The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

multigrain bread

cranbo's picture

So in response to a recent post, I decided to try Beth Hensperger's Sennebec Hill bread for myself, to see if the original recipe was problematic as I initially suspected. This is an enriched multigrain bread with 3 different flours, as well as rolled oats and yellow cornmeal. 

Some adaptation was necessary, because as I have no bread machine. Fortunately guidance is easy to come by: in Hensperger's book, she notes that her recipe originates from Bernard Clayton, and his version can be found in New Complete Book of Breads, Soups & Stews. Clayton's version appears to use slightly more whole wheat flour and slightly less water than Hensperger's. He also uses very hot water (120-130F), which I suspects help rehydrate the ingredients more quickly, and promote some level of gelatinization. 

So in the bowl of my trusty KA mixer, I combined all the dry ingredients, including dry milk powder, salt and yeast. 

After whisking these together, I added the egg yolks, oil, molasses and water. In deference to the previous recipe, I only added 1 cup of water, and reserved the remaining 1/4c., as it was reported that the dough was very sticky and unmanageable. I mixed to combine on the KA's lowest speed for 1 minute with the dough hook. 

Here's the result after 1 minute of slow mix; still rough, all not quite incorporated. 

I don't know how long a bread kneading cycle typically is, I'm sure it varies from machine to machine, so I'm eyeballing this. Clayton specifies 8min of knead time by hand or mixer. 

So after this rough mix, I cranked up the mixer for 2 min at KA speed #4.

As you can see from the photo below, it was still very shaggy, loose and goopy after those 2 min of mixing, as you can see from the picture below. 

Seeing how shaggy it was, I let the barely-mixed dough rest for 5 minutes, to help the flour, oats, and cornmeal absorb some moisture. 

I then unleashed the KA again, for 5 more minutes at speed #4. About 1 minute before mix was completed, I scraped the bowl down again, as the mixer was starting to bog (!) from the horizontal structural "blanket" that had formed. Mixer wasn't even hot, but it's the first time I've heard the mixer bog mixing any dough, including some of the high % ryes that I do. 

Here's how it looked right after 7 min of mixing was completed:

Looks slightly sticky, but really it was just "post-it note tacky". Shaped easily into a smooth dough ball with no additional flour on the board. 

I let it rise for 1 hour in my microwave alongside 4c. of boiling water (which creates a nice humid fermentation, at temps between 80-85F). It had almost exactly doubled during that time. 


Again, a very soft and supple dough, not sticky at all, and very little elasticity. Notice the finger prints that remain.

Weighed this dough ball after rising, weight was 842g.

Flattened it into a rectangle, rolled it up, and into a bread pan dusted with a bit of flour to help release. 

Then I set the oven to preheat to 375F.

Back into the microwave with the hot water for final proof; here's what it looked like at 30 minutes elapsed:

Not quite 1" above top of pan, so I let it rise another 10 minutes, at which point it was fully risen (total rise time 40 min). Passed poke test, so it was ready to go. 

Gave it a light slash, sprayed the top down generously with water. I always tend to slash the tops of my loaves, in this case, perhaps I don't need to. 

Set it to bake on middle rack at 375F for 2 min, then turned it down to 350F for 18min; rotated in the oven after 20min elapsed, here's what it looked like as I rotated it:

Total bake time of 40min. When removed, internal temp of bread was 206F, and this is what it looked like:

Baked weight was 782g, which is closer to a 1.75lb loaf. 

And the crumb?

I found the crumb a bit too tight and dry for my tastes. It does have some shreddability, but not enough moistness. Could be because of slightly reduced hydration, or long bake, or both. 

Flavor? Nothing specific jumps out. You get a little bit of crunch from the corn meal (either you like that or you don't, I'm impartial to it), and a faint muskiness from the combination of rye and molasses. A decent sandwich loaf with whole grains, not mind-blowing. Overall found it to be slightly dull & flat-tasting, compared to other breads I've baked; this may be a combination of short warm rise, high yeast, and intensive knead conspiring to reduce flavor. 

