The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How to put oats/seeds on crust

BostonMaria's picture

How to put oats/seeds on crust

Hi everyone:

I hope this isn't a dumb question, but here goes...

I like the way oats and seeds look on the tops of the bread. The recipe I have calls for a small amount of honey to brush on top after baking, but I find that it makes the bread too sweet. I've tried brushing with melted butter (I think after baking, but maybe I did it before? Can't remember) and the oats/seeds flake right off. Any better way to put them on there for the look and texture?




jstreed1476's picture

I've had consistent success with a technique pictured in the River Cottage Bread Handbook. Prior to the final bench proof (the 2nd rise, usually), I roll the shaped loaf in a wide, shallow bowl into which I've poured enough water or milk to cover the bottom. Then, I roll the loaf in a similar bowl filled about quarter full with oats, seeds, etc. That seems to get them to stick pretty well, although a certain amount will always fall off when slicing the finished bread.

mrfrost's picture

You can use an egg wash made with whole eggs or, an egg wash made with just the egg whites. Although I don't see it recommended too much, I also sometimes just use a cornstarch glaze(just a corn starch slurry). Just for completeness, there are also commercial products that can be purchased for that purpose, if one so desires. "Bread shine", or something to that effect at , for example. Many recipes have the directions to make these washes/glazes, but you can just do a web search for "egg wash for bread", "cornstarch glaze for bread", to pull up these simple "glues".

They are all very effective for that. There are also some recipes that just instruct you to brush with water.(Sortachef Cemitas, here at fresh loaf for example). The wetter you can get the dough, the better(within reason). Not as effective, as many seeds will fall off, but that's one authentic way.

Another water method:

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

That's my solution too.

(because water and/or butter/spray oil didn't work so well (oil seemed to roast/burn the seeds and make them taste off/burnt/rancid-ish)).

  • 1 whole, large egg (room temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 1 pinch (1/8 tsp) of sugar (optional) (careful with the sugar or you'll turn the crust to carbon)
Whisk vigorously and apply lightly with pastry brush immediately before seeding and baking. (To get good seed coverage, do as you do when you salt meat, sprinkling liberally and from high above the loaf/bagels). You could also just press the dough into the seeds, but I degas too much when I try that method).This results in a shiny crust, so if a matte-colored crust is your preference, don't use this egg wash.-Wish I could figure out the cornstartch solution. I've tried both Lepard and Silverton, to ruinous effect. 
BostonMaria's picture

We have a child who is anaphylactic to egg... :(

Thank you for all the suggestions! I've got dough rising now, so I'll give something a shot.



mrfrost's picture

The cornstarch glaze is very effective, in that case. Apply a second, light layer of glaze over the oats, after you have applied them, if it seems like they are not sticking enough. Seeds will be fine with a single layer(mostly).

tn gabe's picture
tn gabe

just adjust the nozzle to mist instead of stream, spray the loaf after shaping and before final fermentation, and roll in pan or on plate with seeds or whatever you want to stick.

subfuscpersona's picture

Exactly how I do it. Works great (I'm always surprised that just water works, but it does)

thanks, tn gabe!