Wheat Berry Bread: A Terrific Way to Eat More Whole Grains

Home » Wheat Berry Bread: A Terrific Way to Eat More Whole Grains

Sneak Peek: This Wheat Berry Bread is a bread machine recipe for crunchy and earthy-tasting white bread with cracked whole wheat berries that add healthy fiber.

whole loaf -Cracked Wheat Berry Bread

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On the subject of wheat berries: I can picture my dad (an Indiana farmer) reaching his grubby hand behind him into the bin of the combine during a wheat harvest. He would pop a handful of freshly-harvested wheat berries into his mouth and chew them like they were a fresh stick of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit.

Mind you, that wheat might have a few weed seeds and little bugs in it. But it was FRESH! Of all the times my dad and grandad tried to get me to follow their example, I just couldn’t do it.

Take those same wheat berries and bake them up in this bread. Now I’m spitting out my Wrigley’s and chowing down.

Cracked Wheat Berry Bread is a nubby, crunchy, and earthy-tasting white bread starring cracked whole wheat berries. Make it with a bread maker.

The addition of whole grains significantly increases the fiber and protein content. It also contributes to the taste and texture.

Wheat berries are inexpensive and well worth the trouble. They contribute extraordinary texture, flavor, and nutrition. You’ll enjoy eating this loaf out of hand with butter or slice and toast it for sandwiches.

sliced Cracked Wheat Berry Bread

Related Post: Honey Whole Wheat Bread

The low-down on cracked wheat:

1. What is cracked wheat?

Cracked wheat describes an unprocessed wheat berry that has been chopped to make smaller pieces.

2. What is a wheat berry?

A wheat berry is the original unprocessed whole grain form of wheat. A single wheat berry includes the bran, the germ, and the endosperm.

unprocessed wheat berries
Unprocessed wheat berries

3. Are cracked wheat and bulgur interchangeable?

Cracked wheat is technically uncooked. According to the NY Times, bulgur is steamed and cooked before packaging. It requires less cooking time. This recipe specifies raw wheat berries.

wheat berry kernels and bulgur wheat in bulk bin.

4. How do I store wheat berries?

Wheat berries can be stored in a cool and dry pantry for up to 6 months. Bob’s Red Mill claims you can keep wheat berries for up to 2 years if you refrigerate or keep them frozen.

5. Are wheat berries good for you?

Whole wheat grains provide not only fiber, but more B vitamins, antioxidants, and protein than refined grains.

6. Where can I obtain wheat berries?

Look for a supermarket with a bulk bin aisle. I get mine at our local Sprouts for .89/lb. Maybe try the organic food aisle or Amazon? Finally, if you know a wheat farmer, ask him for a bag. Of course, you will need to clean the berries. You may have to pick out a bug or a few husks, but that’s a small price to pay for fresh wheat.

Purchase the hard red wheat berries as opposed to the soft wheat berries. They are better for making bread.


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Frequently asked questions:

1. Is this recipe considered whole grain bread?

Yes, it is a whole grain bread because it contains some whole grains. However, it is not 100% whole grain. The flour specified in the recipe is white bread flour. The result is a loaf with a softer but firm texture with less bitter-tasting undertones than whole wheat flour.

When it comes to bread, I’m generally a white-bread-lovin’ baby boomer. I know. We’re supposed to be eating whole grains. Consequently, this bread is the perfect compromise in my book.

2. Why use a bread machine?

If you are new to my website, I’ve written a lot about my non-traditional bread-machine technique. In a nutshell, using a bread machine to mix and knead the dough is the way for me to get the best quality bread every single time.

adding ingredients to a bread machine pan

Related Post: 6 Bread Machine Secrets You Need To Know

3. Do I have to use a bread machine?

No. You can make Cracked Wheat Berry Bread using a stand mixer or make it by hand. See the recipe notes for specific instructions.

4. How do I soften wheat berries to use in this bread machine recipe?

You have several choices, but I favor the last one because it’s the fastest.

