Multigrain Bread

CATEGORIES: Bread Loaves, Sara

Let me get one thing out of the way here.  I’m not one of those people that bakes homemade bread every week.  I’m not even one of those people that makes homemade bread every month.  And it’s not because I don’t like it; it’s because I like it too much.  I have a lot of friends who bake several loaves each week and use it for sandwiches, etc.  during the week.  And that just doesn’t work for me.  Because I don’t bake a fresh loaf of bread and just get it out when I need to make my my kid’s PB&J.  I bake a loaf of fresh bread and slice off chunks to slather with butter and stuff in my face until it’s gone.  Which is generally about 30 minutes after it comes out of the oven.  My family can devour a loaf of fresh bread in a heartbeat, so for us, it’s more of a luxury than a staple!  That being said, I love homemade bread.  And good multigrain bread has eluded me until now.  It’s just way too much effort to collect 6 or 7 different grains and then crack them, etc.  I’d rather just run to a good bakery and grab myself a loaf.  But I was watching an episode of Cook’s Country a while back and I watched them do the most brilliant thing- start a bread recipe with 7 grain hot cereal mix.  Duh!  it’s just fresh cracked grains; everything right in one little package.  I was scribbling down the recipe from the show when it dawned on me to check my Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook, and sure enough, there was the recipe.  My family loved this bread.  It’s so super soft and packed with good-for-you grains (so you don’t feel as bad when you dip it in Nutella or something).  It’s definitely going to be my new go-to wheat bread.

You can usually find boxes of seven-grain hot cereal mix near the hot cereals in the grocery store.  Just make sure you’re getting a hot cereal.  Bob’s Red Mill and Arrowhead Mills are two of the best to look for.  My normal grocery store was out when I went (figures!) so I ran over to my local WinCo where they have an amazing bulk section, and sure enough, they had both a 7 grain and a 10 grain.  The 10 looked like it had quite a bit of corn meal in it, so I stuck with 7 like the recipe called for.  Look at all of those great, wholesome grains in there:

such a great shortcut!  To soften the grains, you basically create a porridge mixture by soaking them in hot water.  The grains soak up all of that water and the mixture thickens, like this:

That’s the base of your bread dough, and to it you’ll add some yeast (rapid rise), melted butter, and honey.

Then goes in a mix of all purpose flour and whole wheat flour. CI tested the bread with bread flour as well and found it made the bread too chewy, and all-purpose flour worked best.  So if you’re used to using bread flour in your homemade bread, stick with all-purpose for this one.

Also, I feel like woman-of-the-year because I ground my own wheat.  I know some of you do that all the time, but just let me have my moment, okay??  😉  I’ve been loving my Wonder Mill wheat grinder.  You can also get a grain mill attachment for your KitchenAid.

When everything comes together it’s a very soft dough.  As you can see it kind of looks like cookie dough (but don’t be fooled; that would be sad.  Those aren’t toffee bits, my friends.)  At this point, cover the dough and let it rest for 20 minutes.  I actually love recipes that require things like 20 minute resting periods.  It’s just enough time to put all of the dishes in the dishwasher and wipe of the counters, etc.

After 20 minutes, add the salt and then knead with the dough hook on your stand mixer for 5 more minutes.  The dough should clear the sides of the bowl, and you can add up to 3 tablespoons of additional flour, but I wanted to show you a picture.  I think one the big mistakes people make when bread making is mis-judging what the dough should look and feel like and consequently adding too much flour, which makes bread dry and dense.  I know because I did that a lot when I first started making bread!  I thought bread dough should have the consistency of say, a thawed Rhodes roll.  It wasn’t until I watched a friend of mine do it that I realized generally it should be much, much softer.  So notice in my photo that it’s clearing the top of the bowl, but it doesn’t mean it’s one solid blob that’s not sticking at all.  It’s still fairly sticky.  And keep in mind you will be putting it out on a floured surface so that will add additional flour as well.

After the dough is finished kneading for 5 minutes, scrape it out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead it a few times and then form a nice smooth ball.  Place that ball in a lightly oiled bowl and cover it with plastic and let it rise until double in size, about 45-60 minutes.

After it’s risen (don’t punch it down!)  Gently scrap it out onto a lightly floured surface (I always use my Roul’Pat), divide it in two, and form each into a 9×6 rectangle

Roll it up into a log (preferably an even one, not lop-sided one like mine!) and pinch the edges closed.  Spray it with cooking spray or just rub lightly oiled hands all over it and then roll it over some oats sprinkled onto the counter.   They stick right on; easy peasy.

