Making homemade bread shouldn’t have to be intimidating. This Magic Multigrain Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread is great for novice and experienced home bakers looking for an easy, soft, whole grain bread recipe they can make from scratch.

A loaf of magic multigrain whole wheat sandwich bread with a slice cut off the end

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Yeast bread has a reputation for being difficult, time-consuming, and all-around scary to bake. 

Further, homemade sandwich bread is viewed as especially horrific (but not this Crock Pot Bread), since they must walk a texture tightrope: sturdy enough to withstand thin slicing and sloppy sauces, yet soft and tender enough to enjoy. 

Want to make it whole wheat? You’re in for an even bigger challenge (unless it’s this 100% Whole Wheat Pizza Dough) since whole wheat flour is typically heavier than traditional all purpose or bread flour which means you run the risk of the final baed product being more of a “brick” than “bread” if don’t follow the recipe with care.

The end cut off a loaf of multigrain whole wheat sandwich bread

5 Star Review

“Made this yesterday with no changes and it turned out beautiful and very tasty! I’m still a novice with yeast bread, but the instructions made it foolproof!”

— Marcia —

Well, what if I told you that in a few short, almost exclusively unattended hours you could be enjoying your very own gooey Avocado Grilled Cheese, tempting peanut butter toast, or Easy Kale Feta Egg Toast with 100 percent from scratch and 100 perfect whole wheat sandwich bread?

This magic multigrain whole wheat sandwich bread is what (a baker’s) dreams are made of!

Whether this is your first or your five-hundredth loaf of homemade bread, this homemade whole wheat sandwich bread couldn’t be easier to master (this Whole Wheat English Muffin Bread is another simple yeast bread recipe to try).

A loaf of whole wheat sandwich bread with poppy seeds next to a jar of jam and butter dish

How to Make Magic Multigrain Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Magic multigrain whole wheat sandwich bread nails the sweet spot of being tender and fluffy, yet hearty. I call this bread “Magic” because it will both melt on your tongue with tenderness and hold up to whatever schmear of messy spreads or hearty toppings you desire. This is a multigrain sandwich bread that can take it (and so can this Rosemary Olive Oil Bread).


The Ingredients

  • Cornmeal + Wheat Bran. Key for giving this whole wheat multigrain bread the heftiness it needs to hold up to any sandwich (or toast) challenge you throw at it.

Substitution Tip

Feel free to swap in other favorite grains, like millet, quinoa, or amaranth, into this recipe to make it your own.

  • Oatmeal. Our other whole grain addition to this magic multigrain bread offers a subtle nutty flavor and fantastic chew. (If you love oats in your bread, try my favorite Oatmeal Bread recipe.)

TIP!

The above ingredients will be combined ahead of time into what’s called a soak. Translation: The grains are soaked together overnight before being added to the dough. This process juices up the grain’s enzymes, frees sugar from starch, and gives you a loaf with perfect texture and flavor.

  • Water. I typically wouldn’t go into too much detail about water in a recipe. However, when it comes to making bread (like this Cranberry Cinnamon Swirl Bread), water is critical. Measuring water accurately is key to achieving the proper hydration level for your dough and proper water temperature (usually 110-120 degrees F) is key for properly activating (and not killing) the yeast so you get the best rise possible. 
  • Yeast. For this recipe, I typically use active dry yeast which needs to be activated with warm water before incorporating it into the other ingredients as opposed to instant yeast which can be mixed right in with the other ingredients.
  • Whole Wheat Flour. My love for whole wheat flour runs deep for its ability to sneak in extra plant-based protein, iron, and fiber into every carblicious bite of homemade baked goods (like these Whole Wheat Rhubarb Scones).
  • Vital Wheat Gluten. My secret to pillowy soft homemade whole wheat bread (and Cinnamon Swirl Bread with Hazelnuts). Vital wheat gluten boosts the dough with extra protein which improves the elasticity and thus the overall crumb structure and softness of the bread.
  • Brown Sugar. Lightly sweetens the bread and functions as food for the yeast while it ferments, proofs, ad bakes.
  • Salt. Just a pinch (or two) to enhance and balance all the flavors of this wholesome homemade whole wheat sandwich bread.
  • Brown Rice. Cooked brown rice adds lovely texture and a subtle chew throughout this whole grain bread recipe.
  • Honey. Subtle sweetens and flavors this whole grain bread with the natural goodness of honey. (This Soft Pretzel Recipe is another honey-tastic bread recipe to try.)
  • Buttermilk. Add a little extra fat and moisture to the dough for improved softness and tenderness.
  • Topping. For an artisanal touch, I like to sprinkle the top of my homemade whole wheat bread with poppy seeds or oats before baking.
Ingredients to make homemade whole wheat sandwich bread with whole grains