  • Soak wheat berries overnight to soften them.
  • Cook wheat berries on top of the stove for 20 minutes using a 2 to 1 ratio of water to grain.
  • Cook wheat berries in the microwave on HIGH for 10 minutes using the same ratio of 2 to 1 for water to grain.

The goal is to soften the berries not cook them to the consistency of your breakfast dish of oatmeal. You want them to have some chew (and tooth-friendly crunch in the crust.)

5. How do I crack wheat berries?

After softening the berries, add flour to the berries and use a food processor or blender to crack them. Berries are not easy to eat in baked bread if they have not first been softened and cracked.

6. What does this bread taste like?

Wheat berry bread in a basket

The taste is heartier and more interesting than white bread but still mild without the bitter undertones of a 100% whole wheat loaf. The wheat berries inside this loaf are soft and slightly chewy. However, the exterior is somewhat crunchy due to the cracked wheat berries that bake up crispy in the crust.

Related Post: Outstanding Bread Machine Whole Wheat Bread with No White Flour

How to make the dough using a bread machine:

adding wheat berries to water to soften them

Combine 1/2 cup of wheat berries with 1 cup of water. Cook in a microwave on HIGH for 10 minutes.

Cooling wheat berries with ice after cooking

Allow wheat to cool. Add ice cubes if you want to expedite the process. Drain off water.

draining cooked grain

Drain berries well and add to a food processor along with 1 cup of bread flour.

"cracking" wheat berries in a food processor

Pulse flour and seeds to “crack” them into small pieces. This can also be done in a blender, but it’s a lot more trouble, and you have to keep scraping the sides.

adding ingredients to a bread machine

Add all ingredients to the bread machine pan in the order listed.

selecting the dough cycle on the machine

Select the dough cycle and press start.

checking dough after machine has started

The dough should look like this as the kneading progresses. It should stick to the side of the pan, then pull away cleanly. The dough will get smoother and shinier as the gluten develops.

dough after rising

At the end of the dough cycle, the dough should be doubled in size. If not, allow the dough to continue rising in the pan until it is double the original size.


Related Post: Homemade Whole Wheat Rolls

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How to shape and bake Wheat Berry Bread

dough in bread machine

After the dough cycle on your bread machine completes, prepare a floured surface. I like to use a silicone baking sheet (paid link) because you can run it through the dishwasher.

dumping bread dough out of bread machine pan

Dump the dough out of the pan.

Dividing dough into 2 portions

Divide the dough into two equal portions.

shaping loaves

Pull the edges together and pinch. (This will make the underside smooth.) Turn over and shape to make an oblong loaf.

shaping loaves

Place small loaves on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper or a silicone mat sprinkled with flour or fine cornmeal. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Allow the dough to rise until almost doubled in size.


Preheat your conventional oven to 425 degrees F.

glazing loaves

Brush loaves with egg-white glaze if you like a shiny crust.

how to make slits in loaves with a razor blade

Use a new single edge razor blade or a serrated knife to cut slits across the top of the loaves. Be careful not to deflate the loaf. Place in a preheated oven.

baked loaves on parchment-covered baking sheet

Pull loaves out of the oven when evenly browned and cooked through. If necessary, use a quick-read thermometer to check. The interior temperature should be 190˚F.

sliced bread next to butter

Cracked Wheat Berry Bread is well worth the calories and effort, although calling any bread made in the bread machine an “effort” is arguable.

Did you enjoy this recipe? If so, leave a rating 🤩 inside the recipe below. No comment required. If you have any questions or suggestions, email me privately: Paula at saladinajar.com. Hope to see you again soon! Paula

slices of Wheat Berry Bread

Wheat Berry Bread Recipe

A nubby, crunchy loaf starring cracked wheat berries that you can easily make in your bread machine
5 from 30 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Additional Time 3 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs
Course Bread
Servings 16 slices (2 loaves)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup whole-grain wheat berries - 92 gr
  • 2-1/2 cups bread flour - (divided) 300 grams
  • 1 cup warm milk (or whey drained from yogurt) - 227 gr
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon table or sea salt - 6 gr
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar - 4 gr
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter - (softened) 28 gr
  • 2 teaspoons bread machine or instant yeast - 6gr

