Cracked Wheat Berry Bread

Nubby and Crunchy Cracked Wheat Berry Bread--Use unprocessed wheat straight from the farmer's field to make this scrumptious and healthy bread in your bread machine.  Bake it in your oven for a perfect crust, texture and shape.


The last few days have been all about recalling memories at my house. We buried my 97-year-old mother this past Tuesday. It has been a little rough but I’m grateful for God’s comfort surrounding me in the form of family and friends. (My apologies if you’ve sent me a question in the last week regarding something on this blog and I haven’t gotten back to you yet.)

I have a specific memory about whole wheat berries (the star character in this Cracked Berry Wheat Bread) that involves my dad driving a big green John Deere combine through the wheat fields of our Indiana farm in the middle of July. He would occasionally reach his hand up and behind him to grab a handful of wheat berries out of the hopper. After popping them into his mouth, he would chew for awhile until they turned into a soft, viscous mass, not unlike chewing gum. Mind you there were often bugs and empty chaff in that hopper along with the wheat berries, but he was not deterred.

When it comes to bread, I’m generally a white-bread-lovin’ baby boomer. But I know I need to be eating whole grains, so this bread is the perfect compromise.

How about some crushed wheat berries thrown into that white bread for interesting texture and added flavor?  This particular recipe is homemade (with the help of a bread machine), and contains no preservatives. I declare it healthy enough. It’s well worth the calories and effort, although calling any bread made in the bread machine an “effort” is debatable.

Nubby and Crunchy Cracked Wheat Berry Bread--Use unprocessed wheat straight from the farmer's field to make this scrumptious and healthy bread in your bread machine.  Bake it in your oven for a perfect crust, texture and shape.

Unfortunately, I no longer have access to those fresher-than-fresh wheat berries my dad grew,  but I can usually find wheat berries in the bulk bins at our local organic grocery stores. They are inexpensive and well worth the trouble for the texture, flavor, and nutrition they add to this nubbly, crunchy, and earthy-tasting bread.  Be sure to boil the wheat berries as directed, or soak them overnight before using for maximum tooth-friendly enjoyment.

Please note if you are new to making bread in your bread machine, I have several tutorials on this blog to help you get the dough just right. Start here.

Cracked Wheat Berry Bread -- A Bread Machine Recipe
 
Author:
Recipe type: bread
Serves: 2 small loaves
 
A nubby, crunchy loaf with cracked wheat berries you can easily make in your bread machine
Ingredients
  • ½ cup whole grain wheat berries
  • 2-1/2 cups bread flour, divided
  • 1 cup warm water or whey drained from yogurt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ cup nonfat dry milk solids
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons bread machine or instant yeast
Instructions
  1. 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.)
  2. Add prepared wheat berries to a blender or food processor along with 1 cup of bread flour. 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.
  3. Combine water, salt, sugar, nonfat dry milk solids, butter, and remaining flour to bread machine pan along with ground wheat berries and flour mixture, and the yeast.
  4. Select the dough cycle and start. Check dough after 10 minutes to make sure dough sticks to the side of the pan and then pulls away cleanly. If too wet, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time. If too dry, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time.
  5. When dough cycle completes, check to make sure dough has doubled in size. If not, leave in pan until it does.
  6. When doubled, remove dough from pan to 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.
  7. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise until almost doubled. Preheat oven to 425 degrees about 20 minutes before you expect the loaf to be ready to bake.
  8. Brush risen loaves with glaze of 1 egg white whipped together with 1 tablespoon water. (This is optional.)
  9. Make 2-3 diagonal slashes in each loaf with very sharp serrated knife or razor blade, being careful not to deflate dough.
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until interior temperature reaches 190 degrees F, or until bottom is brown and sounds hollow.
  11. Allow loaves to cool on rack for an hour before slicing.

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Liz June 11, 2016 at 11:39 am

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

Paula June 11, 2016 at 4:09 pm

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

Joy June 17, 2015 at 3:10 pm

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)

Amie June 9, 2015 at 12:48 pm

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.

Julie April 24, 2015 at 2:32 pm

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…..

Paula April 29, 2015 at 4:43 pm

Thank-you Julie. I always appreciate prayers.

Lisa April 15, 2015 at 3:44 pm

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.

Lorraine April 9, 2015 at 6:08 pm

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

Kindly, Lorraine

Linda March 23, 2015 at 11:16 am

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!

Betty March 22, 2015 at 10:34 pm

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. 🙂

Pam Spicer March 22, 2015 at 1:07 pm

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.

Andrea March 22, 2015 at 11:38 am

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.

Becky March 22, 2015 at 8:36 am

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!

Janet March 22, 2015 at 6:50 am

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!

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef March 21, 2015 at 11:21 pm

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.

Julie March 21, 2015 at 7:41 pm

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.

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