Whole Wheat Bread | Wholemeal Bread (Atta Bread)

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A foolproof recipe for the softest, most tender and delicious Whole Wheat Bread that’s easy to make with my step-by-step photos and secret (but super simple!) ingredient. I am sure you will love this homemade Wholemeal Bread (or Atta Bread) made with the usual bread baking staples.

whole wheat bread slices on wooden board.

About Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

This soft and tender whole wheat bread has a similar fluffy consistency as your favorite White Bread,, but with the yummy flavor and health benefits of whole wheat.

How is it possible to make such a magical loaf? After much trial and error I finally stumbled across the secret ingredient that’s key for the softest crumb.

Similar to Naan and Bhatura, my wholemeal bread recipe includes yogurt (or curd). The creamy, slightly acidic consistency of the yogurt creates a delightful texture every time! Plus, yogurt is rather mild in flavor, so you get that full earthy taste of wheat you love.

And YES, this recipe can be made vegan-friendly! The acidity of yogurt is what creates the great rise for a super soft crumb, but this can be easily replicated. Simply swap with vegan almond yogurt or cashew yogurt, or even just lemon juice or vinegar.

I have tried making the bread with cashew yogurt, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, white vinegar and they all work well.

Below are my step-by-step photos and instructions for making the best whole wheat bread from scratch. I use my hands to knead the bread, but feel free to use a standing mixer with a dough hook instead.

This Wholemeal Bread recipe works wonderfully with any kind of baker’s yeast. Be it instant yeast (or rapid rising yeast), dry active yeast or fresh yeast.

Remember to proof dry active yeast or fresh yeast in lukewarm water. And also note that the leavening time or the time taken for the dough to rise will be more when using these two types of yeast.

Note: To make this wholemeal bread, I have used instant yeast (rapid rising yeast). In the recipe card below I have mentioned proportions if using dry active yeast or fresh yeast.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Whole Wheat Bread

Proof Yeast

1. In a large bowl or in the bowl of a standing mixer, add ½ cup of water and 1 tablespoon of raw sugar. The water can be room temperature or lukewarm.

However, if using active dry yeast or fresh yeast, then be sure to use lukewarm water.

Wondering which yeast to choose? The leavening and rising time of instant yeast is faster compared to dry active yeast. You also don’t need to proof the instant yeast like the dry active yeast, but I still show you the full proofing method to help if you are using dry active yeast.

sugar in water in steel bowl.

2. To the bowl add 1 teaspoon of instant yeast (rapid rise yeast).

If using dry active yeast, add 1.5 teaspoons. Swirl the bowl around or stir with a spoon to help the yeast dissolve in the water.

tiny yeast granules on top of water in bowl.

3. Mix well and let the yeast proof for 10 to 15 minutes.

yeast mixed and frothed in bowl.

Make Wholemeal Bread Dough

4. Now to the frothy yeast water mixture, add 3 cups of whole wheat flour (360 grams), 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of your favorite neutral flavored oil (or butter or ghee) and 2 tablespoons of yogurt (curd).

For a vegan-friendly loaf: Use either 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, or 2 tablespoons of almond or cashew yogurt in place of dairy yogurt.

wheat flour, salt, oil, curd in bowl.

5. Mix well with a spoon.

mixing whole wheat bread ingredients with spoon.

6. Add ½ cup of water in parts as you mix.

water on top of the ingredients in bowl.

7. Now begin to knead the mixture into a soft dough, adding water at intervals as needed.

dough being formed.

8. The dough will be slightly sticky at first, but it will be fine after the initial rise. If the dough looks dry, however, you can add some more water.

Work in 1 tablespoon at a time. If the dough looks too sticky (is actively sticking to your hands), then sprinkle in a bit of flour.

Knead very well for a total of 8 to 10 minutes to get a supple, pliable and soft dough. A slightly sticky dough is fine.

neat smooth dough formed.

Proof Dough (First Rise)

9. Flatten the dough to fill the bottom of the bowl. Lightly brush the top of the dough with water.

dough spread with water in bowl.

10. Place a towel over the bowl, and proof the dough for 30 to 35 minutes if you have used instant yeast.

For dry active yeast, give a time of about 1.5 to 2 hours for the dough to double in size.

bowl covered with a kitchen towel.

11. After the initial rise, the dough should be nearly double in size like in the photo below.

atta bread dough doubled in size in bowl.

12. Use your fist to punch the dough lightly into the bowl, and knead again lightly.

wholemeal bread dough punched and  being kneaded again.

Shape to a Loaf and Proof Loaf (Second Rise)

13. Work the wholemeal bread dough out of the bowl and onto a clean work surface. Roll into a ball.

neat ball formed.

