The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Romancing The Seeds!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Romancing The Seeds!

Seeds everywhere!  Lots of seeds!  Seeds in the dough seeds around the dough.  Seeds, seeds, seeds!  A few nuts too and my favorite flours, Rye and Spelt.   Lots of fibre! 

DOUGH    in order:

  • 170g rye sourdough starter 100% hydration
  • 600g water at about 20°C  (68°F)    Stir until starter is well dispersed
  • 70g dried walnut rye sourdough altus crumbs
  • 5g bread spices (blend of crushed coriander, caraway, fennel)
  • 100g spelt flour
  • 600g rye flour

       Mix until all flour is wet, cover and set aside for about 2 hours.  Then add:

  • 13.5g salt
  • 70g hemp seeds
  • 8g roasted sesame seeds (1 tbs)
  • good handful sunflower seeds
  • a good handful of crushed poppy seeds 

Work everything in well and let it rest covered 2 hours (22°C)

Here is where things got hung up... getting ready to shape the loaf... didn't like the last loaf shape in the last bake...  Had a couple of hours to think this out so I started debating with myself what other seeds variations I wanted in the loaf, what shape or form to use, banneton or no banneton, clay baker or free form.  I wanted seeds on the outside, liked the way chia seeds made a sort of support on the outside crust and then again, I wanted something interesting going on too.   Ready for a change...  approx. 1650g of dough or too much for a 9x5x4 bread tin.

Staring at a fresh bag of crushed flax and having just had potato flakes on my mind, what if?  What if I rolled the dough in mixed seeds?  What if I rolled them in seeds and piled them up inside my woks to bake?  Would the dough support itself better as smaller dough pieces?  Or would it go flat?  It likes to go flat.  Unmixed seeds?  Testing seed covers?  Little blobs of dough in different colors piled up on each other?  This was beginning to sound like a "monkey bread."  Then I could see rolling balls of rye dough (or dropping globs of wet cement) falling into bowls of various seeds, rolling around and stacking themselves up to make a loaf.  Might prove interesting...  or one big mess.   Will the bread balls separate or allow for slicing?  Mmmm.

Unlike the overly sweet sticky monkey bread, this is the savory version:  Seedy Nutty Monkey Rye

It is actually quite easy with two large wet soup spoons!  Once covered, the dough balls are easy to place and move around.

Drop large spoonfuls of dough (about the size of an egg) into soup bowls with about 1cm deep

  • crushed poppy seed (dark gray/black)
  • crushed flax seed (brown with shiny specks)
  • whole green pumpkin seeds (they turn a beautiful chestnut brown)
  • chia seeds (light gray)
  • potato flakes (turn dull brown) 

Arrange into a buttered bundt pan (or a pullman pan) cover and allow to rise 3-4 hours. 

I actually used a poke test!  Amazing!  I first steamed the bundt pan inside two woks, one inverted over the other.

Preheat the oven with one wok (2 cm of water inside) to 225°C using the fan setting. 

Place the filled bundt pan inside, cover and steam bake 30 minutes, then remove from oven, quickly take out bundt pan with loaf returning it to the oven to brown and finish baking at 200°C using upper & lower heat setting.  Done when inside loaf temp reaches 96°C and it has rich brown color.   Place rack onto bread and invert.  Remove pan and allow to cool.  Bag overnight.  Cut the next day.

I don't know which side of the loaf should be up, the top or the bottom.  I started out calling it monkey bread.  When it landed on its rack it had mutated into turtle shell bread.


And now for the crumb shots.   An interesting thing happened and it shouldn't be of any surprise... but the coatings that absorb the most amount of water, tend to create the separating problems in the crumb.  The oil containing seeds seem to let the rye dough pass around them to join with neighboring dough balls.  Potato flakes and chia seeds seemed to create natural seams  .  This might be corrected if sprayed with water while arranging.  I could still cut off 1cm slices nicely but to cut .5cm  led some sections to separate. 

