Five-Grain Seeded Sourdough {Recipe}

This recipe is one I adapted from Peter Reinhart’s Basic Sourdough Bread in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.  It uses Bob’s Red Mill Five-Grain Cereal, although others have reported good results using Seven- or Ten-Grain.  It is a hearty bread that is delicious toasted and makes great sandwiches.

Five Grain Sourdough

Firm Starter

4 oz. sourdough starter
4.5 oz bread flour
1/4 cup lukewarm water


1/2 to 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill 5-Grain Cereal
1/2 cup shelled raw sunflower seeds (optional)
1/2 cup shelled raw pumpkin seeds (optional)
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup boiling water (approx.)


20.25 ounces bread flour
0.5 ounce salt
1 ½ to 1 ¾ cups lukewarm water


Day 1

1. To make firm starter, remove sourdough starter from refrigerator and allow to warm up for about 1 hour. Combine starter ingredients and knead just long enough to evenly distribute flour and sourdough starter. Spray zipper seal bag lightly with oil. Place firm starter in bag and seal. Allow to double at room temperature, approximately 4 hours. Refrigerate overnight.

2. Place cereal, seeds (if using), and salt in small bowl. Add boiling water to cover. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature overnight.

Day 2

3. Remove starter from refrigerator 1 hour before making dough. Combine flour and salt in large mixing bowl. Add soaker and mix well. Remove starter from zipper bag, tear into pieces, and add to flour mixture. Using large spoon or your hands, mix in enough water to bring dough together in a ball.

4. Allow dough to autolyse for 30-40 minutes. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead for 13-16 minutes, until dough passes the windowpane test. Dough should be firm but tacky, like French bread dough. Lightly oil a large bowl. Place dough in bowl, roll to coat with oil, and cover bowl with plastic wrap.

5. Ferment dough at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours or until it nearly doubles. Gently divide dough into two pieces and shape as desired. Mist dough with spray oil, cover loosely with plastic wrap or floured towel, and place in refrigerator.

Day 3 (see Note below for instructions to complete bread in 2 days)

6. Remove loaves from refrigerator 3 to 4 hours before you plan to bake them. Make sure not to overproof. When the imprint of a finger poked gently into dough springs back slowly, the dough is ready to bake.

7. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F for 45 minutes to 1 hour with baking stone and steam pan in place. Slash loaves and move carefully to baking stone. Immediately pour 3/4 cup hot water into steam pan. Close oven and lower temperature to 450 degrees F. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate loaves to ensure even baking. Continue to bake for 10 to 20 minutes, until the loaves register 200 to 205 degrees F in the center.

8. Cool for 45 minutes before slicing.

Note: If you want to make the bread in 2 days instead of 3, after dividing, shaping, and misting the dough in step 5, cover the loaves and allow to proof at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, then bake as directed.


  1. August 8, 2010 at 7:53 am

    […] favorite recipes in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, and I went on to create my own sourdough grain and seed bread recipe. So it should come as no surprise that of the recipes in the Breads section of The Modern Baker, […]

  2. January 2, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    […] and there to compare it with the original recipe. My favorite variation was a straun-type bread, Five-Grain Seeded Sourdough Bread, which I bake fairly […]

  3. December 13, 2009 at 1:10 am

    […] soaker– in making a soaker, course-ground grains (e.g., cracked wheat, course-ground cornmeal, oats, etc.) are soaked in a small amount of water or milk overnight. This serves to soften and activate the enzymes in the grains, which improves the flavor of bread dramatically. […]

  4. October 4, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    […] aren’t generally used in bread baking. Having experimented with my own multigrain bread, Five Grain Seeded Sourdough, I was anxious to try Peter’s […]

  5. June 3, 2009 at 3:16 am

    Love the pumpkin and sunflower seeds in this. Really beautiful bread and crumb.
    It is sort of nerve racking the first few times you make bread with just a wild yeast starter and no added yeast but it’s then a thrill to get beautiful bread like this.
    I don’t think I’ve done this recipe but I just posted one yesterday from Beth Hensperger Bread Bible for 7-grain bread not sour dough.

  6. Denise said,

    June 2, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    This looks like something to try this weekend.
    Phyl do you have a basic sourdough recipe you use or do you just use the one from BBA book.
    Thanks so much for the tutorial on sourdough starter. I used it last weekend, and the family loved it!

    • gaaarp said,

      June 2, 2009 at 11:52 pm

      Denise, I baked the Basic Sourdough recipe in BBA every week for months just to get it down pat. It’s still my go-to recipe. I really like Hamelman’s Vermont Sourdough recipe, too.

  7. Cathy said,

    June 2, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    This is gorgeous bread! Love the slices and the whole loaf. I hope to work up to bread like this someday after lots and lots of practice on some easier stuff!

    • gaaarp said,

      June 2, 2009 at 10:51 pm

      Thanks, Cathy. Sourdough is probably one of the most satisfying breads to make. Once you get a good starter and get comfortable with the whole process, there’s just something about baking with no added yeast.

  8. Kayte said,

    June 2, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    Okay, this looks delicious and healthy and beautiful. I need a little more experience and I am bookmarking this to give it a try. Thanks for recipe and instructions. Wow.

    • gaaarp said,

      June 2, 2009 at 10:43 pm

      Kayte, once you get a few loaves of Basic Sourdough under your belt, this recipe is not that difficult. The soaker really kicks it up a notch.

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