Fresh Milled Flour Bread Recipe (Perfect Sandwich Loaf!)

Be sure to read the whole recipe for tips, trips and troubleshooting – for a consistent fresh milled flour bread recipe you can use every time.

If you give a gal a homestead, she will, at some point, want a grain mill to go with it.

It almost seems cliché how these two things go together. But for most new homesteaders, it’s a big goal: learning how to mill grains and successfully use them to make whole-grain sandwich bread.

Getting that perfect, nutritious loaf takes time, persistence, and and a lot of trial and error.

Today, we’re going to go step-by-step through the process and nail down what it takes to get a great, soft sandwich bread made with fresh milled flour.

Two bread loaves rising in oven, with finished baked loaves below and text "Whole wheat sandwich bread made with fresh milled flour"

Table of Contents

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Why mill your own grains, anyhow?

Making bread has been a basic, essential skill throughout history. Yet only in recent decades has it become somewhat of a lost art.

We’ve been left with what the grocery stores offer: a sorely-lacking source of sustenance.

If you’ve ever dug into books such as The Essential Home Ground Flour book, you might have been blown away (as I was) concerning the complete lack of nourishment and quality of today’s store-bought flours and breads.

Copy of The Essential Home Ground Flour Book by Sue Becker on a striped table runner.
The Essential Home-Ground Flour Book is a great place to start learning.

The main reasons I decided to start milling my own flour

  • Being able to retain all the nutrients in the grain (such as wheat), which has been sifted or processed out of today’s white flour
  • Reaping the benefits of the germ and bran that your body needs to function properly
  • Having flour that is actually fresh (you can taste the difference)
  • The ability to store wheat berries (which can last 30+ years), instead of flour, which goes rancid within months
  • The cost savings (minus initial equipment) of milling your own flour on demand
  • The satisfaction of learning a new skill!

Common problems when using fresh milled flour in bread

Now, I have been successfully making white bread like a pro for many years. But I quickly discovered that working with fresh milled whole wheat is a different ballgame.

Whole wheat flour is thirsty, first of all. It needs moisture, and time to hydrate.

And because we’re not sifting out all the bran-and-germ goodness, it’s heavier. It can take time to learn the techniques to make your loaves soft and light, like their store-bought counterparts. (Except honestly, way better tasting.)

It takes more yeast to rise whole wheat, and way more kneading, in my experience.

The temperature of your kitchen and counters can make a huge difference in how your bread rises (or doesn’t).

Troubleshooting tips for making fresh milled flour bread

Here are the most important things I’ve learned so far:

Not every recipe will work the same in your kitchen.

In fact, you may have to tweak every recipe a little until you get the desired results. Humidity, temperature, elevation – a dozen factors can affect the texture and rise of your bread.

Grind your flour as fine as possible.

I use a Nutrimill Harvest, but there is a learning curve to virtually every type of grain mill.

For my mill, I have to start it, then start adding the wheat berries and immediately tighten the knob just until the stones are touching. And then I tighten it just a little more. 🙂

You will know if you’ve tightened it too much if the flour slows down to a trickle as it’s grinding.

Nutrimill harvest grain mill with a cup of grain on a dark granite countertop and a full glass container of grain beside it.

At the very end when it’s done grinding, per my mill’s instructions, I back the knob off to where the stones are not touching while it finishes cleaning out the remaining bits of wheat.

It’s that last step that sometimes causes problems, as I have to remember to tighten the knob every time I grind flour again. You will definitely be reminded if you end up with coarse flour once or twice!

For my mill, I do not run the flour through to grind it a second time. This may be a common practice with some mills, as I see it discussed in Facebook groups often. But I have heard warnings about how it can ruin my mill, and I don’t see a need to risk it.

Fresh yeast really matters.

I’ve always kept my yeast in the freezer to extend its lifespan. However, when I got to the bottom of my big jar recently, I realized it had been in the freezer for about two years. It was time for a new batch!

I could tell the difference immediately. Note to self: Write the date on those jars before freezing.

