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Whole wheat sunflower seed rye bread recipe-6

I had a phone interview the other day, and the journalist was so nice and interesting that we ended up talking about a whole bunch of other subjects that we didn’t intend to talk about. Like a good interviewer, she didn’t start off by asking the usual questions, but came up with some original ones, which was a lot more interesting than being asked for the name my favorite bistro (I have a whole list here) or who makes the best macarons in Paris, which are now available around the world. One particular subject that we talked about extensively was blogging. The interviewer asked me how long it takes to write a post.

While massaging my wrists, I thought about it for a moment and while contemplating my dwindling vision as I removed my glasses, I replied, “After writing, editing, proofreading, translating terms, adding foreign accents (sometimes by hand-coding each one), writing the recipe (it’s fourteen keystrokes just to type oven temperatures – no wonder my wrists are a mess!), formatting text in internet code, taking pictures, deciding which pictures look best, eating the leftovers because I can’t stand to wait any more, editing pictures, uploading pictures, and placing the pictures in the post — which is a challenge because the whole document looks like a jumble of code, rather than the pictures and text that you see here — then re-reading and proofing, and finally, publishing the post, it can take me a couple of days to get it all together.”

Add to that, I love blogging and have so many things that I want to share, that I always seem to have five posts in the pipeline that I want to put up on the site as soon as possible. And I can’t wait to jump into the next one.

Whole-Wheat Sunflower Seed Rye Bread

Over the years, I’ve been playing around with photography, trying to take better pictures for you (and me) – not for any particular reason other than I enjoy taking pictures of food. Plus living in France, there are so many beautiful products and places, that I can’t help taking a snapshot when I see something enticing. (Which I sometimes get in trouble for in Paris, if I don’t ask first.) I’m not really all that interested in carefully arranged things, but I find something charming in a mess of oozing cheeses, fresh herbs tied in bundles from the market, and knocked-around avocados (with bruises and all, since I haven’t quite mastered many editing tricks). Or sometimes I’ll be sitting down to eat something, and it’ll look kind of interesting, so I’ll get up and take a few pictures. Then, one thing leads to another, then another…and before I know it, I’m racing to write up another story and a recipe to share.

Whole-Wheat Sunflower Seed Rye Bread

Because of all the aforementioned things, it’s not so speedy to publish a post. And because I’ve often got a bunch of other things going on, I occasionally misplace an accent grave on an “è,” (or “é”) or misplace some punctuation mark (which is easy to do when Americans put periods inside of quotation marks, but the British don’t). (Or do.) Or something gets messed up in French, which the French do, too. I recently linked to a post by the esteemed Alliance Française on my Facebook page, and readers noted that there were a number of errors in French. If they can’t get it right, how can I? ; )

Whole-Wheat Sunflower Seed Rye Bread

In addition to loving writing and blogging about food, the other thing that I enjoy doing is my spare time is flipping through cookbooks. Sometimes it’s an old favorite that I take off the shelf. Other times, it might be one hot-off-the-presses. And if something intrigues me, I either bookmark it for later, or get off my duff and bake it right away. Such was the case with Das Cookbook: German Cooking…California Style, a new book by Hans Röckenwagner, a German baker that has several restaurants and a café in Los Angeles, which unfortunately, I’ve never been to. And obviously need to rectify on my next visit.

Whole-Wheat Sunflower Seed Rye Bread

Another thing the journalist asked me about was French bread. She had interviewed a New York chef who said that the best breads were from Germany — and did I want to comment on that? I have to say, I love German breads – those thick, grainy loaves that go perfect with a swipe of cheese, and are hearty enough to make a bowl of soup feel more like a meal. We have excellent French boulangeries in Paris, of course, but I like various kinds of breads and couldn’t really say that I absolutely, always prefer a light, crusty baguette over a loaf of schwarzbrot. (And yes, I checked a few times to make sure I spelled that right.) But then, out-of-the-blue, a few days later over a meal at home, my French partner suddenly said that he thought German breads were the best breads dans le monde. So to each their own.

Whole-Wheat Sunflower Seed Rye Bread

When I landed on a recipe for a dark, seed-filled loaf in Hans Röckenwagner’s book, I had all the ingredients on hand, and it was simply baked in a loaf pan, no fancy baking stones or burning-hot Dutch ovens needed. So I pulled the ingredients off my shelf, proofed some yeast, and got kneading. Since we’re being honest here, my bread didn’t quite look like the one in the book. The crust of the one pictured in there was shiny and riddled with sunflower seeds, and mine was somewhat plain-looking.

Whole-Wheat Sunflower Seed Rye Bread

But when I lopped off a slice and took a bite, it was perfect. It’s a wonderful whole-grain bread that’s not a downer to eat. I served few pieces with some goat cheese and sausages, as pre-dinner appetizers. And since it’s almost winter, with the sun going down around 5pm, there’s so little light in my Paris kitchen that I brought the board outside to take a snapshot. A woman walking by with her children looked at it, and said to them, “C’est très appetissant!” (“It’s very appetizing.”) Then I took it back inside, where we polished it off. And I couldn’t have agreed with her more.

