The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

No Knead Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire

emmsee's picture

No Knead Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire

I'm an Aussie Grey Nomad (retired and travelling Australia in my RV) and have followed No Knead methods and recipes since I became interested in bread making.

Because we are on the road with limited storage space I do not have a Stand Mixer nor a large Food Processor and that's how I found No Knead bread. Time is my friend and the greatest friend of No Knead exponents.


Recently I had dinner with my sister and she produced a Multigrain bread that was to die for - Peter Reinhart's Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire (MBE). She prepared and cooked it as per his formula.

She has all the gear, Dough Hook and even a steam oven (boy are those things expensive).


Well, I fell in love with this bread, the crumb is perfect, the taste divine and as toast it has no equal that I've tried.


So I tried Peters formula for MBE (then ditched the dough) and altered it to reduce the amount of sweetener (the original has 2.5 ounces of brown sugar/honey) and fluid (from 10 ounces of combined water and buttermilk to 7 ounces). I use a 14% protein bread flour and, with the original weight (I prepare by weight, not volume, other than salt and yeast) my dough was more like a thick pancake batter. I threw it out as it was un-kneadable.

Started again with the reduced quantities and it was still very sloppy, a la no knead dough. I have a repairing broken shoulder and found the hand kneading required to get the dough to the right consistency took about 45 minutes - ridiculous and painful after using no knead for 2 years.

The finished product was good, just not as good as Jen's.

So, No electric means of mixing/ kneading plus a bad shoulder means I need to try a no knead version of this recipe.


What would I need to do to convert Peter's recipe to a No Knead version of the same thing; attempting to retain the same/similar ingredients, albeit quantities altered?

I've pasted Peter's recipe below

I would really appreciate some advice!




Peter Reinhart's Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire

"Tweaked formula for Multigrain Extraordinaire (BBA)

Multigrain soaker:



50% polenta

37.5% rolled oats

25% wheat bran

100% water


Final dough


100% Bread Flour

23.5% multigrain soaker

5.9% brown rice

4.1% brown sugar

2.2% salt

1.9% yeast

23.5% buttermilk

5.9% honey

35.3% water



This formula makes an excellent dough that needs very little flour on the bench when shaping. It's not as 

sweet as the original, which was much too sweet for my taste.



Day 1: 5 minutes soaker

Day 2: 10 to 15 minutes mixing; 3 hours fermentation, shaping, and proofing; 20 to 60 minutes baking

I am always exploring the multigrain genre in a never-ending quest for better and better ways to deliver 

nutritious bread in a delicious package. Adapting some of the advanced concepts we’ve discussed, such as the 

soaker technique, to activate enzymes and break out natural sugars seems a natural progression. This is a 

variation of perhaps my best-known bread, struan, whose flavor in the original version I thought impossible to 

top. This version preserves that flavor and opens up possibilities for grain variations not possible with the 

direct-dough technique of the original struan, as described in Brother Juniper’s Bread Book and Bread Upon the 

Waters. Substituting, for instance, millet, quinoa, amaranth, or buckwheat for the corn or oats (or simply adding 

them to the blend) can be accomplished with the soaker method without pre-cooking those grains.

I say this with the confidence born of hundreds of customer testimonials: this bread and its variations make 

the best toast in the world. Because it is sweetened with both honey and brown sugar, it caramelizes quickly, 

both while baking and especially when toasting. The many grains hold moisture so that, while the slices crisp 

up when toasted, they also retain a moist sweetness. The flavors marry extremely well with mayonnaise-based 

sandwich fillings, such as egg salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, and BLTs. I nearly always top the loaves with 

poppy seeds because they add a complementary appearance and taste and look more attractive than, say, 

sesame seeds. The dough can be formed into rolls and freestanding loaves for specific applications, but I 

believe that the most perfect use of this bread is either for sandwiches or toast (or even better, toasted 



Makes one 2-pound loaf or 6 to 12 rolls



3 tablespoons (1 ounce) coarse cornmeal (also packaged as “polenta”), millet, quinoa, or amaranth

3 tablespoons (.75 ounce) rolled oats or wheat, buckwheat, or triticale flakes

2 tablespoons (.25 ounce) wheat bran

¼ cup (2 ounces) water, at room temperature


3 cups (13.5 ounces) unbleached high-gluten or bread flour

3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) brown sugar

1½ teaspoons (.38 ounce) salt

1 tablespoon (.33 ounce) instant yeast

3 tablespoons (1 ounce) cooked brown rice

1½ tablespoons (1 ounce) honey

½ cup (4 ounces) buttermilk or milk

¾ cup (6 ounces) water, at room temperature

About 1 tablespoon poppy seeds for topping (optional)

1. On the day before making the bread, make the soaker. Combine the cornmeal, oats, and bran with the water 

in a small bowl. The water will just cover the grain, hydrating it slightly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and 

leave it at room temperature overnight to initiate enzyme action.


