This incredibly light and fluffy multigrain bread is the best of both worlds - light and fluffy bread, perfect for sandwiches or toast, but with the added goodness of whole grains and a crunchy, seedy topping.
Today I'm sharing my latest daily bread of choice. It's a light and fluffy multigrain 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?
You'll love the great flavour and texture of this bread, together with the added goodness of whole grains. It makes great sandwich bread and is lovely toasted, as well. It's also a fast-riser, so you'll be enjoying it in no time!
Cereal Mix - This loaf uses multigrain cereal mix, which is a mix that is generally used to make a hot cereal when combined with hot water or milk. This kind of mix is the most efficient way to get a variety of whole grains together.
The most common is a "7-grain" cereal mix. If you are in Canada, Bulk Barn sells both a 7-grain (Hard red wheat, barley, rye, steel cut oats, brown flaxseed, millet, buckwheat) and a 12-grain (Cracked wheat, cracked rye, cracked triticale, oat flakes, millet, cracked oats, barley flakes, sunflower seeds, natural sesame seeds, buckwheat grits, brown flaxseeds, yellow flaxseeds) cereal mix. Either of those will work fine. Bob's Red Mill also has a 7-grain mix.
If you can't find any of those mixes, look for something like a porridge mix. Rogers makes a couple of Porridge mixes - Porridge Oats and Healthy Grains (oat flakes, oat bran, wheat bran and flaxseed) or Porridge Oats and Ancient Grains (Oat, rye, barley, spelt and khorasan flakes, oat bran, millet, flaxseed, quinoa flakes). Quaker makes a mix called Quaker Super Grains Hot Cereal, that is a mix of whole grain oats, flaxseed, and quinoa.
My best advice is to browse the hot cereal/oatmeal section at the grocery store or the natural foods section and see what you can find. If you really can't find something, see below for a homemade multigrain cereal mix.
All Purpose Flour - for the lightest loaf, use all purpose flour. I prefer unbleached all purpose flour. You can also use bread flour, though you may need a little less than specified. If you want to add some whole wheat flour to the loaf, you can replace up to 1 cup of the all purpose flour with whole wheat flour, though your loaf will not be as light as fluffy as the original with this change.
Make your own multigrain cereal mix
If you can't find a pre-mixed multigrain cereal mix, you can mix up your own with a combination of any of the following whole grains:
Rolled oats, quick oats, steel cut oats, quinoa, flaxseed meal, flaxseed, sesame seeds, oat flakes, rye flakes, barley flakes, cracked wheat, wheat bran, oat bran, millet, buckwheat.
Since this dough can start with any number of multigrain cereal mixes, it may absorb the water differently. You may find you have less water in the bowl than shown here after it sits for 20 minutes. That's ok :)
Be sure your cereal mix has cooled to just lukewarm before adding the yeast or you could kill the yeast before you get started. Test with an instant read thermometer if you have one and make sure it's about 105F. Otherwise, test with your finger. It should be lukewarm and not feel hot at all.
I like to add a couple of tablespoons of small seeds to my bread. Here I've added some poppy and sesame seeds, together with a little flaxseed meal. It's totally optional though.
Thee secret to a light and fluffy loaf is to not add too much flour! In the photo above, you'll see that the dough with the 4 cups of flour added is loose and wet. Yours may be a little less loose, depending on the cereal mix that you used, but it should be very moist at this point. That's what we want. You may be tempted to add more flour, but resist the urge to add it at this stage.
Once we rest the dough for 15-minutes, the grains will continue to absorb the moisture in the dough and be a lot less loose. After that, simply remove to a floured work surface and add a bit more flour, as needed, if the dough is still a little sticky.
This bread is a FAST RISER! Don't wander far and keep a good eye on it. This 1st rise shown here was only about 40 minutes. Be sure you just allow the dough to rise to doubled and no more.
The rise in the pan is just as quick as the 1st rise. You'll find it will be risen and ready for the oven in 25-30 minutes (and maybe less). In a 9x5-inch pan, it should crest the pan by about 1 1/2-inches in the centre.
This bread browns quickly, so be sure to cover the top loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil after about 18-20 minutes of baking, to keep the top from over-browning.
The early browning can also make the loaf look done before it is. A large 9x5-inch loaf like this will need a total of 40-45 minutes in the oven to bake through. An instant read thermometer is invaluable here to test the loaf for doneness. Bake until the internal temperature is 195-205F (I aim for about 200F).
- As noted above, after you have added the 4 cups of flour, your dough may be quite loose and wet. The grains in the bread will hold a lot of moisture, so this isn't a dough that will come together like a normal dough. Loose and wet is ok at this point. Once it rests for 15-minutes, it will become less loose and less wet. If needed, we can add a bit more flour on the bench, as needed. That said, depending on your grain mix, you dough may be less wet and loose and that's ok, too. That just means you'll need little more flour on the bench.
