Sourdough Cracked Wheat Bread is a hearty loaf full of wheat flavor and goodness. This rustic bread made with active starter and whole grain has a chewy, substantial bite.
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.
If you have a grain mill attachment for your stand mixer you can start with whole berries.
If you can’t find wheat berries, you can buy bulgur wheat at most grocery stores. 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.
In the meantime, you can make Cracked Wheat Bread with commercial yeast.
Scroll through the process photos to see how to make Sourdough Cracked Wheat Bread:
A timeline for making Sourdough Bulgur Wheat Bread:
- If your starter needs feeding, do that the night before or early in the morning of the day you want to make the dough.
- Mix the sponge. While waiting for the sponge, pour boiling water over the cracked or bulgur wheat and allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Mix the dough in the afternoon. Allow it to ferment at room temperature 3-5 hours and refrigerate in the evening before going to bed.
- The dough can stay in the refrigerator for 2-3 days at this point.
- Take the dough out first thing in the morning and shape the loaf. If you want the bread for dinner time, wait until the afternoon to take the dough out of the refrigerator.
- Shape the loaf and leave it to rise at room temperature to rise for 1 1/2- 2 hours.
- You should have fresh bread by lunch time.
- If you want to start early in the morning to have bread for dinner, feed the starter the night before. Make the dough in the morning and leave it to ferment until the afternoon. Form the loaf and leave it to rise, skipping the refrigeration step. Bake the bread in time for dinner.
Since you’ve got your starter fed, peruse the entire list of My Best Sourdough Recipes. Have fun!
I know you hate to throw away that sourdough discard. Check out these recipes that use sourdough discard.
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
- 1/2 cup (3.5 oz, 98g) cracked wheat (or bulgur)
- 1 cup (8oz, 240 ml) boiling water
- 1 cup (8 oz, 224g) active sourdough starter
- 1/4 cup (2 oz 60 ml) warm water
- 1 cup (5 oz 140g) bread flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup (5 oz 140g) whole wheat flour
- 1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon of water for egg wash
- Cracked wheat and pepitas (pumpkin seed kernels) for garnish
- Combine the cracked wheat and boiling water and set aside until cooled to lukewarm.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl, combine the starter, 1/4 cup of water and a 1/2 cup bread flour and mix to form a thick batter. Cover the bowl and let the batter rest for 30-60 minutes.
- Add the cracked wheat along with the soaking water, the salt, honey and whole wheat flour. Mix to combine.
- If using a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook. Add the remaining bread flour, 1/4 cup at a time, 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. After 30 minutes uncover the bowl, lift one side of the dough and fold it into the middle of the dough. Repeat with the other three sides of the dough then flip the dough over. You're basically turning the dough inside-out to redistribute the yeast. Cover the bowl and after 30 minutes repeat the procedure. Cover the bowl and after 60 minutes repeat the procedure again. Cover the bowl and after 60 minutes turn the dough one more time. By now the dough should be lively, elastic and airy. If the dough is still sluggish give it another hour or two at room temperature. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight or proceed with forming the loaf to bake the same day.
- 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.
- 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 - 2 hours until the loaf has doubled in sized. If the dough is cool from a night in the refrigerator the rising time may be longer.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450°F. Place a baking stone in the oven if you have one. Place a small pan (with rocks if you have them) onto the floor of the oven.
- When the bread is ready, use a sharp knife or 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 and pepitas. Slide the loaf onto the preheated baking stone (or slide the sheet pan into the oven)
- 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
- Bake until the loaf is nicely browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom (or the center of the loaf reaches 190°F), about 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before slicing.
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