2. The next day, to make the dough, stir together the flour, brown sugar, salt, and yeast in a 4-quart bowl (or 

in the bowl of an electric mixer). Add the soaker, rice, honey, buttermilk, and water. Stir (or mix on low speed 

with the paddle attachment) until the ingredients form a ball. Add a few drops of water if any of the flour 

remains separate.


3. Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin to knead (or mix on medium 

speed with the dough hook). Knead for about 12 minutes (or mix for 8 to 10 minutes on medium-low speed), 

sprinkling in flour if needed to make a dough that is soft and pliable, tacky but not sticky. The individual 

ingredients will homogenize into the greater dough, disappearing to an extent, and the dough will smooth out 

and become slightly shiny. (If you are using an electric mixer, hand knead the dough for a minute or two at the 

end.) The dough should pass the windowpane test and register 77° to 81°F. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the 

dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.


4. Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size.


5. Remove the dough from the bowl and press it by hand into a rectangle about ¾ inch thick, 6 inches wide, 

and 8 to 10 inches long. Form it into a loaf, or into another desired shape. Place the loaf into a lightly oiled 9 

by 5-inch loaf pan, or onto a sheet pan lined with baking parchment if you are making rolls or freestanding 

loaves. Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle on the poppy seeds. Mist again, this time with spray 

oil, and loosely cover the dough with plastic wrap or a towel.


6. Proof for approximately 90 minutes, or until the dough nearly doubles in size. If you are using a loaf pan, the 

dough should crest fully above the lip of the pan, doming about 1 inch above the pan at the center.


7. Preheat the oven to 350°F with the oven rack on the middle shelf.


8. Bake for about 20 minutes. Small rolls probably will be finished at this point. For everything else, rotate the 

pan 180 degrees and continue baking for another 15 minutes for freestanding loaves and 20 to 40 minutes for 

loaf-pan bread. The bread should register at least 185° to 190°F in the center, be golden brown, and make a 

hollow sound when thumped on the bottom.


9. When the loaves are finished baking, remove them immediately from the pans and cool on a rack for at least 

1 hour, preferably 2 hours, before slicing or serving.



If you do not have wheat bran on hand, you can sift whole-wheat flour through a fine sieve and extract the 

bran. The flour that sifts through can be used in rye breads or in pain de campagne (or it can be stirred back 

into the whole-wheat flour).



This formula uses such a small amount of cooked rice that it’s hardly worth cooking it just for the bread (unless 

you are making a larger batch of bread than this version). I suggest making brown rice for a meal and holding 

some back for special uses like this bread. You can keep it refrigerated for up to 4 days (any longer and it 

develops enzyme characteristics detrimental to the dough development), or freeze it in small packets for use 

over the next 6 months. You can also substitute cooked white or wild rice, but brown rice blends in the best.



You can leave out the milk altogether and replace it with an equal amount of water. The bread will be slightly 

chewier and lighter in appearance without milk, as the milk not only tenderizes and enriches the dough, but 

also adds a small amount of lactose sugar that helps caramelize the crust.



Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire


Cornmeal      50

Rolled oats      37.5

Wheat bran  12.5

Water        100

Total            200




High-gluten flour100

Brown sugar11.1


Instant yeast2.4

Brown rice7.4






MichaelLily's picture

I would increase hydration to about 75% and reduce yeast to about 1%, and then treat it exactly the same as a no-knead dough.

emmsee's picture

G'day Michael,

Would you still use the preferment soaker?

I've puzzled over hydration.

I've made this formula as per my original post and the morning after preparing the soaker it was dry (the seeds/grains had absorbed all the water in that part of the formula).

Should I therefore disregard the water used in the soaker when calculating my 75% hydration?

My geographic location (Sydney) has daytime temperatures at this time of year of between 26C and 36C (79F & 97F). Would this mean an adjustment to the proof times?

If so, any clue as to how much I should adjust time by?

Thanks for the advice



MichaelLily's picture

Yes, disregard soaker water.  Follow fermentation times for no knead. Use slightly cooler water if you are concerned it will proof too quickly. The bread will be somewhat different than what the recipe produces, but I know I prefer it the new way.

dabrownman's picture

If your flour dough weighs 500 g then the soaker is 148 g. Half of the soaker is water so it is 74 g and the polenta is 37 g, the oats are 28 g and the wheat bran is 9 g.  I assume the brown rice is ground up and flour since it isn't in the soaker.  That makes the dough about 71% hydration and the soaker 100% hydration. making the overall hydration a bit less than 74% a wet dough but not sloppy or batter at all.  I think you are measuring something  wrong.  If you say 70% of the honey is water that makes 5 g if water and the 74 g in the soaker and 370 in the water and buttermilk makes for 449 g of liquid and 611 g of flour including the dough soaker and rice.