Place your two loaves into 2 9×5 inch bread pans.  Cover them with plastic and let them rise about 30 minutes. Then pop them in the oven and watch your house suddenly smell like a bakery.

Here’s another great tip for bread making.  For a long time I didn’t know how to tell if my bread was done.  You can tap on the top to listen for a hollow sound, but that’s never been super accurate for me.  You can’t cut into it to check, nor does a toothpick test really work all that well, so I was constantly overcooking bread, or having it turn out dough-y inside.  Then I figured out, duh!  Use a thermometer!  Best way to make perfectly cooked bread.  Most average yeast breads like this are done at right around 200 degrees.

Let it cool in the pans for about 5 minutes and then take them out of the pans and cool on a rack.  If you’re going to just grab chunks and slather them in butter (uh..who does that?  Not me.) then you can rip into it when it’s till a little warm.  But if you’re going to use it for sandwiches (and it’s really good for sandwiches)  you’ll want to be sure to let it cool completely- at least 2 hours, more if you can handle it.  And thanks to a reader for reminding me about this tip:  If you plan on slicing bread like this for sandwiches it’s really helpful to have an electric knife.  The bread is so soft that it really helps.  Or if nothing else, make sure to use a really sharp bread knife.

The inside is the perfect texture; soft and springy, with the perfect amount of grains.

It’s not overly wheat-y or crunchy, it just tastes flavorful and wholesome and the grains are a nice tender texture.  My kids ate it right up.

If I was the kind of person who could make homemade bread every week, I would make this one.   But alas, I am not.  I’m the kind of person who can buy bread at Costco every week.  And make this on the weekends simply to eat with butter and jam.  Yep.  That’s me.

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**Make sure to come check out The Scoop tomorrow, we’re going to be giving away a copy of this Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook!


  1. I made this bread yesterday and it is excellent. The directions were nice and detailed which was very helpful since I had not made a multi-grain bread before. It was very convenient to use the 7 grains cereal although I had to go to a specialty store to find it. I will definitely make this recipe again.

  2. I’ve hit this page like 65 times now. Just made the bread and it’s pretty good. Seems moist enough inside, which is what I was looking for. I would have never thought of using hot cereal.

    Substituted margarine and used Trader Joe’s hot multi-grain cereal, all-purpose flour instead of whole wheat because I didn’t have any.

    I just might buy a bread machine so I can make this every week though. I don’t have the time to make this bread regularly.

  3. I can’t seem to find any 7 grain that is just cracked. It’s all ground or rolled. Any suggestions? I tried winco and Amazon.

  4. I’ve made bread for years! This is THE BEST multigrain bread I have ever tried! The temp. tip of 200º is such a help too. I love love love this recipe.

  5. I made this bread and wrote about it here. It is hands down my favorite bread, store bought or homemade. Thank you so much for posting the recipe. I had been looking for it ever since I saw it featured on America’s Test Kitchen. You guys are the best! 😉

  6. Andrea, the 10-grain cereal at Winco is great in this one. Course-ground is fine; doesn’t have to be just cracked. The kiddos love it! Thanks!

  7. This recipe looks awesome and I really enjoy the step by step pics & instructions! I was wondering if canola oil can be subbed for the melted butter in the recipe? I was also wondering if I can fallow the recipes to a T living near Co Springs (I’m at about 5,700 elevation) or if I have to make any adjustments to produce a “normal” loaf of bread, i.e. a high altitude bread flour instead of AP (I did read what CI said about using an AP flour for the recipe instead of bread flour but the recipe may not have been tested at a high altitude) for the multi-grain bread? Thanks!

  8. This is the very first bread I’ve ever made and it turned out great! My whole family loved it. I’m going to make it with more whole wheat flour next time. Hopefully it turns out good.

  9. I use a kitchen aid and when I add my flour I use the dough hook. It seems like it takes a long time to combine. Any suggestions?

  10. Hi!
    This question may have been asked and answered already but if I make the recipe after work one evening, is it okay to allow the dough to rise overnight and bake it the next morning? Some nights I get home late and I don’t always have time to make and bake the recipe all at once.

    Another question, is there ever a proper time during the recipe where I can freeze the dough to bake at a later time? I’ve read that sometimes its not good to freeze the dough once yeast has been added but I’m not sure if thats correct.

    I’ve made this recipe a couple of times and it is by far the best multigrain bread I’ve ever had!

  11. I am looking also for help. I tried to bake this bread twice and followed the recipe step by step, but once in the oven, the bread collapsed a little on the top. What went wrong ? Thanks.