Whole-Wheat Sunflower Seed Rye Bread

Adapted from Das Cookbook by Hans Röckenwagner Please note that this bread requires three risings. Fortunately, there isn’t any work to do between those risings. But allow yourself time when you make the bread. I started it the minute I woke up, and it was ready by lunch! I was thinking that next time, I may swap out a bit of the honey – perhaps 2-3 tablespoons – with mild molasses. Do make sure you toast the sunflower seeds. To do so, preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and spread the seeds on a baking sheet. Baking them, stirring once or twice, for 6 to 8 minutes. Some people like to toast nuts and seeds in a hot skillet on the stovetop, which you can do instead. I tried my own idea of brushing the bread with water and topping it with seeds before baking and most of them didn’t stick. So I didn’t include that suggestion here. I found this bread even better toasted. It made a nice lunch with ripe, mashed avocado on top, which I mixed with red onion, red pepper powder, a bit of olive oil, and some flaky sea salt.
  • 1 1/2 cups (375ml) lukewarm water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (one package) active dry yeast, (not instant)
  • 2 3/4 cups (330g) whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup (110g) rye flour, dark or light
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
  • 1 cup (125g) lightly toasted sunflower seeds
  • Vegetable oil, for greasing the pan
  • Mix the water, 1 teaspoon of honey, and the yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer. If making the bread by hand, mix them together in a large bowl. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Little bubbles should start to appear. (If not, you need to replace your yeast and start again.)
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the whole wheat and rye flours with the salt. Attach the dough hook to the mixer, or use a wooden spoon if mixing by hand. Stir the 1/4 cup (80g) honey into the yeast mixture, then gradually add the flours. If necessary, add an additional bit of flour if the dough is too wet, or another tablespoon of water if the dough is too dry. It should feel soft and moist, and when you touch it, your finger should just barely stick to it.
  • Knead the dough at low-to-medium speed until smooth, about 6 minutes.
  • Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured countertop and knead in the sunflower seeds thoroughly, making sure that they are evenly dispersed throughout the dough. Return the dough to the mixer bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a dish towel, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  • Punch the dough down with your fist, cover, and let rise again until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Lightly grease a 9-inch (23cm) loaf pan. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured countertop, shape the dough into a elongated rectangle, and place the dough in the pan. Cover and let rise 1 hour. (Note that it won’t rise much.)
  • About 15 minutes before you plan to bake the bread, preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
  • When the dough is ready, bake it for 45 minutes to 1 hour. It’ll sound hollow when you tap it in the center. To be sure, you can use an instant-read thermometer; the bread is done when the temperature in the center is 190ºF (88ºC). Remove the bread from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes, then tilt the bread onto a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing.


Storage: The bread will keep for up to 4 days at room temperature. It can be frozen for several months.

Related Recipes

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Adventure Bread



    • Maryea {happy healthy mama}

    I loved reading your commentary on blogging. And this bread looks perfect. My kind of loaf for sure.

    • andree-anne @ singly scrumptious

    I love the combination of Rye bread and avocado. This is my ideal breakfast! <3

    • Erin | The Law Student’s Wife

    I loved this post David—it gave me a look at how you write your posts and also made me feel like I’m not the only blogger in the world who needs a few days to work up to the “publish” button (or who seems to perpetually have five+ posts in “draft” mode). Your posts never fail to inspire me, so maybe I have hope after all :-)

    • Bebe

    David, another great post. I read your posts for the content, which is as rich and satisfying as the foods you share with us and your stories about them.

    I couldn’t care less if every word is properly spelled.

    We all missthespacebar once in a while. And sometimes the durned thing sticks.


    I enjoy heavy, homey breads, so will be trying this one.

    • Pang @circahappy

    Confession, yours was the first blog I read and was hooked until I ventured into blogging world, and started my own. Always come back for inspiration. :)

    P.S. This bread looks so good, but I am still too scary to make bread :P

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    Pang: Thanks, and glad you like reading. The bread is super easy. You just mix the dough for about 6 minutes, knead in the seeds, and let it rise 3 times. I was really happy how it turned out. Give it a try!

    Bebe, Erin, and Maryea: As technology had “improved” – er, or not…some of the “improvements” have made things more complicated. (I just updated the OS on my Mac, which meant I spend the next 2-3 days trying to get my camera and printer to connect, and work. Am glad that blogging is fun and that I like to do it so much. I did try working with a friend and seasoned cookbook editor, but it added a lot more layers to the posts, as I had to read the suggestions and corrections, incorporate them, and make sure I got them all. Plus the editing format in the word processing program that was used goofed around with a lot of the punctuation marks, which would mysteriously move around. So I’d have to check for those, which was less-fun than baking bread, brownies, or churning up ice cream : )

    • Linn

    I always look forward to your posts and love that you write them about every three or four days. Take care of those wrists — as someone who has had carpal tunnel it’s important to exercise them — I hope you’ve seen a physical therapist and doctor? That said thank you for the wonderful bread recipe. I love that it’s made from ingredients I’ve got in my kitchen, and ive been looking for a good whole wheat bread recipe — they are hard to find. Interesting about German breads too, thanks!

    • Linn

    PS…One of my favorite lunches is mashed avocado on top of a slice of bread. Sometimes I add sliced radishes or a sliced cherry tomatoes — delicious!