For next time?  I revise my initial assumption and say that it will probably work with the original amount of water (1.25c), but I suspect that it will be pretty sticky and shaggy, and require more careful handling, or similar knead and regular bowl scraping to get it to come together. Or perhaps a slightly shorter bake. Maybe a touch more salt, or some more sweetening (I think honey in lieu of molasses would be nice). Ars Pistorica's prior suggestion of an overnight rest in the fridge, maybe with a bit less yeast, would help boost the flavor. 

So here's my adaptation:

Cranbo's Hilly Sennebec Bread

(I'll come back and provide weight measurements later)

1 1/2 cups KA all purpose white flour
3/4 cup KA whole wheat flour
1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill dark rye flour
3 tablespoons rolled oats
3 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
3 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 1/2 tablespoons KA vital wheat gluten
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons molasses
2 large egg yolks
1 cup cool tap water + 1/4 cup cool tap water (reserved if necessary)


  1. In mixer bowl, whisk all dry ingredients together.
  2. In small bowl, whisk oil, molasses, egg yolks, and 1c. of water.
  3. Mix until all ingredients combined, rest 5 min (or up to 20min)
  4. Knead for 7 min at medium speed with dough hook (KA speed #4); scrape down bowl during this process as necessary (or every 2 minutes). 
  5. Shape into ball, place in oiled clear container, let rise in warm humid place until doubled, about 1hr.
  6. Now preheat oven to 375F
  7. Take risen dough, flatten into rectangle, roll like log.
  8. Place in 5x9 bread pan, let rise in warm humid place until about 1-1.5" above pan edge, about 40min.
  9. (Optional: slash and mist loaf with water)
  10. Place on middle rack in oven, reduce heat to 350F and bake for 30-40 min, until desired browning is achieved and internal temp is at least 190F. 
  11. Remove from oven. If desired, brush top crust with melted butter. 
  12. Let cool on rack for at least 30 min. 

nadira2100's picture


Feeling very frustrated that I haven't been completely satisfied with any loaf I've made within the last few weeks, I decided to make a multigrain sandwich loaf. One that doesn't require a starter. And yes this frustration includes the Portuguese Sweet Bread because, even though it was soft and the crumb was almost perfect and the color was spot on, it wasn't perfect which doesn't sit well with a perfectionist. I also made this bread because I haven't been able to make a sandwich bread that is soft and spongy like so many good sandwich loaves are. Mine turn out dense. 

With this loaf I tried a few things that I haven't done in the past with sandwich loaves. The first being I used filtered bottled water. Again, I think this was part of my problem before and I don't think I'll ever go back to using the tap. The second, most important thing I changed was the kneading method. I've been obsessed with trying to pick up any tips and tricks I could find that will improve my loaves and the Stretch and Fold method really caught my attention. 

Now let me tell you, I had my doubts. But I tried it and I think I'll be applying it in the kitchen more often.  

This particular recipe is from Peter Reinharts The Bread Baker's Apprentice.... Multigrain Extraordinaire. Loved it. I actually can't wait to make it again. The loaf lasted 2 days and that's only because we wanted to save some to make BBQed pork sandwiches from a pork roast I made on Saturday. Here is what I did with a few modifications to the recipe...


3 tbsp Quinoa

3 tbsp course ground Corn meal

2 tbsp Flax meal

1/4 c water

Mix all of this together and let it sit overnight, covered at room temperature


13.5 oz unbleached bread flour

3 tbsp white sugar

1/4 oz instant yeast (or 1 full packet)

1 1/2 tsp salt

all of the soaker

1 1/2 tbsp honey

1/2 c milk

3/4 c water

Combine all dry ingredients and whisk together. Then add the soaker and remaining wet ingredients. Mix until the dough starts to form a ball and then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes until everything is fully incorporated. This dough was wetter and softer than I anticipated so I had to keep my area and hands floured pretty often. Once everything seems uniformly incorporated (about 3 min), place the dough ball into a lightly oiled bowl covered with plastic wrap for 30 min.

Remove the dough from the bowl and do the first stretch and fold. Place the dough back into the bowl to rest for 30 min. My dough tried to blow another bubble!

