Simple Multigrain Bread With Sourdough Discard

multigrain sourdough discard bread sliced on a wooden cutting board, surrounded by the various seeds that go into it
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Sunflower seeds, flax seeds and poppy seeds I had on hand, along with a cup of old-fashioned rolled oats, rendered the grainy crumb of the multigrain bread pictured in this post. Other seeds to choose from for this multigrain bread recipe include sesame seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, caraway seeds or flax seeds. Because those last two impart stronger flavors, you need only small amounts of them—a few tablespoons of either one will do.

While this recipe helps clear out a few random seeds from the pantry, it also puts a 1½ cup-size dent in your sourdough discard jar. I almost always have a full jar of sourdough discard on hand—I get a bit nervous when it runs low as I can revive a spoonful back to a bubbly state should anything happen to my starter, Eleanor. But I don’t want to accumulate an unmanageable amount of discard. Recipes like this help. (Go here for 12 more discard recipes.)

By eating all of the food we have on hand—in this case, random seeds and sourdough discard—we help keep food out of landfill where, upon decomposing, it emits methane, a greenhouse gas much more potent than carbon dioxide. Baking bread also eliminates the plastic bread bags of store-bought loaves, which like all plastic, are made of fossil fuels. (Some bakeries will allow you to buy fresh bread using your own cloth bag. Go here for 49 more easy ways to kick plastic.)

Regardless of any environmental benefits, you’ll want to bake this bread simply for the taste.

Add discard for flavor, not leavening

Inactive sourdough discard adds a hint of tang to this multigrain bread but cannot make the dough rise. So, this recipe calls for dry active yeast. Think of the commercial yeast as Viagra for your old starter that still wants some action.

Boil some water, soak the seeds in it, make yourself a cup of tea and go relax while the scalding water cools to an active dry yeast-friendly 105°F to 110°F, which can take about 15 minutes. Soaking plumps up the seeds, which add a wonderful texture to your loaves. Be sure to sip your cup of tea. If you rush it and add the active dry yeast to the bowl before the water cools, you’ll kill your yeast.

multigrain sourdough discard bread sliced on a wooden cutting board, surrounded by the various seeds that go into it
multigrain sourdough discard bread sliced on a wooden cutting board, surrounded by the various seeds that go into it
multigrain sourdough discard bread sliced on a wooden cutting board, surrounded by the various seeds that go into it
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5 from 3 votes

Multigrain Sourdough Discard Bread

Servings: 2 loaves


  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats quick oats will also work
  • ½ cup raw sunflower seeds see Note
  • ¼ cup flax seeds see Note
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds see Note
  • ¼ cup light or dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • tablespoons active dry yeast
  • cups sourdough starter discard, room temperature see Note
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ to 2 cups whole wheat flour


  • Place the oats, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, poppy seeds and brown sugar in a large bowl. Pour in the boiling water and stir to combine. Allow the bowl to sit for 15 to 20 minutes, until the temperature of the water has dropped to between 105° and 110°F. As the seeds absorb the water, they will plump up.
  • Stir in the yeast, sourdough discard, salt and olive oil. Add the all-purpose flour and combine well. Add 1½ cups of the whole wheat flour, ½ cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  • Form the dough into a ball and turn out onto a floured surface. If the dough is too sticky to work with, add 1 to 2 tablespoons more of the whole wheat flour or as needed. Knead for about 7 minutes, until smooth and elastic, adding more flour to the work surface as needed. Place in a greased bowl, turn the dough over to lightly grease the entire surface, and cover with a plate. Let rest for 1½ hours in a warm spot, until doubled in size.
  • Grease two 8- by 4-inch metal loaf pans. Punch down the dough. Turn it out onto a floured surface and cut the dough into two halves. Flatten the first half into an 8-inch square. Roll up the dough and push in the sides gently, until you have formed an even log. Repeat with the second half of the dough, place the formed loaves in the pans, seams down, and tuck the ends under the loaves.
  • Cover the loaves with a dishtowel. Let rest in a warm spot for about 1 hour, until they puff up to near the top edge of the pan.
  • About 15 minutes before the bread is ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425°F. Bake the loaves for 25 to 30 minutes or until browned on top and the bottom of the loaves sound hollow when you tap them. Remove the loaves from the pans and cool on a wire rack before slicing.
  • Store the loaves in clean cloth produce bags at room temperature for 2 days, or store, unsliced, in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.


Sesame seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds or a small amount of fennel or caraway seeds also work well in this bread.
As the sourdough discard warms up, it will bubble and rise. Do not be alarmed if your 1½ cups of cold discard expand to as much as 1¾ cups as it warms up.

12 Replies to “Simple Multigrain Bread With Sourdough Discard”

  1. I’m feeding my starter tomorrow Anne-Marie, so I just might make this! Sounds so good.

  2. I love your ideas but I suggest you look into the myths about sourdough “discard.” Even very old starter can leaven a pretty nice loaf if you give it time. So I discovered from Ben Starr’s YT channel. I just made a perfectly delicious loaf with 2 week old starter in a relatively cold oven in a cold clay bread cloche. There are so many myths about sourdough that make it sound harder and more inconvenient that it has to be, as well as waste flour and waste electricity/gas.

    1. Thanks, Christine. Yes, discard can make a nice loaf if you add a bunch of flour to it and let it sit (i.e., feed it). I don’t think anything I post is difficult or inconvenient or wasteful. I specialize in easy. Otherwise, I wouldn’t do any of this stuff.

  3. Hi Anne-Marie, I made a loaf of this bread last night and it is really delicious. Thank you for the recipe! I halved the quantities you gave and might fiddle about with it for the next loaf, to accommodate the cold damp weather here in the south of England, but it’s definitely one to keep. I also appreciate the toggle for converting your recipes to metric units. Keep up your inspiring work!

  4. Carleen Olderman says: Reply

    Just made your multigrain sourdough discard is delicious!! I will be using this recipe often.I made one loaf in a bread bowl and the other in a rectangular loaf pan..Both came out perfect..Thanks for sharing this yummy recipe!

    1. My pleasure, Carleen! I’m so glad you liked it! Thank you for the info on the different shapes 🙂

    2. Can I make this without the yeast

      1. It won’t rise much because the discard doesn’t have much yeast or life left in it.

  5. Like everyone else, I started doing sourdough bread 2 years ago and tried many recipes along the way.

    Made your recipe for 2 loaves. They filled my 9×5″ pans very nicely. But it was so much dough initially, I divided into 2 bowls for the first rise, (weighed them so they would be equal size). This worked perfectly.
    But we could not each that much bread (just 2 of us). So froze one after wrapping tightly in plastic wrap and then foil. A week later pulled it out to defrost over night, and in the morning, it was like I had just baked it.

    This is a perfect recipe for a nice and fairly easy multigrain bread. I did have to hand knead it as the original 2 loaf recipe was too much for my mixer. And it was a different feel, (and needed to add a bit more flour to be able to work it.) But this is a keeper and will be making it again (but only 1 loaf at a time.) Thank you for sharing this.

  6. Thank you for the recipe! Is it best to use bread flour or ordinary plain flour please?

    1. I use whichever I have. So sometimes all-purpose, sometimes bread flour.

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