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Sep 13, 2016

Hearty Whole Wheat Bread with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

This hearty whole wheat bread is infused with ground toasted pumpkin seed "flour" as well as whole toasted pumpkin seeds. 

This hearty whole wheat bread is infused with ground toasted pumpkin seeds as well as whole toasted pumpkin seeds.

The bread is wonderful slathered in butter with a meal of soup and/or salad. It is also excellent toasted and buttered, and stands up well to flavorful cheeses and cured meats. I haven't tried it toasted with avocado, but I suspect it would be pretty tasty. The toasted pumpkin seeds are perfect partner to the stronger flavor of whole wheat.

This hearty whole wheat bread is infused with ground toasted pumpkin seeds as well as whole toasted pumpkin seeds.

This is a large loaf, and should be proofed in a deep bowl rather than a regular sized banneton. You could also divide the dough in half and reduce the baking time to make two loaves.

We won't be talking about how I used a 9 inch banneton and suddenly had dough that crested the rim with a three inch high "muffin top." No. We won't be talking about that. I ended up taking the original basket and inserting it into a larger bowl to prop up the top of the dough.

This hearty whole wheat bread is infused with ground toasted pumpkin seeds as well as whole toasted pumpkin seeds.

I absolutely loved the buoyancy of this dough once it developed. It started out really sticky and difficult to handle, but over time, as the gluten developed with several "stretches and folds," the dough became super bouncy and easy to shape.

Bread geek talk alert: I did make the mistake of over proofing the dough by just a bit, and if I had followed the instructions as written, I would have likely ended up with a pretty flat loaf of bread. While the instructions are to proof the dough for one hour at room temperature, and then proof it in the refrigerator for 24 to 36 hours, I ended up baking it after only eight hours in the refrigerator because I sensed that it was beyond ready. While I did not get much oven spring in my loaf, the crumb looks similar to the slices in the photo in the wonderful book, Bien Cuit, where I found this recipe. I think I caught it just in time.

Because of the warmer weather this time of year, I probably should have taken some of the following steps:
  1. Make sure to use 60 degree F water in the final dough. I did not take the temperature of the water that I used, but I'm sure it was warmer than 60 degrees. 
  2. Perhaps use slightly less yeast than called for to account for the warmer weather.
  3. Place the shaped dough straight into the refrigerator rather than letting it rise for one hour at room temperature, or....
  4. Bake the loaf straight from the refrigerator rather than letting it sit at room temperature while the oven preheats. 
Nonetheless, I ended up with some wonderfully delicious bread. I love the idea of incorporating the ground toasted seeds into the flour, a technique I will definitely be using in the future. 

This month, the #BreadBakers theme is pumpkin, chosen by Kylee Cooks. We could use pumpkin, pumpkin spice, or pumpkin seeds. After the recipe, check out the links to see dozens of bread recipes with the pumpkin theme. You could also type "pumpkin" into the search box in the upper right, and be greeted by lots of my bread recipes (as well as a cocktail) incorporating pumpkin. 

Hearty Whole Wheat Bread with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds



250 grams bread flour
pinch of instant yeast
250 grams water at about 60 degrees F

Final Dough

50 grams toasted pumpkin seeds, processed in a blender or spice grinder to a flour-like texture
300 grams whole wheat flour
200 grams bread flour, plus approximately an additional 1/4 cup for working with the dough
14 grams fine sea salt
1 gram instant yeast
400 grams water at 60 degrees F
50 grams extra virgin olive oil
40 grams whole toasted pumpkin seeds
Semolina flour for dusting the proofing basket


For the starter

  1. Mix the ingredients by hand in a medium bowl until all of the flour is incorporated. 
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and let ferment for 12 to 14 hours at room temperature.