    • berit

    Thanks for showing me what I am eating for dinner tonight!

    The bread looks delicious and it always makes me smile when people around the world talk about bread because whenever you ask a German abroad what he misses the most, the answer will very likely be “THE BREAD!!!”

    And please please please don’t edit out the bruises on any of the fruit. People already start thinking if any fruit or vegetable has a bruise it’s almost inedible. They should be allowed to maintain their character and quirks unlike their unfortunate human counterparts :)

    • ron shapley(NYC)

    Dave…………. Your blog is my favorite page on the web……..Thank you !!!

    • Maria

    I wonder if you can substitute a different kind of seed in this bread? I’ve never loved sunflower seeds. But I love all kinds of other nuts and seeds. Does anyone have any idea what could work instead?

      • Annemette

      I don’t know how it will work in this recipe, but in Denmark we make a lot of rye bread, that looks a lot like this one, and we use a combination between flaxseed, sesame, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, so I’m sure you can use some of those here

    • Tina | Mademoiselle Gourmande

    It’s so true, when you really think about how long a blog post takes, it’s actually pretty long. So many steps to take. In the end, if you really love it, it’s worth the effort. Improving your writing, improving your photos…. I love it. :)
    I totally agree on the bread part. I’m German and in general I would probably always prefer German bread. But when I think about French baguette, well, it gets difficult to decide. Very hard to get really good French baguette in Germany by the way. A good reason to go to France now and then. :)
    All in all, a lovely post. :)

    • laline

    David, this bread looks delicious! However, I’m not allowed to have yeasted breads for the next year. Do you have a recipe to share for unyeasted rye or sourdough bread? I would greatly appreciate it since I can’t find it sold locally in the DC area and I miss having bread. Thanks!

      • Linn

      Laline, Look one comment down about a delicious yeastless bread — posted in the wrong spot, sorry.

    • nadine

    Mille Grazie! I am currently building a web site to support my burgeoning ice cream company. Phew! I thought that I was insanely slow with my 7 day turn around for blog posts. Glad to hear that you, who I consider the best out there, is not so far off my timeline. Count me in the camp that reads cookbooks for fun, thinks that anything worth doing is worth doing well, and that speed isn’t always your friend…Thanks David. I love seeing your name in my inbox!

      • Linn

      Google…The Life Changing Loaf of Bread, mynewroots

    • ninive

    being German, and baking my own bread, I totally agree- we have the most diversity in breads. But also as said above – to find real good baguette or pain chocolat we have to go to France… and I will try your recipe but with the addition of a sourdough starter for sure. Because I love all kinds of seeds in my bread.

    • Edith Rae Brown

    Hello David,

    I enjoy your blog immensely. I don’t think you would have enough time to meet all the people that get so much out of reading what you have to say and so artfully as well. Your photography is wonderful. I have not been to Paris in a few years now but have been exhibiting my work in Salon d’Automne (I’m a member) for many years prior. Paris is a dream and you bring it to me each time your blog arrives. Thank you so much. Be well and continue to enjoy each and everyday. You are a special person on this earth.

    • Skippy

    How did you know I was thinking of making some bread for someone and was looking for a new and interesting recipe?

    I know you said you might sub in molasses for part of the honey next time, but do you think I could swap in all molasses for the honey? Or would the flavor be too strong? I just don’t usually keep honey around in my kitchen because I am like Winne the Pooh and have trouble keeping my spoon out of the honey jar…

    Thank you so much for all your beautiful and entertaining posts!

    • Brynn

    Hi David!

    Looks yummy! My boss is German and as one of your posters mentioned, the one thing she does miss is the bread! So, I think I am going to surprise her with a loaf of your bread! Thanks… I mean, Danke & Auf Weidersehen!

    • Wendy


    I love all of your posts, and hearing about the care that you take in writing them and photographing both cooking results and ingredients. It always feels as if a slice of Paris (or wherever you are) has arrived in my mailbox. I can’t wait to make this bread – one of the things that I appreciate it all of your recipes come out perfectly. Thank you for what you do.
    I love that bread knife with its rustic handle. Did it come from one of the local brocante markets?

    • Kelly

    I’m not seeing when to add the other 1/4 c. Honey? Im going to add after the yeast has risen …I’m loving your recipes. Thank you. Kelly

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    Brynn: I have to admit, I had trouble finding a lot of exceptional German breads the few times I went to Germany. I think I’m just used to the sheer number of bread shops that Paris has. I like those really thick, dense German loaves, that are almost solid seeds. But it seems like they’re not always easy to come across. I’m told that you need to go outside the cities, especially in the Black Forest region.

    Kelly: Yes, it’s added to the wet ingredients. Thanks!

    Skippy: Molasses is pretty strong, even “light” molasses.But if you really like molasses flavor, you could give it a try. If you do, let us know how it turns out.

    nadine: It can be a bit of a challenge all the back-end stuff, like making sure things are in the right place, all those tiny punctuation marks are there, and with recipes, that you don’t make an error and say something like “23 cups of sugar” rather than “2/3 cup of sugar.” Quelle difference!

