Sourdough Cracked Wheat Bread (Sourdough Bulgur Wheat Bread)

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.

a loaf of sourdough cracked wheat bread on a cutting board

Why you’ll love this Sourdough Cracked Wheat Bread

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.

If you don’t already have one, I can show you how to make a sourdough starter and how to feed a sourdough starter.

In the meantime, you can make Cracked Wheat Bread with commercial yeast.

How to make Sourdough Cracked Wheat Bread

two photos showing how to soak bulgur wheat for sourdough cracked wheat bread
  1. Soak the bulgur or cracked wheat in boiling water.
  2. Add the cooled grains to the sponge, then mix the dough.
four photos showing cracked wheat sourdough over 3 hours of fermentation
  1. Over the 3-5 hours of fermentation, the dough will become lighter and more supple.
  2. After a night in the refrigerator, the dough is ready to shape.
four photos showing how to shape, rise, score and bake a loaf of sourdough cracked wheat bread
  1. Shape the dough into a football shaped loaf.
  2. Set the loaf aside to rise.
  3. Score and bake the loaf.
  4. Cool on a wire rack before slicing.

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.

I know you hate to throw away that sourdough discard. Check out these recipes that use sourdough discard.

a sliced loaf of sourdough cracked wheat bread on a cutting board

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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4.55 from 31 reviews

Sourdough Cracked Wheat Bread

Rustic and chewy with a substantial bite, Sourdough Cracked Wheat Bread is a hearty loaf full of whole wheat flavor and goodness.
Prep Time30 minutes
Bake Time25 minutes
Rising Time12 hours
Total Time12 hours 55 minutes
24 slices
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  • 3 ½ ounces cracked wheat (or bulgur, ½ cup)
  • 8 ounces boiling water (1 cup)
  • 8 ounces active sourdough starter (1 cup)
  • 2 ounces warm water (¼ cup)
  • 5 ounces bread flour (1 cup, see note)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ ounce honey (1 tablespoon)
  • 5 ounces whole wheat flour (1 cup)
  • 1 egg (whisked with 1 tablespoon of water for egg wash)
  • Cracked wheat and seeds of your choice (for garnish)


  • Combine 3 ½ ounces cracked wheat and 8 ounces boiling water and set aside until cooled and most of the water has been absorbed.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl, combine 8 ounces active sourdough starter, 2 ounces warm water and a ½ cup (2 1/2 oz) 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 1 teaspoon salt, ¾ ounce honey and 5 ounces whole wheat flour. Mix to combine.
  • If using a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook. Add the remaining bread flour (2 1/2 oz), ¼ 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 60 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 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. If you have a banneton liberally sprinkle the inside with cracked or bulgur wheat and wheat flour. 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 – 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. Tp create steam you can place a small pan (with rocks if you have them) onto the floor of the oven. If you are using a Dutch oven put it in the oven to preheat.
  • 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 seeds of your choice (I like pepitas). Slide the loaf onto the preheated baking stone (or slide the sheet pan into the oven)
    1 egg, Cracked wheat and seeds of your choice
  • 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 transfer the dough on a sheet of parchment to the Dutch oven, close the lid and put into the oven. Set a timer for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and bake 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 before slicing.

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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.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 70kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Trans Fat: 0.001g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 100mg | Potassium: 47mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 11IU | Vitamin C: 0.005mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.5mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!

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Recipe Rating


  1. This is the best tasting loaf I baked since I started my sourdough journey a couple of months ago! I left it in fridge for 36hrs, looking for a stronger sourdough taste and it didn’t disappoint. However, the loaf had zero spring. I shaped loaf before refrigeration, then left at room temperature for 2 hrs prior to baking in ceramic cloche at 450F. Could that be the reason why? I’d love to master this recipe and make it my go-to bread. Any thoughts?

    1. This loaf is more on the dense side but I do generally get a decent oven spring. Could be the long refrigeration time diminished the yeast. Was you starter very active when you mixed the dough?