For the final dough

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the ground pumpkin seeds, flours, salt, and yeast. 
  2. Pour about 1/3 of the water into the bowl of starter and stir. Pour the starter and the rest of the water into an extra large bowl. Mix with a dough whisk or wooden spoon. 
  3. Add the flour mixture to the bowl in stages, mixing as you go. Switch to a bowl scraper when the dough whisk or spoon no longer works. The dough should be fairly sticky. I ended up incorporating about 1/4 cup more bread flour over time, as the weather was fairly humid. 
  4. Stretch and fold the dough a few times until the dough develops some "strength" and resists stretching. 
  5. Form the dough into a ball and place it into an oiled bowl. Cover and let it rest at room temperature for 45 minutes. 
  6. Gently press the dough out into a rectangle and sprinkle the whole seeds over the dough. Press the seeds gently into the dough. Fold the dough over itself several times to incorporate the seeds. Stretch and fold the dough from all four "sides" and place it back into the bowl. Cover and let it rest for 45 minutes.
  7. For the final time, stretch and fold the dough from all four "sides" and place it back into the bowl. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. 
  8. Line a deep nine inch bowl or colander with a kitchen towel, and generously dust it with a mixture of flour and semolina (5 parts flour, 1 part semolina). 
  9. Shape the dough into a boule, and place it, seam side up, into the towel lined bowl. Cover with oiled plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature for one hour, and then proof in the refrigerator for 24 to 36 hours (mine was ready in just 8 hours. See notes above). 
  10. Place a four quart covered Dutch oven in your oven and preheat to 500 degrees F.
  11. When the oven is ready, follow these instructions for transferring your loaf to the hot Dutch oven. Score the loaf across the top with a lame or sharp knife. 
  12. Cover the Dutch oven and place it back into the oven. Reduce the temperature to 460 degrees F. 
  13. Bake for 30 minutes, and then remove the lid. Bake for an additional 15 minutes, until the loaf is very brown and the interior temperature is at least 195 degrees F. 
  14. Remove the loaf from the Dutch oven using the parchment paper to lift it out (you many need a spatula or wooden spoon as well) and place it on a wire rack to cool for at least 4 hours. 
Recipe adapted from the amazing book, Bien Cuit by Zachary Golper. If you are bread geek, definitely get this book. 
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Would you like to comment?

  1. I love that you made flour of some of the pumpkin seeds. This bread looks perfect even with all the problems you experienced.

    1. Thanks Wendy. I definitely need to conquer this, because the bread is very tasty.

  2. I learn so much from your technical approach to bread-baking. You take the science and make an art of it!

  3. Wow, what a perfectly baked bread. It looks hearty and delicious.

  4. I knew you'd come up with something awesome—you always do! I haven't taken a dive into Bien Cuit yet but I love the idea of this bread. Making a flour out of the pumpkin seeds in genius, especially for a seed-o-phobic like me. No one would ever know your bread runneth over, but you definitely need to get yourself a really big banneton, not that I know anyone who has one. (looks around) Nope, not at all.

    1. Ha ha! Pssst. And if one were looking for a really big banneton for "a friend," where would one find it...? Not for me of course (looks around).

  5. That's a really great looking bread. I appreciate all the detail you give regarding issues you had with proofing. That's great information and really helpful.

    1. Thanks Eileen! Every time I think I'm the master, some bread comes along and humbles me.

  6. This is a gorgeous loaf, Karen! I am always in awe of your bread baking abilities. And this beautiful bread is just picture perfect! :)

  7. This looks gorgeous and while it might sound like I'm exaggerating, I'm pretty positive I could eat the whole loaf!

    1. You'd have to fight me for it.

      Not really. I'd gladly give you a whole loaf Amy, because you are so sweet to say that!

  8. This bread has a lovely crust and I love crusty bread, also like the use of ground seeds in the bread... perfect..

  9. You know I would have loved to see a photo of the dough in the bowl too small for its yeasty enthusiasm... ;-) Happened to me several times, and now I remember that there is a bread I never blogged about from Dan Lepard, that almost went from coutertop to floor... I do have a picture. Maybe I should finally compose that blog post?

    Lovely bread, Karen, even when you say you made a boo-boo in a bread recipe, it ends up as a masterpiece. Awesome job!

    1. I definitely should have taken a photo of that muffin top bread dough. The whole process with this loaf was an I love Lucy episode.

      You definitely should post that bread!

    2. I now know why I did not - black bread. Black food and me, the legendary problem, pictures did not turn out very good. But you are right, I should blog about it because the bread was amazing. It actually brought tears to the eyes of a huge Russian man, because he said it was exactly the bread he used to enjoy as a kid.... cool, isn't it?

  10. I just love how much you love to bake bread! and this loaf sounds perfect for fall supers

  11. Its always nice to read your posts, I get to learn so much about different techniques and types of bread. Loved the way you added pumpkin seed flour to the dough. Perfect bread.

  12. This bread sounds delicious! Perfect for fall!

  13. It was great to hear that you added the blend of toasted pumpkin seeds to the bread . I know it tastes great as my mom adds the toasted pumpkin seeds in making Indian Idli podi ( Gun powder ).

  14. I would definitely love a slice with some avocado! Love how you used the seeds.

  15. I LOVE all your bakes. This one is fabulous too. I really liked how you made a flour with pumpkin seeds. Bookmarking this :)

  16. Hi, I'm attempting bread that needs fermenting and rising for the first time and I'm using the original recipe from the book! My bread is in the fridge stage now... The book says you need a 6 qt / 10 in diameter dutch oven but I only have 4 qt / 8 inch one or a 6x10 inch oval one. Do you think it's alright if I put it in the 4 quart or will that be too small? Your bread came out looking fantastic, I hope mine does too! Thanks for the tips! :)

    1. I used a 4 quart one but that diameter seems small. How about using a stone with an upside down metal bowl ? You could also bake it on a stone with steam. If you do decide to use your pan be sure to lift the dough in with good sturdy parchment paper.


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