Seven Grain & Seed Bread {ModBak}

I’ve been fascinated with multigrain bread since I read Peter Reinhart’s Bread Upon the Waters, in which he analogizes the bread baking process to his spiritual journey, and carries that metaphor through the book using his recipe for struan. Whether it’s called grain and seed bread, multigrain bread, or struan, this is one of my favorite breads to bake and eat.

In fact, Peter’s Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire was one of my 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, this is the one I was most excited to try.

Because this recipe has a lot of ingredients, I felt it was important to use mise en place. This was all the more true since I upped the ante by making this an 11 grain and seed bread. Nick suggests adding black sesame seeds and brown rice to the recipe, which I decided to do. And since I keep two-ounce packages of mixed red, brown, and black rice in the freezer for making struan, I ended up adding four additional ingredients.

I began by making a soaker with the oats and rice, which I mixed with boiling water.

While many recipes require an overnight soaker, Nick’s recipe calls for using the soaker as soon as it cools. Although he doesn’t say what temperature to cool it to, I figured I would bring it to around 110° F, the same temperature as the water called for in the recipe.

After the soaker had cooled, I measured the water. The recipe said to add the yeast to the water, but I accidentally put it into the soaker.

Oh, well. No harm done, since both the soaker and the water were added to the mixed flours.

The ingredients were mixed briefly, then allowed to autolyse for 20 minutes.

After four more minutes of mixing, I put the dough in an oiled bowl to ferment.

The dough doubled in just over an hour.

After the bulk ferment, I pressed the dough out into a rough rectangle, which I then divided into two pieces. As has been the case with most of the recipes in this section, this dough was quite slack, so shaping was a challenge. And it didn’t help that I found the shaping instructions in the book a bit confusing. The results of my first attempt (on the left) weren’t pretty. I caught on by the second loaf, which came out looking a little better.

I allowed the dough to proof for about an hour, by which time it had crested well above the tops of the pans.

I baked the loaves for about 30 minutes, until they were golden brown and reached an internal temperature of 185° F.

So, did these loaves live up to my expectations? In a word, yes. The crust and crumb were soft and chewy, the texture of a good sandwich bread. And the taste was amazing — complex, nutty, slightly sweet. It was great plain, with cultured butter, and as a base for sandwiches.

This is definitely my favorite bread in this section of the book (so far) and one that I will make again.


  1. Kayte said,

    August 18, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Wow that looks spectacular, and I am not just talking about that buttered slice at the top of the post…all of it. Thanks so much for the photos of everything, it looks interesting and fun and I will be making this one when I turn my oven on again, which may be sooner than you think.

    • gaaarp said,

      August 18, 2010 at 5:35 pm

      This is definitely one to try. It’s the best bread in this section, in my opinion.

  2. Renee said,

    August 12, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    Thanks for the great pic process! Yea, another keeper recipe! I’m was starting to worry about this section.

    • gaaarp said,

      August 12, 2010 at 11:12 pm

      I was a bit concerned at first, too. But there have been several really good recipes so far — pitas, Pain de Seigle, seven grain, and cornmeal flatbread. And I still have 4 or 5 to go.

  3. August 10, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Better than PR’s Multigrain Extraordinaire??? I can’t imagine how that could be possible. Your loaf looks wonderful. I could go for a slice toasted right about now!

    • gaaarp said,

      August 10, 2010 at 9:46 pm

      I didn’t say it was better than PR’s bread. I would have to try them side-by-side to say for sure, but I think I still like Peter’s recipe better. That said, either one is well worth making. And this is the best bread recipe in Nick’s book so far.

  4. Abby said,

    August 8, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    I love multigrain breads; this one was my most anticipated in the bread section, too! And I just made your cultured butter today ~ what fun!

    • gaaarp said,

      August 8, 2010 at 10:17 pm

      Save some of the butter for this bread. You’ll love it!

  5. ap269 said,

    August 8, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    This is the next one on my to-bake list. Glad you like it so much!

    • gaaarp said,

      August 8, 2010 at 2:29 pm

      I hope you like it as much as I did. I’m thinking of making it again already!

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