Whole Wheat Pav Bread

Baking bread at home is actually not as exhausting as making roti/ chapathi. It is just a time consuming preparation and hence it just requires a planning well ahead of our meal. Nevertheless, it is truly a rewarding experience to bake the bread at home with the flours and spices of our choice and also to serve oven-fresh flavorful fluffy bread to our family for breakfast. Here I have used equal portions of whole wheat flour & plain flour (maida), neutral oil in place of butter and caraway seeds (omam/ ajwain) for its wonderful aroma and medicinal properties, and baked an egg-free pav bread at home.

IMG_3500 Whole Wheat Pav Bread
Soft pillowy pav buns

The recipe for whole wheat pav bread:

IMG_3498-1 Whole Wheat Pav Bread
Homemade pav bread

Time taken:

  1. For preparation: 30 min
  2. Proofing : 3 hours
  3. Baking : 20 min.

Yields: 9 pav breads


  1. Whole wheat flour – 125 grams
  2. Plain flour (maida) – 125 grams
  3. Salt – 1 tsp
  4. Caraway seeds (omam/ ajwain) – ΒΌ tsp
  5. Any neutral oil – 1 tbsp
IMG_3264-scaled Whole Wheat Pav Bread

For activating yeast:

  1. Lukewarm water – 180 ml
  2. Sugar – 1 tbsp
  3. Dry yeast – 2 tsp
IMG_3256-scaled Whole Wheat Pav Bread

Other ingredients:

  1. Any neutral oil for greasing baking dish & for coating dough before proving
  2. Milk for coating dough before baking
  3. Butter for coating breads after baking

Things required for baking bread:

IMG_3250-2 Whole Wheat Pav Bread

How to prepare whole wheat pav bread:

Dough making:

  • Microwave water for 30 seconds and add sugar & yeast into it.
  • Mix well and leave this mixture for 5 to 7 min. (or until frothy).
  • Meanwhile add flour, salt & ajwain seeds into the food processor and run it for few seconds.
  • Now pour oil followed by activated yeast into the processor and run it at high speed for about 5 minutes until the dough has become smooth, elastic and yet slightly sticky.
  • Transfer dough to a large bowl and brush with oil to prevent drying.
knd Whole Wheat Pav Bread
Kneading the dough using food processor

First proofing:

  • Cover the bowl with wet cloth leaving considerable space to allow the dough rise up.
  • Allow it to ferment for 2 hours.
  • When proved, punch down the dough to release the air inside.
  • Knead with hand for few minutes.
I-prfg Whole Wheat Pav Bread

Second proofing:

  • Grease a baking dish and keep aside.
  • Roll the proved dough into a log and divide into 9 equal portions.
  • Roll each piece into a smooth yet tightly stretched ball.
  • Place them as shown below.
  • Brush oil over these balls.
  • Cover the dish with wet cloth leaving enough space above the dough so that it could not reach the cloth while rising up. (Alternatively you can invert a large deep bowl over the dish.)
  • Keep in a warm place for an hour.
II-prf Whole Wheat Pav Bread

Baking pav bread:

  • Preheat the oven at 200 deg C, 10 minutes before the end of proofing time.
  • When dough balls are proven brush them with milk.
  • Bake for 15 min or until they turn golden.
  • Remove from oven and brush them with butter to keep soft.
  • Invert the dish onto a plate when cooled down.
  • Pull them apart before serving.
  • Enjoy whole wheat pav bread with mixed vegetable bhaji.
baking Whole Wheat Pav Bread
Baking pav bread


  • We can replace whole wheat flour with any flour made out of other grains or millets.
  • You may use milk instead of water for activating yeast, this helps to make even more soft bread.
  • If we use butter while kneading instead of oil we can make the bread even more soft.

Tips for making perfect pav bread:

Here I have listed down the factors that determine the quality of bread. Hope this may help anyone, particularly a novice, to bake bread successfully at home:

1) Quality of dough:

 It is an important factor contributing the texture of bread and is naturally depending on the flour-liquid ratio, kneading time & proving time apart from the quality of ingredients used.

IMG_3410 Whole Wheat Pav Bread
Fluffy pav bread

2) Measurement of flours:

We usually measure the ingredients by volume (in a cup) but here we need to weigh the flour using kitchen scale. The approximate weight of plain flour (maida) is 110 grams per cup & whole wheat flour is 120 grams per cup; I used 250 grams of flour which comes in 2ΒΌ cups (volume of my cup is 200 ml).

weigh Whole Wheat Pav Bread
It is important to weigh the flour.

3) The ratio between the flour & liquids:

The ratio between flour & liquid plays a vital role for making soft breads. We can add water 60% (minimum) to 80% (max.) of flour (ie.) the ratio of flour:water is 5:3 or 5:4. If we add more water, it requires to knead the flour for a longer time. Here I used 180 ml of water (about 70% of flour) for 250 grams of flour. Additionally we can use little flour and/or oil while kneading if the dough is sticky.

