The baking process for whole wheat bread can be trickier than making white bread. Whole wheat flour is lower in gluten—the protein that gives bread its elasticity. Whole wheat flour is not gluten-free, it just contains a mix of endosperm, bran, and germ, whereas white flour is made of 100 percent endosperm—the part of the grain that’s highest in gluten. Additionally, the bran in the whole grain flour has sharp edges that can break apart wheat gluten strands during the kneading process. There are several ways to get around the challenges of whole wheat flour: \n\n1. __Hydrate your dough__. Soak your whole wheat flour before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients to soften the bran. Alternatively, you can mix the dough right away and then let it rest before kneading. \n2. __Mix whole wheat and white flour__. To make a fluffier loaf, use a combination of whole wheat flour and white bread flour. Most recipes suggest starting with half whole wheat and half white your first time. As you become more comfortable baking bread, increase the proportion of whole wheat until you’ve found the perfect ratio.\n3. __Choose a different type of wheat__. Hard red wheat comprises most whole wheat flour, and it makes for hearty, rustic loaves. For softer, sweeter bread, try a milder-tasting flour made from hard white wheat instead. Unlike regular white flour, [white whole wheat flour is still a whole grain](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-are-whole-grains-learn-how-to-cook-with-whole-grains)—just a different type of wheat.\n4. __Add a sweetener__. Whole wheat flour can have a bitter taste. A little bit of honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar keeps the end result from tasting too bitter.\n\nMaking great-tasting whole wheat bread takes time and practice, but the steps are relatively simple.\n\n1. __Mix the dough__. Mix flour, instant yeast, salt, milk, and water together until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Let it rest about 30 minutes in the bowl.\n2. __Knead the dough__. Knead the dough either in the mixing bowl by hand, in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, in a food processor, or in a bread machine. To knead by hand, transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface.\n3. __Proof the dough__. Transfer kneaded bread dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, and let the dough rise in a warm place until puffy, about one to two hours. [Learn more about proofing in our complete guide here](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/baking-101-what-is-proofing-learn-how-to-proof-breads-and-other-baked-goods). \n4. __Shape the loaf__. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled surface and roll into an eight-inch log. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased loaf pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let the bread rise a second time at room temperature until the center of the bread is about one inch above the loaf pan, about one to two hours. \n5. __Bake the bread__. Bake your bread in a 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. If the top of the loaf starts to get too brown, tent the pan with aluminum foil. Test for an internal temperature of 190°F with an instant-read thermometer. \n6. __Cool the bread__. Remove your bread from the bread pan and cool on a wire rack. Allow it to cool completely before serving. Store at room temperature in a plastic bag. Alternatively, slice and freeze. Use any stale bread for French toast or breadcrumbs.\n\nFor homemade bread that's tasty and nutritious, try your hand at a loaf of whole wheat bread.