This homemade soft multigrain bread is prepared with multigrain hot cereal mix, such as 5 grain, 7 grain or 10 grain cereal. Whole or quick oats are an excellent option, too. It’s soft and fluffy like regular white sandwich bread, but has a hearty and satisfying flavor. Either instant or active-dry yeast work and you can even turn this dough into multigrain rolls.
Learn to bake homemade bread. I’ve noticed that’s a common baking goal at the start of each year. Today I’m sharing a new homemade bread recipe, one I’ve been perfecting for months. Using my regular white sandwich bread as the starting point for this new variation, I finally mastered a multigrain bread that’s both soft and sturdy. If you love homemade bread and crave added texture, you’ll enjoy this multigrain loaf. Bonus: You can use this dough for homemade rolls, too!
Soft Multigrain Bread Details
- Flavor: Slightly nutty with an earthy, satisfying flavor similar to whole wheat bread. A little brown sugar adds mild sweetness.
- Texture: This wholesome bread is wonderfully soft without being flimsy. It’s great for sandwiches, but perfectly satisfying plain or with a spread of butter.
- Ease: I categorize this as an intermediate baking recipe. The dough requires an extra step in the very beginning– soaking those grains in water. If you read the directions before starting, you’ll be set for success. Take your time. If you’re new to baking with yeast, review my Baking with Yeast Guide. Lots of helpful information there.
- Time: Between preparing the dough, both rises, and baking, set aside at least 4-5 hours to complete this recipe. But keep in mind that most of the time is hands off as the dough rises. You can even get started on the dough the night before.
We need a careful blend & ratio of ingredients to produce a grain loaf that (1) rises tall, (2) maintains a soft fluffy texture, and (3) has legitimate structure for sturdy slices. The ingredients are practically the same as this sandwich bread, but we’re skipping the milk, using hot boiling water, adding grain cereal mix and seeds, slightly reducing the butter, and swapping regular sugar for brown sugar. Took lots of tweaking to perfect.
Key Ingredients in This Multigrain Bread
- Multigrain Hot Cereal Mix or Oats: If you read anything in this post, have it be this. This recipe starts with multigrain cereal, such as 5 grain, 7 grain or 10 grain cereal. You can also use whole or quick oats, but I do not recommend steel cut. There are many variations of hot cereal available in grocery stores– a multigrain version may include rye, barley, oats, whole wheat, and/or more. Honestly any grain cereal you mix with hot water works assuming there’s no flavors or sugars added (for example, don’t use brown sugar cinnamon oatmeal mix). If you can’t find any multigrain hot cereals at the store, you can purchase online– or just use plain oats. I really like this 7 grain + flax seed hot cereal. Multigrain baby cereal works too.
- Boiling Water: Just as you would make the hot cereal to eat, mix it with hot water. Use 1 and 3/4 cups (420ml) boiling water, then let the mixture cool until a digital thermometer reads about 110°F (43°C). This usually takes 20 minutes. If it’s too hot, the heat will kill the yeast.
- Brown Sugar: Sugar feeds the yeast, increases its activity, and tenderizes the dough. You can use regular white granulated sugar, but brown sugar was especially tasty in this loaf.
- Butter: To make a soft bread, you need fat in the dough. Butter promises a soft and flavorful loaf. 3 Tablespoons is plenty.
- Flour: If you have both bread flour and all-purpose flour on hand, I recommend using bread flour. All-purpose flour definitely works, but you get a sturdier and more bread-like texture from bread flour. I love using whole wheat flour when I can, but this dough is not fit for all whole wheat flour. In my recipe testing, I found that replacing up to 1 cup of the bread/all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour worked just fine. The bread was a bit denser, but had great flavor. I usually make it with 3 cups of bread flour and 1/3 cup whole wheat flour.
Add-ins are completely optional, but I encourage seeds and/or nuts for a little texture. I usually use sunflower seeds. Other options include chopped pecans or walnuts, pepitas, raisins, dried cranberries, or a blend of these. You could also throw in smaller seeds such as chia, flax, or sesame. See recipe note below before starting.
Soak the grain cereal in the boiling water, as pictured above.
