Holly's Honey Wheat Berry Bread 32.000
Flour Girl Dec 17, 2009

This is a very dense, chewy loaf that is could be nice alternative to fruitcake at the holidays.

Make Ahead: The wheat berries need to soak overnight, then cook for 1 hour. The dough needs a maximum of 2 hours and 45 minutes for two proofings. The baked bread can be stored in a food-safe plastic bag for 2 days, or wrap well and freeze for up to 1 month.

Servings: 32

Yield: Makes two 8-by 5-inch loaves (32 slices)

  • 1/2 cup raw wheat berries
  • 2 1/4 cups water (1/4 cup of it is lukewarm), plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 2/3 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour, plus more for the work surface
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup dark, seedless raisins
  • 1/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves or pieces, coarsely chopped


Soak the wheat berries overnight in a medium bowl, in just enough cool water to cover. Drain.

Combine the wheat berries and 2 cups of the water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat; cook uncovered for 1 hour, so that the water is barely bubbling at the edges, until the wheat berries have softened. They will absorb some, but not all of the water. Drain.

Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat just until scalded, then add the butter and honey; mix well and remove from the heat. Let cool to room temperature.

Combine the yeast and the remaining 1/4 cup of lukewarm water in a large mixing bowl, stirring until the yeast has dissolved. Add the cooled milk mixture, 5 1/2 cups of the flour, the wheat germ and salt; mix well.

Add the softened wheat berries, raisins, 1/4 cup of the sunflower seeds and the walnuts, using your hands to incorporate the ingredients and form a firm dough.

Lightly flour a work surface. Turn out the dough onto the surface; knead for about 5 minutes, adding up to 1 cup of the remaining flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking. Some of the seeds and nuts may fall out of the dough while you are kneading; just work them back in.

Use a little oil to grease the inside of a large bowl, then transfer the dough and turn to coat it all over. Cover and let rise in a warm spot for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

Grease the inside of two 8-by-5-inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking oil spray.

Punch down the dough and place on the floured surface. Divide in half, fitting each dough half into a prepared loaf pan. Cover and let rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes or until the loaves have doubled in size.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush the top of each loaf with a little water, then sprinkle with the remaining sunflower seeds. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until golden brown and domed.

Transfer the loaf pans to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then use a rounded knife to loosen the inside edge of the breads, then invert to dislodge the loaves. Let them cool completely, right side up, on the rack before serving or storing.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "My Nepenthe," by Romney Steele (Andrews McMeel, 2009).

Tested by Leigh Lambert.

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