    Linn: I try to work on a desktop computer since that’s much better for your posture, and wrists. I’ve also learned when to stop working and take a break! : )

    • Eileen

    It’s always a pleasure finding a new post from you in my emails — always a good read! As far as putting a post together… yes, it takes time! And I have come to believe that an unstyled photograph is sometimes the most interesting.

    • Marketmaster

    Hi David.
    I write recipes for cooking classes that I teach at a local kitchenware store. I’ve been doing it for 20+ years, so I have had lots of typos, misworded or confusing instructions, to say nothing of errors of the 23 cups od flour variety. And I don’t even have to bother with all the troublesome French accents most of the time!

    My husband and I thought the best bread we had in Europe was in Switzerland. We would see the bread truck stopping at our B & B in Lucerne in the morning with everything from very good baguettes to hearty whole grain breads like the one here. It looks great! Have to try it!

    • Becky

    While I understand the need for accuracy, I like to think of blog posts from blogs like yours as educational conversations, and I don’t think it is necessary that it be perfect. I find comments that correct the writer for things that are grammatical in nature to be petty. Who is perfect? But your recipes come damn close! Thanks for another great post.

    • J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats

    How appropriate for the cookbook that you are serving this very German whole grain bread with some very Californian avocados mashed on top.

    • Christine Pielenz

    I prefer my breads to be made without any kind of sweeteners. But I know that sugars often are used specifically in baking to give the yeasts something to eat. If I left out the honey/molasses for this recipe, would that make a difference for this particular bread, to your knowledge?

    • Millie | Add A Little

    This looks amazing David! I love the crunch of sunflower seeds and deep flavour of rye!

    • Angela

    This looks just like what I feel like, but the honey seems a bit excessive, is this for the US tastebuds? I haven’t ever seen a German recipe that uses so much……

    • Brent

    “It’s fourteen keystrokes just to type oven temperatures – no wonder my wrists are a mess!”

    I’m sure you’ve researched all time-saving things, but if not … on the Mac, Option + 0 = º. In fact, Option + other keys give a host of useful characters for languages with accents.

    That said, I’m not sure it helps much. Typing this temperature phrase — 350ºF (180ºC) — is closer to nineteen keystrokes, if you count having to hold down Shift and Option keys while typing other stuff.

    • Ella

    Having finally cured my yeastaphobia with the help of a master baker friend, I can safely assure other yeastaphobes that this is an easy recipe to try. Looks delicious and I love your avocado idea! I recently discovered your blog after purchasing your gorgeous book. Take care of your wrists so you can keep blogging please, typos and all. It’s good to know you aren’t perfect! Your blogs are usually a highlight of my day!

    • Ella

    Having finally cured my yeastaphobia with the help of a master baker friend, I can safely assure other yeastaphobes that this is an easy recipe to try. Looks delicious and I love your avocado idea! I recently discovered your blog after purchasing your gorgeous book. Take care of your wrists so you can keep blogging please, typos and all. It’s good to know you aren’t perfect! Your blog posts are usually a highlight of my day!

    • Agneta

    It is a bit frightening to hear that your wrists hurt albeit understandable. I too love all your blogposts and would hate it if you had to slow down.
    This Rye Bread sounds fabulous and I can hardly wait to try it!
    At our house we really enjoy a Buckwheat and Spelt Bread loaded with various kinds of seeds, oatmeal, apple,apricots and yogurt! Totally awesome with a smear of butter and some rally good cheese. A little easier to make as it uses baking soda instead of yeast.
    I would be thrilled to share the recipe with you!
    Keep writing David….as I am already looking forward to your next entry. Thanking you for the pleasure!

      • Teri

      Can you please post your bread recipe? It sounds wonderful and I would love to make for my family. Thanks!

    • Pringle Franklin

    We saw you recently at Bloom Where You Are Planted. We bought My Paris Kitchen and love it. Now, I was just thinking that I really wanted to good whole-wheat German style bread. I mean, all these baguettes are great, but before I moved here, I was really into whole wheat, seed-covered loafs!
    Anyway, here in Paris, can I buy the right yeast at the Monoprix? I understand that the yeast in the U.S. is double acting while the yeast here is single acting… I am not sure which type of yeast your whole wheat sunflower seed loaf needs.

    Please advise. Also, I am a big fan of peppermint ice cream so I will try that soon.


    • thefolia

    Avocado on any bread is a favorite in our nest. We squeeze lime or lemon and add a dash of salt, pepper and turmeric. Happy Nesting.

    • june2

    Why do I love rye bread with raspberry jam? A little cold sweet butter or cream cheese and it’s perfect. My favorite reading snack.

    • roberta gross

    David…I love Han’s bread. Every time I’m in LA I make a point of going to the Brentwood Farmers Market just off San Vicente to get a few loaves of his sunflower rye bread. It is the absolute best. Thanks for the recipe…I’ll be making the bread this weekend.

    • Sandra Alexander

    Warmth, humour, great recipes, spot-on recommendations, lovely photographs, inspiration, generosity, and in the morning mailbox (in this time zone) for a gorgeous breakfast read. Who cares about a bit of punctuation? Thank you David, very much, loveyourwork.

