This rustic multigrain bread filled with good stuff like whole wheat and rye flours, flax seeds, oats, and bulgur wheat is both hearty and delicious!
I get on bread baking kicks where I make several a week, just for fun, so we can have fresh homemade bread for morning toast, sandwiches, snacking etc. Often I’ll lose my enthusiasm after a while and stop baking bread for a bit, but during the winter it’s almost nonstop. It’s just so comforting. Can you beat a loaf of homemade bread still warm from the oven?
This rustic multigrain bread is my current obsession. I originally shared this recipe back in 2013 and kind of forgot about it for a while. I found it in the archives during my latest bread baking spree, fell in love all over again, and it’s been on repeat ever since.
It’s hearty, but not too dense. Many whole or multigrain breads are dense and crumbly, but somehow this loaf is still a little tender and tastes amazing slathered in salted butter or used to make sandwiches.
What’s in this Rustic Multigrain Bread?
There’s so much stuff going on in this loaf and almost all of it is good for you— whole wheat flour, bulgur wheat, rye flour, flax seeds, oats, sunflower seeds, and just enough all-purpose flour to keep it from getting too heavy. Plus a little honey and butter for sweetness and flavor.
It’s bread that I don’t feel so bad about snacking on, and that’s something I can really get behind.
You should be able to find most of the grains and flours at any major grocery store in the specialty flour section, a well-stocked bulk section, or even online.
How to make this Rustic Multigrain Bread
Like most yeast bread recipes, this rustic multigrain bread takes some time to make. But it’s not difficult! And it’s definitely a recipe for all levels of skill. Let’s break down the steps:
- Soak the bulgur wheat with water to soften it.
- Heat more water with the honey and butter until warm and butter is melted. This warm mixture is what will activate the yeast so it can start working its magic.
- Add all of the ingredients except for the all-purpose flour to the bowl of a stand mixer (if you plan to knead with a dough hook, or in a large bowl if kneading by hand) and combine to make a wet dough.
- Start kneading the dough, adding the all-purpose flour a little at a time. Add only enough flour so the dough clears the side of the bowl but still feels tacky. You may need less than 1 cup, you may need a lot more. Every time I make a loaf it’s different!
- Knead the dough until it’s smooth and doesn’t break immediately when you stretch it.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for about 1 hour until it’s doubled in size.
- Gently punch down the dough to release the trapped air, knead it a few times and bring it back into a ball.
- Place it in a dutch oven or large oven-proof pot with a lid and brush with egg wash and sprinkle with oats. Use a sharp knife to slice 3 cuts into the top of the bread. These cuts will help control the rise of the bread in the oven so it’s doesn’t burst open at a random spot.
- Let rise for another half hour or so, while you preheat the oven to 425°F.
- When ready to bake cover pot with the lid and put in oven (you may need to lower the oven rack to make room). Reduce oven temp to 400°F.
- After about 45 minutes of baking, bread should be slightly golden on top and baked all the way through.
- Remove from the pot and try to resist cutting into it until it has cooled.
Why does this bread bake in a dutch oven?
A covered pot, like a cast iron dutch oven, mimics the conditions inside a professional baker’s oven— intense heat and moisture. The dutch oven traps moisture released during baking, helping with rise and giving the crust a nice crisp and shiny finish.
Without a dutch oven to trap the moisture released during the first 20 minutes of baking, it would evaporate and the crust would develop a tough outer crust. This crust prevents the bread from rising further and you’re left with a squat loaf. But if you use a dutch oven, this problem is solved!
Do I have to use a dutch oven?
If you scroll through the comments you’ll find lots of bakers wondering how to bake this bread without a dutch oven. Which is part of the reason I’ve added the explanation above. You really should use a dutch oven! You’ll end up with a better loaf of bread.
If you don’t have a cast iron dutch oven, you can use any oven-proof pot with a lid. The thicker the pot, the better job it’ll do at insulating the heat. And if you don’t have a lid, simply cover it with foil or a sheet pan.
Still interested in skipping the pot? Bake this bread on a sheet pan (or better yet, a baking stone or steel) at 400° with a small loaf pan or square pan on the lower rack filled with about 1 cup of water. This water will help add moisture to the environment inside your oven.
baking tip:Baking with whole grains
It can be intimidating, I’ve been there! The best way is just to dive in with a recipe from a source that you trust. Start with one that’s been developed for whole grains, that way you’ll have a greater chance of success. You can always experiment with making your favorite recipes whole grain once you’re more comfortable. You’ll also need a good resource for some of the less common baking ingredients. I like the bulk section at my local specialty foods store. I can find all the ingredients I need and buy the right amount needed for the recipe. If you can’t find something local, you can always purchase it online.
More bread recipes to try
Now that you’ve mastered this hearty bread recipe, here are a few more you might enjoy:
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- 3 tablespoons (30 grams) bulgur wheat
- 1 ¼ cup (300 ml) water, divided
- 2 tablespoons (43 grams) honey
- 2 tablespoon (28 grams) unsalted butter
- 2 ¼ teaspoon (1 packet, 7 grams) active-dry yeast
- 1 ½ cup (170 grams) whole wheat flour
- ½ cup (50 grams) rye flour
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt
- ¼ cup (25 grams) rolled oats
- ¼ cup (35 grams) flaxseeds
- 2 tablespoons (18 grams) raw sunflower seeds
- 1 - 1 ½ cup (170 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon of water, for wash (optional)
- Additional rolled oats, for sprinkling (optional)
- Soak the bulgur wheat in ¼ cup warm water for 30 minutes, or until all water is absorbed.
- In a small saucepan, combine the remaining 1 cup water, honey, and butter. Place over medium heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes (to about 120-130 degrees F).
- Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast, whole wheat flour, rye flour, and salt. Pour in the warm water mixture and mix until combined. Add the rolled oats, flaxseed, sunflower seeds and soaked bulger wheat and mix until combined.
- Add the all-purpose flour a few tablespoons at a time until the dough clears the bowl (you may not use all 1 1/2 cups of the flour). Continue kneading in the mixer until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 3-4 minutes. This dough is heavier than many bread dough, but you should be able to pull it a bit without it immediately breaking.
- Gather dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place. Let rise until doubled and it doesn’t bounce back when pressed, about 1 hour. Punch down dough and knead a few times until smooth. Let rest for about 5 minutes.
- Place dough in a dutch oven or large pot lined with parchment paper. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with rolled oats. Use a sharp knife to slice 3 cuts into the top of the bread. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for an additional 30-45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450 degrees and place oven rack in the center of the oven (or lower if necessary to fit the pot). When ready to bake, cover the dutch oven with a lid and place in the oven. Turn the oven temp down to 400 degrees and bake for about 45 minutes, until the top of the bread is golden brown.
- Let bread cool before slicing. It is best enjoyed the day it is baked, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for several days.