original recipe said to let the bread cool completely before cutting, but who are we kidding? That is not necessary.
You can see the swirly pattern in the bread from the rolling technique! So neat!
Also, the bread is heavenly on its own, but add butter? Yessss please.
And that's it! Like I said, this post was for a class project, but I really enjoyed making it. I would consider sharing some other favorite recipes in the future, since I love cooking. I hope you love this bread if you decide to try it out!
The original recipe for this bread was found at https://anoregoncottage.com/whole-wheat-sandwich-bread-101/2/
I grew up on a farm, a mile away from a town of 76 people. My childhood and teenage years were the definition of ‘rural.’ School was 20 miles away; the nearest movie theater 50, and the nearest mall 80. My dad and grandpa farmed together, and still do: growing wheat, soybeans, and corn. The weather was a constant conversation topic. I grew up knowing that it determined how well the crops grew, which determined how much money we would make that year, and ultimately how many Christmas presents I might receive.
My family also taught me about Jesus. We prayed for sick family members, for help with situations at school, and for rain (either for more or less of it. It seemed there was never a ‘perfect’ amount of rain for our crops). I grew up trusting that God had things under his control, and that he cared about what we needed.
After graduating high school, I packed up and headed to a city of 200,000+ people for college. I’ve been here for three years now and have grown accustomed to the type of life I lead in a city. In a typical day, I have plans to go to class, work, meet up with friends, and do things for a ministry I’m involved in. If I focus and work hard, the result of my day will likely be positive: good grades, strong relationships, and the size of paycheck I’m counting on. Most of my productivity and the day’s outcomes are up to me.
Farming, however, has a large stock in the weather and other uncontrollable factors. I heard someone say that “there is no better demonstration of faith than a man planting seed in his field.” My dad could work his tail off all year long and make the most careful plans, and still his crop could fail! Yes, he uses high-technology equipment, sprays fertilizers and chemicals, buys crop insurance, and makes educated decisions. But at the end of the day, the results are not up to him. Growing massive amounts of produce under the open sky requires a strong, daily-bread type of faith and persistent prayer.
When your tiny soybean plants are drowning in muddy fields and rain clouds are gathering yet again: you pray. When the summer days are slipping away into fall and your crops are not nearly mature: you pray. When gusting wind lays all your corn flat on the ground: you pray.
Every time I go back home, I appreciate the farming-faith a little more.
Ultimately though, even if you’ve never seen a corn field, we all need faith for our daily lives and jobs. Faith is simply believing that God will do what he says, that he will provide, and that he is in control. It ain’t just for the farmin’ folk.
And when I stop to think of it, I realize how very dependent I am on God. My heart is beating right now, and I am breathing. Can we grasp how much of an unearned blessing even those two facts are? We rely on the Lord for everything: both the simplest needs of life and the loftiest pursuits. Every one of us needs daily, humble faith: whether we’re doctors, cooks, secretaries, parents, teachers, or farmers.
We can all use the reminder that the air in our lungs, the food on our plates, and the length of our days reflect God’s faithful provision.
** Photo credits to my brother, Nathan Koeppe
If I had one word to describe this summer, I would say ‘breezy.’ I’m talking ice cream cones, sandals that have grown dirty from outdoor adventures, and countless hours reading good books. The best of the best.
Throughout most of the season, my relationship with God has also felt breezy: very simple, gentle, and foundational. I studied the book of Colossians with a small group, which emphasizes the gospel. Much of my time in prayer and reading was spent marveling over the most foundational truths of the Bible: that Jesus is the reason for everything, that his life and death have freed me, and that I am brought to fullness in him. Just like the easy rhythms of summer, I was reminded daily of the sweet, sweet truths that make life possible.
Lately, though, the breezes have gained a certain chill to them. The season is changing, no matter how us Midwesterners pout and protest: and much is changing in my little life too. I am now finished with my job at the YMCA summer program, and soon will be starting my last undergraduate semester at college, resuming my beloved tutoring job, diving back into leadership with Cru, and planning whatever the heck will happen beyond December (as well as the wedding!). I’m excited for these changes, and the people and change of pace they’ll bring back to my life.
My Bible reading has also switched from Colossians to Numbers, which describes the Israelites’ wanderings in the desert. After God frees his people from slavery in Egypt, he leads them through wilderness towards a good land he has prepared for them. The journey is tough, though, and God’s people prove to be imperfect: whining about the food they’re given, choosing fearfulness instead of faith, rebelling against leadership, and even (multiple times) talking about how much better it was to be slaves in Egypt!
However, God continues leading these people through the wilderness, towards his promise. They have a good destination, and it’s God’s faithfulness that’s getting them through. Their feeble minds think that turning back is a good option, but God has something so much better for them.
The whole thing has reminded me that I have a destination: Heaven, the greatest land ever promised. No matter how breezy and full of little novelties my life is, I’m supposed to live with a purpose and a goal. Though I might feel like a whiny, aimless Israelite at times, the worst possible thing I could do is turn around and pursue the things of the world. We are called by God to seek the things that are above, to set our hearts and minds on them!
