Hearty, Healthy, Easy, and Cheap German-Style Bread

When I was in university, I was lucky enough to study abroad in Vienna, Austria.  My memories of that wonderful city are still quite strong, but what I remembered most vividly were the many bakeries (Bäckerei in German; a word I have never forgotten). On a student budget, I subsisted almost completely off those little corner shops and the hearty breads they would churn out daily for mere cents.

While I now have a love for baking bread myself, I didn’t understand the magic that made those Austrian and German loaves so special.  That is, until I discovered a recipe online that seemed to fit the bill.  I altered the quantities to fit my tastes and my loaf pan, but it really did turn out beautifully.  Not to mention, this loaf is cheap and easy to make … just one rising and no special shaping or forming of the loaf – just mix it up, roughly form, let rise, and bake!

Hearty Dairy-Free German Style Whole Grain Bread

I ran out of spelt flour, so I used mostly whole wheat flour (I had just over 1 cup of spelt flour).  I hope to try the spelt version, since I love the nutty flavor of spelt, but I can vouch that the whole wheat version is delicious too! Keep in mind, this is not a fluffy Wonder-bread type recipe. This is a dense, savory, one-slice-will-do-ya kind of bread.  Just the way I like it!

Serve slices of this hearty, crusty bread topped with jam, honey, nut butter, or along side a nice hot bowl of soup. Speaking of soup, my Rich and Creamy Potato Miso Soup (with no dairy!) is up for vote at No Croutons Required.  If you would be so kind as to pop over and give it your vote, I would be so appreciative!  The only thing I have ever one was a Skid Row CD off the radio when I was 13. I would really like to trump that memory with a new one for obvious reasons.



Recipe: Wholesome German-Style Bread

Summary: Adapted from Recipezaar


  • 2 Cups Warm Water
  • 3-1/2 Teaspoons Active Dry Yeast (just over 1 ½ .25 oz packages will do)
  • 5-1/4 Cups Whole Wheat or Whole Spelt Flour
  • 2-1/2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons White or Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Seeds (I use 1/3 cup each of sunflower, pumpkin, and flax seeds)


  1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in about 1/2 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.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s) + 60 minutes for rising time

Cooking time: 1 hour(s)

Diet type: Vegan

Number of servings (yield): 12

Copyright © Alisa Fleming.


German-Style Hearty Dairy-Free Whole Wheat / Spelt Bread

Want some more bread-making motivation?  You can win a copy of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day over at The Adventures of Kitchen Girl. But you must enter by March 3rd!

37 thoughts on “Hearty, Healthy, Easy, and Cheap German-Style Bread

  1. This looks great! I will now hijack your comments section to say that I’m giving away the Happy Baby Food coupons over at my place, and only one person has entered so far. Come on by, everyone!

    Now I’m off to vote for your soup….

  2. I voted for you!

    That bread looks super yummy, and easy too!

  3. That looks great. I love fresh bread, but usually too lazy to actually make it. I’ll give this one a try, though.

  4. That bread looks amazing! I am off to see your soup and vote!

  5. The bread looks so hearty and delightful. I am heading over to that link to vote for your soup, by the way! It sounds great.

  6. This has just brought back wonderful memories for me of my summer spent in Munich! I’ll be voting for your soup too!

  7. Mmmm that bread looks amazing! Definitely bookmarked to make it and soon!

  8. mmmm bread!!!!!
    Looks so good I can’t wait to try it.

  9. This sounds terrific. I really love baking my own bread, and I tend to stick w/ whole grains.

  10. yummy!! that bread looks so good! i love hearty breads in the winter-i crave them!

  11. This is interesting. I think you are right, the “special” thing about German bread seems to be its denseness and the lack of sweetness in regular breads. And seeds play their important role, too.
    Most often the denseness is achieved by rye flours and the use of sourdough.

    I love whole wheat breads with seeds, your bread looks wonderful!

  12. yum- it looks so dense, just how i like it

    Kelly Turner

  13. Wow, I was just thinking about baking homemade bread today for the first time, an I’ve bookmarked three recipes thus far…I think this one might be the winner! Thanks for posting!

  14. Mihl – I am not a fan of rye, but this bread actually has a mild rye flavor to it giving it a more authentic flavor (probably from the vinegar) without being overpowering for those of use who aren’t partial to the pungent flavors of rye and sourdough.

    Heather – Good luck! Homemade bread is so much fun.

  15. This looks great. I usually avoid German-style breads because most of the recipes look really involved and seem to want to rise a LOT longer than other breads. With two cats and the dog, that gets dangerous! This seems to be a bit more my speed.

  16. Oh my gosh – it’s rising right now. So excited!!!!

  17. OK, last comment I promise. It’s done, and it’s delicious!!!! The top got a bit crusty, but I just sliced it right off, and the inside is moist and perfect. I used all spelt and just had a slice with peanut butter. So filling! Thanks again!

  18. That looks good, but I just can’t do healthy bread. I prefer my bread with completely useless white flour.

  19. I love dense German brown breads. I’m really curious about what the vinegar adds to the recipe. I have to try it soon.

  20. I love the addition of the sun flower, pumpkin and flax seeds. This bread looks absolutely wonderful!

  21. That looks amazing! I love dense, whole grain breads..

  22. Maggie – I really do think the vinegar adds to the flavor quite a bit. It may also help in leavening, but I am not sure.

    I wanted to mention too, I had been serving up semi-thick slices for our breakfasts, but I just did some thin sandwich slices. This bread slices beautifully; I did 1/2″ (or maybe thinner) thick slices without the least bit of problem, perfect for sandwiches.

  23. Yum! This looks great! Such a huge fan of homemade bread. (Toasted with butter & raspberry jam? Even better!)


  24. I just saw this bread and realized how much I miss whole wheat bread. I wish I was a baker like you. I’m inspired to get out my bread machine and give it a go. I’ll add in some sunflower and pumpkin seeds and see what happens. Something fun to do on this snowy day! The key around here is be ready to laugh at one self. I have to do that a lot.

  25. Michelle

    I just made this tonight and it was great fresh out of the oven with some homemade raspberry jam! I was even able to add some fresh squash seeds from a spaghetti squash I had for supper.

  26. This is such a good recipe. I feel like going home and trying it right away. I’m so sick of going to the shop and not finding dense ‘brown’ bread (which is all I eat in Sweden!), so I shall take matters into my own hands.

  27. Health Nut

    This is the first time I’ve ever made bread… and it looks and smells amazing! I made sure to buy some quality raspberry preserves to go with it! Thanks so much for the easy-peasy recipe and pictures to inspire and excite 😉

  28. Janelle

    I’m making this right now 🙂 Looks super yummy!

  29. jr. bailey

    tried this,expected an inedidble brick boy was i wrong .baby you rock and roll thank so very much

  30. lynne

    going to make this now…cannot wait!!!:-)

  31. lynne


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