The Directions

  1. The day before baking, prepare the soaker by combining the cornmeal, rolled oats, and wheat bran (or grains of your choice) with 1/4 cup water in a small bowl covered with plastic.
  2. Let the soaker sit overnight at room temperature.
  3. The next day, combine warm water and yeast and let stand until yeast is foamy.
  4. Next, stir together the whole wheat flour, vital wheat gluten, brown sugar, and salt. 
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the soaker, brown rice, honey, and buttermilk then add to the dry ingredients along with the yeast mixture.
  6. Mix on your mixer’s lowest speed until a shaggy dough forms.
    Increase to your mixer’s second speed and knead the bread for 6 minutes. (You may also knead by hand if desired.) 
  7. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and finish kneading by hand until the dough is smooth and slightly tacky.
Three steps showing how to mix and form whole wheat sandwich bread
  1. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, covered with plastic, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk.

TIP!

Not sure if your dough is proof properly? Test it by pressing two fingers gently into the dough. If the indent stays and does not spring back, the dough is ready.

  1. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a 6×10-inch rectangle. 
  2. Roll the dough, starting with the short end, into a tight log and transfer (seam-side down) to a lightly greased loaf pan.
  3. Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle with any desired topping. 
  4. Let it rise again until the dough has risen about 1 inch above the rim of the pan.
  5. Bake in an oven, preheated to 350 degrees F, until the loaf is deep brown and sounds hollow when tapped.

TIP!

For best results, use an instant-read thermometer to test your bread for doneness. When the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F, it’s ready!

  1. Remove loaf from pan and let cool completely slicing. ENJOY!
Two slices cut off the end of a loaf of whole wheat sandwich bread on a wooden board

BAKING TIPS

To ensure your magic multigrain whole wheat sandwich bread is a loaf of baked glory, follow these tips:

  • Plan ahead. This recipe calls for a “soaker.” Translation: The grains are soaked together overnight prior to being added to the dough. This process juices up the grain’s enzymes, frees sugar from starch, and gives you a loaf with perfect texture and flavor.
  • Be patient. Depending on the temperature of your home, on its first rise the bread may take up to 2 and 1/2 hours to double in size (cooler = longer). A full rise is critical for a fluffy loaf. Embrace the process (or go shopping). Give the yeast time to do its thang and use these moments to reflect with on the wonder of a few small granules breathing life into your dough.
  • Put away your ruler. Not sure if your loaf has “doubled” in size? Lift two fingers, poke the dough gently, and see if your indent stays. If yes, your dough is ready to be shaped into a loaf.
  • Take your bread’s temperature. Instant-read thermometers (I love this one) are super inexpensive and make the processes of determining if your loaf is “done” much clearer. When you believe the bread is ready, insulate your hands with a dishtowel, carefully flip the loaf out of the pan so its bottom is facing you, and insert the thermometer into the center. Bread not ready yet? Flip it back into the pan, then check again in 5 minutes.
  • Practice makes perfect. While this recipe is easy and approachable, it can still take practice to get that PERFECT loaf if you’re new to baking. Baking is just as much (if not more) of a science as it is an art. So, if first you don’t succeed, bake, bake, and bake again.
One slice of whole wheat sandwich bread with jam and one without next to a loaf of bread on a wooden board with a knife

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Homemade whole wheat bread is best enjoyed within a few days of baking. Store at room temperature, tightly covered in plastic, for up to 3 days.
  • To Freeze. This multigrain bread freezes like a dream. Simply wrap tightly in plastic and a layer of foil and freeze for up to 3 months. You can even pre-slice it if you’d like. Defrost overnight in the fridge and then enjoy as desired.
A loaf of magic whole wheat sandwich bread on a wooden board beside a stick of butter and a jar of jam

My final tip for perfect homemade multigrain whole wheat bread: Think positive! You’ve got this.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Vital Wheat Gluten do in Whole Wheat Baking?

