Cracked Wheat Bread (Bulgur Wheat Bread)

This Cracked Wheat Bread recipe is a real keeper. Rustic and chewy with a substantial bite, make this bulgur wheat bread when you want a hearty loaf full of whole wheat flavor and goodness.

a loaf of cracked wheat bread on a cutting board

Wheat berries are unprocessed kernels of wheat, which include the bran, germ, and endosperm. Wheat berries and cracked wheat have all the great nutrition and full flavor of a whole grain.

Cracked wheat also adds a nice chewy texture to this hearty loaf of bread.

I used a grain mill to “crack” the wheat berries. I tried running the berries in a food processor but I got whole berries mixed with flour, not the texture I was after.

If you can’t find wheat berries you can use bulgur wheat in this recipe. Bulgur wheat is a little different than cracked wheat in that the grains are steamed/parboiled and then dried. I’ve made this bread with both cracked and bulgur wheat with good results.

If you have a grain mill attachment for your stand mixer you can start with whole berries.

Scroll through the process photos to see how to make Cracked Wheat Bread:

cracking wheat
I used the grain mill to crack the wheat berries. You can buy already-cracked wheat at most grocery stores.

wheat berries and flour

two side by side photos showing how to soak cracked wheat for bread dough
Soak the bulgur (cracked) wheat in boiling water. Add the soaked grain to the sponge to make the dough.
four photos showing cracked wheat bread from shaping, to rising to baking
Set the loaf aside to rise. Score the top of the loaf and sprinkle with cracked wheat and pumpkin seeds. Cool on a wire rack before slicing.

A hint of honey gives Cracked Wheat Bread a nice flavor and helps keep it moist. I love pepitas (pumpkin seed kernels) so I sprinkled them on top of the loaf with some more cracked wheat for a nice crunchy finish.

a loaf of bulgur wheat bread on a cutting board

 

a sliced loaf of cracked wheat bread on a cutting boardBread is the staff of life, so here are a few more loaves you might want to bake: Milk & Honey Whole Wheat Bread, Overnight Rye Bread, Honey Oatmeal Bread, Whole Grain Low Knead Bread, Soft White Sandwich Bread.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

a loaf of cracked wheat bread
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4.51 from 53 reviews

Cracked Wheat Bread (Bulgur Wheat Bread)

Rustic and chewy with a substantial bite, Cracked Wheat Bread (aka Bulgur Wheat Bread) is a hearty loaf full of whole wheat flavor and goodness.
Prep Time30 minutes
Bake Time25 minutes
Rising Time2 hours
Total Time2 hours 55 minutes
24 servings
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Ingredients

  • 3 ½ ounces bulgur or cracked wheat (1/2 cup)
  • 8 ounces boiling water (1 cup)
  • 4 ounces warm water (½ cup)
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons dry yeast (7g)
  • 5 ounces bread flour (1 cup, see note)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ oz honey (1 tablespoon)
  • 5 ounces whole wheat flour (1 cup)
  • 1 egg (whisked with 1 tablespoon of water for egg wash)