The bread tastes like a vollkorn should (yum!) and has an enjoyable bite and flavor that lingers.  We've been eating from it and have not yet spread anything on it.  It is not dry.  Still waiting on the sunshine but as the snow is beginning to fall again...  I'll post what I have.  I used a sharp knife to first cut the loaf in half and then the electric slicer.  Chia was a knife deterrent with its thin tight shell on the crust.

Not too patch work like inside.  Some interesting lines between the sections that run together.  Crumb looks very consistant.


proth5's picture

log in just to say "Nice Bread", but that is seriously cool.  Hope it tastes as good as it looks!


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven


saltandserenity's picture

So original! And beautiful to look at. I bet the crunch is unbelievable.

Franko's picture

Truly the most creative and original loaf of bread I think I've ever seen Mini and I'm feeling healthier for just looking at it! When I first saw the photo I wondered, how the heck did she manage to get all the seeded pieces to adhere to each other throughout the bake. The initial steam bake was a brilliant idea to make  that happen, or do you think there was some other factor at work here that made everything stick together so well? It's a very neat looking creation which I'm sure tastes wonderful with all the great flavours you've included in it. Super imaginative and well done!

Best wishes ,


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

When I first tipped it out it almost fell apart but it hung together.  It smells so good!  Crumb shot to follow in about 9 hours from now.

Floydm's picture

Wow, that is totally nuts.  Literally.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven


Syd's picture

Beautiful to look at, Mini.  Like polished tortoise shell.  It's the sort of  bread I would be in two minds about cutting.  It could just as easily be displayed on the mantle piece.  I am sure it has an excellent flavour, too.



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I cut into it and it is too good to ignore.   Um...  might want to up the salt but that could easily be done with some salty meats and cheese... 

The patches do remind me of a leather handbag I seem to'ave lost track of.

breadsong's picture

Hello Mini, What a wonderful idea you've come up with - so many beautiful contrasts in this loaf. I can't wait to see the crumb shot. This is really an amazing loaf you've created - wow!!! from breadsong

teketeke's picture

It is totally artistic, Mini!  It is like a great quilt that is one of my hubby. :)  I love your idea!!   Thank you for showing your great bread!!



wally's picture

That is so cool, Mini!  Like sticky buns for a seed lover!  That's easily one of the most creative things I've seen here.

If it tastes only half as good as it looks you'll need to hide it from your friends and acquaintances.

BTW- Floyd said it best!

Nice bake,


GSnyde's picture

That is really something, Mini.  Very creative.  Should be fun to eat.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I'll let you know.  Right now I have a tube of squeeze salmon, seems to be working....  Thin sliced onion dragged through green pumpkin oil is also fun.  Chop sticks are great for that.  This looks real culture smashed right now.  And here comes the sun!  :)

ehanner's picture

A remarkable and inspired loaf mini. Getting a little cabin fever are we? I can't wait to see the crumb and hear of the deep nutty flavor.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

"Deep nutty flavor"

Oh now I shall describe thee!  And crunch!  From chia and hemp seeds.  Looking at it coming from the oven, one would have thought I was in a chocolate factory and these the latest morsels.  But the aroma! Oh the aroma!  Lets just say I was not disappointed in the least.  As far as the crumb goes it holds itself together pretty well.  I might not trust a heavy piled on open face sandwich without inspecting the seams first but that is just a minor problem.  Next time tweeked away.

I've been reading a lot on evolution lately, sort of picking up where I left off.  Understanding how so many puzzles fit together is getting easier with time and the steady supply of research.  Been thinking about my starters and how they evolve too!  Cabin fever?  Naw, I haven't tried burning parchment on the stove yet if that's what you mean.  Although the monkey rye loaf might be considered overdone or too decorative.  I like the large seeds making floretts on the dough surface, that could be exploited.  Heck!  Those long deep snowy winters in Upper Michigan prepared me for dealing with the worst kind of cabin fever.  Even the kind without snow.

dmsnyder's picture

And beautiful execution.