Below left: After it cools down, whisk in the yeast and brown sugar. Below right: After 5-10 minutes, you’ll notice foam or bubbles on the surface. This means the yeast is active and ready. Note that the hot cereal I use contains flax seeds so that’s what you’re seeing floating on top!
The dough will feel heavy. As instructed in the recipe below, knead it before letting it rise.
Below left: After you make and knead the dough, let it rise until doubled in size. Below right: Punch it down to release the air, then place on a lightly floured work surface.
Roll it out into an 8×15 inch rectangle:
Below left: Roll it up tightly starting with the 8-inch side, so you have an 8-inch roll to fit into your 9×5 inch loaf pan. (Unlike cinnamon rolls where you roll up the dough starting with the larger side.) Below right: Let it rise until it’s 1-2 inches above the rim of the pan.
Look at this height!
Bake until golden brown:
How do I test for doneness? Give the loaf a light tap. If it sounds hollow, it’s done. For a more accurate test, the bread is done when an instant read thermometer reads the center of the loaf as 195°F-200°F (90°C-93°C).
This multigrain bread is phenomenal when sliced and served warm. The exterior is crisp and crusty while cloaking a hearty, yet fluffy crumb inside. The whole slice is just so, so satisfying and cozy. This is definitely a homemade bread to try!
Can I Make This Into Rolls?
I thought you’d ask! I tested this dough to make multigrain rolls and it worked wonderfully. Not quite as soft as regular dinner rolls and not quite as heavy as whole wheat dinner rolls. I will say that I preferred the multigrain sandwich bread because it had a little more texture from the crust. Served warm with a pat of butter, however, the rolls were fantastic. See recipe note for instructions. Though I haven’t tested it, I imagine you could use this dough to make 3-4 bread bowls, too.
Multigrain AND multipurpose!
This is wholesome multigrain bread with an irresistibly soft and fluffy interior. For best success, take the time to review the recipe notes before starting. Though not required, an instant read thermometer is helpful in a few of these steps.
- 1/2 cup (60g) dry multigrain cereal mix or rolled oats (see note)
- 1 and 3/4 cups (410ml) boiling water
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons (7g) instant or active dry yeast (1 standard packet)
- 3 Tablespoons (37g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 3 Tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3 and 1/3 cups (470g) bread flour, plus more as needed and for hands/work surface
- optional: 1/2 cup (60g) sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts/pecans, pepitas, raisins, dried cranberries (I recommend raw and unsalted nuts/seeds)
- Prepare the dough: Place cereal mix in a large heatproof bowl (you can also use the bowl of your stand mixer). Pour boiling water on top. Let the mixture cool until a digital thermometer reads about 110°F (43°C). This usually takes 20 minutes. Pay attention to the temperature because if it’s too hot, it will kill the yeast. If it became too cool, however, it’s not a problem– the dough may just take a few extra minutes to rise.
- Whisk the yeast, sugar, and all of the warm water/cereal mixture in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or paddle attachment. Cover and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes or until foamy and bubbly on the surface.
- Add the butter, salt, and 1 cup (about 130g) flour. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then add another cup of flour. Beat on medium speed until relatively incorporated (there may still be chunks of butter). Add all of the remaining flour and the seeds/nuts (if using), then beat on medium speed until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. If it seems too sticky, add more flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time until it begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. *If you do not own a mixer, you can mix this dough with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula. It will take a bit of arm muscle!*
- Knead the dough: Keep the dough in the mixer and beat for an additional 2 minutes or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 2 minutes. Dough is soft, yet heavy.
- 1st Rise: Lightly grease a large bowl with olive oil or nonstick spray. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise in a relatively warm environment for 1-2 hours or until double in size. (I always let it rise on the counter. Takes about 2 hours. For a tiny reduction in rise time, see my answer to Where Should Dough Rise? in my Baking with Yeast Guide.)
- Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
- Shape the bread: When the dough is ready, punch it down to release the air. Lightly flour a work surface, your hands, and a rolling pin. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 8×15 inches. It does not have to be perfect– in fact, it will probably be rounded on the edges. That’s ok! Roll it up into an 8 inch log and place in the prepared loaf pan.
- 2nd Rise: Cover shaped loaf with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow to rise until it’s about 1-2 inches above the top of the loaf pan, about 1 hour. (See photo above for a visual.)