    • Nadja

    Schwarzbrot it is :-) Even in Germany (I’m from Germany living in the Netherlands now) there are so many different types and names for ‘dark’ bread now. But as a child we called it ‘Schwarzbrot’ or ‘Weissbrot’. That was the only distinction :-)

    Thansk for the great recipe and the story behind.

    All the best from Holland

    • Gina

    That bread is very similar to my favourite loaf, except mine has a high proportion of 12-grain cereal.

    Try doing the first rise overnight in the refrigerator; I’ll bet you’ll find it improves the flavour.

    • Jonathan Stibbard

    Yes! one more reason to visit Copenhagen. so many versions of rye bread. ( Rugbrød) Also, toasted Rye bread is a whole New World……..

    • Paulette

    This looks like my kind of bread!!! Can this recipe be baked in a cast iron dutch oven instead?…..that’s now my favorite method after starting to make sourdough bread. Thanks!!

    • Sarahb1313

    Ha! Once again we are on the same track! I just made 3 breads in the last 7 days that speak to this post! I am never home to bake breads, but have been trapped at home for 2 weeks and seized the opportunity!

    On a list of things to try was a loaf of Annadamma bread from my New Basics Silver Palate cookbook. I will not confess as to how many decad.. years it has been waiting to be made, but I finally did make it. In addition to the cornmeal, which I can’t say added all that much, was the molasses. It was “ok”. Nice enough bread, but didn’t wow me. I also took the recipe for the pumpernickel rolls, I think the dough was a bit dry and instead made it into a loaf, with raisins. Now that was excellent.

    Next on my list was Rye. NY deli style, so I turned to Smitten Deb and churned out 2 absolutely exquisite loaves. Fabulous crust, great taste, and yes, I like the seeds. Hearty, yummy, toasted with a little soft butter.. anything on top would work.

    On a different note, I have for years made Challah with sunflower seeds kneaded in- it just adds so much dimension to what is yes a great bread, but can stand up to a sandwich a bit better with the seeds!

    This one I will have to try!!

    • Bob Y

    David – I once had to maintain a blog for several years that was updated daily. The designer of the website to which the blog was related, designed what she called a posting tool. All I had to do was type plain, uncoded english into a box that had the basic formatting functions ala MS Word. There were boxes for photos and graphics and it worked like a dream. Updating the blog daily required only typing in the new material, linking the photos, press “Publish” and the blog was up and running. As the blog was a part of a bigger project I don’t know what it cost, but it would seem to be invaluable for your purposes. I’m sure that the designer of your site, or some other designer, ought to be able to do the same for you. Just think of it – less time with the mechanics and more time for your wonderful stories and recipes.

    • Annita

    Can’t wait to make the bread. Thanks for the info on your blog. The closest I came was writing a blog about my husband’s and my three month trip in France last year. I learned early to make notes when I thought of it because it would often take a few days to actually get to writing’s a lot of work!!! It was fun and I find myself thinking of topics now, but don’t have a theme. Thanks for letting us know you work hard at making it look easy!

    • Tess

    I am going to try this recipe! I have never made bread, other than the banana-type–your espresso banana bread is my favorite one : ) but this recipe doesn’t look too intimidating! Thank you for sharing recipes that are so approachable, even for new bakers, when you are a baking master.
    I don’t have the mollasses that you hinted at, but do you think buckwheat honey would be a good match for this bread? Thank you!

    • Leftbanker

    Perhaps you could try moving your site to blogger, if that is an option. It accepts foreign characters and you can upload everything except videos in normal Word format without using HTML. A European computer with the characters already on the keyboard is something I can no longer live without as I write more and more in Spanish and French. Over the summer someone brought me a shiny new laptop with a US keyboard and it’s still in the box.

    Your pictures are great and I’d never offer advice in this department as I’ve seen better interpretations from bad police sketch artists than anything I can manage with my camera.

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    Leftbanker + Bob: Thanks for the advice. I use WordPress which is great, and there is “Visual” mode, so you don’t need to code things. But since the pictures are placed here via html code (ie: I paste code down, the pictures show up as actual pictures when published), I need to use the html mode. There are also a bunch of other formatting things such as a special module for recipe ingredients, another for offsetting the recipe with another background color (so people can read it easier, and I think it looks nicer), and italicizing non-English words, which I think (or hope!) makes the text easier for readers, are some things that I do. I like the way it looks when it’s all published, so it’s worth it.

    Christine+Angela: You could probably leave most of the honey out, but I would still add a little (maybe a tablespoon?) just to balance the taste.

    Paulette: Yes, although since it’s whole-wheat flour, you likely won’t get that hard crust you get using the cast-iron pan method. So it may not be worth it. But if you do give it a try, let us know how it turns out.

    Tess: I love buckwheat honey but think the flavor would be too forceful for this bread. Plus it’s pretty expensive (at least here in France), so I’d opt for something milder, and less costly.

    • Sarah

    I just tried a slice fresh out of the oven – delicious, just the sort of chewy, nutty bread I like. I didn’t add any honey apart from the initial teaspoon, because I wasn’t sure when to, and it was perfect for me. I always find the bread in North America to be a bit too sweet for my Australian palate, so I erred on the side of less is more.

    I’m looking forward to trying it tomorrow, toasted, with the squash, caramelised onion and ricotta up on Smitten Kitchen right now.

