lo and behold my second bread-making attempt! while this loaf didn't turn out exactly as i had hoped, the flavor was really good and i would totally make it again.
i used the barefoot contessa's honey white bread recipe (found in this cookbook) and substituted whole wheat flour for white flour (in hind-sight, i should have only substituted half & half since i've never modified a bread recipe before and didn't know how it would affect the recipe). during the rising process, the bread never really doubled in size as the recipe implied (& despite my impatience, i waited over 2 hours at each step for the dough to rise), so the bread was a bit denser than i had hoped.
overall, it was a perfect blend of salty & sweet. i ate it all last week with vegetable soup and avocado. yum, yum.