Instructions

  • Combine the cracked wheat and boiling water and set aside until cooled and most of the water has been absorbed.
    3 ½ ounces bulgur or cracked wheat, 8 ounces boiling water
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, combine the ½ cup of warm water with the yeast. Add ½ cup bread flour and mix to form a thick batter. Cover the bowl and let the batter rest for 30 minutes while the cracked wheat cools. With the mixer running on low, add the cooled cracked wheat along with the soaking water. Add the salt, honey and whole wheat flour. Mix to combine.
    4 ounces warm water, 2 ¼ teaspoons dry yeast, 5 ounces bread flour, 1 teaspoon salt, ¾ oz honey, 5 ounces whole wheat flour
  • If using a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook. Slowly add the remaining bread flour until the dough gathers around the hook and cleans the sides of the bowl. If working by hand mix in as much flour as you can then turn the dough out onto a floured surface and finish kneading in the flour by hand. Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes. Form the dough into a smooth ball
  • Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 – 1 ½ hours. At this point the dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
  • Turn the dough onto a floured surface and gently knead for 5-10 seconds. Form the dough into a ball then roll the ends gently to form a football shape. If you will be using a baking stone, set the loaf on a wooden peel sprinkled heavily with cornmeal. If you don't have a baking stone put the loaf on a sheet pan sprinkled heavily with cornmeal or lined with parchment paper. If you have a banneton liberally sprinkle the inside of the basket with cracked wheat and wheat flour and set the dough into the basket.
  • Cover the loaf with plastic wrap that has been lightly oiled or sprayed with baking spray to prevent it from sticking to the dough. Allow the loaf to rise about 1 – 1 ½ hours until doubled in sized and the dough springs back slowly when poked. If the dough was cold from the refrigerator it may take longer to rise.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450°F, place a baking stone in the oven to preheat if you have one. To create steam you can place a small pan (with rocks if you have them) onto the floor of the oven. You can also bake the loaf in a Dutch oven.
  • When the bread is ready, use a thin, sharp knife or single edge razor to slash 5 diagonal cuts across the top of the loaf. Brush the surface of the bread with egg wash and sprinkle with cracked wheat. Slide the loaf onto the preheated baking stone (or slide the sheet pan into the oven)
    1 egg
  • Pour a cup of water into the preheated pan at the bottom of the oven (CAREFUL, that steam is hot) and immediately close the oven door. If using a Dutch oven set a timer for 20 minutes. Remove the lid of the Dutch oven and bake for another 20 minutes.
  • Bake until the loaf is nicely browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom (or the center of the loaf reaches 200 °F), about 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

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Notes

If measuring the flour by volume use the “dip & sweep” method. That is, dip the measuring cup into the flour bin, overfill it, then sweep away the excess.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 65kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Trans Fat: 0.001g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 101mg | Potassium: 58mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 11IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.5mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!

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Recipe Rating




50 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    You did a wonderful job of explaining how to crack the whole wheat; photos were clear and helpful, too. Also nice that you showed how to substitute bulgur for cracked wheat. Nice!
    Too many ads popping up and running all over- don’t know how you control that.

    1. I get it. The ads can be annoying. Unfortunately, without them there would be no Baking Sense. Bloggers are taking it on the chin right now between AI, content plagiarization and Google’s wild mood-swings. Ads are the only way I get paid for the time, money and energy I put into those clear photos and detailed information. Thanks for your understanding.

      1. AI is ruining the whole industry. The machines put out flawed information and that reflects poorly on everyone.
        Thank you for having a great site

  2. I would like to try making this bread in a Dutch oven. I have 2; a smaller 7″ LeCreuset cast iron one and a 9.5″ stainless steel. I think the 9.5″ may be too large but am unsure about the other as well. ???
    Lorene

  3. 2 stars
    Good flavor, but kind of flat loaf. Kind of rubbery. Seemed to require more flour but I didn’t want to make it too stiff & dry. Maybe needed that extra flour.

    1. I would replace it with the same amount of bread flour. But when you add the flour at the end hold back about 1/4 cup and see if you need it. Bread flour is quite absorbent so you might not need the last 1/4 cup.

    1. Yes, you could bake it in a loaf pan. 350F for probably about 40 minutes. I would start checking the internal temp at 30 minutes. Go for an internal temp of 200F.

  4. 5 stars
    My husband was recently diagnosed with diabetes and I wanted to find him a bread that would be more nutritious than the white dutch oven loaf I usually make. This bread knocked it out of the park! Soaking my bulgur for a loaf right now! If I run out of bulgur I’ll have to get someone to bring it down to me here in the tropics. I add ground flax … My only addition.

  5. 5 stars
    I’m a relative noob to breadmaking, and tried an adaptation of this recipe for a bread machine. Like others, I added about a cup of to get the dough right. The result was excellent! Excellent taste, perfect crunch. Thanks so much for the great recipe.