Repeat the stretch and fold and put the dough back into the bowl for another 30 min rest. (2 total stretch and folds, 1.5 hrs total of resting).

Shape the loaf and place into a lightly oiled loaf pan and proof until the dough has crested the pan. Mine took an hour.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then rotate and bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until the internal temp registers 195 degrees. This makes 1 - 2lb loaf.

I was amazed to see how much the dough rose during the second and third resting periods and how easy it was to handle. I was also amazed at how fast it rose, and how soft and delicately delicious the flavor and crumb turned out.

I've never made a softer sandwich loaf before. I also loved the textures of the grains that I used. All I have to say is...BEST loaf I've ever made. Now I believe that I am capable of truly extraordinary bread. 

MadAboutB8's picture


After last week’s super crusty bread, we decided to give our jaw a break with pan bread this week. Don’t get me wrong. I love crusty artisan bread but from time to time, you can’t help craving softer pan bread.

I've got Advance Bread and Pastry book for a while now but haven't made many breads out of it (got a really bad habit of cookbook addiction, but not enough time to use them). Flipping through the book, I cam across Multigrain Pan Bread. Instantly, I was attractd to it for two reasons, multigrain and pan bread. I love multigrain bread for its flavour and texture (and health benefits). The recipe also has interesting technique and flour mixture.

The recipe employs both pre-ferment (with yeast) and stiff sourdough starter to enhance the flavour. The recipe calls for 5 different flours; wheat flour, whole wheat flour, rye flour, semolina flour and rice flour. I ended up made it to 6, by including soy flour as well. 


The grain mixture is typical, which include sunflower seeds, oats, flaxseeds and sesame seeds (which I replaced them with cooked rice). This bread tasted amazing. It was naturally sweet. It had no sugar, and little amount of honey. I believe the wonderful flavour was resulted from several factors; pre-ferment & SD starter, grains and seeds, the mixture of flour and its flavour profile?. I'm actually not sure how the different types of flour would contribute to the great flavour (I'm planing to bake plain bread with this flour combination and to find out).

I can't help comparing this bread to PR's Multigrain Extraordinaire, which was my favorite multigrain sandwich bread. ABAP's tastes equally nice, if not nicer, but has no sugar, less honey and no butter (got veg oil though). I think I've found my new favourite multigrain bread:)

Full post and more photos are here


Mebake's picture

Sometimes, one needs to bake bread without having to plan ahead. This is from "BREAD"'s straight dough bread

section that needs no planning ahead. 5 Grain bread is an enriched, wholewheat bread that contains rolled oats, eggs, oil, corn meal, and flax seeds It is 50% wholegrain, with 40% wholewheat flour, and 10% Rye flour. The rest is high Gluten Flour, and i used a good bread flour+Vital Wheat gluten.

Total time from mixing to baking is 3.5-4Hrs. it is a quick bread, a very very flavorful quick bread that hits its pinnacle when toasted, i guarantee.

However, being on a preferment-based bread diet for so long, i would say that this bread would never have appealed to me if not for the eggs, oil, and soaker that it had.

Overall, iam very satisfied with the outcome. Anything from one's oven is a blessing.


MadAboutB8's picture

I made this same bread before some months ago combining Jeffrey Hamelman’s method and Bourke Street Bakery recipe (not entirely). This time I followed Bourke Street Bakery’s recipe closely. Umm, closely, I actually increased the amount of both soy beans and linseeds substantially (double the amount for both soys and linseeds), upped the amount of water a little (hydration percentage) and replaced 10% of bread flour with whole wheat flour.

The recipe called for soy flour, which I didn’t use in my previous bakes. I didn’t think that I was able to find the flour and I was not a fan of buying a big bag of ingredient specifically for one recipe. However, I also like to experiment with new things/new flours and I came across soy flour at Asian grocery store. The flour has very interesting texture. It was moist, creamy and mushy. It felt almost like the blended soy beans, only drier.

