Multigrain bread

Mulitgrain Bread/Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

A multigrain bread recipe will open the new year for a reason.  Will Turnage (aka @wubbahed), Donna and I finished and submitted to Apple last week a bread baking app for iPad.  It’s time finally to act on a fascinating email I got from a baker in North Carolina about bagel making.  And Shuna privately but with her own inimitable force and clarity begged to differ on my take on English Muffins.  And just yesterday a reader emailed, pleading for a good all-purpose gluten-free bread recipe.

So it’s now officially bread baking month here, when the cold and early darkness are subdued by a hot heart and hands-on kitchen work.  (And yes, kneading should be a part of the process—it’s part of the goodness of bread, mediation through kneading. It’s also fun.)  The holidays are over and we have some time.  And there’s no better season than winter to have the smell of fresh baked bread in the house, to hear in a quiet clean kitchen the sound of a bread crust crackling as it cools.

I’m asking readers to bake bread.  Take pictures and post them on my facebook page (this way there will be a collection of them in one place, and they’ll also go out to all your friends). I’d be grateful if you forwarded this post to bread baking blogs to begin a conversation, and to tell me what bread baking blogs you like so that I can create a good list of them in my blog links.  This month I’ll be featuring bagels, gluten-free breads, a revised English Muffin recipe and more. (And don’t worry you non-bakers, I’ve got some protein posts as well.  And maybe a rant.  It’s been a while!)

The following multigrain recipe is a bread I developed for the Bread Baking Basics app and it was such a surprise, I’m eager to post it here.  A surprise on many levels.  The way whole grains become seamlessly incorporated.  How un-dense, how un-heavy this was relative to what I expected.  How flavorful and hearty it tasted and ate.  The crust alone is as satisfying as a pretzel.  A slice of this with some hot lentil soup would make a great winter meal (or better, a slice toasted, rubbed with garlic and buttered).  I love this combination of whole grains—I think all breads need some plain white bread flour or they become too dense—but you can experiment with all different kinds of grains and flours by weight if you wish.

Multigrain Bread

  • 8 ounces/240 grams bread flour
  • 4 ounces/120 grams whole wheat flour
  • 3 ounces/90 grams rolled oats
  • 3 ounces/90 grams corn grits
  • 2 ounces/60 grams buckwheat flour
  • 1 ounce/30 grams flax seeds
  • 12 ounces/340 grams water
  • 2 teaspoons/10 grams kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon/3 grams active dry yeast (if you need a fast rise, you can double this)
  • sunflour seeds, more rolled oats, pumpkin seeds, as needed for garnish
  1. Combine all ingredients, except for the garnish, in the bowl of a standing mixer (or any bowl if you’re mixing by hand).  Mix and knead the dough until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.  You should be able to stretch the dough to translucency without tearing it.
  2. Let the dough rise in the bowl, covered, till it’s doubled in size, at least two ours and as many as four.
  3. Knead the dough to force out gas and redistribute the yeast.  Let it rest for ten minutes covered with a towel.
  4. Ready a banneton or put a kitchen cloth or cotton napkin in a bowl.  Dust it with some of the buckwheat flour, a pinch of oats and seeds as you wish.
  5. Shape the dough: push it back and forth on your countertop between your hands, spinning it as you do to create a tighter and tighter ball.
  6. Put the dough top side down into the prepared banneton or cloth-lined bowl. Cover with a towel and let it rise for a good hour.
  7. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  If you’re baking on a sheet pan, put this in the oven as well.
  8. When the second rise is done, upend the dough onto your baking surface, slash it 3 or 4 times with a sharp knive and bake for a half hour.  Turn the oven down to 375 degrees F. and continue baking till done, another 15 to 30 minutes.  (If you’re unsure about doneness, use a thermometer and remove the dough when its internal temperature is 200 degrees.

Yield: one 2-pound loaf

If you liked this Multigrain Bread recipe, check out these other links:

<> © <> Michael Ruhlman. Photo © <> Donna Turner-Ruhlman. All rights reserved.