    • FrypanFannie

    Hi David,

    I’ve always found your recipes to be spot on, but I had to play with this one. Did anyone else have to add quite a lot of flour to get a workable dough – almost a cup? It could be the Aussie flour I’m using or I made a mistake in weighing the ingredients. I did substitute 1/4 cup molasses for 1/4 cup of honey and used 1 1/4 teaspoons of instant yeast instead of active dry yeast. Also threw in a dollop of my sour dough culture as an experiment and left out the sunflower seeds.

    You’re probably thinking I didn’t deserve to get a decent result after mucking around with your recipe. The bread rose beautifully and tastes great.

    Thank you for your blog and fantastic recipes.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      When I made this bread, when testing the recipe for the blog, I was surprised that I had to add 1/2 cup extra flour. Then I realized (when I put my glasses on…) that it was 2 3/4 cups of flour, not the 2 1/4 cups that I thought; the type was small and I mistook 3/4 for 1/4. So the book was exactly right. Someone just posted a comment that they made the bread here and glad yours turned out, finally! : )

    • Steve Martin

    That…is a spectacular looking loaf.

    Now…back to my loafing…

    • Alyce Morgan

    Lived in Germany for a few years and, when I left, most missed the bread and the butter-acutally all of their amazing dairy products. The variety of German breads and the dedication of the people in the art/industry was pretty amazing–that included a luscious, crispy- holey baguette as well as the daily brotchen for breakfast–none of which I’ve never been able to duplicate perfectly in the states. The flour is different, for sure–especially the rye. I’ll try this one, though; yours looks amazing and it sounds like it passed muster in and outside of your house! (On a desert island with one choice for bread for the rest of my life….I would argue German vs French with myself ad nauseum.)

    • Johanna

    My husband, who is American, and me, being German, talk a lot about German bread whenever we’re on vacation in the USA: we wonder where German bread has gone! There is great, great food from all around the world in the USA, and one can get tasty breads in many places, but I have yet to see a real German-like whole-grain Schwarzbrot.

    So, of all the things that survived since immigrants came to America and, I’m sure about that, baked and cooked their trusted recipes from home, why was the bread forgotten?

    Has anyone a theory? Where did it go? And when will it come back? With a nation so crazy about “high in fibre cereal” German bread should be a big winner ;) ;)
    Or, if I have been running around with blind eyes, missing the loafs of dark bread on every farmers market I have been to, tell me where to go the next time!

    • naomi

    I am persistently awed by your output, and the quality. Yes, sometimes there are typos and wonky verbs but never so much as to be unclear or mar the writing. Despite being one of those who shudder when reading poor grammar, it doesn’t carry over when the writer is so entertaining. I thoroughly enjoy every post you write, even when one is about a food I don’t eat. And here, after you explain the work involved in getting out your work, you still manage to turn it back to a wonderful post on bread. I hope you never feel obligated to explain yourself again – no need! Thanks, David.

    • dominique

    David, as a blog reader I really appreciate the work you put into your blog. Just having almost daily posts is impressive enough, but with the gorgeous photos combined with wry and informative writing, I treat your blog as a culinary bible. Thank you for all of your hard work.

    • corrine

    Hi David. I love your blog and the way you write…your personality shines through. I thought you take just an hour or two to write your blog so thanks for all the effort. I’ve tried some of your recipes.

    • Sophie

    Hi David,
    Love your blog, your tone of voice, recipes and most of all your appreciation for the small stuff. You know, the everyday miracles that surround us.

    Anyway just wanted tot mention that the new mobile version is a blast to read. I used to adjust the text to the screen, reading on the train home. This is zo much easier! Thank you!

    • Kiki

    David; you so v. well described why I will never have the courage to do my own blog AND then you spoiled us with yet another wonderful post and brilliant photos of the ever so tasty sunflowerseed rye bread – which made me smile hugely. I can’t always read your posts when they come out due to bad eye-sight – so tonight I chose to treat myself to a ‘Bio Rye Pumpernikel Sandwich’ – a very thinly cut, dark & ‘heavy’ bread, opened up your blog and found this article on another one of my favourite ‘german type breads’ – all of it looks and sounds so utterly delicious! Thank you so much. Also un grand merci for your wonderful, inspiring Paris cook book – you’re the bestest… :)

    • Jamie Arisa

    Hi David! I’ve just watched Food Lover’s Guide to the Planet on National Geographic (the episode was called Digital Critics) and went like “I have to ‘find’ him”. And so here I am, all the way from Malaysia to Paris ..haha! I enjoy your writing, and I’ll be back here often, definitely.

    • Manali

    Avocado and bread in breakfast is a very healthy choice to go for. This seems to be very delicious recipe which I m gonna try.

    • Linda Levitt

    I am an avid home chef, and i do not use that term lightly, and an artist. Your blog is the only one I read and I love every moment. Your photography is great because every picture is fun and pretty to look at. Thanks for taking the time to put all the component parts together. What’s next?

    • AmyM

    I made this bread yesterday and had it for breakfast today- it’s outstanding!! You’re right, toasted with a hearty smash of avocado was divine. Too bad I can’t share a photo with you!

