The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Huge amount of seeds and sugar...

Jaydot's picture

Huge amount of seeds and sugar...

My sister in law brought back a recipe from her travels (to South Africa) for a "best ever" bread, but I'm uncertain about even trying it. My experience in bread baking so far is limited to lean sourdoughs, so this recipe seems extraordinary. 

It's a recipe for a yeasted bread (20 gr fresh yeast), and it calls for 500 gr flour, 1 cup of castor sugar (that would be about 200 gr, right?), 300 gr water and then 350 gr of mixed seeds (seven kinds). It also uses 5 teaspoons of malt extract and 60 ml syrup (unspecified). And some salt.
The recipe basically says mix, knead, proof, knead again briefly, rise "to top of tin" and bake at 200 C.

In spite of all the sugars, my sister in law says it didn't taste sweet at all. That hardly seems possible to me...

Have any of you ever baked something with so much sugar en seeds? Will it work?

clazar123's picture

It looks do-able but I'm surprised there isn't any kind of fat in it. Also,I think it would be sweeter than she thinks-it may be masked by the seeds or perhaps she isn't too sensitive to the taste of sugar.Some people aren't,esp if they are known to have a sweet tooth. They become used to the taste and just don't detect it until it is candy-level.

 I wonder if the unspecified syrup is golden syrup? I can't comment on the amount of malt extract as I've never used it. Nothing wrong with using it, I just haven't.It can be quite helpful, esp in sweetened doughs. For me, I have only seen it available online but elsewhere, it seems to be more locally available. I'm not sure how many seeds that will be. They are heavy and it depends on the seeds used. Make sure whatever seeds are added aren't tooth breakers. I parboil oats,wheat berries and rice before adding it to the dough.

With any multigrain,seeded or fruited loaf,the trick is to make sure you develop the gluten in the dough before you add the seeds and sometimes before you add the sweetener. It may help to use a bread flour, also.

Here's an idea-maybe use honey instead of the sugar and syrup? Try it-she may like your recipe better.

2 links as afterthoughts:

The second one is a thread I started.Have delicious fun!


Chuck's picture

Not having experience with a recipe like this before, what I'd do is initially bake only a small quantity. That way you don't risk having a whole bunch of something you don't like. Maybe bake a quarter recipe?

After that, the very first variation I'd try is honey instead of sugar. There are lots of different "rules" for the substitution; the one I personally use is probably oversimplified, but it seems to work reasonably anyway: change sugar to honey 1 to 1 (by weight), and reduce the water very slightly (something like 15 grams out of 300?). That would be not quite as sweet (while still being "close"), less "candy-like", and seemingly would complement the mixed seeds better.

Just recently there's been another thread here about caster sugar; I'll try (hopefully successfully -but realistically perhaps not:-) to summarize it: The thing called caster sugar is widely available in many parts of the world  ...but not in the U.S. Sometimes in the U.S. you can buy "very fine" (but not "powdered") sugar, which is the right stuff even though it's not labelled "caster". If you can't find the very fine stuff to buy, a reasonable alternative is to measure your regular granulated sugar into your blender and run your blender a while to cut up the sugar crystals into finer pieces before adding the now-finer sugar to your dough.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

And found lots of recipes similar but the sugar was a lot less and yoghurt was included instead of water.  Look and compare.  Lots of seeds. 

possum-liz's picture

After looking at and trying a couple of recipies I made up a sourdough version. I know that I reduced the honey from the original recipes because I don't like sweet bread. What I ended up with was using Flo's 123 soudough recipe made with about 60% whole wheat flour and 40% bread flour with 4% honey, 5% oil and 28% seed  (of the total flour weight). I use equal amounts of sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, poppy seeds and linseed (flaxseed). I soak all the linseed--just covered with water--usually half ground and half whole. I don't count the soaker in the water for the recipe.

Jaydot's picture

Thank you!

Checking other recipes was an excellent suggestion, should have thought of that myself :). Using 70% seeds still seems an awful lot, but that should be a fun experiment. Using 40% sugar, on the other hand... All the recipes I found use a tablespoon of the stuff, not a cup. Most of them also add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of syrup or molasses, though.

I think I'll try the recipe as is first, but with a tablespoon of sugar, not a cup.

@Clazar123: I'd have expected some oil too. And I'll add the seeds after autolyse. I have some maple syrup, so I'll probably be using that.

@Chuck: 500 gr flour doesn't make a very big loaf, so I might as well go with the recipe. I live in Europe (Holland), so finding castor sugar is no problem at all - in my neighbourhood supermarket I can choose between white, amber or dark :).

@Possum-liz: Good idea! If I like the loaf, I'll convert to sourdough too, but I'm going to try the original first, to see if I can reproduce what it's supposed to taste like.

Soaking the seeds first makes sense, I'll probably do that too. The recipe uses equal amounts of sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, flax, aniseed, caraway and poppy.

If I end up making a seedbrick I'll feed it to the birds. If it's fit for human consumption I'll make a blogpost :)).

Thanks again for your help!

RonRay's picture


I have 6 different recipes for this seed bread. Of those that call for sugar, range in amounts from 1 Tbs to 1 tsp, and it is used in the yeast activation/initial proofing.

I bet the "1 cup" was either "1 Tbs" or "1 tsp" originally.


Jaydot's picture

Thanks for confirming that!

I haven't made the bread yet, because one of the seeds is aniseed. Couldn't find it in shops, so I ordered it online and it should have been here by now... 
I'd love to see other recipes, if you'd care to share them :).