I was glad that I included soy flour into the dough as suggested by the recipe. The flour added moisture, tenderness and creamy colour to the crumbs. The bread was lovely, nutty and full of textures. I was also surprised how sweet the bread was, which I believe the soy flour must have contributed to some of the sweetness.

Soy beans in the bread tasted amazing, I love the texture and its creamy nutty flavour. It was just lovely.  I am also wondering if soy and linseed bread is Australian thing or it is something common. 

Full post and recipe is here.


LT72884's picture

This is a light and hearty multi- grain free form loaf bread. It is actually pretty simple. I was inspired by Zoe from her book "Artisan bred in five minuets a day" the baking technique is from her but the recipe is a modified version of hers. I have another one that i use honey instead of water. If you cut 3/4ths cup of water out, replace it with 3/4ths cup of honey.

  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 1.5 tbls kosher salt
  • 1.5 tbls yeast(two packets)
  • 1 cup Bobs red mill 10 grain cereal
  • 5.5 cups gold medal all purpose flour

Take the yeast,salt, water, and mix it together in a 5 qrt lidded bowl. Just not air tight. Add the dry ingredients and mix with either a wooden spoon, your hands, or a stand mixer. But DO NOT KNEAD the dough. Once all the flour is incorporated. Check to see if it is a nice sticky,wet dough. You might need to add a tablespoon extra of water to insure that it is nice and wet. let rise for 2-3 hours at room temp. You can either use the dough after the rise or put it in the fridge. The dough will store up to 10 days in the fridge.

On baking day, take a 1.5 pound piece of dough and shape into a elongated loaf. Sprinkle some cornmeal onto a pizza peel, and place the loaf onto the cornmeal. If dough is cold, let rest for 2 hours. If dough is at room temp, rest for 1 hour. Place pizza stone or silicone mat on center shelf of oven with a broiler try under neath the stone or mat. pre-heat oven to 450. Slash the loaf with 1/4 inch slashes across the top, side to side. Place loaf on stone or mat and pour 1 cup of hot water into the broiler try. DO NOT USE A GLASS TRY.. Bake for  35 minutes or until nice and golden brown. Let completely cool on wire rack.


free form loaf

dmsnyder's picture


Multigrain sourdoughs have a delightful complexity of flavor, wonderful texture and phenomenal keeping quality because of the moisture retained in the soaker, as well as the effect of the levain. They are delicious fresh-baked, but their flavor only fully develops after a day or two when the distinctive flavors of the grains and seeds have had a chance to meld.

I had made Jeffrey Hamelman's 5-grain Levain from “Bread” a number of times. Hamelman describes the flavor as “delectable,” which is not an over-statement. So, although my original intent was to make the Sourdough Whole Wheat Bread from Michel Suas' “Advanced Bread and Pastry” this weekend, when I saw his formula for “Sourdough Multigrain Bread” a few pages later, I couldn't resist it.








Amount (Lbs & Oz)

Bakers' %

Bread flour

2 5/8


Medium rye flour




1 3/8


Starter (stiff)

2 1/8



6 1/4


  1. Mix all ingredients well with a DDT of 70ºF. (Tip: First mix the water and starter completely. I find a dough whisk is great for this. Then add the flours and mix thoroughly.)

  2. Ferment 12 hours at room temperature.






Amount (Lbs & Oz)

Bakers' %

Flax seeds

1 1/2


Sunflower seeds

1 1/2


Rolled oats

1 1/2


Sesame seeds

1 1/2



3 7/8



9 7/8


  1. Toast the Sunflower and Sesame seeds for 4-6 minutes at 350ºF to bring out their flavor.

  2. Suas says to soak the seeds and oats for at least two hours. I soaked them overnight.


Final Dough




Amount (Lbs & Oz)

Bakers' %

Bread flour

10 1/8


Whole wheat flour

3 7/8


Medium rye flour

1 1/2



11 3/8


Yeast (instant)







9 7/8



6 1/4



2 lb




  1. Make the levain the night before baking and ferment it overnight, as above.

  2. Mix the flours, water, yeast and salt.

  3. Add the levain and mix thoroughly.

  4. Mix to medium gluten development, then add the soaker and mix only until incorporated. DDT is 75-78ºF (24-25ºC).

  5. Ferment for 2 hours.

  6. Divide into two equal pieces and pre-shape into loose balls.

  7. Rest the pieces, covered, for 20-30 minutes.

  8. Shape as bâtards. (Gently pat each ball of dough into a disc. Fold the right and left sides to meet in the middle. Then, roll the pieces up, away from you. Make sure the seam is sealed as you roll the loaves into bâtards and place in well-floured bannetons or on a floured couche.)