    • dianne bibby

    Hello David. A story well told paints a mental picture and your stories do that. Having just set out on my blogging journey, I commend you for such original thoughts and sound advice. Being transparent with your experinces and knowledge is generous and appreciated. Avocado toasts look wholesome and delicious.

    • Alanna

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who spends a solid two days on a blog post. This bread looks fantastic. I didn’t know Hans Rockenwagner had a book! My dad used to take me to his restaurant in LA for special occasions. I distinctly remember having white asparagus there for the first time. Thanks for bringing me back.

    • Margie

    I’ve nominated you for the, One Lovely Blog Award, details are written on my site. XO

    Yeah, yeah, I know….you ain’t got no time for stuff like this. I understand. I even wrote an explanation for my readers. Told ’em all about my nickname for ya, invited ya over for coffee or cocoa and told ’em your sweetie should come with you.

    I even offered a bribe from TJ Maxx.


    • CHN

    I made this bread this afternoon, but I took many liberties with your recipe. (Mostly unintentional.) I did stick with your amounts of WW and rye flour. I only have SAF instant yeast, so I used that (a bit less than you call for). I used 90 g of honey because I spaced out a little when I was pouring it in. (BTW, your recipe doesn’t say where to add the honey, and I should have known better but since I was spacing out anyway, I added it to the flour, although it worked out okay in the end.) I also added 1 Tbs of molasses. And I used walnuts instead of sunflower seeds, because it’s what I had. I added about 2 Tbs more WW flour while it was mixing to get the texture right.

    I started it last night, and realized it was much too late to be waiting for any loaf to rise once, never mind three time. (You did warn us.) So I let it rise in the fridge overnight. This morning I had errands to run, so I punched it down and let it rise a second time in the fridge (about four hours). I shaped it into two small loaves (7 1/2 x 3 1/2 inch pans), let them rise on the counter about 45 minutes and then baked at 350 for 45 minutes. One loaf is almost gone, I wrapped the other one and froze it. I did make a lot of changes, but it is still basically your bread, and it is very good. Not really sweet at all, but very nicely flavored. The crumb is a bit coarse but it slices beautifully even into thin slices without crumbling. I like it untoasted with butter. I’ll be making this again, and I think the smaller loaves will make nice gifts, if I don’t eat them first.

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    CHN: Appreciate for your report on the variations (btw: The honey is added in step #2, you may need to refresh your browser page – it’s added to the liquid ingredients.) Glad to know the first rise overnight (in the refrigerator) turned out well!

    Margie: Thanks! Don’t need anything from TJ Maxx since I just made a few trips to the states : )

    • Lisa

    I made this as written–lovely flavor and slices beautifully. I plan to double the recipe to have an extra loaf to freeze next time round. Toasted with butter, avocado, and leftover sunflower seeds sprinkled atop — a wonderful breakfast treat!

    • CHN

    Just want to point out where it gets a bit confusing. When you say “… and stir in the 1/4 cup (80g) honey …” it seems that you would stir it into the flours, since that’s the previous step. I made suggestions in caps below (because I don’t know how to do bold or italics). It’s just for clarity, I’m not being obnoxious and I apologize if it comes off that way.

    2. In a separate bowl, mix together the whole wheat and rye flours with the salt. SET ASIDE. Attach the dough hook to the mixer, or use a wooden spoon if mixing by hand, and and stir in the 1/4 cup (80g) honey INTO THE YEAST MIXTURE, then gradually add the flours [to the yeast mixture].

    • Kay

    Great recipe! I was out of rye flour so used 3/4 cup of roughly cut oats instead and increased the ww flour by 1/4 cup. The bread slices beautifully–very thin slices are easy–and is delicious with raw almond butter and marmalade. My husband loves it. I’ll get some rye flour and try the recipe as intended next!

    BTW, forty years ago I stayed with my family for five weeks in a chalet on the side of an alp in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Every morning I walked up the mountain to the village bakery and ordered “un kilo de brun.” We heard then that the Swiss made the best bread in Europe, and I have never again enjoyed bread of that excellence. For breakfast we ate large slices slathered with butter and jam, along with cafe au lait and yogurt, and anything left of the loaf was consumed at lunch. Those were the best breakfasts I’ve ever had.

    • Cat F.

    Thank you for this! My husband waxed poetic about it and my 4 year old scarfed it down. It made me rethink our reliance on store bought bread, since I prefer to eat food with the bare minimum of ingredients. Why eat a bread with stabilizers and gums and hexo-chloro-dimethyl-etc. when I can try and make this once a week and eat whole grain flour and yeast and honey?

    • Rachel

    I really enjoyed this post, and well done for posting avocado toast (it probably helped that you did not name it as such!) without making it into a cliche.

    On another note, your notes on grammar make me so glad I got away with the argument that I’m British, an English major specialising in British literature, who would have to go back to London to finish my degree in British English after a year when I studied at UCLA. I never knew that about the full stops – my papers would have been an utter mess if I’d tried to write them in American English rather than British English!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      It’s funny when you live between two cultures and languages, and the rule are different. In French, there is a space between a word and an exclamation mark. And the way of saying things is different, and you need to toggle back and forth between them. It’s “In the street” in French, but “On the street” in English. And you know about the period after the parenthesis, versus within, etc between British and US English. What a minefield it is! ; )

    • Alex

    Just made your bread and it’s delicious. I used leftover whey from my quark-making experiment and it came out great. It’s a little on the sweet side for me buy my husband loves bread with a sweeter taste. Your blog is the best.