In 100% whole grain bread, like this one, vital wheat gluten is, well, vital. Think of it like magical fairy dust that gives whole-wheat bread elasticity and rise. In scientific terms, vital wheat gluten adds protein, which low-protein flours (whole-wheat) desperately need to rise like their higher-protein counterparts (bread flour). I love this one from Bob’s Red Mill, and have seen it available in many grocery stores and the internet.

Can You Freeze Homemade Bread?

Yes! Since freshly baked whole wheat bread (and xxx) tastes best when eaten within two days of baking, it’s a good idea to freeze it if you are not going to go through the whole loaf that quickly. Simply pre-slice the whole caboodle, then freeze what you don’t plan to use right away. When ready to eat, grab the slices right from the freezer, pop them right into the toaster or microwave, and voila. Instant homemade bread.

Why Didn’t My Bread Rise?

Unfortunately without being in the kitchen with you, it’s hard to say exactly what may have caused your bread to not rise properly. However, here are a few common factors to check. First, check the expiration date of your yeast since older yeast will lose some of its activity over time. Second, the temperature of the water used to proof the yeast and the temperature of your kitchen can impact the rise. Too cold, your yeast won’t activate fully, and too hot, you run the risk of killing your yeast. Last, measure and mix with care. Improper measurement and over (or under) mixing your dough can severely impact the rise of your dough.

A slice removed from a loaf of magic multigrain whole wheat sandwich bread

Magic Multigrain Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

5 from 9 votes
Magic multigrain whole wheat sandwich bread is the BEST beginner recipe for home bakers looking for an easy, healthy homemade bread recipe.

Prep: 12 hrs 20 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 13 hrs

Servings: 1 loaf (about 10-12 slices)

Ingredients
  

For the Soaker:

  • 3 tablespoons coarse ground cornmeal or millet, quinoa, or amaranth
  • 3 tablespoons old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons wheat bran
  • 1/4 cup water

For the Dough:

  • 3/4 cup warm water (about 110 degrees F)
  • 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour plus a few additional tablespoons as needed
  • 3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons cooked brown rice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds or rolled oats for sprinkling

Instructions
 

  • The day before baking, prepare the soaker. In a small bowl, combine the cornmeal, rolled oats, and wheat bran. Pour the 1/4 cup water over the top of the grains, stir, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the soaker sit overnight at room temperature.
  • In a small bowl, combine the warm water and yeast. Let stand until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. (If the yeast does not foam, it did not activate properly and this step will need to be repeated.)
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon), stir together the whole wheat flour, vital wheat gluten, brown sugar, and salt. 
  • In a separate bowl, combine the soaker, brown rice, honey, and buttermilk. Add to the dry ingredients. Add the yeast and water mixture to the dry ingredients, then mix with the paddle attachment (or a wooden spoon) at a low speed until combined and the dough forms a rough, shaggy ball.
  • If using a stand mixer, switch to your dough hook. If making by hand, turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Knead the bread at a medium-low speed for 6 minutes. If using a dough hook, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Finish kneading by hand for an additional 2-4 minutes, until dough is smooth and tacky, but no longer sticky, adding a bit of extra flour as needed. (Total knead time will be 8-10 minutes). 
  • Coat a large mixing bowl with cooking spray. Place the dough in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 90 minutes to 2 and 1/2 hours, until the dough has doubled in bulk. (Press two fingers gently into the dough. If the indent stays and does not spring back, the dough is ready).
  • Lightly grease an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat it into a rectangle that is about 6-inches wide and 10-inches long. Press out any large bubbles. 
  • Starting with the short (6-inch) end of the rectangle, roll the dough into a log, pulling the dough tightly as you go. To shape the log to fit the pan, fold each end of the log towards the roll seam so that the log is the same length as the loaf pan. Pinch ends into place. Place the log in the pan, seam side down, and gently press the dough down with the back of your hand so that it is evenly spread.
  • Mist the top of the dough with water (or brush lightly using a pastry brush) and sprinkle with poppy seeds or oats.
  • Cover the pan with a dish towel or plastic wrap and let it rise again until the dough has risen about 1 inch above the rim of the pan, about 1 hour.
  • Arrange your oven rack in the center and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake dough for 40-45 minutes, until the loaf is deep brown and sounds hollow when tapped (internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F).
  • Remove loaf from pan and let cool 1 to 2 hours before slicing. Use a bread knife or the sharpest knife you own. Toast (or not), top liberally with butter as desired, and enjoy your handiwork.