How could it not taste wonderful? 


Mebake's picture

Very Creative Mini! and healthy too!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Thanks guys! 

arlo's picture

Pretty darn nice Mini!

ronnie g's picture
ronnie g

Mini, this is one amazing loaf!  I've just made my first multi-grain loaf with pumpkin, pepitas, sesame and a harvest grain mix, from PR's Wholegrain Breads, and it is so nice, even the grand-children (and the dog!) are bugging me for it.  Your loaf is very pretty and looks superbly tasty!  One day I'm gonna try that loaf just for the challenge (and the taste!).  Thank you for posting it, making it, AND sharing it!

Arnie begging for bread.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Our 4 legged friends know what's up! 

I combine all kinds of seeds and change around too.  Some seeds get hard on the outside of the loaf so I put them into the inside, like the red rice in a previous loaf.  I find the soaked whole grains do better inside the dough.  Another thought would be just to do the whole thing in just two kinds of seeds or one kind and where they touch each other in the inside scratch 'em up a bit with a fork so they stick or just glob a few spoonfuls of dough in the middle.  Easy enough. 

I can also see burying some dried raspberries and fruit inside (oops, now I got myself going...) And of coarse toasted hazel nuts and walnuts may work themselves into the next loaf.  Almond splinters on the outside and some of those tiny negella seeds would be interesting as well.  Various colored sesame seeds and fennel seeds -- maybe in smaller lumps or thrown into the bundt mold before stacking.  Or nasturtiums!  Flower and fruit! I like a loaf that I can cut in half, set the cut edges on the board (with the entire crust in the air for all to see) and serve it on the "half shell."  Even sliced, it would present itself nicely. 


More Thoughts:

High % Rye dough, especially this rye dough is not easily shaped, braided or twisted because it is like working with wet cement, although I might be tempted to do more handling after extruding ropes into seeds first.  (I would really have to be motivated to do the extra dishwashing or use wet hands.)   Wait...  A dishtowel with seeds spread out in a rectangle and a spoon globbed row of dough.  I can see it!  Pick up the edges of the towel (like making a strudel) and roll the row to coat.  It would look like a log and easier to touch.  Do this for two or three ropes and lay them side by side and the third one on top of the two.  Now twist them gently together without tearing.  Can you see it?  I can.   Press from the ends to compact the loaf if needed and lay into a pullman pan or long loaf pan or drape a pan with parchment.  Or around the bundt or cake pan or tube pan or even one of those chicken gooser pans. 

This twisted rye dough could also be snailed up or double twisted back on itself.  And what would happen if the twisted log was stood on end and pressed gently downward into a pudgy stump and then allowed to proof?  The top could be left plain pressed or docorated with large seeds set on end into the dough or nuts and there would be a triad pattern on the top...  maybe.  I don't know how much squishing and shaping would deform it ...yet. 

I know I have a few clover shaped cookie cutters and a heart that might make an interesting score on top or is that better left to cake decorating?  Valentine or St Patrick's Rye?  (oops, fell into the kitsch ditch)  


rayel's picture

I love all your pictures, but especially the last one. Splendid bread. I agree with Syd too pretty to eat. I think your creative idea will be borrowed by many.  Ray

rayel's picture

Hi Mini, the crumb shots are wonderful, but my favorite is the inverted loaf which I took to be the last picture. A beautiful mosaic. So many great ideas in one loaf. Ray

swtgran's picture

That is just about the neatest loaf of bread I have ever seen.  What a great idea you have put out there.  I have a party brot recipe that I can now see getting the real party treatment.  Thanks for starting a whole new thought process about bread.  Terry

kim's picture

Mini, your breads always look so yummy to me. I wonder what kind of rye flour are you using, seem like medium rye in us. I will try your recipe in the coming months after my rye starter is strong enough for breads.