  9. Cover tightly and proof f

    or 60-90 minutes at 80ºF.

  10. One hour before baking, pre-heat the oven to 500ºF with a baking stone and your preferred steaming method in place.

  11. When the loaves are expanded by 75%, transfer them to a peel and to the baking stone.

  12. Immediately steam the oven and turn the temperature down to 460ºF.

  13. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the internal temperature is at least 205ºF and the bottom sounds hollow when thumped.

  14. When the loaves are fully baked, turn off the oven, but leave the loaves on the stone with the oven door ajar for 5-10 minutes to dry the crust.

  15. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack, and cool thoroughly before slicing.


This bread has a crunchy crust and chewy crumb. There is a distinct but mild sourdough tang, and the flavor of the oats and seeds is very present. Compared to Hamelman's 5-grain Levain, Suas' bread has a higher proportion of seeds, and I toasted the sesame and sunflower seeds darker than I had for Hamelman's bread. Suas also uses a firm starter while Hamelman uses a liquid starter, which accounts for the relative sourness of Suas' bread.

While the comparisons are interesting, I can't say either is “better.” Both are outstanding breads and highly recommended.  


Submitted to YeastSpotting

drdobg's picture

Good recipe for a porridge-style multi-grain bread?

December 19, 2009 - 3:52pm -- drdobg

Can anyone offer me a good recipe for a porridge-style recipe for a multi-grain bread?  I recall making one years ago using a 9-grain mix of flours and coarse grains and soaking overnight, then making the dough using this pseudo-starter and yeast.  I am unable to track down the original recipe or one like it.

holds99's picture

This is my first attempt at multigrain bread using an overnight "soaker" for the grain.  These loaves are made from Mark Sinclair's recipe for Multigrain Bread, taken from his wedsite Back Home Bakery (under recipes).  I followed his recipe except I used King Arthur's (KA) mixture of multigrain (total of 188 grams), which I recently purchased in one of my orders from KA.  This bread is delicious.  Thank you Mark for sharing this great recipe.  The recipe produces 4 1/2 pounds of dough.  I divided it into three 1 1/2 pound loaves and used 2 unlined brotforms and an unlined boule bannton for the loaves. I dusted the brotforms and banneton using a mixture of half KA AP flour and half rice flour.  Incidentally, as you can see from this photo, I use a large plastic bin to cover the loaves during final proofing, which works well for me.

 Multigrain No. 1

Brotforms after final proofing.  At 1 hour final proofing time (75 deg. F) the loaves were ready for the oven.

 Multigrain No. 2

The scoring needs practice but the loaves came out pretty well.

 Multigrain No. 3

The crust was excellent and I was very pleased with the crumb and this bread tastes delicious.  Again, thank you Mark for this terrific recipe.

 Multigrain No. 4

ehanner's picture

I'm always excited when my coffee tastes as good as it smells. The same applies to bread. For some reason the aroma and flavor of things don't always line up to be what I expect. Recently I tried Mark Sinclair's Multi Grain Bread from the recipe he has posted on his "The Back Home Bakery" website. I have tried a few other combinations of grains and methods that were pretty good but this was on the next level for me. It has a great heady aroma and it tastes wonderful. You can see the dough is not to dense and makes a great sandwich or toast. The toaster brings out the rustic nature of the grains and it tastes as good as it smells!

Mark has some first rate instructional videos on his site also that I have found very helpful for shaping and kneading. I appreciate that he is sharing his talent with us home bakers.  

Here is the Bakery web site where you will find the recipe.


Multigrain CrumbMultigrain Crumb


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