Cracked Wheat Bread is a hearty, nutty bread loaded with cracked wheat, oatmeal, and honey. Perfect for toasting with a small pat of butter and jam!
** This is a recipe update. I’ve updated the pictures, but the text is (mostly) the same.
A Family Recipe
This recipe has special meaning to me. It is THE recipe I think of when I remember Mom in her kitchen. Cracked Wheat Bread is what I lived on in high school and was, often times, my dinner after activities. Mom always had a partial loaf in her bread drawer and a few more in her freezer. When the family gathered for Sunday breakfast, Mom’s cracked wheat bread was always on the menu.
If you asked any of my siblings, we’d all tell you EXACTLY how to eat this special bread. We’d say, “Toast a thick slice of bread (as thick as the toaster allows) and top with a pat of butter and plenty of jam”. We were lucky because Mom made homemade jam too. My favorite was her strawberry rhubarb. SO good. And even better on her homemade bread.
There was nothing better than to walk in Mom’s kitchen on one of her baking days. The smells. The sound of her Bosch mixer. The visions of bread rising and stacks of pans.
Ahhhhh. I love these memories.
Bosch Universal Mixer (linked below)
When Mike and I lived in Chicago, I started learning how to make bread using my Kitchen Aid mixer. With Mom’s help and frequent phone conversations, I eventually figured it out. Now I use my Bosch Universal Mixer to make bread. It’s a BOSS in the kitchen, and I use it to make bread, cookies, cakes, and smoothies – using the blender attachment.
Love it. So much.
** You could also make this recipe by hand instead of using a mixer. Use a large mixing bowl and a baking mat (along with some elbow grease) in this case.
Ingredients Needed for Cracked Wheat Bread:
There is a good chance that you have some of these baking staples. If you are at all afraid of using yeast, DON’T BE! You can do it. Just follow my steps and don’t be afraid to experiment a little.
- Yeast – I use Red Star Active Dry Yeast. (This is a very large amount. I keep a bunch in the freezer, and it lasts a long time.) We have perfect bread-making weather here in Texas, and my bread always rises pretty quickly. You may need a Quick Rise Yeast, depending on where you live.
- Sugar – Just a little bit of sugar is needed to help activate the yeast.
- Water – You will need warm water to activate the yeast (and more is added afterward).
- Honey – This gives this bread an amazing semi-sweet flavor, to balance the hearty oats and cracked wheat.
- Canola Oil – The perfect fat for this bread.
- Salt – I like kosher salt, but you can use regular salt (but use less) as well.
- Oatmeal – I like using quick oats for this recipe.
- Cracked Wheat – This is the key ingredient, and gives the bread a nutty flavor. So good! (You can find it on Amazon or at Whole Foods.)
- Flour – For best results, use all-purpose flour.
How to make Cracked Wheat Bread:
Activate the yeast. Using a large standing mixer, combine the yeast, sugar, salt, and warm water. Take a spatula, and stir it around a couple of times. Then let it sit for about 15 minutes so that the yeast activates. You should see a bubbly mixture when it’s ready.
Add other liquid ingredients, and salt. Add honey, oil, cold water, and salt. Stir again to mix well.
Place dough hook on mixer, and add everything but the all-purpose flour. Add the oats and cracked wheat. Using dough hook, turn on mixer, and mix well.
Add all-purpose flour to desired consistency. Start by adding about four cups of flour to the mixer. Let the mixer run, and occasionally scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Gradually add more flour until you get a nice dough consistency. It should be slightly sticky, but easy to handle.
Let the dough rise. Grease a large bowl with canola or olive oil. Remove the dough from the mixer, and form it into a ball. Then place it in the bowl, and cover it with a clean dish towel. Place the bowl in a quiet corner of your kitchen and let rise until approximately doubled in size. The rise may be different each time, and will vary depending on where you live.
Form loaves of bread. Once the bread rises, it’s time to form the dough into desired shapes. Prepare bread pans with baking spray. Add a little oil to a pastry mat or a large flat surface (a cutting board works too), and form sections of dough into oblong shapes for bread, or into smaller shapes for buns or smaller loaves.
Let rise again. Cover pans with a clean dish towel, and let it rise again, until almost doubled in size.
Bake. Bake bread in a preheated 350 degree oven, until done, approximately 35-40 minutes for bread and less time for smaller loaves or buns. The bottoms should be slightly browned, and the tops a nice golden brown. Remove bread to a cooling rack.
Make it shiny. Using a pastry brush, brush softened butter on top of the loafs/buns to get a nice shine.
Storing Tip: This bread is best fresh the first day! It can be stored in airtight bags on counter for 2-3 days.
Freezing Tip: You can freeze this bread in freezer bags for up to three months.
Tips for making the BEST homemade bread:
- Let the yeast, sugar, and warm water mixture sit for at least 15 minutes. This will allow time for the yeast to start working. You can see the little bubbles in the photo above. That means the yeast is activated.
- Using a digital scale to measure the water and flour will give you a more accurate measurement for this recipe. (See grams in the recipe card.)
- Add flour gradually to get just the right amount. You know it’s ready when the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixer and the dough is not overly sticky.
- Always brush butter on the top of the bread after removing from the oven. This will give it that pretty golden color.
- Don’t slice the bread until at least 30 minutes after baking. If sliced too soon, the bread will be too doughy.
PRO-TIP: We love this bread toasted with butter and jelly (and sometimes peanut butter)! Oh, and it makes the best avocado toast as well!
Cracked Wheat Bread
- 1 Tablespoon yeast
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 ½ cups warm water (divided) – 590 grams
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup Quick Quaker Oats
- 1 ½ cups cracked wheat
- 6 cups all-purpose flour – 720 grams (or a little more)
- few pats of butter – to brush on top after baking
- ** NOTE: If measuring water and flour in grams, the amounts will be more accurate. If not, be careful when adding the flour so you don't add too much.
- Prepare the yeast mixture. Combine the yeast, sugar, and 1/2 cup of the warm water in a large mixer. (Be careful to use WARM water, not hot. If the water is too hot, the yeast will disappear and you can't make bread without yeast. Mix and let sit for about 15 minutes to get the yeast working.)
- Add the honey, oil, salt and remaining water. Stir with a spatula. Attach dough hook to mixer and add quick oats and cracked wheat. Mix together.
- Then add approximately 5-6 cups of all-purpose flour (don't add all at once though) to desired consistency. You want the bread dough to be slightly sticky but not too much. When you touch the dough, it should bounce back slightly. Be sure to leave the mixer on for several minutes after you get the right consistency.
- Grease a large bowl with canola oil. Add dough to the bowl, making sure you smooth it into a ball. Cover the dough with a clean dish towel and set it in a warm corner of your kitchen. Let the dough rise until doubled in size.
- Form dough into two oblong shapes and place into greased bread pans. Cover with a towel and let rise again until doubled in size.
- Bake loaves on 350 degrees for about 35 – 40 minutes, or until bottom is browned nicely. Remove from pans to wire racks and brush tops with butter.
- Cool completely before storing in storage/freezer bags. This bread freezes well.