I would cut the salt to 2% or 12 g and the instant yeast to 1.5 or 9 g% this makes the total weight of the bread 1081 g.

Happy baking 

emmsee's picture

G'day again,

Thanks for your input and advice guys - much appreciated.

I've spent far too many hours changing the MBE by Peter Reinhart to a No Knead version and have pasted it below.

I'd appreciate your comment on both the %'s and the method if you're of a mind.

It looks correct but I'm a rank amateur, so would be grateful for your thoughts.



Mikes No Knead Multigrain Bread a la PR It will have a biga, soaker and main dough BIGAINGREDIENT %Unbleached bread flour 100Water 75active dry yeast 0.7  MAKES ABOUT 260 grams150 grams unbleached bread flour1/4  teaspoon (1.22 grams) active dry yeast112 grams cool water (18° to 21°C)Approximate Weight - 262 grams 1. Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir with a wooden or metal spoon until the dough forms a ball.2. Stir with Dough stick for about 5 minutes, until the flour is fully incorporated and the dough is smooth and tacky but not sticky. Add a little more flour or water if necessary to achieve this  consistency.3. Place the dough in a clean bowl large enough to accommodate doubling. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or enclose it in a plastic bag, and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for about 3 to 5 hours, or till thedough increases in size at least 1½ times.4. Use immediately or punch down, cover with plastic wrap (or put it back in the plastic bag), and retard in the refrigerator overnight. ***********************************************************SOAKERINGREDIENT %Grains 50Water 50 25 grams coarse cornmeal (also packaged as “polenta”), millet, quinoa, or amaranth18 grams rolled oats or quinoa flakes 7 grams wheat bran 8 grams ground flax seeds 8 grams Grain (Any of - Flax seed, Amaranth, Kibbled Grain, Sunflower seeds, Steel Cut oats, Buckwheat, Nigella Seed, Sesame Seed, Poppy seed)67 grams water, at room temperatureApproximate Weight - 133 grams Mix together and soak for 1 hour or overnight in fridge  MASTER FORMULA:YEASTED MULTIGRAIN BREADBe sure to make the pre-ferment for this recipe the day before, and take it out of the refrigerator at least 1 hour before using. COMMENTARIESLoaf pan breads should always rise above their pans, but not over-rise and mushroom over the sides. Bake them while still on the rise, assuming a 10 percent oven spring.INGREDIENT %Unbleached bread flour 100Biga (75% Hyd) preferment 110Multigrain blend (100% Hyd) 57 Brown rice 12.8Brown sugar 12.8Salt 3.1Instant yeast 1Buttermilk 50Honey 8.5Water 45  MAKES 1 LOAF (262 Grams) bigastyle pre-ferment @ 75% hydration(234 grams) unbleached bread flour or blend with Wholemeal/Spelt(133 grams) Multigrain blend (Any of - Flax, Amaranth, Kibbled Grain, Pumpkin/Sunflower seeds, Rolled Oats, Steel Cut oats, Buckwheat, Nigella Seed, Sesame Seed) @ 100 % hydration(30 grams) 2 tablespoons cooked brown rice grains(30 grams) 2 tablespoons brown sugar(7 grams) 11/2 teaspoons salt(5 grams) 1½ teaspoons instant yeast(115 grams) ½ cup buttermilk(20 grams) 1 tablespoons honey or molasses(106 grams) cool water (18° to 21°C) Rolled oats or poppy or other seeds for topping (optional)Vegetable oil cooking spray  Approximate Weight: 930 grams  1. Remove the refrigerated biga and let it sit out for 1 hour, to take the chill off. Cut it into small pieces, 2. Combine the Biga and the Soaker with the other dough ingredients in a mixing bowl by hand, stirring until all the ingredients are mixed & gather and form a ball. 3. Cover the dough with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours or refrigerate up to 2 days.4.  Degas Dough. Grease a loaf pan (5 by 9 inches - 13 by 23 cm ). Shape the dough into a sandwich loaf, and place it in the pan seam side down (or follow the directions for a free-form loaf, and place it on a greased sheet pan).5. Mist the loaf lightly with cooking spray. Cover it loosely with plastic wrap or enclose it in a plastic bag. Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, till it crests above the pan, doming but not mushrooming over the sides.6. Position an oven rack in the bottom third of the oven, but not on the bottom rung. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180C.7. Place the loaf in the centre of the rack and bake for 20 minutes.8. Turn the loaf front to back to insure even browning, and bake for 25 to 35 minutes more. The bread is done when the crust is a deep golden brown on all sides, the loaf sounds hollow when thwacked on the bottom, and the internal dough temperature is about 185°F/85C. If the bread seems too soft, remove it from the pan and finish it directly on the oven rack; it will brown very quickly.9. Remove the bread from the oven to a cooling rack, and let it cool for 90 minutes before slicing.