Just-baked three seed bread on a cooling rack.

Last weekend I shared an oatmeal-maple bread recipe from my cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs. For reasons I explain in the post, this recipe has tripped people up over the years, and I’d long wanted to address the issues and, for practicality purposes, re-write it for a single loaf pan.

This week I have a similar agenda for another troubled Bread Toast Crumbs recipe, the three-seed bread, which as you can gather, calls for three seeds: sesame, pumpkin, and sunflower. The recipe instructs you to toast the sesame seeds and then has you add the toasted seeds to the flour mixture with no mention of what to do with the pumpkin or sunflower seeds. This mistake, understandably, has left people wondering if the other seeds are supposed to be toasted as well.

Yes, they are, but the truth is that I don’t toast any of the seeds anymore, and the good news is that it doesn’t matter. Toasted or not, the seeds impart the same amount of nuttiness (seediness?) to the loaf while lending a heartiness as well.

Just as the pan for the oatmeal-maple loaf is coated with oats, here the pan is coated with seeds, the same mix that goes into the bread. This coating step is unnecessary, but the exterior seeds do make the loaf look very pretty while also providing an added textural crunch to the crust.

Warning: the seeds do not stay as glued to the loaf as I would like, and you may find your countertop blanketed with them. If I discover a better way to make the seeds stick, I’ll report back, but in the meantime, you can save those toasty seeds and throw them into a salad or toss them over roasted vegetables.

Like the oatmeal-maple loaf, this one makes excellent toast, but it’s also light enough to be used for sandwiches. I love it for this chickpea “tuna” salad and this favorite egg salad. Hope you do, too.

How to Make Three Seed Bread, Step by Step

First, gather your ingredients: flour, salt, sugar, yeast, water, olive oil, and three seeds: sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame.

The ingredients to make three seed bread.

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

The ingredients to make three seed bread.

Then whisk to combine.

The dry ingredients to make three seed bread whisked together.

Add the water followed by the olive oil.

A bowl filled with the ingredients to make three seed bread aside a spatula.

And stir with a spatula until you have a sticky dough ball.

Three seed bread dough all mixed up.

Cover and let rise in a warm place for 2 to 3 hours or until doubled in volume.

A bowl of three seed bread dough in a bowl, covered with a bowl cover.

After it doubles…

A bowl of three seed bread dough, risen.

… slick the surface with a tablespoon of olive oil, then release it from the sides of the bowl. I do this with my hand.

A bowl of three seed bread dough, oiled and punched down after the first rise.

Flip the dough so that the oil side is down, then roll into a coil or loaf shape.

Three seed bread dough, deflated and rolled into a coil, ready for the loaf pan.

Butter a standard loaf pan (8.5×4.5 or 9×5 inches). Optional: coat with the same seed mix that is in the dough.

A buttered and seeded loaf pan.

Place the dough in the pan and sprinkle with more seeds, if you wish.

Three seed bread dough rising in a loaf pan.

Let rise again until doubled or nearly doubled.

Three seed bread dough risen in a loaf pan and ready for the oven.

This is an 8.5×4.5-inch pan.

Three seed bread dough in a loaf pan, unrisen.

I like it because it makes a slightly taller loaf than a 9×5-inch pan.

Three seed bread dough rising in a loaf pan.

Bake for 45 minutes at 375ºF.

Just-baked three seed bread in a loaf pan.

Warning: The seeds make a bit of a mess because not all of them stay adhered to the dough, but aren’t they fun?

Just-baked three seed bread on a cooling rack.

Let the bread cool for 30 to 60 minutes before slicing.

A sliced loaf of three-seed bread on a cutting board.

Sliced 3-seed bread on a cutting board.

This bread is excellent for both toast and sandwiches.

A slice of three seed bread on a board.

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Just-baked three seed bread on a cooling rack.

No-Knead Three-Seed Bread

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Adapted from my cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs.

Changes from the original recipe include:

  • The vessel: This one is baked in a single loaf pan as opposed to two 1-quart Pyrex bowls. You can use an 8.5×4.5-inch pan or a 9×5-inch pan. I prefer the 8.5×4.5-inch pan for this one because it creates a slightly taller loaf.
  • Quantity of flour: I increased the flour by 1/4 cup just to make a slightly loftier loaf in the loaf pan. I have not adjusted the amount of water to compensate for the extra flour, and I do not think the small amount of added flour adversely affects the texture of the bread.
  • Toasting the seeds: I don’t do it! Doesn’t seem necessary. 
  • Oil: I’ve reduced it. I now use just 1 tablespoon of oil in the dough itself and an additional tablespoon for coating the loaf after the first rise.


  • Yeast: SAF Instant Yeast is my preference. I store it in my fridge or freezer, and it lasts forever. The beauty of instant yeast is that there is no need to “proof” it — you can add the yeast directly to the flour. I never use active-dry yeast anymore.
  • To use active-dry yeast: In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar into the water. Sprinkle the yeast over top. There is no need to stir it up. Let it stand for 10 to 15 minutes or until the mixture is foamy and/or bubbling, then proceed. 

Final note: As noted in the post above, the seeds do not stay as glued to the loaf as I would like. If I come up with a better way to make the seeds stay adhered, I’ll report back, but in the meantime, you can save those toasty seeds and throw them into a salad or toss them over roasted vegetables.


  • 3.25 cups (416 g) unbleached bread or all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons (5 grams) kosher salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons (7 grams) sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons (5 grams) instant yeast
  • ¼ cup (40 g) sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup (40 g) pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup (35 g) sesame seeds
  • 1.5 cups (340 grams) lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Softened unsalted butter, for greasing
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup seeds, optional, for coating the pan: I mix another 1/4 cup each of sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame seeds


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and instant yeast. Add the seeds and whisk to combine. Add the water, followed by 1 tablespoon of the oil. Using a rubber spatula, mix until the liquid is absorbed and the ingredients form a sticky dough ball. You may have to knead briefly with your hands to get it to form a dough ball.
  2. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel or a cloth bowl cover or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot to rise for 2 to 3 hours, until the dough has doubled in volume.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Grease an 8.5- x 4.5-inch (or 9×5-inch) loaf pan generously with softened butter. Pour the remaining 3/4 cup seeds into the loaf pan, if using, and turn the pan so that the seeds coat the pan on all sides. Pour out the remaining seeds and set aside. 
  4. When the dough has doubled, drizzle the tablespoon of olive oil over the top and use your hand to rub the oil over the surface to coat. Use your hand again to release the dough from the sides of the bowl, then flip the ball over so that the oil side is down. Roll the dough into a coil or into a loaf shape, then transfer to your prepared pan seam side down. Pour the reserved seeds over the top — you may not need all of them — then spread with your hand or shake the pan to distribute them.
  5. Let the dough rise on the countertop (preferably in a warm, draft-free spot) for 45 minutes to an hour or until the dough has risen significantly in the pan — it should be doming above the rim of the pan by about one inch. See photos for reference.  
  6. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is evenly browned. Remove the pan from the oven and turn the loaf out onto a cooling rack. Let the loaf cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
  • Prep Time: 5 hours
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American