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Baking with Grains: Cracked Wheat Bread

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4.6 from 7 reviews

  • Author: Laura Davis
  • Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 large loaves 1x


This recipe was adapted from The Bread Bible by Beth Hensperger. This is a delicious tangy, whole grain bread


  • 3/4 cup (120 g) cracked wheat or bulgur
  • 1 1/2 (355 ml) boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon (18 g) active dry yeast (see note)
  • pinch sugar (optional)
  • 1/4 cup (3.7 ml) water (105 to 115 degrees)
  • 1 cup (237 ml) warm buttermilk (105 to 115 degrees)
  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) molasses
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 tablespoons (57 g) butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (40 g) raw sesame seeds
  • 1 cups (130 g) whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 to 3 (248 to 298 g) cups all purpose flour or bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons (29 g) butter, melted (for brushing loaves)


  1. In a bowl, place cracked wheat or bulgur in a bowl and pour boiling water over it. Let sit for 1 hour to soften.
  2. In a small bowl, place water, yeast and a pinch of sugar. The water temperature is important. If it is too hot then the yeast will die and if it is too cold then the yeast will not activate well, if at all. I used a thermometer at first and now I can tell by feel. Allow to stand for 7 to 10 minutes. The yeast is alive if bubbles start to emerge which will build up to a foam covering the surface of the mixture. This process is called proofing the yeast.
  3. Combine the buttermilk, molasses, honey and butter in a bowl and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl (I use my mixer with the paddle attachment) mix together the whole wheat flour, salt and sesame seeds. Stir in the milk mixture and stir until smooth, about 3 minutes. Strain the cracked wheat and add to the flour mixture until combined. Add the flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough pulls from the side of the bowl and forms a ball. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook if using the electric mixer.
  5. My method is to knead the dough in the mixer for about 3 minutes and turn out the dough and finish kneading by hand but you can knead the dough in a stand mixer for 4 to 5 minutes until a springy soft ball is formed.
  6. Or if kneading completely by hand, place onto a floured board or work surface, adding a tablespoon of flour as needed to keep from sticking. Knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is soft and springy, but still tacky. The dough should spring back when gently poked with your finger.
  7. Place in a bowl with a tablespoon of light olive oil or safflower oil and coat the dough ball with it. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap or a slightly damp kitchen towel. Allow to rise at room temperature for about 1 1/2 hours until doubled in bulk.
  8. Gently deflate the dough by just pressing down on it. Form into 3 round loaves or divide in half for two 9 X 5 greased loaf pans. If making rounds place on parchment paper or lightly greased sheet pans. Brush the tops with melted butter and loosely cover with plastic wrap. The second rising, also called proofing, should take about 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  9. Place the loaves into the oven for 35 to 40 minutes. The loaves should be done when tapping them your finger sounds hollow. Remove bread from the oven and place on bakers wracks to cool. If making loaves, remove from the pans and cool on racks.


The original amount of yeast in this recipe was 1 1/2 tablespoons and the dough seem to rise too much and fall during the cooking time. I reduced the amount of yeast and saw no difference. I use bulk, jarred yeast but If you only had one packet of yeast containing 2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast, then that is what I would use and I am sure it would work out well. I have not reduced the yeast to that amount yet, but that is the standard in many double loaf recipes.

Also, beside using too much yeast in a recipe, allowing the dough to rise too long can cause a slight collapse during baking, such as the case with my loaves. Distractions are my undoing.

  • Prep Time: 2 hours 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
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