This Seeded Multigrain Sandwich Bread is the best of both worlds - light and fluffy bread, combined with lots of whole grains and a crunchy, seedy topping.
I have to confess, there are days when I think I'm the only person who eats bread, let alone makes their own. I know that's not true though. Somebody's buying all those stacks of bread at the grocery store :) We bread eater/makers just aren't talking about it!
Well today, I'm talking about it and sharing my latest daily bread of choice. It's a light and fluffy multigrain sandwich bread, filled and topped with lots of grains. It's a "best of both worlds" bread, with a light and fluffy texture, combined with some whole grain goodness. And did I mention the lovely, crispy, toasted seed crust?
It's also a bread that offers a ton of flexibility in terms of how you bake it up and what you fill it with. I baked mine into a large 9x5 loaf. You could do two 8x4 loaves. Or free-form on a baking tray. Or as a round, baked up in a skillet.
For this loaf, I started with a standard "7-grain" cereal mix, together with poppy seeds, sesame seeds and flax meal (I was out of flax seeds). This is the base bread. On top of that, you can add in some more stuff if you like - seeds, dried fruit and/or nuts. For my add-ins, I went with some chopped raw pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. I've added some more add-in ideas in the Cook's Notes below.
Cook's Notes for Seeded Multigrain Sandwich Bread
My loaf was made with unbleached all-purpose flour. You could use "white whole wheat" flour or simply replace some of the white flour with whole wheat flour, if you'd like. A couple of notes if you go that route. First, note that the lightness of the bread will be reduced somewhat with the addition of whole wheat flour and second, for best results, replace no more that 1/4 of the white flour with whole wheat flour. Oh, and your rising time is likely to be a bit slower with the addition of whole wheat flour.
As noted above, you can make this bread as one large 9x5 loaf, as two shorter 8x4 loaves, as a free-form loaf that you bake on a baking sheet or as a round, baked up in a cast-iron skillet. Note that baking time will vary depending on which way you go. Refer to the recipe notes below for some guidance there.
If you go the big 9x5 loaf route, be warned that it does take time to bake through, but will look quite done before it actually is. I covered mine with foil after about 20 minutes and then baked pretty much a full 45 minutes. If you have an instant read thermometer, you can take out the guesswork. You'll want your loaf to be at least 195F before you take it out.
While what you add in to your bread is up to you, be sure to keep to the same quantities. So keep your small seeds (for the pan and topping) in the same amount and keep the "add-ins" that you knead in to the same measurements.
You'll want to make sure you are starting with a multigrain cereal mix (the kind intended to be hot cereal). It can be 7-grain or 12-grain or whatever. Bob's Red Mill sells a 7-grain mix or for Canadians, you can find a 7-grain cereal mix at Bulk Barn.
Additional add-ins are completely optional. Feel free to leave out, if you like. Here are some ideas for add-ins though, if you'd like to go that route ...
Suggested Add-Ins: walnuts, pecans, any chopped dried fruit (dates, figs, blueberries, cherries etc.), sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds.
Understanding the Different Yeast Types
Instant Yeast - my yeast of choice, it's a yeast that doesn't require proofing with warm water and can be added directly to the dry ingredients. It activates well with a wide range of water temperatures (110-130F), so it's more forgiving. Instant yeast is a two-rise yeast. While Instant Yeast doesn't require proofing in water, you won't hurt it if you do, so if you are following a recipe written for active dry yeast, simply go ahead and proof in water per the recipe.
Active Dry Yeast - the classic option, active dry yeast must be activated with warm water with a temperature in the 110F. range. If the water is too hot, it will kill it or too cold and it will not activate. A thermometer is handy here to ensure that proper proofing water temperature. Active Dry Yeast is also a two-rise yeast.
Bread Machine Yeast - similar to Instant Yeast, it is made to be added directly to dry ingredients, such as how ingredients are added to a bread machine. In this respect, it is very similar to Instant yeast, so you could use the two interchangeably.
Rapid-Rise Yeast - this is single-rise yeast, most often used for sweet rolls and quick breads. It works fast, but depletes fast, too. So rather than a first rise, it is usually shaped right after mixing and then has just one rise before baking. It's quick and easy, but the short rise time doesn't allow for a lot of flavour to develop. That's fine for sweet rolls, where there are other flavours going on, but not ideal for classic bread.
Light and Fluffy Multigrain Sandwich Bread
- 1/2 cup multi-grain cereal such as 7-grain cereal
- 2 cups boiling water
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry or instant yeast
- 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour *See Notes
- 1 Tbsp neutral cooking oil or olive oil
- 1 Tbsp dark brown sugar or honey
- 1 1/2 tsp fine salt
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
- 2 tsp flax seeds
- 2 tsp poppy seeds
Optional Add-Ins (*See Notes):
- 1/3 cup chopped dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup chopped raw pumpkin seeds
- Place multigrain cereal in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a kneading hook. Pour boiling water over, then let stand until mixture cools to between 105°F. and 115°F. for active dry yeast or to about 120F for Instant yeast, about 20 minutes. *Don't rush it. If your mixture is too hot, it may kill your yeast. A thermometer is handy here to make sure of the temperature before adding the yeast.
- Sprinkle yeast over cereal mixture. Add 1 cup flour, the oil, brown sugar and salt and stir until smooth. Gradually mix in enough remaining flour to form a smooth, moist dough. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest 15 minutes.
- Turn out dough onto floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if it's sticky, about 5 minutes. **If using add-ins, scatter over the dough and knead into the dough now. **
- Oil a large bowl. Add dough to bowl, then flip over the ball of dough so the oiled side is up. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Prepare the Seed Mixture by stirring together all the seeds in a small bowl. Set aside.
- When dough has doubled in size, gently deflate dough by pressing down the dough, then turn out onto lightly floured surface.
- If making into loaves: grease one 9x5-inch loaf pan or two 8x4-inch loaf pans. Sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of the seed mixture into the pan (or divide between two pans). For 8x4-inch loaves, divide dough ball into two equal sized pieces. For 9x5-inch loaf, leave as one piece. For both, roll out into a rectangle - about 10x20-inches for a 9x5 loaf, or two 9x18-inch rectangles fortwo 8x4 loaves. Roll up jelly rolls style, starting with the shortest side, then pinch seams together. Place rolls seam side down into prepared loaf pan(s).
- If making a freeform loaf: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Shape loaf into a round or oval shape. Scatter 1/2 of the seed mixture onto the baking sheet (about the size of the loaf) and place loaf on top.
- If making a round skillet-baked loaf: Grease a 10/12-inch cast iron skillet well. Sprinkle 1/2 of the seed mixture into the skillet. Form dough into a ball and place into skillet.
- For all loaves, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Before baking, brush top of loaves with water and sprinkle with remaining seed mixture.
- Bake in preheated 425F oven until golden and crusty, about 25-30 minutes for the 8x4-inch loaves/round skillet loaf and up to 45 minutes for the 9x5-inch or freeform loaf. CHECK LOAF after 20 minutes and cover loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil if it's already browned enough.