Notes

  • TO STORE: Homemade whole wheat bread is best enjoyed within a few days of baking. Store at room temperature, tightly covered in plastic, for up to 3 days.
  • TO FREEZE: This multigrain bread freezes like a dream. Simply wrap tightly in plastic and a layer of foil and freeze for up to 3 months. You can even pre-slice it, if you’d like. Defrost overnight in the fridge and then enjoy as desired.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 10)Calories: 199kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 9gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 366mgPotassium: 221mgFiber: 6gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 23IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 51mgIron: 2mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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44 Comments

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  1. This looks like such a perfect healthy bread recipe! I usually don’t make my own bread because I always mess it up but I wouldn’t mind trying again using this recipe! Love the added poppy seeds too.

    1. You will be far more sucessful than you think Natalie! Pulling homemade bread out of the oven is just the best feeling. You should totally go for it :)

  2. Homemade bread scares the pants off me but this recipe seems manageable due to the tips you outlined. Fingers crossed!

    1. Nicole, you can totally do this! Yeast breads used to scare me too, until I gave them a go and saw how truly easy bread baking can be. I’m sure you’d rock this recipe!

  3. Gooorgeous loaf of bread! This came out perfectly. I love your tips…makes me feel like I might actually be able to make this :D5 stars

      1. Hi Maureen!
        Just checked — It is a “TruTemp” meat thermometer that I originally purchased at Target. Any old brand will do though! Glad you asked :)

  4. What a great idea to use cornmeal in your soaker! I’ve never done that before, but I’m tempted to try it because this bread sure looks delicious!! :)

    1. The cornmeal is fantastic Yvonne. It disperses all throughout and makes for a killer slice of bread. You should totally go for it! Thanks so much for your comment. Hope you enjoy!

  5. This is such a pretty dough….I love how dark and wheaty it is and like you said, you have to be patient with wheat and give it time. And the rewards are worth it!

  6. This recipe is basically exactly what I’m looking for, except I loooove my bread machine (okay.. and walking away and totally forgetting I was making bread until it’s magically done). What are your thoughts on this in a bread machine? I have a whole wheat setting with an extended rise time.

    1. Hey Kelly!
      To be honest, I have never used a bread machine. Are you usually able to translate recipes directly? If yes, so long as you stick with the long rise time and include the vital gluten + the soaker, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. This bread is so crazy good, I would say it is worth a shot! Let me know how it goes for you. I’d love the info for future reference!

  7. This bread was astonishingly easy and delicious. I especially appreciated that you included the temperature for doneness. The “thump” method has never worked for me, but my 190 degree loaf was perfect. Do you think this same temp. would work for the rosemary olive oil bread? Thank you!5 stars

    1. Kathryn, this made my day! I adore this bread, and I’m so happy that you enjoyed it too. I agree that temperature is the best method, and I’m glad you asked about my Rosemary Olive Oil Bread. 190 degrees is perfect, and I’ve updated the recipe to reflect this. If you make the Rosemary bread, prepare yourself: your kitchen will smell like heaven :) Thanks again and have a wonderful day!

  8. can you leave out the brown rice? Seems like a lot of extra time to cook rice just for this recipe only to use 3 tbsp of it

    1. Hi Heather! Great question. You can simply substitute the rice for an equal amount of rolled oats. I usually use leftover rice, and if I don’t have any, go the oat route or make a small amount of rice in the microwave. I hope that helps and that you enjoy the bread!

  9. I am trying this recipe in my bread machine right now…a few more hours to go! I will let you know how it turns out. Probably not quite as good as made with your own two hands but I had to try it. Thanks Erin!

    1. I’m sure it’s going to be delicious Erin! I can’t wait to hear what you think. Have a great day and enjoy the bread!

  10. It tastes awesome but I don’t think it rose completely because it did not fill the loaf pan and was a little misshapen; maybe the yeast needs to be adjusted when using a bread machine or the extended rise time wasn’t quite enough in the machine! Anyway, thanks for the soaking tip and the recipe! I will play with the yeast a little and see what happens next time, or just try making it by hand :)5 stars

    1. Hi Erin,
      Thanks for reporting back! I’m so happy you loved the taste, but sad it didn’t rise enough. Did you use a 8×4 inch loaf pan? If you do a 9×5 size, the loaf will be a bit smaller. I also found this article which may be helpful: http://www.redstaryeast.com/tips-troubleshooting/bread-machine-tips/common-bread-machine-problems Thanks for trying the recipe and have such a good day :)

  11. well, it doesn’t look as pretty as yours :) but it smells delish! I used quinoa instead of cornmeal (wasn’t sure if it needed to be cooked quinoa or not & the only cooked I had was cooked with veggie broth so I used uncooked & hoped it would poof up during the soaker stage…not so much) & rolled oats on top (next time i’ll press them in as they just fall off). But i’m sure it tastes great!