Kneading time matters.

I have always had to knead my dough a little longer than the recipes I’ve tried have suggested.

In the recipe I’m sharing below, it takes about 15 minutes from start to finish on speed 2 in my Bosch Universal mixer, before my dough is ready for the first rise.

If it’s still sticky the last 3 minutes or so, I will add extra flour and approximately an extra minute for every 1/4 cup of flour added.

Mixing fresh milled flour bread recipe in a Bosch Universal mixer.

Know your environment.

The sandwich loaf recipe I had almost-success with was from Home Free Alaska on YouTube, and theirs turned out beautifully. But when I followed their directions precisely, I was getting a dough that was too sticky and wasn’t rising consistently.

Then I realized: I do NOT live on an off-grid cabin with a wood stove as my heat source. These things needed to be taken into account.

My house likely has a higher humidity, for one. And second, after using my digital thermometer, I learned my kitchen temp was right around 68 degrees most of the time. If I had a wood stove, my kitchen might run a little warmer in the winter.

Try a countertop heat source.

This was the BIG factor that gave me consistent, beautifully-risen loaves of whole wheat bread.

I had tried all my old tricks for rising my white-flour loaves: letting them rise longer on the counter; letting them rise in a slightly-warm oven; using the “proof” setting on my oven. Everything.

My loaves either didn’t rise quite enough, or they were over-proofed, making them fall once in the oven.

Then I heard chatter about people using seed heating mats under their loaves. Bottom-source heat. Hmmm. I didn’t have a seed heating mat, but my dishwasher was running and it always warmed my countertops nicely.

So I set my dough on the counter above my dishwasher, and voila: perfectly plump loaves in record time. This has been my go-to bread-rising trick for both the first and second rise (in a bowl, then in the loaf pans).

I have also heard of using an electric heating pad (with a towel on top) on the lowest setting, under the dough bowl and then the loaf pans. I think this would work just as well.

Image of baked fresh milled flour bread loaf on a cooling rack next to a wooden spoon.

Type of loaf pan may not matter (as much as you think).

Some people swear by their cast iron loaf pans (I do like mine), or unglazed stoneware. I use both, along with cheaper metal pans, and here’s my verdict:

The material doesn’t matter as much as you think. I have experimented with all three types of pans and the other issues mentioned in this list seems to matter far more than the type of pan I use.

Glass loaf pans are the only pans I do NOT recommend using if you’re having trouble with bread rising or getting “done” in the middle. They do not heat as evenly as others. (Fine for casseroles; bread — not so much).

I usually prefer to line my pans with parchment paper, regardless of the pan I’m using. If you cut a slit from each corner towards almost the center of a large sheet of parchment paper, you can make them fit quite well, while providing higher “walls” for your rising dough.

Develop a dough-IQ.

This is going to sound a little funny, but over time, you will develop what I call a dough-IQ. You will instinctively know what your dough should look like and feel like, before it’s ready to rise.

You will be able to adjust your recipe according to the weather and whatever else your dough might need that particular day.

So don’t give up! It just takes a little time, and trial and error, to learn.

A Few More Notes: Fresh Milled Flour Bread Recipe

You can skip to the recipe card below if you’re a seasoned fresh-flour bread maker. These details are for those who are pretty new to making bread with fresh-milled flour.

Ingredient explanation

Most recipes I’ve found use honey as the sweetener. A sweetener of some type is helpful to help activate the yeast. But because quality honey is a little pricey and I don’t always have it on hand, I am instead using pure cane sugar in my recipe.

Light olive oil is my pick as it has a very mild taste and really, no taste in baked bread. But it does the job well.

As for yeast- I have used both active dry yeast and instant dry yeast interchangeably in this recipe; so use whichever you have. (Weird, but true.)

Eggs: many fresh milled flour bread recipes make eggs optional. I have found that for me, they are needed for moisture and a better texture in my bread.

You may find that you want to experiment with the extras such as vital wheat gluten or sunflower lechithin. For me, I have never had a need to add them, so I am not including anything fancy or extra in this recipe.

