Soft and Fluffy Seeded Sandwich Bread
This soft seeded sandwich bread is like your favorite supermarket bread that is filled with all kinds of whole grains and seeds. It is fluffy and hearty and is essentially a no-knead bread recipe.
Overview of Recipe
- Skill Level: Intermediate
- Techniques Used: Stretch and Fold Method, Shaping Bread for a Loaf Tin
If I buy bread in the supermarket for sandwiches, I want the kind that is filled with all the grains and seeds. The more the merrier!
This is like your favorite store bought bread, but better! It is soft and fluffy and filled with lots of seeds and whole grains for incredible depth of flavor and texture.
I also should note that this is a high hydration dough, meaning that there is quite a bit of moisture in it. This means that the dough is quite sticky, but it allows the bread to have a fluffy texture even with the amount of whole grains and seeds that are included.
Don’t fret! The method for mixing the dough is a no-knead method. We will be using the stretch and fold method, which is a gentler process and much easier than kneading! I use this same method for my favorite 100% whole wheat bread recipe too. It creates a beautiful loaf!
How to Make the Seeded Sandwich Bread
The process of making this bread is quite simple. There is no kneading required, and you definite don’t need a stand mixer!
Step 1: Proof the Yeast
We’re going to start by proofing our yeast, which is the process of hydrating it and giving it a bit of sugar to wake it up.
Stir your yeast into your warm water with a bit of sugar and let it sit for about 10 minutes. You want to see little bubbles and some frothing on top to know that your yeast is alive. If you don’t see anything, your yeast may be old or your water might have been too warm.
Step 2: Mix the Dough
While the yeast is proofing, you can get the rest of your ingredients combined. We are using a variety of whole grains and seeds in this bread including: whole wheat flour, rolled oats, flax seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds.
This the combination I prefer in my seeded bread, but you can feel free to play around with the types of seeds and grains! Make it your own if you like!
Once all of your other ingredients are mixed together, you can pour the water/yeast mixture into the bowl and stir until the dough is starting to come together. It will be really sticky and shaggy.
Note: If you want to keep this recipe completely vegan, you can swap out the honey with agave syrup or use regular sugar instead.
At this point, I like to get my hands in the dough and finish mixing so that I can be sure that all of the flour is completely combined. Remember, we are not going to be kneading this dough, so it is important that it is well combined at this step.
Once your dough is well mixed, cover it and let it sit for about 15 minutes before the first round of stretch and folds. I like to use shower caps to cover my bowls because they fit perfectly and you can rinse them out and re-use them many times.
Step 3: Stretch and Fold the Dough
The process of stretching and folding the dough helps the build the gluten structure in a more gentle way than kneading. It allows the dough to have a high hydration as well as a lot of whole grains and seeds.
To start the process, get your hand wet (wet hands do not stick to wet dough). Scoop underneath the dough in the bowl, pulling up on one side.
Stretch the dough up as far as it will go without breaking, and then fold it down over itself. Continue around the bowl, stretching and folding until the dough starts forming into a more structured ball of dough.
If you start the video below, it will start at the part where I show the stretch and folds.
You want to do 4 rounds total of stretch and folds, about every 15 minutes. You will notice the dough gaining more strength and structure each time.
Step 4: Bulk Ferment (1st Rise)
After you’re done building the gluten structure through the stretch and folds, we are going to let the dough finish rising. This part of the process is called “bulk fermentation.”
If you used rapid rise or quick rise yeast this process will go a little faster than if you used active dry yeast.
To check that your dough is done rising, you can cut off a small piece of it and drop it in some water. If it floats, you are good to move onto shaping. If it doesn’t you need to give it more time.
Be careful when you cut off the piece of dough that you don’t press all of the air out of it, or it will never float!
Step 5: Shaping the Loaves
The full recipe makes two loaves of bread. I like to make two at a time because then I can freeze one for later. However, you can make a half recipe to make only one loaf.
To start the shaping process, dump all of the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide in in half. I just eyeball it, but you can weigh it if you want to be exact.
Gently spread the dough out to a rectangular shape and pres the air out of it. You can sprinkle a bit of flour on top of the dough, but don’t be too liberal with it. You want the dough to be able to stick to itself as you shape it.
Shape it by pulling out on the edges of the dough and then rolling it down into itself. This dough is very sticky, so by light with your touch. You don’t want to squeeze it.
Shaping sticky dough takes some practice. Be patient and keep trying. If it isn’t perfect, it’s okay! It will still taste great!
Once your loaves are shaped, transfer them into a 1 lb loaf pan that has been greased with non-stick spray. Press down on each one gently to make sure there are no air pockets. Then cover them to proof (2nd rise).
Step 4: Proof
After the loaves are shaped they need to proof. Proofing is the rise after shaping and allows the dough to get puffy and full of air before it goes into the oven.
You can tell your dough is done proofing when they have crowned the pan. I like to do a quick egg wash over the top of the dough and sprinkle with some oats before baking. This is optional and you can use just a bit of oil if you prefer.
Step 5: Bake
The loaves will bake until they are golden brown and sound hallow if you knock on them. If you want to be really sure that your bread is baked through, you can stick a thermometer into the side of the loaf right in the center. It should be about 190 – 200 F (87-93 C).
Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack when they come out of the oven.
Step 6: Cooling
One of the hardest, but most important, parts of baking bread is waiting for it to cool. But please try to practice restraint!
Let your loaves cool for at least 2 hours before slicing. Cutting into hot bread can lead to a gummy texture and can cause the bread to stale much more quickly.
