When I took on a strict dairy-free diet, I was amazed by the number of breads that contained milk ingredients. From whey to caseinates to nonfat milk – I was hard-pressed to find a loaf without dairy. Undeterred, I decided to take up bread baking. After all, milk isn’t needed for a good loaf of bread. And my first success was this classic dairy-free whole wheat bread recipe.
I’ve since made several variations, which can be found in my flagship book, Go Dairy Free: The Ultimate Guide and Cookbook. But this mild, hearty loaf is where it all started. Really, there is nothing better than making a loaf of bread from scratch. It’s rewarding, the results taste so much better than store bought, and kneading the dough is very therapeutic!
Most recipes call for a 9×5-inch loaf pan, but I often use an 8×5-inch pan for a taller loaf. The slices are a little more narrow, but still great for toast and sandwiches.
And don’t be afraid to customize this recipe to taste. For sweeter bread, swap in a vanilla milk beverage for the water and unsweetened milk beverage. You can add a dash more salt, or stir in some raisins, dried blueberries, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, or possibly savory bits such as sun-dried tomatoes. The sky is the limit!
Special Diet Notes: Whole Wheat Bread
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, plant-based, and vegetarian.
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast, or one packet
- ½ cup warm water
- ¾ cup warm plain or unsweetened dairy-free milk beverage
- 2 tablespoons honey, maple syrup, or molasses
- 2 tablespoons extra-light olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups whole-wheat flour
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour, bread flour, or more whole wheat flour, plus extra as needed
- ¼ cup flaxseeds (ground or whole; optional)
- In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the water and stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 5 to 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine the milk beverage, sweetener, oil, salt, and 2 cups whole-wheat flour. Mix until creamy.
- Stir in the yeast mixture, 1½ cups flour, and flaxseeds, if using. Once it becomes stiff, knead the dough, adding more flour 1 tablespoon at a time if the dough sticks, until the dough is smooth but slightly sticky when pressed, about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to an oiled deep bowl and turn the dough once to coat it. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
- Grease and flour a 9x5-inch or 8x5-inch loaf pan.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat it into a long rectangle. Fold like a letter, overlapping the short sides in the middle; press to flatten. Beginning at a narrow end, tightly roll up the dough into a thick log. Roll the log back and forth with your palms until it is the same length as the pan. Pinch the ends and the long seam to seal. Place the loaf seam side down, in a prepared pan, tucking the end under to make a neat, snug fit. Cover loosely with greased plastic and let rise until about 1 inch above the rim of the pan, about 1 hour.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown and pulls away from the sides of the pan.
- Remove the bread to a wire rack and let cool.