Whole-grain goodness

Bake your own loaf of Norwegian brown bread with oats and rye

whole-grain bread

This loaf of Norwegian brown bread with oats and rye by Kristi Bissell is hearty and delicious.

True North Kitchen

brown bread

Norwegians take their bread very seriously. So seriously that they have been bringing their own baking team (and ingredients) to athletic championships and Olympic events around the world since 1988. The Norwegian athletes rely on nutritious whole grain loaves to fuel their bodies for competition, and baking these loaves is something they are unwilling to leave in the hands of strangers, even when traveling internationally.

For the 2010 Olympic games in Vancouver, Canada, a small bakery (Golden Crust in Squamish) was chosen as the location where the visiting Norwegian bakers would bake bread for the athletes and supporting staff three times a day. In addition to baking 120 loaves of high-quality nutritious bread daily, the bakers also made celebratory cakes for competition winners and sweet buns. An article in The Bakers Journal described the loaves as “bread that combined hearty ingredients, such as rye, oats, barley, and buckwheat.”

In the spirit of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, I wanted to create a recipe for a nutritious multigrain bread to enjoy as we cheer on the athletes from the comfort of our own homes. This very simple loaf bread contains a combination of whole wheat, rye, and bread flour, along with a readily available 7-grain cereal mix that packs a powerful (and flavorful) punch. Whether you are fueling your body for an afternoon of cross-country skiing or just looking for delicious and nutritious bread for your morning toast or lunchtime sandwich, give this Norwegian Brown Bread with Oats and Rye a try. It’s sure to become a regular part of your baking rotation.

All photos by Kristi Bissell / True North Kitchen

Norwegian Brown Bread with Oats and Rye

brown bread

Makes 2 loaves

For the dough:

1 ¼ cup 7 grain cereal mix (I use the Bob’s Red Mill brand)

2 ½ cups boiling water

3 cups bread flour

1 cup dark rye flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 ½ tsps. instant yeast

¼ cup honey

4 tbsps. unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 tbsp. fine salt

To finish:

Milk for brushing on loaves

Old-fashioned rolled oats for sprinkling

Place cereal mix in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer. Pour boiling water over the grains. Let the mixture sit for about an hour or until it has cooled down to 100°F.

Whisk bread, rye, and whole wheat flours and yeast together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Once the grain mixture has cooled, add honey, melted butter, and salt. Mix briefly with the dough hook attachment to combine.

With the mixer running on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix on low until it is just combined, scraping down the bowl, as necessary. Increase the speed to medium and knead for 6-8 minutes. The dough should be clearing the sides of the bowl but will still be tacky to the touch.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise at room temperature for an hour or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 375°F and set the oven rack in the middle position. Grease two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans and set aside. Lightly flour a clean countertop or work surface.

Scrape the dough out onto the work surface and divide into two halves. Working with one half at a time, pat the dough out into a rectangle that is about 1 inch thick and 8 inches wide. Roll the rectangle lengthwise into a loaf shape. Pinch the seam together and fold the ends under to meet the seam, pinching the spot where the ends and the bottom of the loaf meet. Place the loaf into one of the prepared loaf pans, seam side down, and cover lightly with plastic wrap. Repeat with the remaining half of the dough. Let the loaves rise until they begin to extend over the edge of the loaf pan, about 45 minutes at room temperature.

Brush each loaf with milk and sprinkle with oats, pressing lightly to help them adhere. Bake the loaves until golden brown, about 45-50 minutes (when the bread is done, the internal temperature of each loaf will be 200°F). Cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes and then tip out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely before enjoying.

Store loaves at room temperature wrapped in plastic for up to 3 days. For longer storage, wrap each loaf tightly in plastic wrap and freeze in a sealed freezer bag.

This article originally appeared in the Jan. 21, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Kristi Bissell

Kristi Bissell is the founder of True North Kitchen, a Nordic food blog designed for the American home cook. She enjoys creating recipes that celebrate her Scandinavian heritage and that approach traditional Nordic ingredients in a modern, fresh and approachable way. Kristi is a native of Minneapolis and currently resides in Omaha, Neb. When she’s not cooking and baking in her cozy kitchen, Kristi teaches private and corporate yoga classes and leads Scandinavian cooking and baking workshops. For more information, visit her blog, www.true-north-kitchen.com.