Crusty Whole Wheat Artisan Loaf in Under 3 Hours

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Crusty Whole Wheat Bread in Under 3 Hours at  The Well Floured Kitchen

The smell of bread baking in the oven is one of life’s great pleasures.  Sometimes I want a soft sandwich bread, and sometimes I want a crusty bread.  Either way, I need the bread to be made around my schedule, and that’s exactly what I can do with this recipe.  I often start it before dinner, then I can enjoy a nice piece of warm bread slathered with butter as a nighttime snack.

This bread is perfect for dunking into a bowl of soup, dipping into flavored olive oil, sopping up tomato sauce or making a panini.  It tastes best the day it is made, pretty good the second day, perfect for toast on the third day.  It can also be frozen.  If it is frozen, I will warm it back up in the oven and it will taste good as fresh for dinner.  If defrosted and reheated I would recommend using it immediately.

A perfect beginner loaf, as it is very forgiving, and will still taste great even if you make a mistake along the way.  If you haven’t baked bread before, try kneading by hand, it will give you a much better idea of how the dough should feel.  A well kneaded dough will be smooth, not sticky.  However resist the urge to add too much flour, it will make your finished bread dry.  Gently dust the surface with flour and push the dough away from you, fold over and repeat.  If you’d like a video tutorial, there is a great one here.

Here is your completely kneaded dough.  It needs to rise in a warm spot for about an hour, but it can be left longer if needed.


After it has risen, you can punch it down and form into a circle or oblong shape.  Shape by gathering the sides of your dough up and pinching together.  Flip the dough over so the seam is on the bottom.  For the second rise, keep a close eye on the bread, if it over-rises at this point it will deflate when cooking.

crusty-bread-6 crusty-bread-7

After the second rise, you need to score your bread.  This will allow the bread to rise higher in the oven, and rise in the direction of the cuts.  You need an extremely sharp knife to score the loaves, I use a very sharp serrated bread knife.  You can have some fun with the patterns, there is no right way.


Now it is time to load them into the preheated oven.  Bake at 400º for 30 minutes.

Crusty Whole Grain Bread at The Well Floured Kitchen

Finally, it’s time for that snack.  You should let it cool before slicing, but I’ll leave that up to you.  Better cut a few pieces though, it’s amazing how many faces pop into the kitchen as soon as the bread comes out of the oven.  Sometimes I feel like the little red hen…

Crusty Whole Wheat Bread in Under 3 Hours at The Well Floured Kitchen

Crusty Whole Wheat Artisan Loaf

Prep Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 2


  • 5 1/3 Cups (1lb, 8oz) White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 Tbsp. Instant Yeast (or 1 packet active dry yeast)
  • 1 Tbsp. Salt
  • 1 Tbsp. Sucanat, Sugar or Honey
  • 2 Cups (16 oz) Water


  1. Mix all ingredients together by hand or with a heavy duty stand mixer. If you are using active dry yeast you will need to proof it first with 1/4 cup of the water and 1 tsp. of the sugar. Allow dough to rest for 15 minutes. If the dough seems too dry or wet, adjust now with a bit more flour or water. Knead for 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes by mixer.
  2. Cover and allow to rise approximately 1 hour, dough should double in size.
  3. Punch down the dough, and shape into a circle or oblong loaf.
  4. Cover and allow to rise again, approximately 1 hour. Preheat oven to 400°.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes until nicely golden brown, or an internal temperature of 200°.


The amount of water necessary can vary depending on the season and your climate. Generally, if the air is dry (winter) you will need more water and if the air is moist (summer) you will need less.

The dough can take longer than one hour to rise if it is not in a warm spot.

Not sure about all whole wheat?  Check out Artisan Bread in under 3 Hours using white flour.


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  1. two left thumbs says

    This was the very first time I’ve made bread and it was so forgiving! In the middle of proofing, I had an unplanned outing and had to leave for a few hours. I put the dough in the fridge. I came back to bake it and was worried, it already had a crust and I was worried about the outcome. I baked it as directed and it turned out OK. It looks and tastes like bread so I can claim success. Thanks for such an easy recipe!

  2. says

    This looks incredible. There is nothing like homemade, fresh bread. I know we are supposed to wait until it cools before slicing, but really? Who can resist hot bread slathered with soft butter? Not me. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Pinning!
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  3. woodenclock1 says

    this is the first successful try at making bread (only 2nd time overall)! it was amazing. what i did was brush on some olive oil and sprinkle some sesame seeds, ground flax seeds and some oatmeal for an extra crunch and wow. thanks for the recipe. i ate the bread still warm dipped in some olive oil/balsamic vinegar with fresh garlic and an italian spice blend.
    hint – make sure to lightly oil and dust with flour etc on the baking pan before placing the dough on it to prevent sticking

  4. Holly Modarelli Earley says

    I tried twice and it never rose and I make pizza dough all the time…the 2nd time, I baked anyway but it was super salty…yeast and flour fresh…

    • says

      Sorry you are having trouble with the recipe! My first guess with dough not rising is the yeast. Did you use instant or active dry? Active dry yeast needs to be proofed according to the directions on the package. Also, water that is too hot can kill the yeast. Sometimes the dough can take longer than expected to rise, such as when the room is cool from air conditioning. Lastly, too much flour can make a dry dough that will not rise correctly. I always recommend weighing the flour, or gently scooping and leveling the measuring cups. If the dough doesn’t rise, the salt will definitely be overwhelming if baked. I hope some of these suggestions help :)

      • Holly Modarelli Earley says

        I used instant…I usually use active…maybe flour? Are there different types of whole wheat flour? I’m so puzzled…

        • says

          I usually use white whole wheat (King Arthur Brand), as I find it is easier to work with. However I have made this with traditional whole wheat. Actually I make this recipe 1-2 times every week with whatever flour I have handy. It’s hard to say what went wrong without knowing all the variables. There could be different kinds of instant yeast, maybe your brand needed proofing? Or my only other guesses is that the temperature in the room was cool and it needed longer to rise or the flour measurement was off. I know it is frustrating when a recipe doesn’t turn out right! I hope some of these suggestions help.