    1. Just an FYI – If you are measuring by volume (cups) rather than weighing ingredients it can make a big difference. I use the “dip and sweep” method for filling a measuring cup with flour. That is I “dip” the cup into the bin and overfill it. Then I “sweep” away the excess flour. By using this method I always get 5 oz per cup of flour. If you fluff up the flour then lightly spoon it into the cup you could end up with as much as an oz per cup less flour. This can make a big difference in the outcome of the dough. This is why weighing ingredients is always more accurate. Glad you enjoyed the recipe.

    2. @Eileen Gray, Thanks for the explanation. That’s how I do white flower, but I mill the whole wheat right into a measuring cup (from a Mockmll). It very well could have more air and weigh less, I’ll check next time.
      This was my first time making a “sponge” and it definitely seems to aid the rise.

    3. @Eileen Gray, what do you think about a rye verion of this i.e. using cracked rye and rye flour? And maybe adding a little gluten flour for lift?

      1. Sounds wonderful. If you try it let us know how it turned out and how you adapted the recipe.

    4. @Eileen Gray, I dipped and weighed and my cup looks like one of the Tetons to get to five ounces. Not an issue but it explains why my dough was so very wet the last few times (I’d misplaced my scale). Still awesome bread!

    5. @Eileen Gray, I made this today using rye to replace the wheat (flour and soaker). Did the cracked rye soaker overnight instead of one hour. Added 1-1/3 tbsp of vital gluten flour to replace that lost in the replacement. Used 1/2 brown sugar, 1/2 molasses to replace the honey. Came out excellent! The machine I made it in bakes at 380ºF so it got 60 minutes. My only mistake was, I forgot to add the caraway seeds! So it begs to be toasted. But it’s really good nevertheless.

      1. That sounds great! I’ll have to seek out cracked rye. If you have malt syrup available it would be a great addition in place of brown sugar/molasses. I use malt syrup in my Rye bread. I love rye everything. Thanks for sharing.

    6. @Eileen Gray, Thanks, I have malt syrup en route, should arrive any day. And fermented malt powder from Ukraine, too. It’s supposed to be the bee’s knees for rye.
      I cracked my own rye using a Victoria hand grinder, similar to the one you use. It worked great.

  6. So, I had a lot of bulgur on hand, and wanted to use it in making rolls, and decided to try this recipe, (I’ve been baking breads for over 40 years, but not a lot of whole wheat breads). As I was making the dough, I glanced at some of the comments, and did add a 1/4 cup of honey and olive oil to the dough. I also had to add more flour than indicated to make a dough “dry” enough to knead. I was sure that the heavy lump of dough I came up with would never rise, I decided to persevere. To my absolute amazement, the dough rose like any other bread dough. I shaped the rolls, baked them and I have to say, they are absolutely delicious. Very glad I followed through.

  7. What a delicious bread, I tweaked a little, used black strap molasses instead of honey. I also found 2 cups of flour was not enough flour, the dough was very sticky! All in all it’s a keeper, with lots of fiber! Yummy

    1. If you use volume measure rather than weighing your ingredients, you may have to adjust the amount depending how you fill the cup. I assume 5oz per cup of flour. If you lightly spoon the flour into the cup you could be getting quite a bit less than 5oz per cup.

  8. I love this bread! Making it today for the second time. My only addition was a tablespoon of olive oil.

  9. I had to tweek this recipe a bit. But it makes wonderful toast, and my friends and family love it. The biggest change was adding fat! I added 1/4 cup of canola oil (olive oil will work too) and 1/4 cup of honey. Also, I used only two cups of bread flour and the rest is whole wheat!

  10. I just made this bread yesterday, and agree with Barbara’s comment The recipe as written does not contain enough flour. I added at least another cup of bread flour to the mixture (wasn’t measuring, just kept adding a little at a time until the dough pulled away from the sides of the mixer). I would say prior to adding the addition flour, my dough was the texture of brownie batter. I’m not an expert, but not a novice either, so I could tell it needed more flour. It was still a very soft dough and it spread quite a bit while proofing. I used the sponge method. It did turn out quite well at the end and has a nice texture.

    1. Hi Nancy, Sorry for the delayed response. I’ve had an update of this post on my “to do” list for a while. I’ve broken out the recipe to two different posts; one using sourdough starter and this one using commercial yeast. I’ve just made a loaf using the updated recipe and it’s quite easy to work with the dough.

