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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.

slice of whole wheat multigrain bread

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.

slices of multigrain bread

Video Tutorial: How to Make Soft Multigrain Bread

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Butter: To make a soft bread, you need fat in the dough. Butter promises a soft and flavorful loaf. 3 Tablespoons is plenty.
  5. 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 similar to Honey Wheat English Muffins, 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-In Options

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.


Step-by-Step Photos

ingredients for dough and hot cereal mix with water in glass liquid measuring cup

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!

yeast mixture in glass bowl with flax seeds

The dough will feel heavy. As instructed in the recipe below, knead it before letting it rise.

dough in glass bowl

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.

homemade multigrain dough after 1st rise

Roll it out into an 8×15 inch rectangle:

rolled out bread dough

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!

two photos of bread dough showing it before and after rising in loaf pan

Bake until golden brown: multigrain bread in loaf pan on pink linen napkin

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!

multigrain rolls before and after rising

multigrain rolls in glass baking pan

Print
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slice of whole wheat multigrain bread

Soft Multigrain Bread

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 3 hours, 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 34 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours, 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf 1x
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 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 (433g) 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)

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!*
  4. Knead the dough: Keep the dough in the mixer (and switch to the dough hook if you used the paddle) and beat for an additional 2 minutes OR knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 2 minutes. Dough is soft, yet heavy.
  5. 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.)
  6. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.)
  9. 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.)
  10. 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).
  11. 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.
  12. Cover leftover bread tightly and store at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Yeast: You can use active-dry or instant yeast. The instructions are the same no matter which you use.
  5. 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.
  6. 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).
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Hi
    I made this recipe twice but the bread was very dry and crumbly. What am I doing wrong? I had great success with the simple sandwich bread and would love the same results with the multi-grain. Would appreciate your advice.

    1. Hi Annette, it sounds like there may be too much flour in your dough if it was dry – how are you measuring your flour? We always recommend using the spoon and level method. Also, be sure it’s not baking for too long (even just a minute or two more can dry out baked goods). When slicing, make sure the bread is fully cooled, otherwise it may be too soft and start to crumble as you mention. Let us know if we can help to troubleshoot further!

  2. SO GOOD! I made it yesterday with oatmeal and chopped pecans. Thanks for giving me the confidence to try these amazing recipes Sally!

  3. Easy to bake and taste great! Only complaint is that crust is really soft. How would I make the crust crispy?

    1. Hi Tom, Feel free to bake a little longer (or raise the oven rack during the last few minutes) to get a deeper brown color. An extra minute or two should help with the texture also.

  4. This is the BEST tasting recipe I have tried yet! I love being able to give it to my daughter knowing it is so good for her with the whole wheat and the multigrain. But I need help! My loaf is separating along the spiral from rolling the dough up to get it in the pan. What can I do to prevent this next time?

  5. This bread recipe was great! It does take 5+ hours from start to finish, so it’s perfect for a lazy afternoon at home. I made an oatmeal loaf with quick oats and added 1 heaping tsp of cinnamon, 50g of craisins and 50g of chopped pecans. Absolutely delicious- the whole family loved it.

  6. What do you use on your 2nd rise to cover, since it rises so tall above the pan? I loosly covered with plastic, but it deflated some when i pulled it off. Next time, I can spray it, but was wondering what you do since it rises so far above the pan.

    1. Hi PG! We usually loosely cover with plastic wrap as well – be very careful when pulling it off!

  7. I use a 50/50 mix of bread and whole wheat four, plus hemp and chia seeds. Other extras are eggs, malt, potato and dry milk powders. My problem is the dough is extremely sticky. I read that the eggs cause this problem, however no substitutes for the eggs were offered. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks.

    1. Hi Michael, we haven’t tested this recipe with egg substitutes, so can’t give any advice. Let us know if you find something that works!

    1. Hi Susan, we haven’t tested it. Some readers make our regular sandwich bread using a bread machine with no problem, so we can’t see why this wouldn’t work too. Let us know if you try!

  8. Have made this multiple times, exactly as directed and turns out perfect every time. My go to bread recipe. I use a 12 grain cereal. I have also sometimes make it with about 1.5 TBSP brown sugar and using 3 TBSP olive oil instead of butter. Still turns out perfect!

  9. I just made the soft multigrain bread today as part of the January Challenge since we are not big English muffin eaters. I used 7-grain cereal and the bread came together well although I did have to add a bit more bread flour before kneading. It rose well and baked very well. My kitchen smells great and hubby loved the first slice. Will definitely make this again. Adding as one of my “go to” recipes.

