Cracked Wheat Bread

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Dough Yield: About


    loaves at 1.5 lb each

Appears in


By Jeffrey Hamelman

Published 2004

  • About

The Cracked Wheat Gives this Bread a Great Texture. Making the pâte fermentée with whole-wheat flour rather than white flour also adds some depth to the flavor. And finally, the malt syrup offers a subtle note. It’s a good idea to use water that is at the point of boiling for the cracked wheat soaker to ensure that the grains are fully hydrated before mixing the final dough. Honey can be substituted for the malt syrup without a significant change of flavor; a more perceptible change is noted if cracked rye is used in place of the cracked wheat. The curious baker with a good working knowledge of bakers’ math could easily convert this (or other) bread from one utilizing pâte fermentée to a sourdough-based bread.

Pre-Fermented Flour: 25%


Overall Formula

U.S. Metric Home Baker’s %
Bread Flour 13 lb 6.5 kg 1 lb, 4.8 oz 65 %
Whole-Wheat Flour 5 lb 2.5 kg 8 oz 25 %
Cracked Wheat 2 lb 1 kg 3.2 oz 10 %
Water 15 lb 7.5 kg 1 lb, 8 oz 75 %
Salt .4 lb .2 kg .6 oz 2 %
Yeast .25 lb, fresh .125 kg, fresh .13 oz, instant dry 1.25 %
Malt Syrup .6 lb .3 kg 1 oz 3 %
Total Yield 36.25 lb 18.125 kg 3 lb, 9.7 oz 181.25 %

Pâte Fermentée

Whole-Wheat Flour 5 lb 2.5 kg 8 oz (1⅞ cups) 100 %
Water 3.25 lb 1.625 kg 5.2 oz ( cup) 65 %
Salt .1 lb .05 kg .2 oz (1 tsp) 2 %
Yeast .01 lb, fresh .005 kg, fresh ( tsp, instant dry) .2%
Total 8.36 lb 4.18 kg 13.4 oz


Cracked Wheat 2 lb 1 kg 3.2 oz ( cup) 100 %
Water, Boiling 3 lb 1.5 kg 4.8 oz ( cup) 150 %
Total 5 lb 2.5 kg 8 oz

Final Dough

Bread Flour 13 lb 6.5 kg 1 lb, 4.8 oz ( cups)
Water 8.75 lb 4.375 kg 14 oz ( cups)
Salt .3 lb .15 kg .4 oz (2 tsp)
Yeast .24 lb, fresh .12 kg, fresh .13 oz, instant dry ( tsp)
Malt Syrup .6 lb .3 kg 1 oz (1 T plus 1 tsp)
Pâte Fermentée 8.36 lb 4.18 kg 13.4 oz (all of above)
Soaker 5 lb 2.5 kg 8 oz (all of above)
Total 36.25 lb 18.125 kg 3 lb, 9.7 oz


  1. Pâte Fermentée: Disperse the yeast in the water, add the flour and salt, and mix until just smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic and let stand for 12 to 16 hours at about 70°F. Alternatively, remove a portion from a previous mix for use as pâte fermentée. In this case, refer to “Preparing the Pre-Ferment,”, for correct handling of the pre-ferment.
  2. Soaker: Prepare the soaker by bringing the water to the point of boiling and pouring it over the cracked wheat. It’s best to keep the pot of water covered so none is lost to evaporation. For the same reason, avoid letting the water boil for any length of time. Cover the soaker pot and leave at room temperature. During hot months, some or all of the overall salt can go into the soaker to prevent enzymatic activity from bringing off flavors to the soaker.
  3. Mixing: Place all the ingredients except the pâte fermentée in the mixing bowl. In a spiral mixer, mix on first speed for 3 minutes in order to incorporate the ingredients. As the dough is coming together, add the pâte fermentée in chunks. If necessary, correct the hydration by adding water or flour in small amounts. Finish mixing on second speed for 3 minutes. The dough should have good body and supple strength at this point. Mix 30 to 60 seconds longer if the dough seems to lack adequate strength. Desired dough temperature: 75°F.
  4. Bulk Fermentation: 2 hours.
  5. Folding: Fold the dough after 1 hour of bulk fermentation.
  6. Dividing and Shaping: Divide the dough into 1.5-pound pieces (or larger, as desired). Preshape into rounds. When sufficiently relaxed, shape into round or oval loaves. Place them either into floured bannetons or between folds of floured baker’s linen, and cover with plastic. The bread can also be baked in loaf pans or shaped into rolls.
  7. Final Fermentation: 1 to 1¼ hours at 75°F.
  8. Baking: Place the risen loaves on the loading conveyor or peel. Slash as desired. Presteam the oven, load the bread, and steam again. Bake in a 460°F oven, opening the vents once the bread shows color, in order to finish the bake in a drying oven. Lower the temperature by about 10°F if the malt syrup is causing the bread to color too quickly. Round loaves scaled at 1.5 pounds will bake in approximately 40 minutes.