My Favorite Whole Wheat Bread + PBJ Swirl Bread

November 10, 2014

About a year or so ago, I started baking from scratch almost all of the bread that we eat. Bread has always been one of my favorite foods, but the ingredients list on store-bought bread can be pretty scary. Making our own bread a great way to control the ingredients that go in, plus then we always have delicious, fresh bread. Constantly checking ingredients at the grocery store while still finding something that looks (and is) tasty is basically a full-time job, and I’d rather spend that time sitting on the couch while my dough rises. That’s also why I’m loving the revamped formula for I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, another favorite of mine.

My Favorite Whole Wheat Bread + PBJ Swirl Bread @hiddenfruitnvegMy Favorite Whole Wheat Bread + PBJ Swirl Bread @hiddenfruitnveg

I have fond, fond memories of slathering ICBINB all over a blueberry muffin or a slice of banana bread, usually at my Grandmas house, but I didn’t think it fit into my healthier adult lifestyle. When I heard about the new, simpler formula, I was pretty excited. It’s made from non-GMO ingredients that are all pronounceable — plant-based oils, purified water, a pinch of salt, and a couple of natural flavorings. (Heads up: the natural flavor is from dairy ingredients, so the formula is not vegan.) No trans fat, no cholesterol, no partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.

My Favorite Whole Wheat Bread + PBJ Swirl Bread @hiddenfruitnvegMy Favorite Whole Wheat Bread + PBJ Swirl Bread @hiddenfruitnveg

I even swapped it in for butter in my bread recipe. With 40% fewer calories, ICBINB was the perfect swap for butter in my bread recipe while still adding that hint of buttery goodness. Using this amped up spread also inspired me to take my bread recipe a step further. I rolled it out and striped creamy natural peanut butter and raspberry jelly inside before rolling it up to rise and bake. PBJ bread makes the PERFECT toast and I’ve been dreaming about what heavenly French toast I can make.

My Favorite Whole Wheat Bread + PBJ Swirl Bread @hiddenfruitnvegMy Favorite Whole Wheat Bread + PBJ Swirl Bread @hiddenfruitnvegMy Favorite Whole Wheat Bread + PBJ Swirl Bread @hiddenfruitnveg

If you liked this tasty not-buttery spread as a kid, I highly encourage you to check out the new formula! You can leave a review at and let them know what you think about it.

My Favorite Whole Wheat Bread + PBJ Swirl Bread @hiddenfruitnvegMy Favorite Whole Wheat Bread + PBJ Swirl Bread @hiddenfruitnveg

5.0 from 2 reviews

My Favorite Whole Wheat Bread + PBJ Swirl Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 32 slices

  • 7½ c white whole wheat flour (Divided)
  • 1½ tbsp. dry active yeast
  • 2½ c warm (not hot to the touch) water
  • ⅓ c I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, melted
  • ⅓ c honey (or agave nectar or pure maple syrup)
  • 2½ tsp salt
  • 1½ tbsp. vital wheat gluten

  1. In a stand mixer with a dough hook, combine 2 c flour with the water and yeast. Let sit for 15 minutes until frothy and bubbly. If it doesn’t get bubbly, your yeast is dead and the dough will not rise.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, honey, and salt.
  3. Once the yeast mixture is frothy, add the honey mixture. Add 4½ c of flour and the vital wheat gluten and turn the stand mixer on until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Using a medium setting on your stand mixer, knead the dough for 7 minutes, adding the additional cup of flour in small amounts until the dough is not longer very sticky (test it with clean, dry hands. It might stick a small amount, but wont leave any pieces of dough on your finger).
  4. Cut the dough in half. For each half, stretch so the dough is about the same length as the loaf pan (8 or 9 inches) but twice as wide. Roll it over and place it seem side down in a greased loaf pan. This will help the dough rise evenly and look smooth on top. (If you want to make the PBJ swirl version, see the notes section) Cover with a flour sack or other lint free towel and let rise in a warm room for an hour.
  5. During the last 15 minutes of rising, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. After rising, the dough should be peaking over the top of the pan. If your house is a little cool, it might take a little longer. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the loaf pans and place on a cooling rack.
  7. If you aren’t going to eat the bread within 2 days, I recommend pre-slicing, wrapping in plastic wrap, and sticking a freezer bag before placing in the freezer. This will help keep it from drying dough and can be frozen for 2 – 3 months.