Instructions
 

  • Boil wheat berries in 1 cup of water for 20 minutes. Allow to cool (quicker if you add ice cubes) and drain. Alternatively, soak wheat berries in water for 12 hours or overnight. (Softened and drained wheat berries will keep in the fridge up to a week.)
  • Add prepared wheat berries to a blender or food processor along with 1 cup of bread flour (120 grams). Process until wheat berries are finely chopped. You will likely need to stop several times to push the flour and wheat berries from the sides of the chopping container back to the middle.
  • Combine milk or whey, salt, sugar, butter, remaining flour (180 grams), the ground-wheat-berries-and-flour mixture, and the yeast.
  • Check the dough at least twice by lifting the lid to take a peek. The first time, look immediately after the machine starts mixing to ensure the paddles are engaged correctly. 
    Look again 15 minutes into the DOUGH cycle to assess the consistency of the dough. For most recipes, The dough should stick to the side, then pull away cleanly.
    If your dough is too wet, add flour one tablespoon at a time.
    Conversely, if the dough is too dry, add one tablespoon of liquid at a time until the dough looks just right. Read more about this surprising secret to success with a bread machine here.
  • When dough cycle completes, check to make sure the dough has doubled in size. If not, leave in pan until it does.
  • When doubled, remove dough from the pan to a floured surface and divide into two equal portions. Shape each portion into an oblong shape by pulling dough from the top to the bottom until dough is smooth; then pinch closed. Place seam side down on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper or a silicone mat that has been sprinkled with a bit of cornmeal.
  • Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise until almost doubled. Preheat oven to 425˚ about 20 minutes before you expect the loaf to be ready to bake.
  • Brush risen loaves with glaze of 1 egg white whipped together with 1 tablespoon water. (This is optional.)
  • Make 2-3 diagonal slashes in each loaf with very sharp serrated knife or razor blade, being careful not to deflate dough.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until interior temperature reaches 190 degrees F, or until bottom is brown and sounds hollow.
  • Allow loaves to cool on rack for an hour before slicing.

Video

Notes

Directions for making bread with a stand mixer or by hand:
  • To make this recipe in a heavy-duty stand mixer:  Add ingredients to the bowl in the same order. Turn on LOW to mix until all ingredients are moistened. Then, using a dough hook, turn the speed to 2 or 3. Continue beating/kneading until dough becomes smooth and elastic (about 5-10 minutes). Cover and allow to rise in a warm place. Deflate dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
  • If making by hand: Combine all ingredients into a shaggy ball in a large bowl. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead with your hands until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Kneading will likely take 10-20 minutes, depending on your experience. Place the dough ball into a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until double. Deflate the dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
  • Please note: If you only have active dry yeast, use 1/4 teaspoon more than called for in the recipe. It no longer needs to be dissolved first, but you can if you prefer.
  • Originally, this recipe called for 1 cup water and 1/4 cup dry milk solids. I have changed it to reflect my current recipe since I don’t buy dry milk. I can detect no discernible difference in the final product.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Wheat Berry Bread Recipe
Serving Size
 
1 slice
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
77
Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
2
g
3
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Cholesterol
 
5
mg
2
%
Sodium
 
80
mg
3
%
Carbohydrates
 
12
g
4
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
1
g
1
%
Protein
 
3
g
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Author: Paula Rhodes
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Keywords: bread machine recipes, cracked wheat berry recipe, wheat berries, wheat berry bread, wheat berry bread machine recipe

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43 Comments

  1. I’m so sorry for the loss of your mom. Ninety-seven years is a very long time of knowing and loving someone so dear. I’m praying tonight that God continues to comfort you through the love of others and that He becomes dearer to you, as well.

    I enjoyed your story about your Dad. My parents were both reared on farms, so it was especially sweet to read.

    I’ve never used wheat berries in my breads but look forward to trying it, thanks to you.

