Whole Wheat & Bulgur Bread

Bread and Flour

Bread and Flour

By Cat, June 2008 (Photo, right, from MediterrAsian Cooking.com)

Includes: 1. Converting a European Recipe; 2. Bulgur; 3. Spelt Option; 4. Whole Wheat & Bulgur Bread Recipe

See also: 1. Wheat (about)2. Bread Basics (Yeast-Leavened Breads)3. Basic Yeast Bread; 4. Bread & Rolls Menu

Or another Whole Wheat & Bulgur Bread recipe on The Delish Dish blog (5), based on a ‘Cracked Wheat Bread’ recipe on the NY Times.

This recipe is adapted from Home Made Whole Wheat and Bulgur Bread, on the MediterrAsian Cooking website (malware-infected link (1)). I have not yet tested this recipe.

This dough is probably more moist than you would think appropriate, but it is essential for a light and tender loaf, so bear with the stickiness when kneading and working the dough.  Here are more tips from the original author:

Converting a European Recipe

Most of the measurements in the original recipe are metric, which require conversion to the more common volume measurements used in America (or convert to ounces rather than cup measures for more accuracy). I used the following references (see also my Miscellaneous & Information page):

  • What’s Cooking America: Metric Conversion Charts for Liquid & Dry Measures (2)
  • All Recipes: Cup to Gram Conversions for Common Ingredients (3)
  • Traditional Oven:  Yeast Converter (by Type) (4)

The conversion doesn’t always result in an easily measurable amount, so I’ve played with them a bit (see notes with the recipe).

There is a small confusion in the original recipe, regarding the correct amount of water.  Both ml and oz are given.  In the summary of ingredients, 900 ml or 30 fl oz are specified.  But in the details, 600 ml (20 oz) are added to the bulgur, 100 ml (3.3 oz) used in the  sponge, and 300 ml (10 oz) added with the remaining flour.  This totals to 1000 ml (33.3 oz); and note that 33.3 oz equates to 985 ml.

To resolve this discrepancy, add the lesser amount of water when adding in the remaining  flour with the soaked bulgur.  If dough is too dry, add the remaining water.


Commercial bulgur is made by parboiling, then drying and cracking wheat berries. Generally, homemade bulgur is sprouted then dried and cracked. Bulgur can be further ground into flour (though it remains coarse), but that is not what is used in this recipe; instead the cracked, unground bulgur is used.

Spelt Option

I would like to try this recipe using spelt, rather than wheat bulgur and flour, but this requires some adjustment to the amount of water, because spelt is not as dry as wheat, and also because spelt is soluble in water. I recommend trying it with wheat first, to get an idea of the way the dough is supposed to behave.

If using spelt, try the following adjustments:

  • to soften spelt bulgur, add only 2 ¼ cups water
  • for sponge, use 1 ⅓ cups whole spelt flour and ⅓ cup water with yeast
  • for bread, add 7 cups whole spelt flour and start with ¾ cups water; it probably won’t need more, but if it does, add water 1 Tbsp at a time.

Whole Wheat & Bulgur Bread Recipe

The basic method is:

  • Start the night before with soaking the bulgur (sprouted or parboiled & cracked wheat berries) overnight.
  • The next day you mix a wet sponge to proof the yeast, then work in remaining flour, water and the softened bulgur.  The dough should be wetter than a white-flour bread dough.  It may be quite sticky; if this is the case, moisten your hands with water (rather than oil) to reduce the stickiness when kneading.
  • In addition to the sponge rest, the bread rises twice: before and after shaping into a loaf.
  • The oven is set to a moderate temperature, which is unusual for an old-world style bread.  If you don’t get the crusty texture you like, try increasing the oven temperature to 375 or 400 the next time.

The original recipe (1) doesn’t indicate how many loaves for one recipe, but at more than 8 cups of flour, my guess is at least two loaves.

I’ve not yet tested this recipe.

Ingredients, Equipment & Method

Total: 8  cups flour (1 kg) and 3 ¾ – 4 ¼ cups water (900-1000 ml) in divided portions; this does not include the bulgur but does include the water for soaking the bulgur.


  • small bowl
  • large shallow bowl (or clean table top)
  • bread bowl
  • baking tray or loaf pan.

For Soaking Bulgur:

  1. Bring water to boil; add salt, turn off the heat, and add the bulgur. Cover and leave overnight.

For yeast sponge:

  • 1 ⅓ cups whole wheat flour (~150 g) *
  • ½ cup filtered water (120 ml)
  • 1 oz fresh yeast or 1 ½ Tbsp dry yeast

* NOTE:  Flour conversion is not ‘neat.’  To make measuring easier, I increased flour in the sponge by 1 Tbsp, and decreased by 1 Tbsp, the amount added to make the bread.

  1. Next day, measure 1 ⅓ cups flour into a small bowl.  Add ½ cup water and yeast.  Mix well but gently until starts to become sticky, using wooden spoon or your hands.
  2. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise 30 minutes, until it becomes frothy and doubles in size.  Mix again.

For the bread:

  • 7 cups whole wheat flour (~850 g)
  • ¾ – 1 ¼ cup filtered water (180-300 ml)
  1. In large shallow bowl (or on clean table), add the remaining flour (7 cups) as a mountain; make a depression in the center.
  2. Add ¾ cup water and the yeast mixture.  Work it gently by kneading for about 5 minutes, stretching and folding. When it gets difficult to mix, let it rest about 5 minutes; if it is still difficult to mix, add more water.  Also add the soaked Bulgur during this process.
  3. Put into bread bowl; cover with dampened cloth.  Rise for an hour, until doubled in size.
  4. Flour hand, punch down and knead again.  Shape into a loaf, put on/in a lightly greased bread tray or loaf pan.  Make deep cuts in the surface to allow it to expand as it grows.  Let rise 1 hour.
  5. Bake in preheated oven at 350°F for 40 – 50 min.


  1. MeditterrAsianCooking.com website, (www.mediterrasiancooking. com/home-made-whole-wheat-and-bulgur-bread)<<BEWARE, this site is infected by malware, and could attempt to launch malware on your computer. I have placed a black space in the full url to keep it from launching until the site owners fix the problem.
  2. What’s Cooking America: Metric Conversion Charts for Liquid & Dry Measures (whatscookingamerica.net/Q-A/equiv.htm)
  3. All Recipes: Cup to Gram Conversions for Common Ingredients (allrecipes.com/HowTo/Cup-to-Gram-Conversions/Detail.aspx)
  4. Traditional Oven:  Yeast Converter (by Type) (traditionaloven.com/conversions_of_measures/yeast_converter.html)
  5. Delish Dish blog recipe (thedelishdishblog.wordpress.com/2010/04/02/bulgur-whole-wheat-bread)

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