Soft Honey Whole Wheat Sourdough

I had taken a little hiatus from making bread recently, for no particular reason. But then I finally picked up a cookbook on sourdough bread that I’d had my eye on for some time now and I was completely inspired and recharged. Over the past few weeks I have made large pans of crisp and oily focaccia twice, a gooey camembert bread wreath, multiple iterations of thick crusted pizza (which included two separate pizza parties), two loaves of crusty Dutch oven bread, a pan of cinnamon rolls and finally this lovely every so slightly enriched honey whole wheat bread. Phew. I bought a 25 lb bag of flour about a month ago and it’s pretty much gone!

This whole wheat sourdough loaf is lightly sweetened with a little bit of honey, and adds a small amount of whole wheat flour for a little nuttiness, as well as a little nutrition. It is risen with 100% sourdough, no commercial yeast at all which means the rise time is longer, but is so easy. You hardly have to do anything other than mix the ingredients together and let them sit for hours. Almost all hands off. That’s my kind of bread.

I chose this bread for the small Christmas morning brunch I made for my parents. We had scrambled eggs, toast with butter and jam, orange juice and coffee. It was perfect! Merry Christmas!


Soft Honey Whole Wheat Sourdough
Adapted from Artisan Sourdough Made Simple by Emilie Raffa

  • 150 grams (3/4 cup) bubbly, active starter

  • 270 grams (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) warm milk

  • 30 grams (2 tablespoons) warm water

  • 40 grams (2 tablespoons) honey

  • 30 grams (2 tablespoons) oil

  • 120 grams (1 cup) whole wheat flour

  • 360 grams (3 cups) bread flour - or all purpose in a pinch

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt

  • 14 grams (1 tablespoon) butter, melted

Make the Dough: In a large bowl, whisk the starter, milk, water, honey and oil together. Add the flours and salt. Mix to combine until a rough dough forms. Cover and let rest for 45 minutes to 1 hour. After the dough has rested, gently work it into a semi-smooth ball, about 15 to 20 seconds. The dough will feel supple and smooth when it comes together.

Bulk Rise: Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let rise at room temperature until double in size, about 6 to 8 hours. The dough will look nice and domed when ready.

Shape: Remove the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently dimple the surface with your fingertips to release any large air bubbles. Roll the dough into a log, tucking the ends underneath. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly coat a 9x5 inch loaf pan with oil. With floured hands, cup the dough and pull toward you to tighten its shape. Place into your loaf pan, seam side down.

Second Rise: Cover the dough and let rest until it has risen about 1 inch above the rim of the pan, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, depending on temperature.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Bake: Bake the dough on the center rack for 40 to 45 minutes. When finished, remove the loaf from the oven and brush the crust with the melted butter. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer the loaf to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Cinnamon Swirl Loaf

In high school I worked in food service at a retirement home, serving food to the residents, as well as prepping for meals and cleaning up. Certain foods will forever be linked in my mind to this experience, one of them being cinnamon toast. Cinnamon toast was a resident favorite for breakfast, and to this day, every time I smell the toasting of cinnamon bread it brings me back to those days. 

This recipe produces bread that is far superior to that served in the retirement home, but it still gives off that same wonderful sugary-cinnamony smell as it toasts up to golden perfection in the toaster. Smeared with some butter and sprinkled with a little more cinnamon, because why not, this bread is a wonderful way to start the day. 

The only problem I had with this bread was while it was baking. Partway through I smelled some burning and realized that some of the sugar had leaked out of the bread and had fallen to the floor of the oven where it was burning. Not the best smell. A few moments later, this blob of burning sugar then burst into flames! It wasn't too bad, and quickly died out, but I just want to warn you that this could happen. It's probably a good idea to put a baking sheet (lined with foil for easy clean up) under the loaf pan while it is baking. I also recommend covering this bread with foil halfway through, or even earlier, to prevent it from getting too brown. But however it comes out, it makes great cinnamon toast!

Cinnamon Swirl Loaf

Adapted From Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook


For the dough:

  • 17 ounces (3¼ cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1¼ teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup warm milk 

For the filling:

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, yeast, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Give a quick mix with a wooden spoon to combine. Add in the egg, butter, and warm milk and again mix briefly, until a shaggy dough forms. Knead with the dough hook (or by hand) on low speed until the dough is mostly smooth and clears the sides of the bowl, 5-6 minutes until the dough is smooth and supple. 

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Pat into a round. Fold the bottom third of the dough up and fold the top third down, like a business-letter. Then fold the right and left sides into the center in thirds, forming a rectangle. Press down to seal. Return to the bowl, cover and let rise again until doubled, about 40 minutes.

Generously butter a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan. To make the filling, combine the sugar, cinnamon and water in a small bowl and whisk until well combined. 

Return the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough into a 10 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush lightly with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture, leaving a thin border around the edges. Fold in the edges of the long sides of the dough about 1 inch.

Beginning with one of the short ends, roll the dough up into a tight spiral log, gently pressing as you go. Pinch the seam shut, and place the loaf seam side-down in the prepared baking pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a clean towel and let rise until the dough rises just above the edge of the pan, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425˚ F. When the loaf has risen, brush the top of the loaf lightly with the remaining beaten egg. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until the loaf is golden brown, about 45 minutes. If the surface seems to be browning too quickly, tent loosely with foil. Cool in the pan 5 minutes, then turn the loaf out and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.