Mebake's picture

You are the queen of Rye, Mini

varda's picture

I read your post a few days ago, and thought how cool, but that reminds me of something and couldn't think what.   It just came to me.   Archimboldo was an Italian 16th century painter who painted things made out of things, and your bread reminds me of his work.   I am not an expert on 16th century art, but I was just reading 2666 a seriously strange book in which the main character is a reclusive German author pen-named Archimboldi after the painter, so I looked him up.   Anyhow, your creative imagination takes me way beyond bread. -Varda

nicodvb's picture

could do a rye bread that is a pleasure to look at and a pity to cut! I can imagine how hard it must have been putting together the pieces.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

In fact I never got my hands sticky!  I did have two spoons to clean along with my mixing bowl and heavy duty spatula.  I used a drop method.  Drop into seeds and drop into pan.  I'm going to try some twists next.  That might get messy twisting strands.  Coating the outside of a rather sloppy dough makes it so manageable!  Opens a whole new world of rye-doh playing! 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Next experiment:  divide dough into 3 logs (this happened at about the 5 hr mark) and cover each partly with seeds.  Stick the 3 logs together and twist.  Stand on end and place into a seed lined form to rise.  Flip into wok, cover and bake.

Problems arose standing the twisted logs on end, about 5 hours into the experiment.  Think I should have stopped there but I wanted to see if I could get more structure into the dough if I stood it on end.  I obliterated the swirls in doing so.  Drat!  My final proof went a bit faster than planned but the dough went into the oven at about the 7.5 hr mark. The dough seemed very proofed, hope not overproofed. 

Spoon proofed dough onto crushed flax:         (first log rolled in chopped pumpkin seed one side exposed)

roll to cover with the help of a dish towel:

The third log rolled in grated hazel nuts:

the three were then lightly twisted and I carefully got the whole thing on end and patted it down.  The banneton was dusted with both chia seeds and rice flour mixture.    My cake cover fits nicely over the top and oops!  let it rise a wee bit too long.  See some hollow bubble pops? 

I carefully place one of my woks over the banneton and inverted the whole thing.  I started to score and stopped.  Too fragile.  

It did settle and not rise any more in the oven, came out a little lower than going in.  Na, ya,  better the next time.  

Still a crumb shot:


rayel's picture

Happy Valentine's day. Nice pictures as always Minnie.   Ray

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

The hazel nuts make the bread much sweeter.  I can see why hazel nuts are so popular in cakes here.  Might be interesting to swirl one log of walnut and one of hazel nut and a third of say ...chestnut ...with a simple twist.  

rayel's picture

Hi Minnie, could you have attached the logs end to end after seeding and coiled them together from one long multi seeded log? Harder to handle perhaps? Just a thought. The bread had to be delicious with all the enhancements, especially the hazel nuts. Your pictures are so instructive.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I think it would be easier to pick up the pieces separately instead of one long coil.  I would start rolling one shorter log into a coil, then add the next one where I left off.  Got to be careful with stretching as it exposes the sticky dough which tears easily.  Rather fragile stuff!  I've caught myself holding my breath as I work with it.  

The seed coated blobs was the easiest to do so far.  There are buns sold here called "baker's blossom" where each wheat bun is dipped with a different seed topping.  A ring of 6,7 or 8 with one in the middle.  Sometimes they can get quite large. 

Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

Very beautiful, very creative, and I'll bet very tasty.


Paddyscake's picture

I've been gone for a few months and I come back to your incredible creative bread magic. Dang woman, that's a beauty and I really want to have a slice with some creams cheese, lox, red onions and fresh summer tomatoes!



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

It's easier than it looks!    

"And we had fun, fun, fun, 'til her daddy took her rye fl'r away-a-ay!" 

Welcome back!    

highmtnpam's picture

I found something I didn't think existed...inedible bread.  It exists. Not bad bread,not tasteless bread, not gummy bread...inedible bread. Then I see your wonderful seed bread.  You keep experimenting. GASP  Do you think there is a blog somewhere entitled THE INEDIBLE LOAF with people working as hard as you do, not to make the ultimate seeded bread, but to make the ultimate inedible bread? This must be A loafer version of pink elephants. 



