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Seven Grain Cereal Bread

This bread is based on a recipe from "Natural Health" magazine. ItSeven Grain Cereal Bread Boule and crumb is a very, very nice bread. It was supposed to use quick rising yeast to get the bread ready to bake in less than an hour. You know how I feel about that... so the recipe went into the lab, and has been reformed. A warning - this bread has enough fiber to keep a regiment ahhhh... well... regular. If you are not used to a very high fiber diet, be careful with this bread. These loaves were allowed to rise in a banneton, a wicker basket that is lined with a floured cloth. The basket helps the loaf achieve its distinctive shape.

This cereal has a fair amount of prep work before we actually start making the dough.  First, we cook the cereal.

Volumetric Measure (Cups)IngredientGramsBaker's Percentage (4)
2 1/4 CupWater510 Grams439%
3/4 Cups7 Grain Cereal (1)120 Grams100%

  1. While the recipe calls for, and the name suggests, seven grain cereal, we've used 5 and 10 grain cereals on occasion.  We prefer the 7 grain.  The 5 grain is a bit too chunky and the 10 grain is too finely ground for us.  We've had good luck with Bob's Red Mill and Arrowhead Mills products.  If you are having trouble finding any of these, look for a multi-grain cereal that features whole grains, which should be cooked before serving, and which you enjoy.
  2. The amounts called for may seem a bit high.  However, when the cereal is cooked, a good amount of water is cooked off.  The amounts above are an estimate of what you will need to cook to get the amount the recipe calls for below.  You may want to adjust this based on the cereal you buy and the way you cook it.

Put the water and cereal in a pot over medium heat.  Once it boils, turn it down to a simmer and continue to cook with frequent stirring until the water is absorbed.  This step causes some inconsistency in the final dough.  How much water is the cereal adding to the dough?  You may need to adjust the dough to make up for this inconsistency.

The toasted seeds.  As commented before, I like breads with crunch.  In addition to the 7 grain cereal, I like to add seeds.

Volumetric Measure (Cups)IngredientGramsBaker's Percentage (4)
1/4 CupSunflower Seeds30 Grams100%
2 TBSPFlax Seeds18.6 Grams62%
2 TBSPSesame Seeds18 Grams60%
1 tsp Poppy Seeds5 Grams16.67%

Toast the seeds in a hot dry skillet until fragrant, or in a 375F/190C oven for 5 to 10 minutes. Set them aside and let them cool.  When we were running the bakery we'd mix our seed mixes in 5 pound batches so we didn't have to measure each seed every day.

Final Dough Ingredients:

Volumetric Measure (Cups)IngredientGramsBaker's Percentage (4)
1 CupWater240 Grams70.4%
1 CupStarter260 Grams76.2%
2 TBSPLight Olive Oil28 Grams8.2%
1 1/8 CupsAll-Purpose Flour146 Grams42.8%
1 1/2 CupsWhole Wheat Flour195 Grams57.2%
2 tspSalt18 Grams5.3%
3 TBSPMalted Barley Extract (1)14 Grams4.1%
All of it7 Grain Cereal (cooked, from above)All of it (We need to weight this, but it will be variable)
3/4 Cups7 Grain Cereal (dry)61.5 Grams18%
1/2 CupToasted Seeds (Optional)41.6 Grams (2)12.2%
1 TBSPRolled Oats3 Grams.9%

  1. If you decide to omit the optional seeds, which I do not recommend, reduce the malted barley extract to 2 TBSP or 9 Grams.
  2. The grains will more than likely lose weight as you roast them.  The weight here is probably too high.  Don't worry about it, the bread will turn out fine.

Some preparatory steps:

While some people grind the uncooked 3/4 cup of cereal in a spice or coffee grinder, I haven't found it necessary to grind the rest of the cereal, and the bread has been just fine. Then again, I REALLY like crunch in my breads!  However, if you have digestive issues triggered by seeds or grains, it may help you to grind the cereal.  For most folks, just use the cereal.

Once the seeds, if you're going to use them, and the cooked cereal are cool, continue...

If you are going to knead this dough, whether by hand or with Seven Grain Cereal Bread Nutritional analysisa machine, add the water, starter, olive oil, all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, salt malted barley extract and cooked cereal to the mixing bowl.  Knead for 5 minutes, let rest for 5 minutes, and then knead for another 5 minutes.  Try to not adjust the flour or water until the second kneading.  Sadly, the windowpane test is NOT appropriate here.  Once the dough is developed, add the uncooked cereal and the toasted seeds if you want to add them.  Knead enough to get the seeds and cereal evenly distributed through the dough.  Form the dough into a ball, place into the cleaned and oiled mixing bowl, turn the ball over, and then cover. Let the bread rise until doubled.

If you are going to use the stretch and fold technique, add all the ingredients except the oats to your tray.  Mix with your hands until all the flour is wet.  Cover and let rest for an hour.  Stretch and fold again, cover and let rest for another hour.  Stretch and fold for a third time, cover and let rest for an hour.  Try to not adjust the water of flour in the dough until the second stretch and fold.  The stretch and folds and the final rest take the place of the rise the kneaded dough gets.

Deflate the bread, knead a bit, and then shape into loaves. I like to let this bread rise in a basket to get a round loaf.  About the time you form the loaves, start preheating the oven to 400F/205C.  Make sure there is an aluminum pie pan on the bottom of the oven (you'll thank me later).

You really want the oven to wait for the dough rather than making the dough wait for the oven.  You might time how long the final rise takes, so next time you can start the preheating about an hour before the dough is ready - if you have baking tiles, it takes an oven about an hour to warm up.

Once the loaves have risen, turn them out onto a peel.  Then brush them with water and gently press the rolled oats into top of loaf.  Slash the loaves and bake at 400F for about 40 minutes.  As you put the loaves in, put a cup of water in the pie pan.  You really don't want to put water on the floor of the oven - the floor will warp and rust which becomes a problem when you want to sell the house.  (In some states it is expected the refrigerator, dish washer, stove, and range will vest to the new owners.)

2 thoughts on “Seven Grain Cereal Bread”

  1. I just made this bread – I used my loaf pans instead of a basket or free-form. I had never made sourdough before this and I used your guidance to get a lovely stable starter. I used Red River Cereal for the cooked grain and did grind the dry cereal before adding it. The dough was quite wet (probably because of my cereal cooking technique) and I added about another 1/2 to 3/4 cup of ww flour in the first knead. I think this is the nicest 7 grain bread I have ever eaten. Thanks for the recipe!


    1. I love success stories! A very real consideration with porridge style breads is that the amount of water the porridge brings into the dough can vary, so you have to adjust by feel and experience as you develop the dough.

      Congratulations on clearing the hurdle. If you like the seven grain bread, keep an eye out for our upcoming flavored breads cookbook. There are some harvest breads in there that are very nice.

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