  10. Made this today as the January 2022 alternative challenge and it was a big hit!! Absolutely delicious. Thinking I’ll add more seeds next time and top with more grains too.

    1. Hi Ann, You can use the same amount of honey or reduce down to 2 Tablespoons since it’s pretty sweet.

  11. Would be interested in some other brand name suggestions for the 5/7 etc. grain cereal. Our grocery shelves are definitely sparse right now and would love some additional suggestions of what to look for. I do have oatmeal but would prefer something with additional grains.

    1. Hi Ellen! Any brand will work – see recipe notes for details on choosing a grain cereal to use.

    2. I made a double recipe of this (two loaves) using Bob’s Red Mill 7-Grain cereal. I got it online on Amazon, inexpensive and no searching the stores. You might find it in the baking or breakfast cereal section of the grocery store, though. Bread tastes great using this mixture!

      Plus, must say, the recipe itself is awesome; looks good, tastes great, rises nicely too. And much more economical than buying bread in a store.

  12. Fresh bread for an afternoon snack? Yes, please! This was my first time making multigrain bread. I used Bob’s Red Mill 5 Grain cereal. It turned out so soft and very tasty. My husband said we should hide it from the kids.

  13. Wow! Turned out great! Will definitely bake this recipe again and try add ins-this time I used a combination of sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

  14. Made this as an alternative recipe for the January 2022 Baking Challenge. Delicious! Combined it with your recipe for Light Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup which is heavenly!
    Thank you, Sally for getting me over my hurdle of working with yeast. I always thought it was tricky, but with your instructions I’m enjoying success! So far I’ve made your Soft Pretzel Knots, Soft Pretzel Bites, Cinnamon Rolls and now Soft Multigrain Bread. Looking forward to trying more of your yeast recipes!

    1. Hi Nancy! We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients. Plus, many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients listed. However, there are many handy online calculators where you can plug in and customize your exact ingredients/brands. Readers have found this one especially helpful: https://www.verywellfit.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4157076

  15. I just made this loaf and it turned out amazing. I used all AP flour but Canadian flour is different from American flour so it was still light and fluffy. Beautiful recipe. Definitely a keeper!!

  16. I have made this bread twice and it is AMAZING. I followed all instructions closely, using a stand-mixer, and it works wonderfully. As suggested in the Notes, I use 3 cups bread flour and 1/3 cup whole wheat flour. I use rolled oats for the cereal. I now use this for sandwich bread every week!

  17. I am confused about the cups/gram numbers. All my flours are 120gm/cup. Using that ratio, 3 1/3 c would be 360+ 40 or 400gm of flour, not 433. I have found this discrepancy in several recipes, not just yours. I prefer to weigh but unless I use measuring cups, the dough turns out dry. What’s up?
    Btw, I love this site and the recipes:)

    1. Hi Susan, thank you so much! 1 cup of spooned and leveled bread flour is approximately 130g per cup. That’s how this recipe was tested and created, so I recommend using the weights given. Was your dough dry using 433g of flour or less?

  18. I tried the overnight method (through step seven) and my bread has been sitting on the counter for an hour. It has barely risen. I will give it a little more time, but it doesn’t seem to be rising very far above the rim of the pan. Is this normal? Will it rise more in the oven? I guess I’ll find out!

    1. Hi Sally,
      Thank you for sharing this recipe! I made it with sourdough (yeast is not welcome in my kitchen anymore) and it turned out wonderful. This recipe is the perfect answer to my long lasting search for a soft and kids-friendly bread, since my younger son is not a huge fan of the artisan-style bread I usually bake. I will definitely try your sandwich bread recipe as well. Thanks again and happy baking!

  19. I have had such fabulous luck with this bread that I experimented using quinoa. Another success! I cooked 1/2 cup quinoa in 1 3/4 cups water. Let it cool for about 20 minutes and then added it to the rest of the ingredients. It rose beautifully and tastes great. Thanks for this wonderful recipe!

  20. Your recipe is the one and only recipe that is always reliable! I appreciate the detailed
    instructions and suggestions for variations. I’ve never felt more confident in
    making homemade bread and knowing it’s nutritious.
    Thank you!!

  21. The dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl while kneading with dough hook but the bottom is still stuck to bowl and dough is pretty sticky. Should I add more flour bc it also doesn’t seem to have that dome on top. It’s flat. Tastes great but not the right shape….any thoughts?

    1. Hi Beth! It’s ok if the dough is sticking to the bottom still. If you’re bread is flat, it may simply need more time to rise next time. That being said, there are a lot of variables that go into the consistency of dough, even down to the weather and humidity in the air. There’s nothing wrong with adding just a little more flour to bring the dough into a less sticky and knead-able consistency.

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