14. Now form the dough into a log, and gently pinch the edges into a seam.

neat log formed from dough.

15. Place the dough log into a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan. Cover again with a kitchen towel and let rise.

  • If you have used instant yeast – leaven for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • For dry active yeast or fresh yeast – set aside for 45 minutes to 1 hour or more depending on the temperature conditions.
dough log kept in a greased loaf pan.

16. While the dough leavens, preheat the oven for 20 minutes at 220 degrees celsius (425 degrees Fahrenheit).

If using a convection oven or oven with a fan, then preheat at 200 or 205 degrees celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit) for 20 minutes.

dough log doubled and increased in size in loaf pan.

Score and Bake Whole Wheat Bread

17. Make a ¼ inch cross or slits on the bread. This helps the steam escape as the bread bakes, and creates a tender and soft loaf.

18. Lightly brush the top of the loaf with milk (dairy or vegan). You can even brush with some oil or butter or ghee.

This is an optional step but it definitely gives a lovely golden color and also a perfectly chewy crust and moistest crumb.

brushing atta bread loaf dough with milk.

19. Bake in the preheated oven for 22 to 25 mins. If using a convection oven, shorten bake time by a few minutes.

loaf pan in oven.

20. Bake the whole wheat bread dough until the top crust is golden.

Remove the bread from the oven and let it sit for a few minutes to cool. Then gently tap on top of the loaf: if baked properly, the bread should should hollow.

If the bread does not sound hollow, put it back in the oven to bake for a few more minutes.

golden and beautifully baked whole wheat bread in loaf pan.

21. While the wheat bread is still hot, carefully remove it from the pan (using oven mittens/gloves) and place it on a wire rack to cool.

The bottom of your loaf will get soggy if you leave it in the pan for too long!

Let the Atta Bread cool completely before slicing with a serrated knife.

wholemeal bread loaf kept on wired tray.

Serving Suggestions

Enjoy homemade whole wheat bread sliced with butter, ghee, jams, peanut butter, or any of your favorite spreads.

You can also use this wholemeal bread or atta bread to make various recipes like sandwiches, Bread PakoraBread Roll etc.

I love to make Veg Sandwich, Paneer Sandwich, and Cheese Sandwich with this atta bread.

whole wheat bread slices on wooden board.

Storage

Once cooled, wrap in a cling film or keep in a bread box at room temperature for up to one week. If you live in a warm or hot place, refrigerate the wheat loaf.

To freeze, place the whole wheat loaf in an airtight bag after wrapping in cling film, and keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.

More Bread Recipes To Try!

Please be sure to rate the recipe in the recipe card or leave a comment below if you have made it. For more vegetarian inspirations, Sign Up for my emails or follow me on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.

whole wheat bread slices on wooden board.

Whole Wheat Bread | Wholemeal Bread (Atta Bread)

Make the best soft Whole Wheat Bread or Wholemeal bread made with simple pantry ingredients. This Atta Bread is made with 100% whole wheat flour, yogurt and yeast.
4.88 from 224 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Leavening Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Cuisine World
Course Breakfast, Side Dish
Diet Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 12 bread slices
Units

Ingredients

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour (regular whole wheat flour or chapati atta) – 360 grams
  • 1 cup water divided, depending on quality of flour, can add upto 1.25 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast or 1.5 teaspoons dry active yeast or 1 tablespoon fresh yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt or edible rock salt or pink salt
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar or white granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons oil or softened butter or ghee (clarified butter)
  • 2 tablespoons yogurt (dairy or vegan) or 1 to 1.5 tablespoon vinegar or 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons milk (dairy or vegan), for brushing the top of the bread, optional

Instructions
 

Proofing yeast

  • In a large bowl or in the bowl of a standing mixer, add ½ cup of water and 1 tablespoon of raw sugar. The water can be room temperature or lukewarm.
    But, if using active dry yeast or fresh yeast, then make sure to use lukewarm water.
  • To the bowl add 1 teaspoon of instant yeast (rapid rising yeast).
    If using dry active yeast – add 1.5 teaspoons of it. Swirl the bowl around or stir with a spoon to help the yeast dissolve in the water.
  • Let this mixture sit for 10 to 12 minutes until the yeast activates.

