Whole Grain German-Style Bread


Alisa Fleming ~ With the economy in what seems to be a neverending tailspin, I have seen many, many people turning to home-baked bread. I’m fortunate to have a bit of head start in this department. This whole grain bread recipe is just one of the many I have mixed, kneaded, and baked over the years.

Years ago, finding dairy-free loaves of bread in the stores was no easy feat; most contained milk in some form, whether it was milk powder, whey, butter, cream, or plain old nonfat milk. Not willing to give up sandwiches and toast, I started baking bread from scratch, constantly in pursuit of the perfect whole grain bread recipe. Since those early days, some good brands of bread have emerged which are in fact dairy-free, but I stick to homemade. Both my husband and I agree that it tastes infinitely better, and it is still much less expensive. Plus, it gives me control over the ingredients used.

When you are first starting out, baking bread can seem intimidating, but recipes like this one are so simple that you will wonder why you didn’t begin baking your own bread long ago.

Vegan German-Style Whole Grain Bread Recipe - Spelt or Whole Wheat

Whole Grain German-Style Bread
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
I adapted this recipe previously from Food.com. It quickly became a favorite, taking me back to my college days in Vienna, Austria. The hearty texture and unique ”tang” from the vinegar makes my kitchen smell like the old-school bakeries (or Bäckerei in German) that I popped into daily on my way to German class.
Serves: 12 hearty slices / 1 9x5 loaf
  • 2 Cups Warm Water
  • 3-1/2 Teaspoons Active Dry Yeast (just over 1-1/2 .25-ounce packages will do)
  • 5-1/4 Cups Whole Wheat or Whole Spelt Flour (or a combination of the two)
  • 2-1/2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons White or Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Seeds (I use ⅓ cup each of sunflower, pumpkin, and flax seeds)
  1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in about ½ cup of the water (no need to be exact, you will be adding the rest of the water shortly).
  2. Let that rest for a few minutes while you grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
  3. Sift the flour and salt into the bowl. Add all remaining ingredients (rest of the water, vinegar, and seeds), and mix until a relatively smooth dough is formed. Mine was still a touch sticky, but still able to be handled and formed without completely sticking to my fingers.
  4. Form the dough into a loaf shape that will fit end to end in your pan. I just sort of shape it, and then roll it a few times on the counter to make it look a little nicer and be the right length.
  5. Lightly cover the loaf with saran wrap or a tea towel, and let it rise in a relatively warm, draft-free place, for about an hour to an hour and a half. It should double in size and fill out the pan nicely.
  6. Preheat your oven to 480ºF (250ºC). Bake the loaf for 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 390ºF (200ºC), and bake it for another 45 minutes.
  7. Remove the loaf from the pan (it should pop right out), and knock on the bottom. If it genuinely sounds hollow, then it is done. If you think it needs a little more time, pop it back in the oven and bake it for longer as needed. My loaf was done after the initial hour, but you may need another 10-20 minutes, depending on moisture and such.
Humidity and altitude do affect the rise with bread baking. Higher altitudes will yield loaves that rise quickly and to boisterous heights, while humid climates will produce a more moist bread. Adjust the moisture level of the dough and the rising time to accomodate for these environmental differences as needed.

This recipe is Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy free, Egg free, Nut free, Peanut free, Soy free, Sugar free, and Low fat.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Senior Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. Hi, i’m really looking forward to tasting this – just got it out of the oven! I am wondering if this recipe could be used in a breadmaker? I’m thinking, put it on a timer overnight and have it ready in the morning? Thanks in advance!

  2. Pingback: Wholemeal bread with pumpkins seeds | What Catherine ate next

  3. Delicious! We’re enjoying a piece right now, fresh out of the oven. I have been wanting to start making bread instead of buying it, but it seemed to complicated. Your recipe was easy and came out great! The crust is a bit hard on mine though, is that normal? Either way, I’ll be making this many more times! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

    • That’s awesome! So glad you are enjoying it Bianca. Yes, some whole grain breads have a thick crust. I like them this way. But you can soften them a bit by basting with a little oil or margarine prior to baking and/or just as you remove it from the oven (while still hot).

  4. Hi Alisa – sorry if this is a silly question, I have never made bread before. May I ask what you use to grease the pan?

  5. I just made this without the seeds, and it’s delicious. I was worried that the bread would be dry since there is no added fat, but it’s quite moist. I’m serving the bread tonight with homemade potato soup! Yum.

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