    In the last two years since my 81-year-old mom went to be with Jesus, I’ve been so comforted when baking her favorite whole wheat bread recipe (hers has a mix of white and whole wheat). It’s doubly enjoyed when shared with neighbors–it’s like sharing a bit of my mom with them…..I think the addition of wheat berries will be a nice twist. I’ll be praying for you and your family while I make it.

  2. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef says:

    This bread is a wonderful tribute to your mother and an inspiration to all of us would-be bread makers. Be kind to yourself and watch us all make this bread.

  3. I am so sorry for your loss, Paula.

    My Dad passed away a year ago , a few weeks shy of 96. Time heals all and memories comfort us. I always remind myself that we will be together again….for eternity….where there will never be any reason for tears!

    Your Mom must be so proud that she raised such a warm, loving daughter such as you, Paula!

    God bless you for all you do!

  4. Paula, I am so sorry for your loss. Although she was 97, I know that doesn’t make it any easier to say good-bye. I hope you find comfort in many forms in the next few weeks. She is still with you and always will be.

    I love wheat berries! I have been known to cook them and eat them like hot cereal. This bread looks fabulous!

  5. Paula, I am so sorry for the loss of your mom. Our mothers are such a huge influence in our lives and it is so hard when it’s their time to leave this earth.
    97 is awesome 🙂
    My dad lived to be just short of 94.
    May your faith, your memories and the love of those around you get you through.

    I will pick up wheat berries soon and try this bread. I know it will be wonderful, because all your recipes are.

  6. Pam Spicer says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. Wow 97! This bread looks awesome. I love crunchy bread and yes, it does sound healthy enough to me too. Have to get me some wheat berries and try this.

  7. My deepest sympathy on the loss of your mother, Paula. Please know that you and your family are in my prayers in this difficult time.
    I loved reading the memory of your dad. I have a very similar memory, except it was an orange Allis Chalmers tractor instead of the John Deere. This is a lovely bread, and I love the texture the wheat berries give it. 🙂

  8. I’m so surprised to find that you are on Pinterest but yet I cannot find a pinit button on you site to pin your recipes.
    If I’m just overlooking it, please forgive my oversight & point it out to me.
    Thanks a heap!

  9. Oh, Paula, so sorry for the loss of your mom. I know you must be missing her so much!

    Kindly, Lorraine

  10. This bread seriously rocked my world!!! I first had to *find* where a store in my local area sold wheat berries (for such a cosmopolitan area we really lack the amenities!) and did the overnight soak in some of my yogurt whey. That loaf was soooo tender and delicious! I’m sorry for your loss; my mom, a decade younger passed this past Jan so I have an inkling of what you’re going through. While we were back in Va for the funeral I made sure to hit up every relative ( and their neighbor!) for their family’s most prized recipes because this is precious history that is getting lost. I thank you for sharing yours.

  11. Paula,
    I bought a little bag of cracked wheat for this inspiring recipe. I put on extra weight from all the winter months of bread baking, so the wheat sits waiting….God uses it as a reminder each time I see it in the cupboard, that you are missing your mom and I pray for you.

    You needn’t write back, I just wanted to let you know…..

    1. Thank-you Julie. I always appreciate prayers.

  12. I too am so sorry for your loss…It’s a loss I fully understand. I have found that through the recipes I grew up with, I stay close and connected to my mother. She has been gone 3 years but, at Thanksgiving I’d swear that she was by my side reminding me to whisk the gravy! To some, it seems odd to strongly connect food with a person but, nothing reminds me more of her. I can only wish to be half the mom and woman she was. I just found this blog and I LOVE IT! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and recipes.

  13. Dear Paula, it has been a long time since I have been on your site.It has been a difficult year. I am so very sorry for the passing of your Mother. I lost my younger sister 3/13/15. It has been a painful few months , she was 58. So I know the pain you must feel I am sure.
    Bless you and your family and the NEW ADDITION to your family is beautiful.