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

A total waste!  As a trophy?

Food should be eaten, the ultimate complement.  

We not only eat with our noses and taste buds, but first with our eyes and second with our fingers.  How often we take up a piece of bread to press it between our fingers.  We do it so naturally we forget how unusual it is.  We're testing it, like an appetizer and hold then hold it to our nose and smell it and the whole time looking at it or feeling the softness, firmness, crust and crumb texture.  Oh how we long for smell-o-vision or to reach through our screens to touch the bread from each other!  

Inedible bread?  

Ok, I accept a museum display showing how bread is made (although plastic might hold out better) but you won't find me nibbling on bread slippers or a pretzel car. Overworked bread can also look unappetizing and using bread in some art forms might turn me off grains forever!  Some exhibits would be better displayed using clay or plastic to make a statement.  There are limits to what is acceptable.  I know, some artists want to be known for crossing such lines.  I'm not one of those.  At least I don't want to be known for making bread not worth eating.  I don't want my food perverted.  Why take food and make it not worth eating?  

Simple is the most presentable.  A daily bread that doesn't change can give a beautiful stability, a feeling of security and peace.  I just try to look for a few alternatives.  It doesn't hurt to incorporate a few structural ideas from other places.  

I remember an experiment not related to bread: from a large piece of paper, build a platform that can hold your weight 6 inches off the floor.  Folding the paper would elevate a person but only an inch.  Crunching up the paper would raise for only a short while but eventually compacted and was rather unstable for weight distribution.  Finally one comes around to making rolls resembling toilet paper tubes all standing on end and bound together.    

Now let us start over.  Flour is your paper.  Make a loaf that will stand 6" tall.

Mixing the flour with water to form a stiff dough would make an object that sits 6" but what do we have?  I tell you this is edible.  Take barley flour and roast it and use hot water or tea.  Sound familiar?  But stand on it!  Senseless idea!  After all we are planning on eating it and not using it for architecture.  

The moment I mention flour, most of us will eventually see bread.  Naturally!  This is a bread site.  Ok, lets take a good look at our bread.   If we ferment some and then get yeasts to help us make a dough with inside bubble structure,  we get some extra height just from gas chambers inside the dough.  If we look at soap bubbles, it is a similar concept except... well, it's soap.  Take a hand full of lather off the top of the dishwater and see how it can hold itself up in your hand.  Is this structure the only one we can use?    

We learn that folding the dough adds structure, that bubbles surrounded by a tighter outer skin also adds stability.  A tight skin on the outside of the loaf helps hold its shape.  We've seen pull apart bread, an interesting stacking of dough pieces each with their own skin placed in some kind of order to make a loaf.  It's a structural idea.  Twisted Braids of dough run along the same structural lines, adding height and appeal to the finished loaf.  

 But then...  comes 80 - 100% rye.  Yep, well, what do we do with it?  How can we give it a "skin" so it can hold itself up?   That's what I'm thinking about, this my direction with the high ryes and they better darn taste good too!

One way is to put the dough into a pan.  Another way is to dry out the outside skin as in banneton  or roll it into moisture absorbing seeds or flour.  Stuff that tastes good and could work as a decoration.  The idea of rolling paper tubes or dough tubes is one I want to investigate further.  Wrapping the rye dough with another dough as a skin is also somewhere down the experimental road for me.  It has been used and talked about before but I haven't tried it yet.  I would like to see if I can do my version.  

I recently saw a loaf I had forgotten about in the archives...  a scored loaf wrapped with a long twisted rope of dough criss-crossing the loaf like a birthday present!  Neat!  Simple and effective in decoration and adding structure.  A hot cross loaf look.  

I often have to remind myself that most people look at a loaf and want to see "just bread" and wouldn't know where to start discussing the topic of bread and how it should look.  I can talk about it here easy enough. 


jackie9999's picture

I only just saw this thread but it made todays bake of my everyday sourdough look pretty darn boring...I've mixed up some seeds and grains to soak from another recipe I had saved ( ) and I'll add them to the loaf in progress.