Merry Christmas!

RonRay's picture

Hi Jaydot,

I have worked out a recipe I intend to try very soon, but that I would prefer to bake first and work out the problems - if any - before posting. However, that said, I am happy to give you several links to the sources of my reference formulae:

This one has a video, but is a quick bread, with neither sugar nor yeast used ;-)

And this one has an error, but is posted over and over at different locations. The error is to "Give 10 minutes proof and then bake at 220C" I wish 10 minutes was enough..... LOL

Of course, if my attempt works out to be worth eating, I well be more than happy to past that along as well (º¿º)

zÖ¿Öm Ron


pmccool's picture

Hello J,

There are a lot of variations on the Cape Seed Loaf theme but none that I have encountered would be described as a sweet bread.  As other posters have noted, a tablespoon of sugar seems to be more in keeping for most recipes than does a cup.  None in my experience have contained anise seed as one of the components, either.  The main seed mix seems to be pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, sesame seed and poppy seed.  Again, lots of room for variation from that basic mix.  

The breads that I have had tend to be heavy, moist, rich and loaded with seeds.  Very good stuff!

If the syrup isn't specified, odds are very good that it is golden syrup.  It is very common in that corner of the world, much more so than molasses, even.  If you can't source golden syrup locally, a very light molasses could be substituted successfully.  So could honey or agave syrup, but the flavor profile would change to some extent.

Try googling Cape seed loaf recipe.  You'll get lots of hits.


RonRay's picture

Jaydot, I've been wondering if you ever try your recipe?


Jaydot's picture


Yes I did, twice actually! Thanks for asking and sorry for taking so long to respond.

From Brood

The first time I more or less followed the recipe as best I could, and baked a brick. A tasty brick, but a brick nonetheless.

The second time I used my own sourdough starter, left out the enormous quantity of sugar and made a few other adjustments. And that made a rather nice loaf - a bit dense, but I think that would be hard to avoid anyway, with all those seeds. Obviously it was a bit less sweet but I myself prefer it that way. 

It's a work in progress, but I haven't gotten around to making another one yet.
There are some more photo's in the Picasa album (link under the photo; the original one is called "seven seeds", the sourdough one "multiseed").

My sister in law (the expert on what it should taste like) said the taste of the original was almost exactly what it should be, but it was too dense (duh!), and the second loaf was excellent, but she would have preferred it to be a tad sweeter...

Formula and method for the sourdough multiseed, and for the original (yeast) seven seeds.

RonRay's picture

Hi, glad to see you worked on the Seed breads, too. I did my 5th version over the last two days and baked it at 8 AM this morning. It is now 1:30 PM here and I just had my 4th and 5th slices for a late lunch. By far, this last try was the best, and a sixth may finally be close enough to write it up and post. ;-)

I looked at what you'd tried and what you arrived at on your sourdough levain version has many similarities to my tries. Here are the ingredients, and when I do post I'll be sure to let you know. I used sourdough on 4 of the 5 versions and believe that is the best method. My loaf size 736g and my ingredients:
Anise Seed (only 2g), Flaxseed Meal, Almond meal, Cracked Wheat - all 4 in a soaker -
Toasted Seeds were: Sesame Seed, Sunflower (hulled), Poppy Seed.
Other; Chia Seed (3 g but not in next version), Pumpkin Seeds [Hulled], and Pine Nut.
Flours; Bread Flour, Dark WW Flour, AP Flour, Dark Rye.
Toasted Sesame Seed Oil (6g).
Sugar, Brown (40g)
White levain at 100%HL (335g = 49 B's%) The overall hydration came to about 74.3%HL
It looks much like your TFL posted photo, but a bit less open than yours.



Jaydot's picture

... that you live too far away to organise a taste comparison session :).

I had to google Chia - found out that it is available here, but as it's considered an exotic superfood, it's very expensive. I am curious about it though, why are you leaving it out in the next version?

Toasted Sesame oil, now there's an idea! I'm not sure about trying it in a seed loaf, but I'm definitely going to get some for my daily bread (which usually has about 7% sesame seeds, because I love the taste).

Almond meal is an interesting addition too - does the taste come through in the loaf?

Bread flour, AP flour, dark WW... I use organic flour and my local (wind!)mill offers flour and WW. I'm afraid I have no idea of it's gluten content or other properties. My SD starter is maintained with half WW rye/half stoneground flour, so there's always a bit of rye in all my bread.

I'm looking forward to your write-up!

RonRay's picture

... but, perhaps, one day Internet will have a [Taste] button ;-)
I have used Chia in many things, and generally enjoy the addition. It is especially useful in making very high hydration dough more manageable, however, for some strange reason, in this seed loaf formulation, it seems to create a slight salmon-like (fishy) taste. While I like salmon, IMHO it does not go well in seed loaves :(
I think almond meal helps texture, but the flavor does not seem to come through. What did come through in past bakes was black walnut flavor, and I intend to add some black walnut back in the next bake.
So much seed content raises havoc on gluten structure, and the 14% bread flour helps on that, of course, just adding gluten would be an alternative to that.
Let us be sure to update each other on future attempts to improve our seed loaf formulations. Unfortunately, Google Docs cannot handle the applications I write, or I'd provide a copy. If you have either Open Office free spreadsheet, or Excel, I would be willing to e-mail a copy to you. If you would like that, just send me an e-mail a and I send you a copy.

... Ron


RonRay's picture


I finally wrote up version 6 and posted it today. Here is the link:

Thanks for the caraway and maple syrup ;-)