The great flavor of multigrain bread without that dense heavy texture associated with whole-grain bread. Just follow the step by step photo instructions.
This is a special loaf with lots of great taste and texture. A stand mixer bread you can do at home. I chose to make it as a French batard bread, but you can use the dough as you wish. While it is whole wheat-based, the other whole grains make it special.
I had intentions of following a recipe, but I had my reasons to run amuck again. A tweet here, a small change there, and a few simplifications, and I was good to go.
Low 5 to high 4. I’m a bread person, so I have a hard time not giving a wonderful bread a 5. It could be a great everyday bread.
Pro Tips: Recipe Notes for Multigrain French Bread
A very nice multigrain bread that really is not a lot of work and relatively quick. Adapted from a Cooks Illustrated recipe.
What About the Multigrain Ingredient?
I couldn’t find the 7-grain hot cereal that CI used, so I got Bob’s Red Mill Muesli. Any multigrain good quality hot cereal can be used. Add in other whole grains and make it what you want. And use a good quality of whole wheat flour.
What Shape to Make Your Loaf?
If you don’t have a fancy french loaf pan nor a pastry cloth, you can still make this bread. A good dough can be baked in any shape you want. Just be sure it is done.
You can do free form on parchment paper that is on wood (like a pizza peel or large cutting board). Of course, cover and let rise. Then cut, water, and transfer to a pizza stone that has been preheated in the oven for 30 minutes using the parchment paper to transfer the loaf.
This bread can also bake in a pan. But the oven temperature instructions and time estimates are for this technique. The thicker the loaf, the lower the temperature oven you use, and a longer time is needed.
What is Up with the Water?
On characteristics of a French batard is the crisp crust.
The high temperature, the brushing with water before and during baking and the moist environment all contribute to the crispy crust of the wonderful bread.
When is Bread Done?
The color: The more you bake, the better this will be for you but not for the beginners. The crust should look deep golden brown with a dry firm feel.
Tapping the beard: You can take the bread out of the oven and tap the bottom with a finger. It should sound hollow.
The internal temperature: My favorite for the beginner or only occasional bread baker like me. Most bread will be done at an internal temperature of 190, but if it is a bread with egg, milk, or butter, then 200 is a better endpoint.
The last rule about “when is bread done?” is that a bit too long is much better than too short.
Storage of This Bread
Store at room temperature but sealed. It will be very good for three days but four days is marginal. I’m not a fan of refrigerating bread but freeze for 1-2 months is ok but not as good as fresh.
Other Bread Recipes You May Enjoy
1) In the bowl of the stand mixer, combine 1 cup multigrain cereal mix. Add 1 3/4 cup boiling water. Mix well and let sit until temp is down to 110 degrees (about 20 minutes). Add 3 tablespoons honey and 3 tablespoons olive oil while setting. Mix well.
2) When the temp is down to 110, add yeast and mix well. Add 1 cup whole wheat flour.
3) Mix on “2” in a stand mixer until the flour is incorporated. Then add AP flour 1/2 cup at a time. Continue to mix and add scraping sides and bottom occasional until all flour is incorporated.
4) Remove dough hook and cover the bowl with plastic wrap for 20 minutes.
5) Add 2 teaspoons salt and turn the mixer on 2 again and knead for 8 minutes. You want the dough to grab the sides some and not ride up the dough hook completely. Add extra AP flour or water 1 tablespoon at a time to get the right hydration.
6) Move to the floured surface and hand knead for 2 minutes. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and towel. Place in a warm spot to rise until doubled in size. About 1 hour.
7) Move to a floured surface. Handling the dough gently, form 12 by 9 rectangle. Cut in half. Roll into long loaves sealing the edge by pinching and rolling ends under slightly and also pinch. Place seam down.
8) Place parallel about 4 inches apart on a pastry cloth and move as a unit to the French Loaf pan. If you don’t have the pan, put folds in the cloth. Cover with plastic wrap and towel. Place in a warm spot until double in size. About 45 minutes.
9) Preheat oven to 425 degrees convection or 450 degrees conventional oven with a pan of water on the bottom rack for at least 30 minutes.
10) Remove dough and pastry cloth from pan. Spray pan with Pam. Gently move loaves back to the pan by working your hands gently under the ends of the dough. If you don’t have the fancy pan, see the discussion above.
11) Slash top of the dough with a sharp knife or razor blade to allow for expansion. Brush top of loaves with water and place on middle rack and add 1-2 cups of water to a pan on the bottom rack.
12) After 6 minutes, brush tops of loaves with water and add more water to the pan if dry.
13) Bake until internal temp is 200 degrees, about another 20 minutes making a total of about 26 minutes.
14) Move to a cooling rack.
Editor’s Note: Originally Published April 13, 2010. Updated with refreshed photos and expanded discussion.