Honestly, it’s my goal to make bread that’s delicious, and as simple as possible.

Sliced whole wheat bread made with fresh milled flour. On a walnut and pine cutting board next to a serrated knife.

FAQ’s: Fresh Milled Flour Bread Recipe

• Are you sure I don’t have to proof the yeast? What about the sponge method?

I have not needed to do either with this recipe. However, if your dough is not rising well at all, you can definitely try either mixing the yeast with the hot water and sugar in a small bowl and letting it sit for 10 minutes or so. Then proceed with adding it to the flour in step 3.

For the sponge method, after adding the yeast (step 4) and mixing for a few seconds, let the mixture rest for about 20 minutes to soak up the moisture.

• Is salt necessary?

Yes. Namely because it helps strengthen the gluten, which we can’t have enough of with fresh milled flour dough!

• Does the type of salt used matter?

Also yes. I have tried using my favorite pink salt, with poor results. Regular table salt works best in this recipe.

• Do I really need to use a thermometer for bread?

Of course, you don’t have to. But with these whole grain flours, they can naturally be darker while baking and it can be more difficult to tell when they’re done. When my loaves hit 200 degrees F, I know they are ready, regardless of how dark they look.

• Can I do an egg wash instead of a milk-wash?

Sure! I hate having to figure out what to do with my extra egg yolks. (Yeah, I could freeze them.) But if you have an abundance of eggs, you can certainly use an egg white to brush over your loaves in place of milk.

Beautiful finished whole wheat loaves on a cooling rack.

Fresh Milled Flour Bread Recipe

Yield: Two 1-lb loaves
Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours

The perfect light and delicious whole wheat bread made with freshly milled hard white wheat.


  • 4-1/2 cups hard white wheat berries
  • 2-1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup extra light olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pure cane sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-3/4 Tablespoons yeast (active dry or instant)
  • 3 teaspoons regular table salt
  • 2 tablespoons of milk (for brushing on loaves)


  1. Mill 4.5 cup of hard white wheat berries.
  2. Add the hot water, olive oil, sugar, eggs and salt to mixing bowl of stand mixer.
  3. Add 3.5 cups of flour to the bowl all at once, and mix on low speed (speed 1) for about 1 minute.
  4. Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture.
  5. Mix until combined, then begin adding enough flour (1/2 cup at a time), until dough pulls away from the bowl.
  6. Mix (knead) on speed 2 for about 12 minutes. If dough seems sticky after this point, add another 1/4 cup of flour at a time until dough is a soft, but not sticky texture. Add another few minutes of mixing with every 1/4 cup of flour added.
  7. If you did not need to add additional flour after 12 minutes, just continue mixing (kneading) for a total of 15 minutes (so, 3 more minutes at this point). It's ok to add a few minutes to kneading time if you feel dough is not soft enough, though.
  8. (Note: if kneading by hand, it should take about double the amount of kneading time above.)
  9. Transfer to a large bowl (at least twice the size of the dough). Cover with plastic wrap, then a kitchen towel.
  10. Set in a warm, draft free area and let rise for approximately 45 minutes. I suggest setting on a warm countertop above a running dishwasher, or try using a heating pad on lowest heat with a towel on top, then placing the dough bowl on top of towel.
  11. After dough has doubled, divide into two equal portions and place in two greased loaf pans (or line with parchment paper).
  12. Brush olive oil (or olive oil cooking spray) onto plastic wrap and place over both loaf pans. Place a kitchen towel on top of both.
  13. Return pans to your warm countertop and let rise again for approximately 1 hour, or until dough is sufficiently risen above the rim of your loaf pans.
  14. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  15. Carefully remove the towel and plastic wrap from loaves and place in preheated oven. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees.
  16. Remove from oven and use a basting brush to brush each loaf with milk.
  17. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and place loaves back in oven. (No need to wait for oven to cool down). Bake for another 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees until temperature in center of each loaf reaches 200 degrees F.
  18. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Enjoy!

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