Your loaf is very inspiring - I think it would make an amazing centerpiece on a holiday table.  Thank you so much for taking the time to detail it and take the pictures!

jackie9999's picture

Over the Christmas we were invited to a dinner and I made the TBBA Cranberry-Walnut Celebration Bread - a lovely tiered braided bread. I was surprised, when dinner was served, that it had been cut into slices and piled in a bread basket! To me, it was beautiful to look at - and it tasted pretty good too..but I guess not everyone looks at bread like I do. Your post, Mini Oven, reminded me of that dinner - bread is more than just, well...bread.


highmtnpam's picture

(by the way you don't use varnish) I make a cornucopia of varnished breads for a Thanksgiving centerpiece.

Only people who spend a lot of time shaping bread and know how hard it is to acquire the skill are thrilled with the shape of the bread


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I used to give my extra food away before I saved left-overs that would spoil.  Letting food spoil or rendering it inedible is hard for me to grasp so I try my hardest not to.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

This is a loaf made with approx. 55g soaked chia seeds with adjustments to water.  I recon it is at least 90% rye.  It has been my tallest rye loaf out of my sauce pan shown HERE.

The slices are a proud 5 inches high and 7.5 inches wide at the middle or 13 cm x 19 cm!   ...after cooling!  ...and it tastes Great!

The torn section of crumb in the upper left crumb shot, was caused from the meat thermometer (not a bad aim if I say so myself.)

The baking went a little longer than planned and mentioned here and here

nicodvb's picture

fantastic! and the envelopment in seeds is absolutely unique! Can I say it? it's drooling. It shows that it's more risen than usual.

Does the crumb taste  wetter or just the same?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

over backwards easily.  I think the large seeds give a crazy kind of support for upward expansion   The dough between the seeds was as wet as ever (maybe more so) and when reshaping the loaf at about 3 hours, there was almost no degassing as I rolled the dough into the seeds.  It maintained its bloated amoeba self.  The top of loaf was a bit wavy with wrinkles of seeds although I tried to tighten the surface before seeding.  In other words, I stuffed it into the pot and had a few sticky fingers.  

The rise progressed nicely and I didn't have the sticking to the top pot as with the last loaf during the final proof phase.  I also preheated the oven this time. It was 250° when the loaf went in, 10 minutes later, it was 220° and dropped to 200°C after 25 minutes into the bake when  I removed the top.  Could have left it on longer to protect the seeds.

To do it again, and it will happen, I would presoak the outside seeds overnight letting the surfaces dry before coating the loaf with them.  I did have to pick off a few very roasted seeds.  I thought I might have to pick off more seeds but after standing bagged overnight, and daylight, they do not appear as dark as I had feared.  

Koyae's picture

Wow. And I was convinced of your (rye and other) baking skills already.

If you're up for it, I would love to *see* (ha, I typed 'seed' here at first by accident. Look what you've done to me!) a braided bread that's done with slightly different mixes of flours in the different parts, and see how that would look when executed using a similar method to your previous braid. For example, I'd imagine specifically a nice coarse white rye, and then your favourite intensely color-changing rye-pumpernickel mixture. I'd expect you could get an excellent marble-effect that way.



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

but you are right in that more contrast would improve the looks of the crumb.  It really bothered me that once I stood that twisted dough on end, the "twist" was lost.  That doesn't mean I'm not thinking about it or playing now with your idea.  I started a brain storming page with contrast crumb ideas.  My preferences are for rye bread. I would like to find some chestnut flour and I will keep a look out for white rye.  I could have split up the last loaf but my son moved into the kitchen to cook and bake and suddenly my great open spaces disappeared. 

cherryadia's picture


You make such wonderful loaves of bread... and as a seed/nut lover, I think I am getting dehydrated from drooling just by looking at those pictures of your gorgeous bread!!!