4) Kneading time:

It takes about 10 minutes when kneaded by hand and takes less than 5 minutes in the food processor/ stand mixer to get the smooth elastic dough.

5) Proving Time:

The general rule is to leave the dough undisturbed for proving until it is doubled in size. It takes longer to prove when you increase the size of dough. Besides it takes longer during winter but it is proved quickly in summer.

6) Quality of yeast:

It is better to refrigerate the yeast to keep them afresh. If the yeast is not activated or does not become frothy within 10 minutes, it means that yeast has lost its vigor and hence no activity. So we need to discard not only the solution but also the remaining yeast in the same pack. In that case, we need to buy a new pack of yeast and use them.

IMG_3276 Whole Wheat Pav Bread
Well-activated yeast

7) Shaping up dough balls:

If the dough balls are not tightly stretched while shaping them up, we can notice cracks on the surface as shown in the Fig.1. So we need to stretch the dough to make its surface tight and then we need to shape it up into a smooth ball as shown in Fig.2.

dgh-ball Whole Wheat Pav Bread
Fig.1 (Dough balls are not smooth and tightly stretched and hence the cracked bread)

8) Arranging dough balls in the baking dish:

We need to place the dough balls by leaving equal but little space around them so that we can make uniformly shaped pull-apart breads. Each dough ball occupies all the space around it before rising up while proving. So we need to reduce the space around each ball allowing the dough to rise up to get fluffy cubic bread. If we leave more space around each ball, we get flat round buns as shown in Fig.1.

sq-shape-1 Whole Wheat Pav Bread
Fig.2 (Smooth dough ball tightly stretched and arranged with spaces before proving)
(Cubic breads in square dish)

9) Shape & size of baking dish:

For pull-apart breads the size of dish must be just enough to place all the dough balls and also have enough space above to rise up. So we should not use a shallow plate or a long tray. Here I used the baking dish of size 7″ x 7″ x 2″ where all my dough balls are placed without leaving too much space.

Since dough balls take up the space around it while proving, we need to use the baking dish accordingly. If we look for the pull-apart cubic breads as shown in Fig.2 , we should use square dish. We get elongated breads as shown in Fig.3 when round dish is used.

rd-shp-1 Whole Wheat Pav Bread
Fig.3 (Elongated breads in round baking dish)

10) Baking time:

It takes longer or shorter according to the size of dough. Initially I set the timer for 15 minutes but I gradually increased to 17 minutes until they turn golden. We need to watch carefully at the end (14th minute on wards), else it may turn darker (as shown above) even if we leave them few seconds more.

11) Incrementing the quantity:

I prefer to make the dough in batches rather than incrementing the ingredients while preparing the dough. It may be viable for a professional baker.

83 comments on “Whole Wheat Pav BreadAdd yours →

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  1. Hi. … I tried this recipe. Used half and half milk & water instead of only water. Doubled the recipe as many people eating. Somehow the breads didn’t brown as beautifully as yours and were heavy. Next time, will be using all maids and kneading it more .. thx

    1. Oh! I also found the same when I doubled this recipe, but it works only when I make the dough in 2 portions and bake them separately. I think it wont affect the texture when you add milk, it is all about the increased volume of dough. So I feel we need to make the dough in batches and bake them separately.
      Thank you so much for trying this recipe and sharing your feedback.

    1. Oh, happy to read the words of optimistic soul in Tamil! πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for stopping by.

  2. excellent bake and nothing matches the joy of baking breads at home. Beautiful pav buns and when warm can directly be slathered with butter and dunked in a cup of tea. Loved the detailed recipe.

  3. Wow, wow, wow Megala. Did I say wow! These look amazing, and thank you for all the extra tips, and being so thorough! There’s no way I could mess this up. I can’t wait for every one to be home so I can make this :):)

    1. I’m so glad that you find these tips useful, thanks a ton for appreciating my work here ! Have a wonderful week ahead !! πŸ™‚

  4. Wow! I would love to make my own bread but I always worry about the dough not rising. Yours looks super delicious and I love how you make the steps so straight-forward to follow. πŸ™‚

  5. Looks great Megala, perfectly baked golden brown bread ! I’m sure they must taste so fresh and delicious and hoping to bake bread sometime a territory I haven’t explored πŸ™‚

  6. How wonderful to be able to bake bread at home! The pav bread in the pictures looks ready to melt in the mouth and I’m sure the smell of baking bread was heavenly!

    1. Yes, it was so flavorful that we felt as if entering into a “Subway” outlet ! Thank you, Sheela !!

  7. Wow. It looks so perfect Megala. Home made breads are always better. Looking at your pic itself satisfies me. Thanks for sharing the details.

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