    2. @Nancy, I agree, I also added about a cup more flour, I make bread all the time! Thought maybe it was a no kneed bread, bit not according to recipe! Very tasty bread!

  11. Are the pepitas you use raw or already toasted? Thanks for your recipe! Could you please respond by email?

    1. I prefer to respond here so everyone can see the answer. I used the pepitas raw since they’ll bake on top of the bread. But toasted seeds would be fine.

  12. The recipe as printed above does not contain enough flour. At step 10, the first kneading, the batter was the consistency of a milkshake, and obviously not ready to knead. I have made it twice and had to add at least 1 1/2 cups of additional bread flour. I have made the bread twice and like the flavor so much more than regular wheat bread, but if I can’t get the right measurements I may have to find another recipe.

    1. I compared your sourdough and sponge recipes and noticed the later had less flour (about 4.5 oz). I think you left out the actual sponge. I started with 4.5 Oz of bread flour, 2 Oz of water and 1/4 tsp of yeast for 5 hrs and then added the cooled boiled cracked wheat. I reduced the amount of water in the final dough to 1/4 c like you have in the sourdough recipe to reach the 75% hydration level. I also added 10 gr. of dry malt powder to assist the rise, but otherwise followed the subsequent steps as detailed. The resulting dough was very easy to work with and baked to 190 F. I did find the crumb to be a little too moist, so I may extend the bake next time, and there will definitely be a next time,.

    2. @Eileen, please look at the recipe posted, how do you calculate 18 oz of flour? I’m a big fan of high hydration bread, but this is well beyond that.

      1. I’ve updated this recipe so some of my earlier comments are not consistent with the current measurements.

        First thing I’ll say is that calculating the hydration percent is a little tricky for this recipe. If you calculate based on 12 oz of water and 13.5 oz bulgar/bread/wheat flour you’d get a hydration percent of 88. That would be a very wet dough. But by the time the bulgar is added to the dough most of the water should have been absorbed. Cracked wheat and whole wheat flour will absorb more water than ap or bread flour.

        If you completely ignore the cracked wheat and boiling water, the dough hydration is really quite low, only 40% (4 oz water, 10oz bread/wheat flour). There will be some residual moisture from the bulgar, so the hydration percent is surely higher than 40, but surely lower than if you count in the bulgar and boiling water. I think the actual percent is probably somewhere in the middle.

        I just made a loaf of this bread again (the sourdough version) as I often do when I get lots of questions on a recipe. The dough was quite firm and very easy to work with. You do have to give the bulgar a good hour to absorb the boiling water. I’ll edit the recipe to make that instruction clear. Also, I measure the flour using the “dip and sweep” method which yields 5oz per cup. If you spoon the flour into the cup you could be short a couple of ounces.

    1. I see you gave the recipe 3 stars. Did you make the bread or are you basing the rating on the instructions? You can tap on the bread while it’s baking. Wait until the loaf is well browned and looks like it might be ready. Put on oven mitts, lift the loaf, take off one of the mitts and tap the bottom. It will give a “hollow” sound when it’s ready.This is a fairly standard description of how to check if a bread is baked.

  13. This is such a good looking loaf of bread Eileen, the egg glaze and cracked wheat has certainly given it a beautiful finish.
    Angela x

    1. I never understand how you can change someone recipe, stated that you did and still complain that the recipe needed more flour. Like it’s the pwrson fault.If you bake you’ll know that wheat, bulgar and rye take more water, now if you’re using bread flour and all purpose flour of course you’ll need to add more flour. The baker also stated to let it soak. I just get annoyed at people complaining about a very good recipe they change.

  14. Thanks for sending this into the Bready Steady Go challenge! Your loaf looks great, I have never used wheat berries before.

    1. The wheat berries give the bread a great crunch.

      Hey, I forgot to copy the Bready Steady Go logo code. How can I get it without re-submitting the recipe?

      Thanks!

      1. Only just seen your comment sorry! You can just copy it from my post and add it to your post, along with a link to the hosts. Thanks so much!