Multigrain Sandwich Bread Recipe

Multigrain Sandwich Bread Recipe

[Photographs: Vicky Wasik]

This hearty multigrain loaf starts with a 100% whole wheat dough that's loaded with rolled oats, chia, flax, and wheat germ. It bakes up light and chewy, not crumbly, with a nibby crunch—perfect for your morning toast or favorite sandwich. The success of this recipe depends entirely on the powerful motor of a good food processor, not a mini-chopper, to achieve intensive gluten development in the whole wheat dough. For those new to the technique, we recommend starting with our basic 100% whole wheat bread before jumping in with this multigrain variation.

Why It Works

  • Soaking the grains and seeds keeps the hydration of the dough in balance.
  • Fully hydrating the flour with an autolyse substantially improves gluten formation and development in 100% whole wheat bread.
  • A food processor makes short work of the stiff dough, creating intense gluten development in just 75 seconds.
  • Brown sugar adds flavor and complexity with minimal sweetness.
  • Yield:One 8-inch loaf
  • Active time: 10 minutes
  • Total time:About 8 hours

Ingredients

  • For the Grains:
  • 1 1/2 ounces flax seed or meal (about 4 1/2 tablespoons; 45g)
  • 1 ounce chia seeds (about 2 heaping tablespoons; 30g)
  • 1 ounce rolled oats (about 1/3 cup; 30g)
  • 1/2 ounce wheat germ (about 1 3/4 tablespoons; 15g)
  • 2 ounces cool water, about 65°F/18°C (about 1/4 cup; 55g)
  • For the Dough:
  • 15 ounces traditional whole wheat flour, such as Bob's Red Mill (about 3 1/3 cups, spooned; 425g), plus more for dusting
  • 11 1/4 ounces cool water, about 65°F/18°C (about 1 1/2 cups minus 4 1/2 teaspoons; 320g)
  • 1 3/4 ounces dark or light brown sugar (about a shy 1/4 cup; 50g)
  • 3/8 ounce (2 3/4 teaspoons; 11g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume or the same weight
  • 1/4 ounces instant dry yeast, such as SAF (1 packet or 2 rounded teaspoons; 7g); not RapidRise or active dry (more info here)
  • 2 ounces cool water, about 65°F/18°C (about 1/4 cup; 55g)
  • 1 ounce neutral oil, such as safflower, or a nutty, flavorful oil, such as hazelnut or roasted pumpkin seed (about 2 heaping tablespoons; 28g)

Directions

  1. 1.

    For the Grains: Combine the flax, chia, oats, and wheat germ in a medium bowl and toss to combine. Add the water and stir until fully absorbed, then cover tightly.

  2. 2.

    For the Autolyse: In large bowl, combine the whole wheat flour with the first addition of water. Stir until water is absorbed; then knead briefly against the sides of the bowl until no floury bits remain. Cover and set aside for 2 1/2 hours.

  3. 3.

    For the Dough: Transfer hydrated dough to a 14-cup food processor fitted with the regular metal blade (not the dough blade), along with brown sugar, salt, and instant dry yeast. Process until dough is silky smooth, and a small piece can be stretched into a thin sheet without tearing, about 75 seconds. The exact timing will vary with the power and capacity of a given machine. For smaller machines, the reduced capacity and power will necessitate dividing dough in half to process in stages.

  4. 4.

    Once gluten is well developed, drizzle in the remaining water and oil while the processor is running, and continue mixing until roughly incorporated. Shut off the machine, add the prepared grain mixture, and continue processing only until homogenous. At this stage, the dough will feel sticky, wet, and elastic, but a little gnarly from the seeds.

  5. 5.

    First Rise: Transfer dough to large, lightly greased bowl (it's fine to reuse bowl from autolyse, no need to wash). Cover and proof until puffy, light, and roughly doubled in bulk, about 2 hours at 70°F (21°C). In a chilly kitchen, the dough will need more time to rise, and in a warmer kitchen, it will move faster. Proofing is best judged by touch, not time.

  6. 6.

    Shaping the Loaf: Turn soft dough out onto clean surface lightly dusted with whole wheat flour. Pat dough into 7-inch square, and form into tight log, sealing dough together with heel of your hand. Nestle into a lightly greased 1-pound loaf pan, seam side down; cover loosely as before.

  7. 7.

    Second Rise: Let dough proof until puffy, light, and risen about 2 1/2 inches above rim of pan at the very center. To test, poke the dough gently with a flour-dusted fingertip; when dough is ready, it will retain a shallow impression that springs back after a minute. If dough is firm and springs back right away, continue proofing until dough retains a shallow impression. This will take about 75 minutes at around 70°F (21°C). Again, timing of the process will vary based on environmental conditions and is best judged by touch. Near the end of this period, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).

  8. 8.

    Baking the Loaf: After the second rise, uncover the dough and bake until well risen, golden brown, and hollow sounding when thumped; about 45 minutes, or to an internal temperature of approximately 200°F (93°C). Immediately turn loaf out onto a wire rack, and cool completely before slicing, at least 90 minutes. Slice with a sharp serrated knife. The loaf will keep up to a week at room temperature in a bread box or paper bag.