The message that has been reinforced in my mind through sermons and my own times with the Lord, is “keep on going.” That’s what I want to do as I step into this fall season: keep on going, with a destination in sight. The Lord has beautiful, wonderful things in store for us.
We can all agree this summer is going too fast. I’m trying to fully appreciate the long, warm days and all the time I don’t have to spend on homework. It’s been a beautiful season, and for the most part life has felt simple and joyful.
When I look at my relationship with God over the past month, it also feels simple and joyful. Rather than teaching me new, tough lessons, I feel that he’s been reminding me of foundational truths about himself. The main thing I’ve been learning is my dependence on the gospel: how all-sufficient Christ is for all areas of my life. This theme keeps showing up. No matter how high or low I am, God reminds me that I need all of him all the time. Here are a few examples from what I’ve been up to lately:
I’m still working at the Y, and it’s still testing and growing my patience (working with kids will do that to ya). The best parts of the job are when we bring the kids swimming or on field trips, and the moments when I teach them something new or laugh like crazy with them. The worst parts of the job are when all 40 of them are cooped up in the school all day because of rain. Or when we use an attention getter (where a leader yells “YM!” and the kids are supposed to say “CA!” then pay attention) four times and they’re all still talking and goofing off with each other.
I’ve felt my need for God’s purposes and his love during many workdays. He has helped me see how each child is made in his image, no matter how much they get on my nerves. He’s been reminding me that there is a true, good purpose for this job: to show these kids radical love and to take care of them. He’s also been showing me that the gospel should dramatically affect how I act at work and how I treat my coworkers. One morning I finished praying and suddenly realized how crazy it is that I can talk to Jesus every single day. Then I thought, ‘if I get to start my day with prayer, there should be a difference in how I work and speak and act. Am I different?’
I need Jesus for my workdays.
Another thing I’ve done recently is studying for and taking the GRE. This is a huge standardized test for admission into my graduate program, and the scores matter quite a bit. I admittedly procrastinated studying for it, which is out of character for me. Then, the week before test day, I stressed out and studied hard and cried a lot. I do not recommend my method.
During that week of doubts and stresses, I felt close to God in a different way. My relationship with him felt very simple: I needed him obviously and unashamedly, and he met me each morning with the hope of the gospel. I questioned my abilities and future plans, and he reminded me that it would be okay no matter what: he had a plan. The test scores would not define me.
I ended up doing well on the test (which is super fancy and gives you scores right away), and I know it’s a huge blessing. It feels wonderful to not have to do a retake, and I’m relieved. But the moment I saw my scores, something shifted in my thinking. I felt a little more sufficient, like I had proved myself. Pride crept in. The raw, desperate need for Jesus I had felt just earlier that morning seemed to fade: and I hate it! The truth is that I need Jesus, even in the area of academic plans and achievement.
I need Jesus for my future plans.
I could keep writing about scenarios where I’ve felt my need for Jesus and have seen his beauty. But this post has already gotten quite long, and I’m impressed if you’re still scrolling through it :) I just want this to be an encouragement for you: the truth of the gospel is sufficient for all situations and emotions. We always, always need Jesus, and the good news is, he is always there.
It’s his grace to us that he reminds us of himself. Whether it’s something hard like a rough day at work, a stressful decision, or confusing emotions, or something positive like a gorgeous sunset or good news, he is constantly drawing us to himself. Can you see evidences of it?
My family’s front porch is my definition of summer. Fitted with well-used patio furniture, it’s the perfect place to enjoy the view of a lush yard, rolling fields, and beautiful hills in the distance. There is much life there: the giant lilac bush, the small but steadily growing oak tree, and the ocean of pasture grass. There is much movement, too: the fresh breeze, our golden retrievers walking about, and the rustle of birds in the trees.
It’s a scene of abundance.
A week ago, I sat on that porch and read Colossians 1:9-14. Here, Paul is writing an encouraging letter to a group of believers:
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:9-14
Paul is praying that these people would have abundant spiritual lives: overflowing with growth. Think about someone who lives like this. They’re receptive to God’s will, so they do good works, know God closely, are blessed with his strength, and live in thankfulness. They remember what Jesus has done for them and live in direct response to that! The thought reminds me of the lush view from my porch. It’s undeniably alive, bursting with newness.
This kind of life is possible for you and me. I hope you read the verses over again and let God speak to you through them, because I’m sure something will stick out to you. Opening ourselves to the Lord’s direction in our hearts and leading in our lives is the first step in personal growth.
I’ve read these verses every day for the past week, and it’s powerful. I find myself being encouraged and convicted in different ways each time. I’ve especially been struck by the phrase about God giving us patience and endurance through his power. I certainly need that during a typical work day, and the reminder that it doesn’t come from myself!
I hope these verses encourage you to seek the Lord and seek growth. A soul that is bursting with life will be noticeable to your coworkers, friends, and classmates. Christ has rescued us and brought us into the kingdom of light. Are we living evidence of it?
Hello! I'm Anna, a college student living in the Midwest. I'm a strong believer in uncontrollable laughter, powerful words, and a morning cup of coffee. I pray these posts will encourage you to live a full life with and for God: unhindered. Follow me on social media for post updates!