Whole Wheat Bread | Wholemeal Bread (Atta Bread)

10 Min Read

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

5. Mix well with a spoon.

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

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

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.

Proof Dough (First Rise)

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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 Pakora, Bread Roll etc.

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


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.

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