- Adjust oven rack to a lower position and preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). (It’s best to bake the bread towards the bottom of the oven so the top doesn’t burn.)
- Bake the bread: Bake for 35-40 minutes– if you notice the top browning too quickly during bake time, loosely tent the pan with aluminum foil. How to test for doneness– give the loaf a light tap. If it sounds hollow, it’s done. For a more accurate test, the bread is done when an instant read thermometer reads the center of the loaf as 195°F-200°F (90°C-93°C).
- Remove from the oven and allow bread to cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving. Feel free to let it cool completely before slicing, too.
- Cover leftover bread tightly and store at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
- Freezing Instructions: Prepare recipe through step 7. Place shaped loaf in a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan or disposable loaf pan, cover tightly, and freeze for up to 3 months. On the day you serve it, let the loaf thaw and rise for about 4-5 hours at room temperature. Bake as directed. You can also freeze the baked bread loaf. Allow the bread to cool completely, then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature, then reheat as desired.
- Overnight Instructions: Prepare the recipe through step 7. Cover the shaped bread tightly and refrigerate for up to about 15 hours. At least 2 hours before you need the bread the next day, remove from the refrigerator, keep covered, and allow to rise on the counter for about 1 hour before baking. Alternatively, you can let the dough have its 1st rise in the refrigerator overnight. Cover the dough tightly and place in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours. Remove from the refrigerator and allow the dough to fully rise for 2 more hours. Continue with step 6.
- Grain Cereal: Use dry multigrain cereal that you would use to make hot cereal, such as 5 grain, 7 grain, or 10 grain cereal. You can also use quick or whole oats, but I do not recommend steel cut oats. There are many variations of hot cereal available in grocery stores– a multigrain version may include rye, barley, oats, whole wheat, and/or more. Honestly any grain cereal you mix with hot water works assuming there’s no flavors or sugars added (for example, don’t use brown sugar cinnamon oatmeal mix). If you can’t find any multigrain hot cereals at the store, you can purchase online– or just use plain oats. I really like this 7 grain + flax seed hot cereal. Multigrain baby cereal works too.
- Yeast: You can use active-dry or instant yeast. The instructions are the same no matter which you use.
- Flours: If you have both bread flour and all-purpose flour on hand, I recommend using bread flour. All-purpose flour definitely works, but you get a sturdier and more bread-like texture from bread flour. I love using whole wheat flour when I can, but this dough is not fit for all whole wheat flour. In my recipe testing, I found that replacing up to 1 cup (around 130g) of the bread/all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour worked just fine. The bread was a bit denser, but had great flavor. I usually make it with 3 cups of bread flour and 1/3 cup whole wheat flour.
- Seeds/Add-Ins: The pictured loaf was prepared with 1/2 cup (60g) of sunflower seeds. I love extra flavor and texture, so I’ve been increasing that amount to 2/3 cup (80g). Use any of the suggested add-ins like sunflower seeds, pecans, walnuts, pepitas, raisins, dried cranberries, or a blend of these. If you want to use smaller seeds, such as poppy, chia, flax, or sesame, I recommend reducing the amount to 2 or 3 Tablespoons. You could, however, blend these smaller seeds with larger seeds/nuts/dried fruit for a total of 1/2 or 2/3 cup (60 or 80g).
- Multigrain rolls: Make the dough as written above through the first rise (steps 1-5), then follow steps 5-10 in my dinner rolls recipe. Bake time is 25-26 minutes.
- If You Want to Top with Oats or Seeds: If you want to top the dough with oats or seeds prior to baking, carefully brush the dough after the 2nd rise (step 8) with 1 egg white beaten with 1 Tbsp water, then sprinkle 2 Tbsp of oats or seeds on top. Neither will stick without the egg white brushed on first. I did this with the pictured rolls.
- Doubling this recipe: For best results, I recommend making two separate batches of dough. However, if you want to double the recipe all in 1 mixing bowl, double all of the ingredients except for the yeast. Use 3 and 1/4 teaspoons yeast. This amount of dough may overwhelm your stand mixer, so I recommend mixing the dough with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula instead. It will take a bit of arm muscle.
Keywords: multigrain, bread, homemade bread
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