This recipe for homemade cracked wheat bread is light and fluffy on the inside with a crunchy crust on the outside. It has a nutty, wholesome chew from the cracked wheat and just the right amount of sweetness from the honey.
The dough has an extra dose of cracked wheat, so it’s healthier than your average loaf and loaded with plenty of whole grains to make this your new favorite sandwich bread.
Why This Recipe Works
My favorite part about making bread is when the house is filled with that wonderful aroma as it bakes. There is a peaceful, warm feeling about the smell of baked bread. It’s just good for the soul.
You can start this bread in a bread machine and let it do all the mixing and kneading. I prefer to shape my loaves in a regular bread pan and bake it in the oven but don’t let me stop you if you would rather finish it off in the bread machine.
Here is what we love about this cracked wheat bread.
- Made with wholesome ingredients.
- A sweet nutty flavor from cracked wheat.
- Makes great sandwich bread.
- Fabulous breakfast toast.
The Ingredients You Need:
- Bread flour. Bread flour will give this bread a soft, airy texture and help it rise better than all-purpose flour.
- Whole wheat flour. The whole wheat flour adds to the wholesome nutty flavor of this bread.
- Dry milk. The milk powder enhances the dough and gives it a softer texture.
- Honey. You could sub the honey with maple syrup or molasses if you would like.
- Instant yeast. Instant yeast has very small granules and you don’t need to dissolve it in water before adding it to the flour.
- Cracked wheat. This is the heart of the bread and gives it the best flavor and texture.
- Butter. Butter adds great flavor and helps tenderize the dough.
How To Make Cracked Wheat Bread:
This recipe calls for a starter sponge. If you have never worked with a starter sponge, don’t fret about the funky fermented smell it gives off after a few hours. Rest assured that it is developing flavor and improving with time. It really is a wonderful way to make bread.
Here is a brief overview of the process for baking this bread. Make sure you scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details.
- Make the sponge and let it ferment for 3 to 4 hours.
- Cook the cracked wheat in hot water.
- Make the dough: Combine the sponge and the cracked wheat then add the rest of the ingredients.
- Knead the dough. You can use a stand mixer, bread machine, or old-fashioned elbow grease.
- Let the dough rise in a covered, greased bowl.
- Shape the dough into a log then place it in a bread pan and let it rise again.
Tips For Best Bread Results
- Letting the sponge ferment for several hours will enhance the flavor of the bread.
- Cooking the cracked wheat will soften it and give the bread a better texture.
- Add the flour gradually. The amount you need may vary based on the humidity.
- If the dough is too wet, add a bit more bread flour. If it is too dry, sprinkle in a bit of water.
- Let the bread cool down before you slice into it.
- If you can’t find cracked wheat you can use bulgur which is cracked wheat that has been steamed. If you do use bulgur, you will only need to soak it in boiling water until it is soft.
What Is Cracked Wheat?
Cracked wheat is the whole wheat berry that has been crushed or cut into smaller pieces. It includes the nutrient-rich bran and germ of the wheat and is high in fiber.
The wheat germ in cracked wheat has oils in it that can go rancid so be cautious where you buy it. Store it in an airtight container and keep it in a cool area. If you buy it in the bulk foods section, smell the cracked wheat before you buy it. If the oils from the wheat germ are rancid, it will have an “off” odor and smell a little sour.
I’ve been making this bread for years now, and it never disappoints. It has a nutty flavor from the cracked wheat and makes great sandwich bread. The best part is how incredible the house smells when it is baking. This recipe produces light fluffy homemade cracked wheat bread that will soon become your go-to recipe!
More Artisan Bread Recipes
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- Whole Wheat Einkorn Bread
- Ooni Pizza Dough Recipe
- Greek Easter Bread (Tsoureki)
- 21 Artisan Bread Recipes
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Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. You can freeze homemade bread for up to 3 months. Keep it in an airtight container so it stays protected from freezer burn.
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Adapted from The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
- ½ cup (78 grams) bread flour
- ½ cup (72 grams) whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon dry milk
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ tablespoon sugar
- ¾ teaspoon instant yeast
- ½ cup (85 grams) cracked wheat
- 1 cup water
- all of the sponge starter above
- all of the cooked cracked wheat from above
- 2 cups (312 grams) bread flour
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 ¾ teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
Make the sponge
- In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the sponge starter and whisk well. Cover and let the sponge ferment for 3 to 4 hours. (If you use a bread machine, combine the ingredients in the bread machine pan and let the starter sit in the bread machine with the lid closed, do NOT turn the bread machine on).
Cook the Cracked Wheat
- Place the cracked wheat and water in a microwave safe bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and cook it on high in the microwave for 6 to 8 minutes until the wheat soaks up all the water and has a chewy texture (you will want to stop the microwave and stir it once or twice). Cover the wheat and place it in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Mix the Dough and Proof
- Add the cracked wheat to the sponge starter then add the bread flour, butter, sugar salt, and yeast. Combine the ingredients until the flour is moistened then cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
- Knead the dough for 10 minutes by hand or with a stand mixer on medium speed, until it is smooth and elastic. The dough should be fairly sticky. If it is too wet add small amounts of flour and if it is too dry spray some water on it and knead it in.
- Place the dough in a large bowl that has been coated with oil. Coat the surface of the dough with oil and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise in a draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 to 1 ½ hours. (If your using a bread machine turn the machine on “dough” setting and let the machine do the kneading and subsequent rising)
Shape, Rise, and Bake
- Pour the dough onto a lightly floured counter and gently pat it into a rectangle then shape it into a log. Place the shaped dough into a greased 8 x 4-inch bread pan. Cover loosely with a towel and let it rise until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. The loaf should be about an inch over the top of the pan.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350°. Place the pan in the center of the pre-heated oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes (when it is done it will sound hollow when tapped).
- Remove the bread from the pan and allow it to cool on a wire rack. If you want the top to be soft, coat it in melted butter or olive oil while still warm.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 122Total Fat: 1.8gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 268mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 1.5gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g