- Can I substitute for different seeds in this recipe?: Yes! If you don’t have the seeds on hand that I call for, you can substitute them with seeds that you do have available.
- Why did my bread turn out dense?: If your bread ends up coming out dense it is likely that it either was under proofed or over proofed. Make sure your dough has crowned the pan and is full of air before baking. But bake it before it looks like it is starting to have a weak structure and might collapse soon.
- Can I freeze this bread?: YES! I like to freeze one of the loaves. Let it cool completely and then wrap it well and freeze it for up to 3 months. To refresh, let it thaw in the wrapping at room temperature. Then get the outside of the loaf slightly damp, and place it in a 325 F (160 C) oven for about 15 minutes. Comes out like fresh!
For a Full Batch (makes 2 loaves)
- 600 gr (2 1/2 cups, 600 ml) slightly warm water (around 110-125 F, 43-51 C)
- 7 gr (1 package, 2 1/4 tsp) active dry or rapid rise yeast
- about 1 tsp of sugar (to proof yeast)
- 540 gr (4 1/2 cups) bread flour or unbleached all purpose flour
- 210 gr (1 3/4 cup) whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
- 50 gr (1/2 cup) rolled oats
- 30 gr (1/4 cup) sesame seeds (white or black)
- 60 gr (1/2 cup) sunflower seeds
- 20 gr (2 tbsp) flax seeds or flax meal
- 56 gr (1/4 cup, 60 ml) neutral flavored oil
- 60 gr (3 tbsp) honey or agave syrup
For a Half Batch (makes 1 loaf)
- 300 gr (1 1/2 cup, 300 ml) slightly warm water (around 110-125 F, 43-51 C)
- 4 gr (1/2 package, 1 1/8 tsp) active dry or rapid rise yeast
- about 1/2 tsp of sugar (to proof yeast)
- 270 gr (2 1/4 cups) bread flour or unbleached all purpose flour
- 105 gr (3/4 cup + 2 tbsp) whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
- 25 gr (1/4 cup) rolled oats
- 15 gr (2 tbsp) sesame seeds (white or black)
- 30 gr (1/4 cup) sunflower seeds
- 10 gr (1 tbsp) flax seeds or flax meal
- 28 gr (2 tbsp, 30 ml) neutral flavored oil
- 30 gr (1 1/2 tsp) honey or agave syrup
Note: if you are new to bread baking, I highly recommend you watching the video below to see how to make it!
- PROOF YEAST: Combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk until the yeast dissolves. Let this mixture sit for about 10 minutes. If it is slightly frothy and you can see bubbles forming on top, then your yeast is active. If you don't see any activity, your yeast is likely too old or your water was too warm and your yeast is not alive.
- MIX DOUGH: In a large mixing bowl, combine the bread flour, whole wheat flour, salt, rolled oats, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds. Stir until well combined. Add the oil, honey or agave, and water/yeast mixture into the bowl. Use a silicon spatula or mixing spoon to stir until the dough starts to come together. It will be very wet. Use your hands to finish mixing the dough until there are no dry patches of flour left. I like to do this by grabbing the dough with my whole hand and squeezing and pinching all over to make sure there are no hidden pockets of dry flour. Cover the bowl with a shower cap, plastic wrap, or a damp towel and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
- STRETCH AND FOLD: During the next hour, you will do 4 rounds of stretch and folds about every 15 minutes. This is a gentler way of developing the gluten structure without kneading and allows for more moisture and whole grains in the bread which will give it better texture. The video gives a good demonstration of stretch and folds, but to do this: get your hand wet and scoop underneath the dough pulling up on one side. Stretch the piece of dough up as far as it will go without tearing and fold it down over itself. Rotate the bowl 90 degrees and do another stretch and fold. Go all the way around the bowl until the dough is holding into a more structured ball. Cover the bowl and let it sit for about 15 more minutes before doing your next round. Do this a total of 4 times.
- FERMENT (1ST RISE): Cover the bowl after your last round of stretch and folds and let it sit at room temperature until double in size and filled with air. This will take about 30 more minutes if using quick rise yeast and 1 hour if using active dry yeast.
- SHAPE: Grease one or two standard loaf pans (8.5 X 4.5 X 2.5- 1 lb loaf pans) pans on the sides and bottoms. Turn the dough out onto the lightly floured surface and lightly push the air out of the dough with the palm of your hand. Cut the dough into two equal pieces if making a full batch. Gently pat each piece of dough into a rectangle (about the shape of the loaf pan). Tightly form each piece of dough into a loaf. (Watch the video tutorial for details about how to properly do this.)
- PROOF: Place the formed loaves into the pans and gently press down on them with the palm of your hand to ensure they evenly fill the pan. Cover the shaped dough and let them proof at room temperature until the loaves are beginning to crown the pan. This will take about 1 hour for rapid rise yeast and 2 hours for active dry yeast.
- BAKE: Preheat oven to 350°F (180 C). If you want a shiny brown crust, mix 1 egg with 1 tbsp of water and brush it on the tops of your loaves. Alternatively, you can brush them with oil or spray with non-stick spray. I also like to sprinkle a few oats over the top of the loaves. Bake loaves on the center rack for 35-45 minutes until golden brown. The center of the loaves should read 190-200 F (87-93 C) when fully baked.
- Let cool on baking racks for at least 2 hrs before slicing with a serrated knife. Slicing into a loaf of bread before it is cooled can cause it to have a gummy texture and to stale more quickly.
- STORE cooled bread in a plastic bag at room temperature for 4 days. Alternatively, you can slice the loaves and place them in the freezer in a freezer bag. Toast to refresh. Refrigerating bread will cause it to stale more quickly.