  5. chibikegal says

    so I just tried this with great results – I have been trying out soaking wheat overnight, and so put the water, with a bit of whey, and all the flour together last night. this morning, I had a brick that I could barely shape, but managed to “knead” water into it (along with the yeast, sugar and salt) and ended up with a beautiful loaf. so if anyone is trying this, hold back a cup of flour. but the loaf is tender, rose well, outside just a bit crispy. yum

    • says

      My first thought is that in the winter it can take longer for the bread to rise. If it is cold where you are that could be the issue, just give it a little extra time or move it to a warm location. Otherwise if it is not rising, there is a problem with the yeast. Was it bubbling when you proofed it? Is it expired? Hope that helps, Good luck!

  6. says

    I just made this and I have to tell you, for a first timer, this was incredibly easy. I’ve made rolls before but those were whole wheat. I may have under cooked the bread a bit but I now have the confidence to bake more. Perhaps when it cools, it should be okay! Thank you for the fab recipe. My parents are gonna love this.

    • says

      Nothing like homemade bread. My family races to the kitchen to grab a slice slathered with butter. If you have a kitchen thermometer, the bread should be done at 200 degrees. Or the old fashioned tap the bottom to see if it sounds hollow. Enjoy it!

  7. says

    This dough is currently a crumbled mess on my counter and I don’t feel comfortable adding MORE more more more more water to make it come together. I have no clue why this is such a problematic dough for me! I bake bread very often. Any suggestions?

    • says

      Oh no! Sorry you are having trouble. Sounds like too much flour. I recommend weighing the flour, but if you don’t have a scale be sure to gently spoon it into the measuring cup and level it. Also the cold weather can cause the dough to be drier(less moisture in the air) so extra water may be necessary. Hope that helps.

      • says

        Thank you for the tip! I really should get a weight scale! I’m trying this with all purpose white flour instead of whole wheat flour which hopefully makes it less dry/dense until I can try it on a warmer day… next summer? Haha

  8. Jim says

    I have been having trouble making bread and have been looking for a recipe like this, it’s so simple and works every time. The bread is delicious and I am now on my 9th time . Is their any way the dough can be made at weekend and then baked a few days later.

    • says

      So glad you are enjoying the bread! I make it a couple times a week. I have made the dough in the morning, and baked later in the day. The longer it sits, it will acquire a tangier flavor (like sourdough). I have never tried waiting several days. If you give it a try, please come back and share the results.

  9. says

    I love this recipe! Made it for the second time today and it’s a hit. I use freshly ground flour which gives it a beautiful rise, and I adapt it into a soaked recipe by combining the flour and liquid (with a little apple cider vinegar added) the night before, and adding the other ingredients the next day. It’s becoming a standby in our home! Nothing like freshly baked bread with dinner. :)

    • thewellflouredkitchen says

      So glad you enjoy it. I grind my own flour too! Thanks for the tip about soaking. I’ve been tempted to try a soaked bread recipe, I’m excited to know I can adapt my usual loaf.

      • says

        I’ve never heard of soaking the flour???? Any tips on a sight I can learn from? I love to make bread and after 15 years of wishing to have one, a friend gave me a wheat grinder. I would like to try this with fresh ground wheat. Would you change anything in the recipe with freshly ground wheat? Thanks!

  10. says

    Wow! this bread looks wonderful! i’m a fairly new bread baker and don’t have much experience yet… i was just wondering about the yeast. if i use instant yeast, do i just add it in with the flour, or do i still have to proof it in water for a few minutes? and also, when do you score the bread? before it has risen the final time, or right before it goes in the oven? I’m really pumped to try this recipe! Thanks in advance 😀

    • thewellflouredkitchen says

      If you use instant yeast, no need to proof, just add it in with all the other ingredients. Score the bread right before it goes into the oven. Good luck with your bread baking and I hope you enjoy it!

  11. Michelle Steinwart says

    I just made his bread in one largefree form loaf and it smells amazing! Can’t wait for it to cool so I can try it :) yummmmmm!!!

    • thewellflouredkitchen says

      Wow – That is one big loaf! I admit we don’t always wait for it to cool all the way, it is so irresistible to eat warm bread with butter. If you have a decent bread knife, it won’t mangle the loaf too much :)

    • thewellflouredkitchen says

      There are two reasons I can think of that would cause your bread to deflate when scoring. 1. The bread had had been rising too long and the air bubbles created by the yeast were too big. In this case the bread would also deflate during cooking. Fortunately if you notice your bread is overly puffy and big, you can punch it down, shape it and let it rise again. 2. The knife or blade you are using to score the bread is not sharp enough. This can cause you to put too much pressure on the risen bread dough and flatten it a bit. Always use a sharp knife and fast movement when scoring! Thanks for the question, hope you enjoy the bread!


  1. […] loaves     OR     1 large loaf            (18 servings) (recipe courtesy of The Well Floured Kitchen) Ingredients: 3 C whole-wheat flour 3 C all-purpose flour 2¼ tsp. (1 packet) active dry yeast 1 T […]

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