Evergreen Recipes, Savory Pastries

100% Whole Wheat No-Knead Bread

With this easy to make 100% whole wheat no-knead bread, anyone can make a healthy homemade bread whether you’re a baking pro or never have baked bread before. Instead of kneading, you’ll simply mix all the ingredients together and let the dough rise and then bake it in a cast iron pot. 

Want to try more homemade whole grain baked goodies? Then check out my homemade whole wheat pita bread or my whole wheat burger buns. I’m sure you’re gonna love them!

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100% whole wheat no-knead bread

Healthy Benefits of Whole Grain Products

Have you ever heard that whole grains are so much better for you? Well, that’s true.

Even though whole wheat flour has barely fewer calories than white flour, it’s still a much better choice. And here’s why.

Unlike white flour, which only contains the endosperm, meaning the starch and gluten of the wheat kernel, whole wheat flour consists of the entire grain kernel, meaning the hulls, endosperm, and germ. 

As a result, whole wheat flour and products …

  • … have a higher protein content and a higher biological value, meaning the protein can be better converted by our body into its own protein.
  • … contain more vitamins. Grains such as wheat or spelt are rich in vitamins B1, B2, B6, vitamin E, niacin, folate, biotin, and pantothenic acid. However, all these vitamins are located in the husks and germ of the cereal grain, the components that are missing in white flour. 
  • – … provide more minerals. Besides all these vitamins, cereals also contain a lot of minerals, especially potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, copper, zinc, selenium, manganese, and chromium. But it is the same game here as with the vitamins, the minerals are mainly located in the hulls and the germ. Therefore, only whole grain products are rich in these valuable ingredients. 
  • – … are one of the best sources of dietary fiber. These fibers stimulate our digestion because they swell up in our gut and thus increase gut movement. In addition, they saturate us better because their retention time in the stomach is longer. Because of the greater volume of food there, more digestive juices must be released, which in turn supports the digestion.
  • – … contain less starch, due to the large amount of nutrients and fiber. 

About this Recipe

If you’re still a little skeptical about this whole grain thing, it’s probably because you’ve only eaten whole grain bread stuffed with grains. 

Because all too often, whole wheat breads also always contain a whole truckload of seeds and grains. And yes, those seeds and grains are super healthy. That said, I’m not the biggest fan of seeds in bread. Simply because they always get stuck in my teeth.

If you’re not a fan of seeds in bread either, then I can put your mind at ease. Because a healthy whole grain bread doesn’t need grains to be healthy. On the contrary, whole wheat flour in itself is healthy and high in fiber.

Of course, if you want, you can still add a few grains and seeds to the dough or spread them over the surface before baking. But they are not necessary. 

Ingredients 

Here’s what you’ll need to make this whole wheat no-knead bread:

  • Whole wheat flour 
  • Fresh active yeast or instant yeast
  • Lukewarm water
  • Some honey, maple syrup or sugar to feed the yeast
  • A dash of apple cider vinegar to avoid a yeasty flavor
  • Salt
  • Bread Seasoning – Either use a store-bought spice mix or use a teaspoon each of cumin, anise, fennel, and coriander seeds and grind them in a spice grinder or mortar.

You’ll find the exact quantities in the recipe card further down.

100% whole wheat no-knead bread

Substitutions and Variations 

To jazz things up, you can add other ingredients to this dough as you like. For example, olives, dried tomatoes, fresh or dried herbs, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, and others go very well with this whole wheat bread.

If you add one or two of these flavorful ingredients, such as olives and dried tomatoes (btw one of my favorite combinations), you can also omit the bread seasoning at the same time. This is mainly to give the “basic whole wheat bread” a little more flavor.

In principle, there are hardly any limits to what you can do with this bread. Whatever you would like to try, you can mix into the dough and see how the result will taste.

How to Make this Recipe

Since we’re making a no-knead bread, this recipe doesn’t require a stand mixer or anything like that. A bowl and a wooden spoon is all you need. However, you will need a cast iron pot or Dutch oven to bake the bread. 

This this dough tends to be very sticky before baking, I would just melt into a flat pancake when you just put it right onto a baking sheet. A cast iron pot, on the other hand, ensures that the bread becomes wonderfully soft on the inside and perfectly crusty on the outside. 

So, if you don’t have the right equipment yet, let me give you another selling point. Such a pot is not only worth it to bake this amazingly simple and delicious bread. You can also cook a non-stir risotto, stews, sauces, chilis and much more in it. Enough delicious reasons to buy such a pot. And they are quite pretty, and I think there’s nothing better than pretty looking kitchenware. 

Step 1: Make the Dough

In a bowl, add the water and crumble in the yeast. Make sure that the water is lukewarm and not too hot or cold. Then add the honey or sugar and stir until the yeast has dissolved. 

Next, measure the flour and put it in a mixing bowl. Then add the salt and spices. Now, slowly pour in the yeast mixture while stirring as you go. It is best to use a basic wooden spoon for this.

Finally, stir in the apple cider vinegar and then cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise on a warm place for two hours. As you can see, the no-knead part was no joke. 

healthy whole wheat bread dough with sun-dried tomatoes and olives
The dough should have doubled in size after the rising time.

Step 2: Bake the Bread

After those two hours, the dough is ready for the oven. But first, brush your pot or Dutch oven with a little oil and sprinkle your work surface with plenty of flour (about 40 grams or a ¼ cup). 

