Multigrain Bread

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!

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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. Looks delicious, but I don’t have a stand mixer, and it looks like it’s way too soft to knead by hand. Any suggestions (besides going out and buying a stand mixer)?

    1. I just updated the printable recipe with a note from CI about hand mixing. Although I do think it might be hard to knead it enough without adding too much flour. You can give it a shot though!

    2. It looks soft, however you can totally knead it by hand. I made it this way and it was so dang good!! Just keep adding flour as it gets sticky, I bet I used around 2 cups. Easy Easy!

  2. I skimmed through the comments but didn’t seen an answer to my question…I have a bread machine, could I make it in there? I would probably at least let the machine knead the dough and let it rise, then maybe take it out and separate it into two loaves. Just wondering if anyone else tried it in an actual machine!

      1. I tried it in the bread maker and it works well! But you need to add more flour. Here is what I did. I cut the recipe in half and set the bread machine at “wheat bread” setting, 1 1/2 pound loaf. It was too wet and probably would have collapsed in baking – so I ended up adding 3/4 cup more of flour (half whole wheat and half white. This baked perfectly – moist and light. One more change – I used Red River Cereal, which is only 3 grain but it substitued well for the 7 grain (which I didn’t have!) It is a Canadian cereal – not sure it is available everywhere.

        1. Whole foods has 7 grain cerael.this bread is awesome. I make 2 loaves every week. My friend Joan is so happy because i keep one and send her one.

  3. This bread looks delicious. I’d love to try it, but I don’t have two loaf pans and I’ve never seen 7 grain cereal at my local grocery store :(.

    1. Brittnee….I live in an area where it’s difficult to find certain ingredients… to the rescue….seems they have everything!

  4. Thanks for this fun recipe! I am one of those crazies who bakes bread weekly, because it’s so much cheaper…I’m excited to try this new recipe. It looks scrumptious and healthy. Win-win!

  5. Oh I so wish I had some 7 grain cereal so I could make this! I was planning to make bread anyway today and this looks perfect. Maybe I will hit Bulk Barn in a little while and give it a go ….

  6. The multi grain cereal I buy is rolled. Your picture looks like your cereal is more like steel cut. I guess I could whirl the rolled cereal in the processor for a few seconds. Please advise.

  7. Looks like something I need to try…however just a caution to those wanting to get the wheat grinder attachment for their Kitchen Aid. Beware! The kitchenaid motor is not powerful enough to do much grinding. Not a great option unless you want to burn up the motor in your kitchenaid.

    Also one more question. I have been using SAF yeast in my breads but I’m getting confused by all the different types. Is there a difference between the SAF yeast and the rapid rise yeast?

  8. Excellent! So happy I found this recipe. Going to try it today {lucky me I have some 7 grain hot cereal!} Thanks for the tips. I must get my hands on a grain mill!

  9. Cool trick my mother in law taught me to slice warm bread easily….use an electric knife. Cuts right through without squishing it!

  10. So excited to try this! I’ve been wanting to make a healthier homemade bread, but it’s so much work, I didn’t want to try any questionable recipes and end up with a rock! Thank you!!!

  11. Sara, at what point do you insert the thermometer? I would assume it’s near the end of the baking cycle, right? I’m off to make some bread this very moment.

  12. First time commenter, long time lurker…love your blog!

    Thanks for this awesome bread recipe–I can’t wait to try it. Just had a quick question. Where do you divide the dough to make two loaves? In the recipe it says to repeat with second piece of dough, but it never says where to divide it. I’m assuming it’s after the second rise?

    1. Ha–just re-read the recipe and I see where it says now…sorry for the needless comment! Can I blame Monday morning?? 🙂

  13. I’m curious – any idea why it says not to use bread flour?

    This looks amazing, I definitely plan to try it!

  14. Making Vegetable Soup tonight and I thought I would venture away from my traditional multi-grain bread recipe and I literally said to myself, “Hmm… I bet OBB has a good recipe!” Lo and behold. You two NEVER disappoint!

  15. I found this recipe a few months ago and do make it as the regular bread in our house. My kids love it. I did change the honey to be half honey half molasses to up the iron levels in the bread. It, of course, makes it darker in color, but my kids still love it!

  16. I have been looking for a recipe like this forever! And your right the thought of having to buy grains separately was a big turn off for making a bread like this. Thanks for the big tip about the cereal! Will be making this!!

  17. I also saw this episode of Cooks Country and had to try this recipe. It is so easy and delicious, I’ve made it regularly for several months and I keep a stock of the 7-Grain cereal and whole wheat flour in my freezer. I think I’ll even make a batch today! I don’t even make my “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day” anymore.

  18. Awesome recipe! It would be so much better if I just made my own bread!

  19. That looks like something even I could do. (Says the girl who will probably end up with a flat loaf of bread.)

  20. I must have missed the part about not punching it down after the first rise. I have made this recipe twice before seeing it posted here, and both times it looked and felt under-risen. D’oh!

  21. I am ‘one of those’ that makes all my own bread and am thrilled to try this new multigrain bread. One unbelievable trick that I have learned is ALWAYS use an electric knife to slice bread. If you’re a ‘just pull off a hot hunk’ and drown it in butter person the comment won’t matter to you, but if you’re a ‘let it cool slightly then slice and take to a friend’ person an electric knife is the ONLY way to go. Try it ~ and I’ll try the bread….WinCo here I come ~

    1. Beth, thanks for that reminder, I meant to write that in the post! I agree that an electric knife is a must-have if you’re going to slice for sandwiches.

  22. I was just talking to my daughter today (it’s still Sunday because I haven’t gone to bed yet, even though it is really Monday) that I need to start making homemade bread again, and not just soft white bread, but good-for-you wheat bread. I have an 8-grain cereal that I bought in bulk so I think that would work well here.
    What if I use SAF instant yeast instead of rapid-rise?

    1. Oh- now I see it says instant or rapid-rise. I guess we all need to read a little more carefully, especially the actual recipe part of the post.

  23. I have the same problem with my breads not being baked fully or being overcooked (especially with banana bread). Will that temperature work with other loaves too?

    1. Hey Andy! Most yeast breads will be done between 190-200. I’ve heard that softer doughs with more fat can be on the low end (190) and drier crustier breads are on the higher end (200-210) so for every day loaves like this I shoot for 200 max or just a few degrees under. With quick breads, like banana bread, the best method is a skewer, or sharp knife inserted into the middle of the loaf. It should come out clean, or with just a few crumbs attached. Hope that helps!

      1. I had the same problem baking quick breads in large loaf pans not getting quite done, so I changed to baking four mini loaf pans instead of a large loaf pan. I test with a toothpick and I haven’t had the problem since I started using the mini pans–plus the small loaves are fun to give away.

    2. Make sure you’ve checked your oven temp with a little thermometer you can pick up at WalMart. I believe oven temps are the biggest reason why our baked goods have so much variability. Just saying…

  24. Just so you know, you guys are the coolest! You are hands down my favorite food blog. Thanks for being so amazing!

  25. Oh yum, I’m definitely trying this!
    Great tip to look in the bulk section for multi grain cereal-and you know what I found there recently that made me so happy? Tapioca flour. Pao de queijo here we come 🙂