To make the PBJ swirl bread: Before letting the dough rise, stretch the dough into a rectangle about 2 inches wider than the loaf pan (about 10 – 11 inches wide) and about 14 inches long. Using approximately ⅓ c natural peanut butter and ⅓ c of your favorite jelly, spread stripes of the PB and J, leaving about 2 inches at the end. Roll it up starting at the striped side and use the “clean” dough to seal the seem. It’s okay if PB and J leaks a little out of the sides. Fold the open ends toward the seam (similar to sealing off a burrito) and place in a greased loaf pan. Let rise for an hour and continue as above.
Nutritional estimate including PB and J swirl is 140 cal, 3 g fat, 25 carb, 4 g fiber, and 5 g protein.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 slice Calories: 115 Fat: 1 Carbohydrates: 23 Fiber: 3 Protein: 4

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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    Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health Nov 11, 2014

    Oh my word, I could not be trusted with this bread! Although, considering it’s whole grain and lower calorie bc of the ICBINB I wouldn’t feel that about it. You always know how to make me drool, lady!

    cheri Nov 10, 2014

    Hi Kelly, bread is one food group that I’ve been a little afraid to tackle, you make it sound so easy. Love this!

      Kelly Nov 12, 2014

      Cheri, making bread is pretty intimidating but SO easy once you’ve done it a couple of times. As long as your yeast gets foamy, you’re pretty much guaranteed a success.

    Annie @Maebells Nov 10, 2014

    Oh I love this!! All breads should be pb&j swirl bread!!

    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl Nov 10, 2014

    PB & J is SO good, and you literally just made it a no brainer. Would it be awful if I made this bread into an actual PB & J? I really do not think there is such a thing as toooo much peanut butter and jelly 😉

      Kelly Nov 10, 2014

      Ha! That’s an amazing idea. If you used a different nut butter and a different jelly, it’d be like getting to eat TWO sandwiches at once.

    Barbara Nov 10, 2014

    Do you know if you can make this in a bread machine? Or at least part of it? Just wondering.

      Kelly Nov 10, 2014

      Sorry, Barbara, I’m really not sure! I haven’t personally tested that. This recipe makes 2 loaves, so at the very least you’d need to cut it in half. If you’re just looking for a whole wheat bread recipe, I know that this one works great. Just set it to a medium loaf (whole wheat setting if you have it!) and use the full baking cycle instead of the dough cycle that recipe calls for. If you omit the feta and olives, it’s a standard whole wheat recipe — that’s what I do if I’m using my bread machine.

      If you’re looking at doing the PBJ swirl and don’t want to risk halving the whole recipe for your machine, you could use your favorite dough recipe in your bread machine. Take the dough out of the machine and pick up at the step where you stretch the dough and add the jelly/PB. Follow the rest of the recipe as written.

      Kelly Nov 10, 2014

      Thanks, Kayle!

    Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl Nov 10, 2014

    I can’t believe.. how beautiful and delicious this post is! I need to start making my own bread, we always buy store bought but I always feel guilty. This looks perfect, maybe it’ll jump start my bread making!

      Kelly Nov 10, 2014

      It’s hard to argue with convenience sometimes, but once you taste a fresh loaf of homemade bread, it’s hard to go back. Especially when you consider how much money you save 🙂

    Emily Nov 10, 2014

    I hate that about store bought bread!!! Always crazy ingredients. I’ve never made my own and should. I’ll definitely follow one of your recipes!

      Kelly Nov 10, 2014

      Never, ever?! You should give it a try! I think it makes the most absolutely fantastic toast.

    Joanna @Makingmine Nov 10, 2014

    Is this even legal? Because it sounds too good to be true, haha! How creative! And it turns out so pretty!

      Kelly Nov 10, 2014

      Ha! I hope it’s legal, because I’ve been eating it left and right all weekend 😀