    • Juanita

    I made this bread yesterday. Didn’t eat any until today. It is delicious. I did sub one cup of bread flour for a cup of whole wheat flour. I kind of dread working with rye flour because the dough is so sticky. Anyway, it turned out well and tastes wonderful. Thanks for the recipe. I will likely do it again.

    • Rosemary


    Terrific bread! As I pass by the loaf, I have been slicing thin, thin slices. Thank you for posting it.

    • Juliet

    I made this on the weekend, and its great! But i would definitely cut back on the honey, maybe just a tablespoon, and i would use a mix of sunflower and pumpkin seeds (and maybe a little less than a cup as i had a hard time kneading them all in!)
    I really appreciate the dual units, but i strongly suggest to anyone that they take them as a guide -even the weights as I found my dough was way too sticky and needed heaps more flour, so obviously my 330g of flour was less volume than yours.
    Thanks for the inspiration though!

    • Giada

    Hello Juliet,
    my dough was extremely sticky as well, it was pratically impossible to knead by hand until I added more flour, but I think it’s probably a matter of differences between flours ( I use the kind labeled as “integrale” as whole wheat, but I’m not sure if the “strenght” is quite the same) also, maybe whit the stand mixer the dough comes togheter more easily? Did you knead by hand? I also wondered why I had to add so much flour…. Still not sure if it was too much!

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    Glada and Juliet: The book didn’t include metrics and that was what my whole wheat flour weighs. There are 4-5 different whole wheat flours in France. (I took a snapshot of the bag of mine, which corresponds is what I think is all-purpose whole wheat flour.) Flour will vary based on type and strain of wheat, humidity, milling, and other factors. So it’s best to use your sense of touch to get the dough to the right consistency, as you did. As bread-master Sam Fromartz says, “To Make Bread, Watch the dough, Not the recipe.”

    Alex: I love quark! So great you make it yourself. Glad you liked it with the bread : )

    • RuthL

    Hello, David.

    Thanks for posting this recipe. It is changing my bread baking, and has helped me attain a long-sought goal. Here’s the story.

    I made this bread a few days ago, and it turned out very well. (I added only 1 or 2 extra tablespoons of flour during the mixing, used my KA). It didn’t brown as much as I’d have liked, but it was quite good, and we ate it at an astonishing rate. My husband commented that it was a bit like Balthazar Bakery’s Multigrain Pan Loaf — in my opinion the apotheosis of pan breads, and one I’ve long wanted to copy at home.

    I compared the ingredients on the Balthazar label to the recipe here. They are quite similar, the differences being Balthazar bread also contains wheat flour, sesame seeds and flax seeds. I also knew (from a NYTimes article) that Balthazar uses wheat levain in the Multigrain loaf. I had all those things on hand and on Saturday mixed up my riff on the Rockenwagner / Balthazar bread. It is a winner, and while not a perfect match to B’s bread, very close. Basically, I followed the recipe posted here in terms of technique and total quantities of flours, water, etc., but used 200g levain starter and only 1/4 teaspoon yeast, 1 1/2 cups each white and whole wheat flours, and 3/4 cup rye flour, 2 Tablespoons each of sesame and flax seed (mine was milled). I omitted the quarter teaspoon of honey in the yeast / water mixture. I had to add 5 more Tablespoons of flour during the mixing, probably because my levain was loose in texture. I set the dough in an unheated room overnight for the first rising. I baked it at 375 for an hour by which time it was deeply browned all over, not as dark as Balthazar’s bread but much darker than Hans R’s bread.

    I’ll probably continue to tweak it a little, but this truly has been a breakthrough. Thanks, David, for providing the springboard to my baking happiness.

    • Jamar Pearson

    I made this bread and it was delicious. I served it with butternut squash soup and my family loved the meal. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    • luka

    Let the second rise to happen in the refrigerator overnight. That is when the flavor develops and the wheats reach the whole hidratation. It is good to soak the seeds after toasted them because they absorb the moisture from the dough.

    The glue for the seeds on the crust is egg whites. So good when you mix poppyseeds sesame to de sunflower seeds to make a crust on the bread.

    • Abra

    David, you’ve got to do as I do – use a Quebecois keyboard! it’s qwerty layout so it’s super easy to use, but it has special characters for everything you need to write in French. Really, it’ll save you so much time. just look online for one!

    • Leslie

    From the moment I saw the picture I knew I’d have to try it; so glad I did. Yum.
    I make a lot of rye bread; ergo I have on hand vital wheat gluten. Added a tablespoon to help it develop a structure. It rose beautifully all three times and I am happily (and, most likely, briefly) in possession of a fabulous loaf of seedy, wheaty, rye-y bread.
    Thanks for all the great posts and for this lovely loaf of bread.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Glad you liked it and yes, vital wheat gluten is a nice thing to add to bread dough to give it more structure. (For those out there who aren’t familiar with it, you can get it at natural food stores and bread supply places.) It’s a great recipe and pretty easy to make – happy that it worked out for you!


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