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. Makes 1 large loaf or 2 small loaves.
Basic Multigrain Bread Dough:
1/2cupmulti-grain cerealsuch as 7, 10 or 12-grain cereal *see Note 1
2 1/4tspactive dry or instant yeast(not rapid or quick rise yeast)
4cupsunbleached all-purpose flour *see Note 2
1Tbspvegetable oilor other neutral tasting cooking oil, or melted and cooled butter
1Tbsphoneyor light or dark brown sugar
1 1/2tspfine sea salt
OPTIONAL Add-ins *See Note 3 below
1/3cupraisins or dried cranberries
1/4cupraw pumpkin or sunflower seedschopped
1/4cupnuts (pecans, walnuts etc)chopped
2Tbspmixed small seedspoppy, sesame and/or flax seeds
1largeeggmixed with 1 Tbsp water (or alternately, just water, for a vegan loaf, though seeds may not stick as well).
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. (regular bake/non convection), with rack positioned just below centre (a little lower rack position, one down from centre, will help to keep the top of the bread from browning as quickly).
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.
If you find the bread gets too dark for your liking, even after tenting it with foil for the last part of baking, try baking it at 400F instead and baking it a little longer.
Be sure to read the Ingredient and Baker's Notes above the Recipe Card for more tips on making this bread. You will also find Step-by-Step photos and a video of making the dough, that you might find helpful.