    Mine was also only 1 1/2 hours for first rise & less than 1/2 hour for second! I checked it at half an hour and it was already 1 1/2 inches above the rim!5 stars

    1. Heather, I’m so so so excited that you tried this bread! Every kitchen and rising environment is different—I’m actually jealous that your dough rise more quickly than mine will! I think the raw quinoa will be great and add nice texture. Enjoy every bite, and thanks again :)

  12. Looks similar to the process we use in our bakery, very good, we love it, Old Mission Multigrain Traverse City MI

    1. Pete, thank you so much for telling me that! Makes me feel like I am in good company :-) I will come visit if I’m ever in the area!

  13. I have been looking for a good 100% whole wheat multi grain bread recipe for a while now…and this one is perfect!! I used quinoa instead of the cornmeal. And I also subbed in some golden flax seeds, sesame seeds, buck wheat groats, and chia seeds in the soaker. And I used coconut sugar instead of brown sugar. Topped it with some of the flax, sesame, and chia seeds and it’s AMAZING!! 

    Thank you so much for sharing! I’m going to put together some of the orange coconut chia pudding for in the morning!5 stars

    1. Kateland, I am so, so excited to hear this, and I think the swaps you made sound delicious. Thanks for trying the recipe and taking time to leave your review. I truly appreciate it!

  14. I make this in my bread maker and it turns out great. I substitute almond milk for the buttermilk.  I also omit the brown sugar and just add a teaspoon of agave or honey and it tastes great toasted with avocado or almond butter. Thanks for the recipe! 5 stars

    1. Heather, I’m so happy to hear that, and it’s great that it worked in your bread machine too. Thanks so much for trying the recipe and taking time to leave your review. I truly appreciate it!

  15. I made this amazing Magic Multigrain Whole Wheat Bread, and it is on my list of weekly recipes. The bread was great with the chili, and I know it will be great alone, as toast, for a sandwich, or any other way I eat it. Great recipe!  Thanks!

  16. Looks great !! But I am allergic to wheat  rice. Potato  and corn. I have experimented with your oat bread it really good. But need a good sandwich bread. Can you help ??  Any  would
    Be appreciated.  Thanks

    1. Hi Vanessa! I apologize, but I haven’t been baking bread as much the past few years, and I don’t have experience making one from scratch without these ingredients. I would suggest an online recipe search, and use a recipe from a source that is reliable. King Arthur Flour is a great example, so I would start there. I hope that is at least a little helpful!

  17. Made this yesterday with no changes and it turned out beautiful and very tasty! I’m still a novice with yeast bread, but the instructions made it foolproof!5 stars

  18. I make this on the regular so here are some time saving hacks. Make a big batch of rice and portion out in separate ziploc bags. Measure out grains for soaker and place in separate ziploc bags. Place in one gallon bag and pop in freezer to keep your starter kit all in one place. I’ll usually prep about 6 batches and I always double the recipe to make two loaves as I cut and freeze the loaves. If you don’t want to soak overnight, I’ve found microwaving the grains for a minute with the water to start activating them works great. Usually I start at 8a. Around 2p, I mix my bread and let rise until 4p, when I shape into loaves and bake at 5p. I can’t recommend this recipe enough – so healthy and delicious with a great crumb and consistent results. Don’t skip the buttermilk – I tried milk mixed with vinegar and the bread is far better with buttermilk. Not even comparable.5 stars

    1. Unfortunately I have not tried it with this recipe, so you would be experimenting. Let me know how it goes!

  19. Great tasting bread, very hearty but not too “healthy” tasting.
    I used Bob Red Mill 10 grain cereal for the first ingredient as the corn meal I had had some unwelcome guests living in the bag.
    Next time I make it I’ll not use the poppy seed topping and go with the oatmeal or leave it naked.
    The poppy seed made a gritty texture to the top.5 stars