Then carefully remove the dough from the bowl and place it on the floured surface. Now add another ¼ cup of flour on top of the dough, cover your hands with flour and carefully shape the dough into a ball. 

It is very important to not knead the dough, but only shape it into a ball with a few movements. Then carefully transfer the dough into the cast iron pot. 

Now it’s time to put this baby in the oven. Therefore, put on the lid and place the pot in the cold oven. As soon as the bread is inside turn on the oven to 200°C or 400°F and set your timer to 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes you need to take off the lid and then set the timer for another 30 minutes . So, in total, the bread needs 60 minutes in the oven.

After baking, remove it from the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes. Then, remove it from the cast iron pot and let it cool completely on a cooling rack. 

100% whole wheat no knead bread
100% Whole Wheat No-Knead Bread

Here’s How to Save this Recipe or Make It in Advance

If you eat up the bread quickly, you can simply store it wrapped in a paper or cloth bag in the breadbasket. But if you’re baking it just for yourself or for a two-person household, it could be quite dry after two or three days. 

So, my tip is this. Slice the bread after it has cooled. You can then simply put these slices in a freezer bag and store them in your freezer.

Then you can take the individual slices out one at a time as needed and either let them thaw overnight in the fridge, or just put the frozen slice directly into your toaster. This is how we do it all the time and it always makes our bread taste like freshly baked!

Your Common Questions Answered

In case there are any questions left, I hope these FAQ will help you. If not, feel free to drop your question in the comments below.

Why should I add vinegar to the bread dough?

Vinegar neutralizes the taste of yeast and extends the shelf life. As a result, the bread doesn’t taste like yeast, nor does it start to mold quickly.

What is the longest shelf life of whole wheat bread?

Whole wheat bread keeps fresh for two to three days. However it keeps longest if it is frozen. To do this, simply cut it into slices and pack them into a freezer bag and store it in your freezer. To defrost the bread, simply remove the slices you need from the bag and let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Alternatively, you can put the frozen slices directly into your toaster oven for an express defrost.

Which flour should I use for whole wheat bread?

For a whole wheat bread prepared with yeast, it is best to use a whole wheat flour or a whole spelt flour. Rye flour must be baked with a sourdough, so it is not recommended for this recipe.

Save for later

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I hope you like my 100% whole wheat no-knead bread and that you give it a try soon. If you have any further questions or suggestions, feel free to drop them in the comments, or send me a massage via email at contact@julesbalancedrecipes.com or Instagram (@julesbalancedrecipes). 

In case, you’ve tried this recipe, I’d appreciate your comment and rating for this recipe. It’s easy to do via the comments section below this post and it would mean the world to me.

And if you loved this recipe, you may also link some of my other whole wheat recipes! 

Have fun trying it out and bon appétit,
Jules

100% Whole Wheat No-Knead Bread

Julia Schmitt
Baking whole wheat bread has never been easier than with this recipe. The bread dough only needs to rise for two hours and is then baked in a cast iron pot or dutch oven for an hour. This ensures that the bread gets a nicely tasty crust and is soft and flavorful in the inside.
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Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 1 min
Rising Time 2 hrs
Course Bread, Side Dish
Cuisine german, international
Servings 17 slices
Calories 99 kcal

Equipment

  • cast iron pot or dutch oven (it's important to have a matching lid)
  • big mixing bowl
  • wooden spoon

Ingredients
  

  • ½ cube fresh yeast alternatively 1 package dried active yeast
  • 400 ml lukewarm water (1 + ⅔ cups)
  • 1 tsp honey or maple syrup
  • 500 g whole wheat flour or whole grain spelt flour (~5 cups)
  • 1 tsp salz
  • 1 tsp bread spices
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • optional: olives, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh or dried herbs, nuts, seeds, …

In Addition

  • 80 g flour (~½ cups)

Instructions
 

Step 1: Bread Dough

  • In a bowl, add the water, yeast and honey and stir until the yeast has dissolved.
  • In a mixing bowl, add the flour, salt and spices and mix well. Then slowly pour in the yeast mixture while stirring as you go. 
  • Stir in the apple cider vinegar (and your additional ingredients – see notes) and then cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise on a warm place for two hours.

Step 2: Shape & Bake The Bread

  • Spray cast iron pan with some non-stick cooking spray or brush with a teaspoon of oil. Sprinkle half of the remaining flour on your work surface. Then, carefully remove dough from bowl and place onto your floured work surface. (Be careful, the dough is very sticky and moist). Dust it with the remaining flour and gently shape the dough into a ball without kneading.
  • Carefully transfer the dough to the cast iron pot. Place the pot in your cold oven with the lid closed. Next, turn oven on to 200°C / 400°F and bake bread for 30 minutes. Then remove lid and bake it for another 30-35 minutes. Afterwards let the bread cool down on a cooling rack.

Notes

To jazz things up, you can add other ingredients to this dough as you like. For example, olives, dried tomatoes, fresh or dried herbs, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, and others go very well with this whole wheat bread. (If you add one or two of these flavorful ingredients, such as olives and dried tomatoes, you can also omit the bread seasoning at the same time.)

Nutrition

Calories: 99kcalCarbohydrates: 18.1gProtein: 3.7gFat: 0.6g
Keyword cast iron, dutch oven, whole wheat
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