    Blessed Be, Joy (Gnana)

  14. Just getting ready to make this bread. A question, after soaking wheat berries overnight, they have doubled in size, do I add all of the berries to the processor,
    and the 1c. of flour? It looks like 1c. berries and 1c. of flour. Thanks, Liz

    1. Yes Liz. The flour keeps the wheat berries from turning into paste. Hope you love the bread. paula

  15. I’ve made this a few times already, it’s yummy ?
    Since I don’t know ??‍♀️ where to find cracked wheat berry in where I live, I sub with 1/2 cup of wholemeal flour. It turned out delicious ?

    I’ve also omitted the milk solid because I didn’t have it as my cupboard staple.

    1. Glad you found a good substitute. I’m thinking you are a good cook!

  16. I have enjoyed making many of your bread recipes and find your instructions and tutorials very helpful. I’ve even modified some of my own bread recipes for use in the bread machine and seldom prep yeast doughs by hand or with a stand mixer these days. I’d like to try this wheat berry bread recipe , but noticed a discrepancy that has me wondering whether you prefer to use milk or whey from yogurt (as listed in ingredients) or nonfat dry milk solids and water (as directed in instructions). Thanks in advance for clarification..

    1. Hi Donna,
      My mistake. I prefer the milk since I do not keep dry milk on hand. There is no discernible difference in the final product. I will clarify the instructions in the recipe. Hope you like the bread if you try it.

  17. Thank you Paula for this recipe. Very well done and clear and concise.
    BLT’s calling. Happy summer.

  18. This recipe produced two nice tender loaves. I ground half the wheat berries and added the rest whole. The center of wheat berries were hard. I used the 20 minute simmer method, I’ll cook them longer next time.

    1. Good idea! Things like seeds and beans can vary in moisture content. Which means the time needed to make them tender can also vary.

  19. 5 stars
    This bread recipe it’s so delicious .made it for the first time and it does not disappoint..
    thank you for sharing this bread recipe

  20. Hello Paula. This may be a silly question, but here goes. Why did you divide this into two loaves? I made your oatmeal sunflower bread and yogurt pie crust for cherry pie. They came out awesome. The ratio is about the same as the cracked wheat berry bread, so was wondering if I could bake it in a loaf pan? Thanks for being my bread guru. Hope you have a blessed Sabbath.

    1. What a great question, Connie. The reason I divide the dough in half is because I like the little loaves they give you at a restaurant sometimes. They have so much crunchy and chewy crust. Since it’s only my husband and me at home now, it also makes it easier to freeze one. But do what suits you. I think it would be wonderful in a loaf pan. This is just good bread. Period. I’m so happy your oatmeal bread and the pie crust turned out good. Thank you for the blessing. The current situation is a reminder to all of us how much we need God’s blessing. Right?

  21. Debbie Cunningham says:

    Hello Paula,
    I was wondering if the wheat berries can be processed in a blender before cooking in a microwave?

    1. Hi Debbie,
      Wheat berries are really hard–almost like tiny rocks. I wouldn’t want to do that to my blender. I don’t have one of the big expensive blenders though. Maybe it’s no problem for them.

      At some point, the seeds have got to be softened before you put them in the bread dough. If you try it, let me know how it goes.

  22. Wow, this recipe makes some good bread – my loaves were perfect! I have 2 questions. I checked my dough after 10 minutes of kneading and it was pulling away from the sides just like in your pictures. But by the time the kneading cycle ended, it was much drier. Should the dough still pull away from the sides at that point?
    Loved the bread, so maybe that is a moot point for me but I’m curious.

    And I really like splitting the dough in half for 2 loaves, 1 of which I can freeze. Can I do that with all of your recipes and figure on 20-25 minutes for baking? Thanks Paula.

    1. Hi Carol,

      Congrats on your successful bread. I suspect the dough was sticking a little, but not much compared to earlier in the cycle. Bread machines do a really great job of kneading the dough.

      As far as splitting the loaves, as long as you are baking them in the same pan as one loaf, I can’t think of a reason why you couldn’t do that with any loaf recipe. If the recipe doesn’t use a pan (freeform), then making two loaves would be different as far as the baking time and even the rising time. And you would have a lot more crust, but still, doable.

