• 1 cup multigrain hot cereal (I use whichever Bob’s Red Mill mix I have on hand, but even oatmeal will work)

  • 2 cups milk, divided (whole milk yields the softest bread, but any milk will work, or water in a pinch)

  • 1/4 cup honey (can sub 3 tbsp sugar)

  • 2 tbsp butter

  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 egg (can omit if desired; sub in 2 tbsp butter, buttermilk, or milk)

  • 2 tsp yeast

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour

  • 2 cups bread flour, plus more for kneading/adjusting (all-purpose flour will do, but you’ll need to work the dough longer)

  • neutral oil for bowl (or nonstick spray or butter)

  • 1/4 cup rolled oats for topping, if desired

Combine cereal, 1 cup milk, honey, butter, and salt in a microwavable bowl and microwave for 2-3 minutes or until liquid boils. Remove from microwave; let sit for 2 minutes so cereal can soften. Stir in remaining 1 cup milk. Test mixture with finger—it should be warm but not hot. (If it’s hot, let it sit another 3 minutes.) Stir in egg until combined.

Stir in the yeast until fully dissolved, then add the whole wheat flour and stir to combine. Let rest until mixture begins to form bubbles. In 1/2 cup increments, add the bread flour, stirring to combine after each addition. If you’re mixing by hand instead of with a stand mixer, you’ll need to start incorporating flour with your hands near the end. The dough will be sticky and rough but should be able to form a ball when kneaded; you may need to add more flour if you live in a humid location or less if you’re using European flour or a more absorptive multigrain mix. The end result will be fine if your dough is a bit too dry or too wet!

Knead dough for 10 minutes (or mix with dough hook for 5 minutes). Shape dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl; cover with towel or plastic and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Degas dough, knead lightly a few times, and let rest for 15 minutes. Spray a 5x9” loaf pan with nonstick spray. Turn dough out onto a clean work surface and flatten slightly with your hands, popping any large air bubbles with a sharp knife. Fold the dough in half, then in half again lengthwise; seal edge to create a loaf shape. Sprinkle rolled oats on workspace (if using) and gently roll top of loaf over them. Place in prepared pan. Cover and let rise until dough is at least 1/2” above the edge of the pan or until dough remains indented when lightly pressed with a finger.

Move oven rack to slightly below middle of oven if necessary, then preheat oven to 350°F. Bake loaf for 30 to 40 minutes (will vary depending on loaf shape and pan size). Remove from oven and immediately turn out onto cooling rack. Upper crust should be deep brown and loaf should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool completely before slicing.

Honey Multigrain Bread

I’ve used this recipe for years as a home kitchen shortcut for loaves full of whole-grain goodness without the whole-grain hassle. I think the original source was America’s Test Kitchen, but I haven’t been able to find that recipe, maybe because I’ve adapted my method and ingredients so heavily since the first time I made it. My directions are for a sandwich loaf, but you can shape this into a dozen rolls or a rustic boule if you prefer. This is a very versatile recipe—I’ll include my common substitutions, but feel free to try your own!

multigrain bread dough