  2. This was such a delicious loaf! I’ve made it three times now and it’s been such a hit with everyone! Baked well on both a baking sheet and a baking stone.

    For one of the loaves I used a mixed grain bread mix (which had some yeast in it already) instead of wholemeal flour as I couldn’t get more wholemeal flour from our local shops, but the loaf also worked really well with the mixed grain mix (although it rose a little faster because of the yeast, so we had to be careful not to let it overproof).

    Delicious plain as well as toasted! Chunky slices were great with some soup. Thanks for a great recipe!

  3. PS: I just checked the dough which has been in the frig. c. 2+ hours, and it has risen a lot and doesn’t seem as sticky.

  4. Is this a fairly sticky dough? I did all the stretch and folds and added a bit more flour each time, as it stuck to my hands. Was going to bake today but put it in frig to rest overnight instead. (I’ve made other multigrain sourdoughs and while a bit sticky, they haven’t stuck to my hands during the stretch and folds.) Thanks!
    PS—made your English muffins over the weekend—yum! First time making them, and my husband, a/k/a Mr. Fussy, proclaimed them “Damn Good!”)

    1. @Marlene, With a really sticky dough sometimes I spray my hands with cooking spray before stretching and folding to keep the dough from sticking to my fingers.

    1. 5 stars
      I am at the point where the dough is shaped and rising. I accidentally soaked my whole wheat berries first (instead of ‘cracking’ them first) but just ended up putting the soaked berries AND the water in my blender for a quick chop….Perfect! Also am using white wheat flour instead of whole wheat. Looks like it’s going to be wonderful when done!

  5. Wonderful recipe, but I have a caution. DO NOT USE glass pan. Mine shattered when I went to add the water. Oh well! Live and learn.

  6. I love this recipe, very adaptable . I’m trying a 100 % White with the cracked wheat today. The recipe produces a softer spongier bread than the traditional hard to cut ones I’ve tried.

  7. I want to try the sourdough bulgar wheat recipe as dinner rolls instead of a loaf. How many individual rolls do you think I could do and how long would I bake them? And at the same temperature? Thank you! I love all of your recipes I’ve tried!!

    1. The number of roll will depend on how big you want them to be. Try a dozen and see if that size works. Can say for the time, but I would start checking after 10 minutes.

  8. Hello, After refrigerating the dough over night do you let it rest after taking it out before you knead and let rise 1-2 hours??

    1. Nope, I shape it while it’s cold from the fridge. The dough is easy to handle when chilled. Shape it, then let it rise and bake it.

  9. Hello, excited to try this. Can you make the bread with 100% whole wheat as opposed to using some bread flour? If so, how would I substitute?


    1. Honesty, I wouldn’t advise it. With the cracked wheat in the dough, using all whole wheat flour would make it very difficult to get enough gluten. You’d likely end up with a very, very dense loaf.

  10. I just started reading your sour dough info and came across this comment about using steel cut oats. We can no longer find cracked wheat anywhere near us so I tried bulghur and wasn’t happy with the results so then I tried steel cut oats and it seems fine. I did simmer it on the stove for a few minutes in water. We love the cracked wheat recipe although I have not tried yours yet but I certainly will using steel cut oats. Thanks for a nice blog. I’m kind of new to sour dough and loving it. Made english muffins last night, delicious!

    1. @Nancy,
      Cracked wheat is hard to find, but I go to the Walmart website & search for cracked wheat & I can usually find it there.

  11. Hi Eileen,
    I made this today using bulgur wheat, followed all the ingredients and method. However it end up really wet, I’ve been fermenting the dough for 7 hours since morning but still wet. Everytime I fold it, it cracked, is that normal?
    Please help.

  12. Would steel cut oats work as well? I don’t normally have cracked wheat or bulgur in the pantry (but willing to find some for this bread, it looks fantastic!).

    1. Hmmm, I haven’t tried it, but my instinct says it would work as long as you soak the oats the way the cracked what is soaked. Let me know how it works if you try it.