  23. Hi Paula,
    This recipe looks delicious! I was wondering if there would be any harm in baking the bread in the bread machine rather than taking it out and forming it into loaves? I’m afraid I can be quite lazy on occasion… Thank you!

    1. Hi Lizzy,

      You can try it, of course. The crust will probably be thicker. Of course, the shape will depend on your machine but will look nothing like the one you shape yourself. The best way to find out is to try it. You may like it just fine.

    2. Hi @Paula,
      I think I will give it a try – Machine bread never looks as lovely as hand-shaped loaves, but I do like a nice thick crust! Thank you very much for taking the time to reply to me. I hope you have a lovely and blessed Thanksgiving!

    3. @Lizzy, To those reading this after 2020: I intended to take it out of the machine and bake in the oven but decided to go dancing. When I got back, it was stuck to the pan. Crumbled a bit when I scraped it out. Outside was crusty and inside damp. Although machine made great banana bread in the past, bad idea for this recipe. Going to try again since I bought 25 pounds of wheat berry.

  24. I will be making this bred today. I made the Honey Wheat last week and it was devoured pretty quickly. I had the last of it last night. Made a Tuna sandwich with it. Now if I can get the slices down so they are even each time. Practice, practice, practice.
    I bought the Golden Wheat Berries. Then last night I was reading over the recipe directions and saw you suggest the red berries. Oh, well. Next time. My Sprouts here in Austin no longer carries them! So, I went to Natural Grocer and they had them in bags on the bulk aisle.
    Can’t wait to make this today!

  25. 5 stars
    I made this bread just yesterday – with excellent results. The wheat berries within the bread are a whole lot nicer than the store bought variety that has the seeds, on the outside and that ALWAYS fall off!! We watch our salt intake, so I lowered the amount of salt in this recipe, but I won’t do that again – the salt is very much needed because the taste was a bit bland without the full amount – my fault.

  26. 5 stars
    I made this bread just yesterday with excellent results! I like the crunch of the wheat berries – so much more tasty than store bought breads with the seeds on the surface of the bread that ALWAYS fall off! We watch our sodium intake, so I reduced that amount of salt and the taste of the bread was a bit bland – my fault – I won’t do that again. Thank you for this delicious bread recipe!

    1. Hi Margie,
      Thank you for your kind words. Many people try to reduce the salt and end up with bland bread or worse, a flat top because the dough collapses after rising too fast. When you consider the amount of salt per serving it’s nothing compared to chips or French fries. At least that’s the way I justify it. 🤷🏼‍♀️

  27. 5 stars
    Great looking and tasting bread. Mine ended up a little flatter than Paula’s. I believe it rose a little over enthusiastically both risings – I overcompensated for a slightly cooler house temp. I was wondering if the weight of wheat berries given in the recipe was pre or post soak – I figured out from the comments that all the wheatberries are used in the bread, although post soak weight is obviously higher. Love the idea of 2 mini hand shaped loaves with the beautiful egg wash. I may try 2 mini loaf pans, too, as this will be my go to “gift giving” bread for friends, neighbors, etc. Oh, and if you need to use up a large bag of wheatberries – besides this bread, they make a great salad with dried cranberries, spring onions, a touch of celery, walnuts, and a vinaigrette. Loved the memory of your dad!

    1. Hi Laurie,

      Glad your bread turned out good. The weight given for the wheat berries is before soaking. I love your idea about using leftover wheat berries for a salad. Great idea. Thanks so much for taking the time to share it.

  28. 5 stars
    I made this bread this morning. It is so good! I baked it in a loaf pan and the crust is chewy (which I like). I ground the wheat berries with the flour in my Vitamix but only because I was lazy and my processor is a bear to clean. I think I could’ve taken the grinding process a little farther. I absolutely love the flavor of this bread! It’s really so, so good!

    1. Hi Cherie,

      Glad you like the recipe. It’s a wonderful way to get that fresh grain flavor without producing a heavy whole wheat loaf. I bet your bread will turn out even better the next time you make it.