Buttermilk Seed Bread

Homemade buttermilk seed breadRichly studded with seeds and nuts, this tasty whole-grain loaf is packed with nutrition. And it’s dead easy, because a simple overnight in the fridge eliminates the need for a soaker, a pre-ferment, and kneading.

When we first started working on this recipe, we dutifully mixed up a soaker for the seeds plus a pre-ferment, and mixed the main dough the next day. But then we discovered that mixing all the ingredients at once (so simple!) and resting the dough in the fridge produced a loaf that was indistinguishable from the more complicated version. And it also meant that gluten development was already underway, allowing us to replace kneading by a couple of quick folds.

The buttermilk in this loaf makes it moist and nutritious and contributes a rich flavor that is not overtly tangy. The acidity of the buttermilk helps neutralize phytic acid, a naturally-occurring compound in grains, seeds and nuts that can prevent mineral absorption. This loaf makes a wonderful companion to our Cultured Butter recipe — not only does the bread taste great toasted and topped with homemade cultured butter, it’s also a good way to use the buttermilk left over from butter making.

Printable Recipe

Timing: The night before baking, toast the seeds and mix the main dough, then refrigerate overnight. The next day, remove the dough from the refrigerator about seven hours before serving. Fold and rise the dough, then shape, proof and bake.


Volume Grams Ounces
Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) 4 Tbs 36 1.3
Sunflower seeds 3 Tbs 24 0.9
Walnuts, finely chopped 3 Tbs 24 0.9
Chia seeds 2 Tbs 21 0.7
Bread flour 2 cups 311 11.0
Whole wheat flour, classic or white 1 cup 143 5.0
Instant yeast 1½ tsp 4.8 0.17
Salt 1¾ tsp 10 0.35
Buttermilk, cold 1¼ cups 303 10.7
Water ¼ cup 59 2.1
Honey 2 Tbs 40 1.4
Optional, for the crust:
Seeds, untoasted  to taste
Egg white  about 1 Tbs
Seeds for toasting

Seeds ready for toasting

Equipment: Brød & Taylor Folding Proofer and a 9″ x 5″ (23cm x 13cm) loaf pan. A baking stone helps maximize oven spring.

Toast the seeds. Measure or weigh the seeds and nuts and spread on a sheet pan, with the larger seeds around the outside and the smaller seeds in the middle. Toast lightly, about 5-7 minutes at 350F / 177C. Cool completely.

Mix the dough. Combine both flours, the instant yeast and the salt and whisk to evenly distribute the dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk, water and honey and mix until there are no dry spots remaining. The dough should have a soft, sticky consistency — add more water if necessary to get a soft and sticky dough. Add the cooled seeds and nuts and fold into the dough until evenly distributed.

Retard the dough. Cover the dough and refrigerate overnight or up to one day.

Fold the dough. Set up the Proofer with water in the tray and the temperature set to 81F / 27C. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and stretch and fold all four sides to the center, then stretch and fold the four corners to the center.

folding the corners of the dough

Folding the corners of the dough during shaping

Ferment (rise) the dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled 2-quart (2-liter) container and place in the Proofer to rise. After about an hour, perform one more eight-way fold, then leave to rise until doubled, about 3 hours. The volume when doubled will be a little more than 8 cups, or about 2 liters.

Shape the loaf. When the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and stretch and fold all four sides of the dough to create a square shape. Rest, covered, for 15 minutes. While the dough is resting, grease and flour the loaf pan and check that the Proofer tray still has plenty of water in it. To shape the loaf, place the square in front of you and fold the two top corners of the dough towards the center. Next, starting with the top triangular edge, roll the dough (jelly-roll style) towards you while also gently pushing it away from you so that the outer skin is tightened. Pinch the seam to seal and place the loaf seam side down in the prepared loaf pan.

bread rising in the Proofer

Buttermilk seed loaf rising in the Proofer

Proof the shaped loaf. Place the loaf in the Proofer, still set to 81F / 27 C and allow to rise. It is ready to bake when it has risen well above the edge of the pan and springs back slowly when gently poked with a finger, about 1¾ hours.

Preheat the oven. If baking on a stone, allow ample time to preheat the oven and stone. Place the stone in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400F / 204C.

Glaze and top the loaf. If desired, brush the top of the loaf with lightly beaten egg white and sprinkle untoasted seeds over top.

Bake the bread. Place the loaf in the oven and reduce the temperature to 350F / 177C.  Bake for about 40 minutes, turning half way through baking to facilitate even browning. When done, the internal temperature of the loaf should be at least 200F / 93C and the top should be golden brown. Cool, unmold and enjoy.

by Julie

Buttermilk Seed Bread