Forming Whole Wheat Dough

  • Next to the frothy yeast water mixture, add the whole wheat flour, salt, preferred neutral flavored oil (or butter or ghee) and yogurt.
  • Mix with a spoon.
  • Next add ½ cup of water bit by bit and begin to knead for 8 to 10 minutes or as needed.
  • Knead to a soft, supple and smooth dough. A well kneaded dough which when stretched should not tear.
  • Add more water if required while kneading. The dough can be slightly sticky.
  • Brush some water all over the dough and keep in a deep wide bowl covered with a lid or kitchen towel for 30 to 35 minutes if you have used instant yeast.
    If dry active yeast or fresh yeast has been used – keep in the covered bowl to leaven for 1.5 to 2 hours or more until the dough doubles.
  • After the initial rise, the dough will be double in size. Remove and then lightly punch and knead the dough again.
  • On a clean work surface roll the dough into a neat ball.
  • Make a log of the dough and gently pinch the edges into a seam – meaning tuck in the edges at the corners.
  • Place the prepared dough log in a greased 9×5 inches loaf pan with tucked edges facing downwards. Cover with kitchen towel again.
  • Cover and let it rise the second time for 20 to 30 minutes if you have used instant yeast.
    For dry active yeast or fresh yeast – set aside for 45 minutes to 1 hour or more depending on the temperature conditions in your city or town.

Baking wheat bread

  • Preheat the oven at 220 degrees C/425 degrees F for at-least 20 minutes.
  • Once the bread has risen in the loaf pan, make a ¼ inch cross or slits on the bread.
    This helps the steam escape as the bread bakes, and creates a tender and soft loaf.
  • Keep the loaf pan in the oven and bake at 220 degrees C/425 degrees F for 22 to 25 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped.
  • While baking, if the wheat bread begins to brown too much from the top, then cover with parchment paper or aluminium foil.
  • Remove the bread from the oven and let it sit for a few minutes to cool. Then gently tap on top of the loaf: if baked properly, the bread should should hollow.
    If the bread does not sound hollow, put it back in the oven to bake for a few more minutes.
  • When the bread is still hot, remove it from the loaf pan using oven mittens/gloves and keep it on a wired tray to cool.
  • Let the Wholemeal Bread loaf cool completely before slicing it with a serrated knife.
  • Enjoy homemade Whole Wheat Bread sliced with butter, ghee, jams, peanut butter, or any of your favorite spreads.
    Or use the Atta Bread to make your favorite sandwiches or snacks from bread.
  • Store bread in the fridge for about a week or the freezer for about a month.

Video

Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)

Nutrition Facts
Whole Wheat Bread | Wholemeal Bread (Atta Bread)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 132 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Saturated Fat 0.5g3%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 1mg0%
Sodium 198mg9%
Potassium 125mg4%
Carbohydrates 23g8%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 7IU0%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 0.3mg20%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.1mg6%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 2mg10%
Vitamin B6 0.1mg5%
Vitamin B12 0.02µg0%
Vitamin C 0.02mg0%
Vitamin D 0.01µg0%
Vitamin E 1mg7%
Vitamin K 1µg1%
Calcium 16mg2%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 37µg9%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 42mg11%
Phosphorus 117mg12%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Whole Wheat Bread recipe from the archives first published in December 2013 has been updated and republished on December 2022.

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Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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767 Comments

  1. Thank you, this recipe is perfect. Tried it for the first time and turned out wonderful.

    Instructions have been easily laid out, easy to follow recipe.

  2. Hi my oven just has a max temp of 200 degree Celsius, should I cook it for longer then?

    1. Hi I made the bread, but the loaf is too small, like a normal loaf cut in half horizontally. I followed your exact measurements.

      1. Looks like the bread dough did not leaven or rise well. The recipe shared here gives a regular sized bread loaf if the dough increases in volume in the both the first rise or the second rise. I hope this helps.

        1. Hello, I made it again and made sure the dough rises very well. Still the same result. Can it be because my loaf pan is 10.5*5.5 inches?

        2. Not sure about this one but I guess this may be the reason. Try increasing the proportions of the ingredients to fit in your loaf pan.

  3. I try to bake a whole wheat bread with insta yeast but some how it is dense and heavy. Do I need to change something. Look wise it is good.

    1. Mostly what is sold as instant yeast is actually dry active yeast. Instant Yeast has fine round granules like that of poppy seeds. If the size is larger it is most probably active dry yeast and it needs to be activated in a lukewarm sugar solution.

      If is is not activated, this will result in a dense and heavy bread. Also dry active yeast will take more time for the first rise and second rise than than instant yeast. Do check the description on the pack and the directions. This may guide you in letting you know the actual type of yeast in the pack. I hope this helps.

  4. Bread came out really well but the loaf was too small. If I double the recipe, quantity of yeast and sugar also to be doubled?

    1. Did you use the correct measuring cups and spoons. It is a regular loaf of bread and not a small one. If you double, the yeast and sugar will also double.

  5. Hello Dassana, I’ve been making my own bread at home for a couple of years now and it was good, but since I found your recipe with whole wheat I can’t do it otherwise! It’s simply perfect and delicious, thanks so much for sharing!!!5 stars

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