  12. The multi grain cereal that i have does not look anything like the ones in your picture. The cereal is more like the regular breakfast cereals you take with milk. but it says whole grains and nuts. Sigh! should i experiment making this bread with it or NO?

    Would really appreciate your input.

  13. This sounds so good! I have 7 grain mix but it is whole not a cereal, will it work the same? Or should I grind it up first? Sorry I’m so dumb in the grain department. Any thoughts or suggestions would help. Thanks.

  14. Did you now that we even read your bestbites in Europe?
    It would be nice to add the possibility to use metric units (grams).
    The ‘cup’ system is difficult to Europeans.
    Just an idea….

  15. I gave this a try and converted to bread machine recipe, mixing by ingredient order accordingly (wet in first, then dry) Used my own version of 7 grain multi-grain mixture. (wheat berry, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, oats, coarse ground corn and flax seed. This loaf not only turned out beautiful but not too heavy, very moist, delicious, the crust was perfect…I will definitely be making this one again! Thanks, I had tried finding a good multigrain recipe but something was always off…this is my new go to multigrain recipe!

  16. I have been trying various whole wheat bread recipes and I often had problems with it rising. I made two batches of this Bob’s Red Mill 7-Grain cereal and it rose beautifuly. Absolutely the best bread I’ve ever made. Everyone at work loved it too and needed the recipe. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Note: I tried it with Bob’s Red Mill 8-Grain recipe and it was a flop. It didn’t raise much. Never again. Only Bob’s Red Mill 7-Grain will work on this recipe.

  17. Thank you so much for this recipe. I have made it twice so far and am making again tomorrow morning. I use Bob’s 10 grain hot cereal and it comes out perfect with a lovely texture. Freezes beautifully too. The tip to use a thermometer is probably the best advice for bread baking, I’d never heard of that before. No more guessing when the bread is done! Just love this recipe!

  18. First try, bread was delightful. Next three batches have been max of 2.5″ tall. What am I doing wrong?

  19. Thank you, for sharing this wonderful bread recipe. I, made this bread recipe as you stated and did not change a thing and it came out perfect. I was happily surprised how much lighter than I was expecting, plus texture, fragrance and oh so yummy.

  20. This is an excellent recipe. It is very precise and easy to follow, and it behaves as written (I’m a beginner at bread making). The result is a superb, tasty bread, good for eating warm or using later for sandwiches. I did add the pumpkin seeds and will do it in future.

  21. Love this bread. A few comments:
    I throw the un-melted butter on top of the cereal about 10 min before it’s cooled to 110, that saves the step of melting and pouring it in. I also add about 1/4 c of vital wheat gluten, with great results – better rise and improved inner texture. Alas, though, I cannot get the rolled oats to “stick” to the loaves – it falls off immediately after removing from bread pans.

  22. So you have had this up for a while, but I thought I would tell you it is still getting some use. First time for me to ever make homemade bread, and I used regular yeast and put it with a cup of flour and water overnight to activate it, and then proceeded as directed just cutting out a little of the water. I did have to add more flour than you have, but it might be because this was just my first time to make bread. I gave a loaf to my neighbors since it is just me and my husband and we don’t tend to go through bread. Well they LOVE it and so do we. I made the bread Sunday and already I think I might make a couple more loaves this week. SO GOOD!!! You made me look like quite the bad ass, so thank you!

  23. I have been making this bread regularly for the past few months. We love it. My granddaughter told he mom, “I want grandma’s toast.” My daughter told her grandma’s bread was all gone. My granddaughter said, “No, I don’t want grandma’s bread, I want grandma’s toast!” 😂

  24. I live in Alberta, Canada (a higher altitude location). I halved this recipe and used it to make dinner rolls, which were excellent. For anyone else who lives in Alberta, I used 1/2 cup less flour than called for (so that would be 1 cup less for the full recipe) . I also gave the dough two risings before forming into rolls (coated dough with oil and allowed to rise in a warm location each time). I brushed the rolls with melted butter before and after baking, and baked for 15 minutes at 400 F. The 1/2 recipes makes 15 rolls, 50 grams of dough each (weigh dough with a scale for best results), and can be baked in a greased or non-stick 9 X 13 pan.

    Thanks for the great recipe, I will make them again!

    Note: For those in Canada, I ground Gold Forest Grain’s red spring wheat for this recipe and used Anita’s Organic Mill Cracked 7 Grain Cereal. Both products are excellent.

  25. I made this today! So yummy! I couldn’t find any seven-grain cereal, so like several others, I used nine grain instead. I also used olive oil instead of butter…(my dil is lactose intolerant), and it turned out beautifully!
    Thanks for a fun delicious recipe!

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