How to make wholemeal bread using fresh baker’s yeast.

The smell of home made bread baking is a primal food experience.

We never eat shop bought bread in our house. I work full time and have a one hour commute either way so how do I do it? Well, there’s a few tricks I employ to ensure a fresh home-baked bread supply and I’m willing to share them.

Bread should only ever have five ingredients – flour, salt, water, yeast and enough sugar to ferment the yeast i.e. 1 tbsp. Mass produced processed bread can contain up to 15 ingredients and I’ll leave you to guess if any of them are any good for us. This wholemeal bread recipe serves as a great base for any type of day to day bread you may need (or knead! Sorry). It can be shaped into loaves, rolls, baguettes or even rolled flat and used as wholemeal pizza base. You can add seeds or bran or even olives/sundried tomatoes – whatever you want. My daily bread always features a handful of onion seeds but sometimes I add chocolate & coffee to the warm water, use molasses instead of sugar and then throw in a tbsp of caraway seeds which gives a sort of black German bread which is divine. (This does not contradict what I said earlier – the basic bread is still made of the four ingredients I stated).

I get my baker’s yeast from Sainsburys bakery counter. It costs 99p for a huge block which keeps me going for months and – this is the best bit – you can break it up into smaller pieces and FREEZE it. Bargain, eh?


8 oz strong brown flour

8 oz strong white flour

4  oz stoneground wholewheat flour

14 fl oz warm water

1 oz baker’s yeast

1 tbsp sugar or honey or molasses

1 tsp salt


Place the yeast in the warm water with the sugar. When it has dissolved either knead it into the flour (with the salt added to it) by hand or – and this is that cheat I was telling you about – stick it in the bread machine to knead or do it with the dough hook on a food processor. When the dough is thoroughly smooth and does not stick to your hands place it in a bowl and put it somewhere warm covered with cling film for a tea towel. OR (and this is the second cheat) put it in the fridge to rise overnight or while you’re out at work. The cold temperature in the fridge won’t stop the yeast doing it’s thing, it will merely slow it down. The next stage – whether you’re doing it after one hour of normal rising or 8 or so hours of fridge rising – it to knock the dough back, shape it into a loaf or rolls and allow it to rise again for another 20 mins, again somewhere nice and warm. Bake at gas mark 4 for 40 mins for a loaf and 25 mins for rolls. I always like to turn them halfway through cooking so they get a nice undercrust. It may seem like a hassle but good artisan bread costs a bomb and it really is not that hard to make your own.



Filed under Recipes

15 responses to “How to make wholemeal bread using fresh baker’s yeast.

  1. Hi Jo,

    My partner and I have got into the habit of making our own bread at the weekend now and it is nice. We actually cheat a little too much and buy a 500g bag of Alinson bread mix but that is just a convenient bag of the basic ingredients (no more). It gets mixed by hand (my partner believes it must be mixed by hand) and raised to twice its size in a warm place, beaten down and then raised two twice size again, then cooked until done.

    We are using village honey instead of sugar which is a nice touch.


  2. Hi Jo,

    Thought you might want to know that you have omitted the salt addition in the recipe. Also how long do you expect it to take in the food processor/at what speed? I’ve never made bread in the FP before, it sounds an excellent short cut, but I’m nervous of ‘over kneading’ the bread!

    Cheers, Emma.

  3. Hi Emma, around 10 mins should do it. You will soon get used to it.
    (I’m curious – why did you omit salt?)
    jo x

    • I didn’t: you did! It’s in your ingredients but you don’t mention it in the method. I put it in at the same time as the rest of the dry ingredients. I’ve made saltless bread (by mistake) once and that was enough: it’s horrid! 🙂

  4. Oh I see! DUH!

    I’ll go back into the post and correct that.

    Yes, I can imagine saltless bread no being very nice at all. I do like my salt but then, we do need it in our diet so I don’t worry as long as I’m using good salt.

    jo x

    • As a footnote, yesterday I accidentally made a loaf without salt. DUR. Looks great: tastes like cardboard!

      We’re going to be eating a lot of bread and marmite…

  5. Or maybe bread & butter pudding?? x

  6. it’s been a while since i made my own bread – this stuff is not just tempting, but beautiful; you continually provide good motivation!

  7. Linda

    Mine is baking now! Please tell me how much coffee and choc you add to the water for the black bread variation – sounds divine!

  8. am we madebread on s tuesday after noon and i forgotto put yeast what should i do
    ops my bad :it didn’t raise up at all

  9. Kevin

    How many rolls does this recipe make?

  10. Oh, and Linda – I dissolve a large tbsp of cocoa and a large tsp of coffee into the yeast water for the black bread version.

  11. Pingback: How Much Yeast In Bread Recipe | We Get Healthy

  12. Pingback: How Do Bakers Make Yeast | We Get Healthy

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