- While I love the seed topping on this bread, you can easily skip it if you prefer. Leave it plain or do the egg wash and use some rolled oats on top instead.
- This bread will be Vegan, if made with brown sugar (instead of honey) and using water on top instead of the egg wash.
- You can make this bread as one large 9x5 loaf, as two shorter, smaller 8x4 loaves. Note that baking time will be less for the 8x4 loaves. Refer to the Recipe Card 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. I aim for about 200F.
Add-ins for your loaf
Additional add-ins are completely optional. They are just suggestions if you want to change up your basic loaf a bit. Feel free to leave out and just enjoy the basic multigrain bread. My favourite add-in is to add a couple of tablespoons of the small seed mix. It adds a little extra flavour and texture to the loaf.
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. I use and recommend SAF Brand Instant Yeast.
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 Seeded Multigrain Bread
Basic Multigrain Bread Dough:
- 1/2 cup multi-grain cereal, such as 7, 10 or 12-grain cereal *see Note 1
- 2 cups boiling water
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry or instant yeast
- 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour , *see Note 2
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil, or other neutral tasting cooking oil
- 1 Tbsp honey, or dark brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
OPTIONAL Add-ins *See Note 3 below
- 1/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup raw pumpkin or sunflower seeds, chopped
- 1/4 cup nuts (pecans, walnuts etc), chopped
- 2 Tbsp mixed small seeds, poppy, sesame and/or flax seeds
- 1 large egg, mixed with 1 Tbsp water (or alternately, just water, for a vegan loaf, though seeds may not stick as well).
Topping Seed Mixture:
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
- 2 tsp flax seeds
- 2 tsp poppy seeds
- Raw pumpkin and or sunflower seeds, optional
- 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, honey (or brown sugar) and salt and stir until smooth. Gradually mix in the remaining flour, incorporating and additional add-ins during the mixing. Once all the flour is added, you'll have a moist dough, that may also seem a bit loose. Resist the urge to add more flour at this point. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest 15 minutes. The grains will absorb more of the moisture during the rest period.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead a few minutes, until smooth and elastic, adding more flour, as needed, if it's sticking to your hands or the work surface.
- Oil a large bowl or measuring cup. Add the 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. **Don't wander far. This bread is a quick riser and may double in as little as 35-40 minutes. It may take longer. The important thing is to make sure it rises only until doubled, no matter how long that is.
- Prepare the Seed Mixture by stirring together all the seeds in a small bowl. Set aside.
- When dough has doubled in size, remove to a work surface and gently deflate dough by pressing down the dough.
- Grease one 9x5-inch loaf pan or two 8x4-inch loaf pans. Sprinkle a bit of the seed mixture into the pan (or divide between two pans), if you like. For 8x4-inch loaves, divide the dough into two equal sized pieces. For 9x5-inch loaf, leave as one piece. Roll the dough out into a rectangle about 10 inches wide and 18-inches long. for a 9x5 loaf, or 9x16-inch rectangles each of the two 8x4 loaves. Roll up jelly rolls style, starting with the short side, then pinch seams together. Place rolls seam side down into prepared loaf pan(s).
- Cover the loaves with a clean kitchen towel or greased/sprayed plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 25- 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Before baking, brush top of loaves with the egg wash and sprinkle the top with remaining seed mixture.
- Bake in preheated 425F oven for 18-20 minutes, then cover the top loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil to prevent over-browning. Bake a further 20-25 minutes for a 9x5 loaf or 10-15 minutes for 8x4 loaves, or until golden and crusty and have an internal temperature of 195-205F when tested with an instant read thermometer. *Bread will look done, even when it isn't cooked through. The large 9x5 loaf will need the full 40-45 minutes in the oven to be cooked through.
- Remove from oven. Run a knife around the edges of the pan and immediately remove to a cooling rack to cool. Allow to cool completely (or almost completely) before slicing, to avoid a gummy bread.
- Store bread well wrapped at room temperature for a couple of days, or freeze for longer storage. This bread will freeze well up to 2-3 months or more.
- Refer to the Ingredient Notes above this Recipe Card for some guidance and suggestions for different multigrain cereal blends you can use here, as well as how to make your own multigrain mix.
- You can replace up to 1 cup of the unbleached all purpose flour with whole wheat flour, if you like, though the resulting bread will not be as light as it would be with all purpose flour. I don't recommend adding more than 1 cup of whole wheat flour, as it will alter the hydration of the dough significantly.
- The Optional add-ins are things you can add in to the dough - one, all or none of them, if you like, to change up the bread a bit. That said, don't exceed about 1/2 cup of total add-ins.
Nutritional information provided for general guidance only and should not be relied upon to make personal health decisions.