multigrain sourdough

I grew up believing that if something was wholegrain then it had to be WHOLE wholegrain in order to count.

However, now I’m a grown-ass woman and I’ve decided that if I think a hint of whole grain counts as whole wholegrain, then it does. The point of whole grains is to add texture and flavor, not kill your soul (and appetite) with sanctimonious leaden bricks.

Maybe this means I’m a baking rebel?

Or just white-flour shallow?


coarse whole wheat that my mom got me from the bulk food store


Who knows. In any case, this multigrain sourdough is mostly white flour BUT IT’S SOURDOUGH which is basically white flour turned holy (whole-y), and then there’s a miniscule amount of coarse whole wheat flour for texture, looks, and kicks, and a generous blob of soaker cereal mix which is what turns the bread all nubbly virtuous. 

I gave my mom a couple loaves of this bread (bartered it, actually, since we’re forever swapping services, like sewing for haircuts, life-coaching for bread, etc, etc.) and she texted, “These are $20 loaves. Seriously.” She’s not wrong.

hint: parchment lasts for two bakes

When I make bread, I do it for several days running. Once the starter has fully revived (which usually takes a day of feedings), then each morning I mix up a fresh batch of bread and bake off the loaves from the preceding day. Bake days, we eat lots of fresh bread, and I often pass on a loaf to anyone who I owe a favor. And then, bellies and freezer stuffed, I call it quits . . . for a couple weeks. 

I like to shake things up on occasion: a batch of regular bread followed by a batch of herby feta, chocolate cherry, potato, etc. But this multigrain version has shot to the top of the charts. It’s delish: chewy, nutty, billowy, tender.

It’s wonderful eaten fresh with generous swaths of summer-yellow butter.

It makes excellent toast, too.

Multigrain Sourdough
This recipe is based on my standard batch of sourdough, but with add-ins. 

I got my whole-grain cereal mix from a local bulk food store (or my mom got it for me, rather). The bag says it contains red and white hard wheat, oats, rye, triticale, soft white wheat, barley, durham wheat, flax. Use whatever mix you can find, or make your own blend. 

If you don’t already have a sourdough starter, check with your local bakery. Any bakery worth its salt will give you some of their discard.

12 ounces sourdough starter
2 pounds 2 ounces bread flour (2-3 ounces of which are coarsely-ground whole wheat)
1 pound 2 ounces cool water
5 teaspoons salt
1 cup cereal blend mixed with 1 cup hot tap water.

Day 1: Evening Prep
Stir together the 1 cup of cereal and 1 cup of hot water. Cover and let sit at room temperature overnight. (Or if you do things last minute, the morning of you can just add boiling water and let it soak for an hour or so. Or if you’re really impatient, just cook the damn stuff already.)

Day 2: Make
Put the starter, flours, and water in the bowl of your kitchen aid mixer, and in that order, too. Mix on low speed for 4 minutes. Let rest for 20. Add the salt and about half of the cereal mix (the other half, save for the next day’s bake, or freeze for later). There will be excess water in the mix — add some of it, or toss it. It’ll be fine either way, but a wetter dough isn’t a bad thing, and this dough is pretty stiff and can handle some added moisture. Mix on low for another 4 minutes. 

Dump the dough into a bowl. Do a few stretch and folds every 30 minutes for the first couple hours, then let the dough rise for 6-8 hours. 

Cut the dough in half and shape into loaves. Put the loaves into pans, cover with plastic, and let rest overnight. I proof my loaves at 55 degrees in one of the cheese caves which works incredibly well; if proofing in a fridge, let the dough rise in the pans for an hour or so prior to refrigerating. 

Day 3: Bake Day
Slash the loaves — go deep! — and bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, rotating part way though.

This same time, years previous: the coronavirus diaries: week seven, that fuzzy space, the quotidian (4.24.17), taking off, Sally Fallon’s pancakes, out and about, cauliflower potato soup.


  • Natali

    Is that what they call sprouted grain bread?
    I buy sprouted bread and sprouted flour but have wondered how it is made.

    • Jennifer Jo

      No, sprouted grain is actually grain that has fermented to the point of sprouting (I think). This is just grain that’s been softened via soaking so that it won’t break your teeth. (I love sprouted grain bread, though!)

  • Ann

    I‘ve started coarsely shredding them, too. Give them a chance to actually integrate with the rest of the dough.
    I‘m also a baking rebel.. I‘m German and heavy rye sourdoughs are our daily bread. Those doughs are extremely sticky, due to the low gluten content, and prone to loose their shape.. So I just add powdered wheat gluten to those doughs, makes them much more supple. (and it‘s now a protein bread. )

  • Katie

    I am a big fan of the whole grain soaker. Checks my boxes of grans being fully hydrated. And a great wet to add whole grain texture to otherwise white flour goodies (the only way I do it and still call bagels, bagels)

  • Becky R.

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Jennifer! Sounds like my perfect loaf. Like you, I find I love whole grains for texture and taste, but also for chew. I appreciate your expertise and generosity so much.

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