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What Is Multigrain Bread?
Multigrain bread is any type of bread made with more than one type of grain. Wheat is one type of grain; others include rye, spelt, barley, and millet. Since wheat contains more gluten than other grains, it tends to be the preferred bread-making grain, with the other grains added for nutrition, flavor, and texture. Multigrain bread often also includes a topping of pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, or oats. You can make whole-grain multigrain bread, sprouted multigrain bread, and sourdough multigrain bread.
How to Make Multigrain Bread
If you're baking homemade bread for the first time, know that great bread will come with practice. The bread-baking method for multigrain bread is the same as any other yeast bread and will depend on your materials and preferences. Here are basic instructions on how to make homemade multigrain bread, without a bread machine:
- Soak the grains. Soak your whole grains and any seeds (if using) in hot water to moisten them.
- Make the dough. Mix a dough using flour, your soaked grains, sweetener (like honey or brown sugar), yeast, salt, and more water. Knead the dough, either with your hands or with a stand mixer fitted with a dough attachment. Work the dough until it transforms from a sticky dough into a somewhat smooth dough.
- Shape the loaf. Let your log rest for a few minutes on the counter, then pat your loaf into a flat rectangle. Then, for a sandwich bread, roll your dough into a log that will fit into your loaf pan. Tuck your log, seam side down, into a lightly oiled loaf pan.
- Proof the loaf. Find a warm place for your dough to hang out for an hour or two. Cover it with plastic wrap, a clean kitchen towel, or a plastic shower cap, so that the top of the dough won’t dry out. Allow your dough to rise, or proof, in the loaf pan until doubled in size.
- Bake the loaf. Once your loaf has fully risen, it’s time to bake it. To mimic the environment of a professional baker’s steam oven, place a dish of water or ice cubes at the bottom of the oven. Rotate your loaf halfway through baking, and don’t take it out until it’s nicely browned on the outside.
Homemade Multigrain Bread Recipe
Prep Time1 hr 30 min
Total Time2 hr 20 min
Cook Time50 min
- 1 cup whole grains and seeds such as rolled oats, flax seeds, cornmeal, sesame seeds, hulled sunflower seeds, or quinoa, plus more for topping
- 2 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour, plus more for surfaces
- 1½ cups whole wheat flour
- ½ cup rye flour
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- ¼ ounce (1 packet) active dry yeast
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- Olive oil or vegetable oil, to grease the pan
- Soak the grains and seeds. In a medium bowl, combine grains and seeds. Cover with ½ cup boiling water and let sit at room temperature until water is completely absorbed and grains are room temperature, about 1–2 hours.
- Mix the flours. In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) whisk together white flour, whole-wheat flour, and rye flour until combined.
- Mix dough. Add soaked grain mixture to flour mixture. On one side of the bowl, sprinkle brown sugar and instant yeast on top of the grains. On the opposite side of the bowl, sprinkle salt on top of the grains. (Placing the salt directly on the yeast can inhibit yeast activity.) Add 1½ cups warm water and stir to combine. Use your hands to knead dough until somewhat smooth. Alternatively, use a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and let it rest 5 minutes. Lightly sprinkle the surface of the dough with more flour and gently pat it into an 8 by 14-inch rectangle. Working from the long edge, roll the dough into a tight log. Transfer dough log to a lightly oiled loaf pan, seam-side down, tucking the sides under to fit in the pan.
- Cover the loaf with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in the bread pan in a warm place until doubled in size, 1–2 hours. Sprinkle loaf with more grains and seeds, if desired.
- Place a disposable foil pan on the bottom oven rack and heat the oven to 425°F. Working quickly, throw about ½ cup ice cubes into the foil pan and set the bread loaf pan on the middle rack. (The ice cubes will create steam to help the loaf bake evenly.) If you have a pizza stone or baking stone, you can preheat that and bake the loaf on top of the stone for a more crusty loaf. Reduce oven temperature to 400°F and bake 20 minutes, then rotate the pan. Continue baking until the loaf is deeply brown and its internal temperature reads 195–200°F, about 20–30 more minutes. Remove loaf from the pan and cool on a wire rack until completely cool, about 1–2 hours.
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