Pumpkin Seed Bread

On the day of my very first marathon team training back in June, I sprained my ankle. Not at the training, but later that afternoon, in my driveway. This is what I get for not wearing entirely sensible shoes.

Luckily, it was not a severe sprain, and I was able to resume training in a couple of days. That evening, however, walking was difficult. We had a plan to meet friends for dinner in Oakland, and when we got there my husband needed to go in search of an ATM. Not wanting to do all that walking, I parked myself in Diesel Bookstore on College Avenue. More specifically, I parked myself in the cookbook section and limited my browsing to the single shelf I could reach without moving around.

But don’t think I’m saying I wouldn’t have chosen Éric Kayser’s New French Recipes as my book (it is not possible for me to exit a bookstore without a book) if my mobility had been greater and my options less restricted. This is a lushly-photographed volume of beautiful, fresh, mostly accessible dishes.  Kayser is a renowned French baker and, while not all of the recipes are for baked things, they largely feature whole grains, seeds, dried fruits, nuts, and breads in prominent roles.

This pumpkin seed bread is soft, although it contains 67% whole-grain flour, because it also has a fair amount of butter — very nice for sandwiches and toast. I modified Kayser’s recipe to use instant yeast plus a small amount (because that’s all I had on hand at the time) of sourdough starter. The original recipe calls for a 30-minute first fermentation at room temperature, but my schedule wasn’t down with that, so I put it directly into the fridge for 2.5 hours instead (it could have been anywhere between an hour and overnight).

Be aware that the dough is very wet and messy at first. This is not a mistake. After mixing by hand for about 10 minutes, it should become considerably more smooth and elastic. Stick with it. Don’t even worry if you can’t shape it into loaves. The photographs in the book show the dough pretty much just glopped into the pans. I used 9 x 5-inch pans. For taller loaves, try 8 x 4.

Pumpkin Seed Bread

Yield: 2 loaves


  • Toast and cool pumpkin seeds: 20 minutes
  • Mix: 15 minutes
  • First fermentation : 2.5 hours in the refrigerator (or about 30 minutes at room temperature)
  • Divide and shape:  5 minutes
  • Proof: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Bake: 45 minutes


  • 330 g pumpkin seeds
  • 175 g flour
  • 250 g whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)
  • 250 g coarsely ground whole rye flour (I used King Arthur Pumpernickel)
  • 15 g sugar
  • 8 g instant yeast
  • 15 g salt
  • 150 g mature 100%-hydration sourdough starter
  • 100 g unsalted butter, cut into half-inch pieces and softened
  • 525 g water


  1. In a dry skillet over medium-high heat, toast the pumpkin seeds, stirring constantly, until they start to pop. Remove the seeds to a plate and allow them to cool completely.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients except pumpkin seeds in a bowl. Mix roughly by hand.
  3. Turn the dough out onto an unfloured counter and continue mixing (kneading) by hand for about 10 minutes, until you have a low-medium level of gluten development.
  4. Mix in the pumpkin seeds just until they are evenly distributed throughout the dough.
  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container. Cover and refrigerate for 2.5 hours, at the end of which time the dough should have about doubled in volume.
  6. Lightly oil two loaf pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  7. Turn the dough into a lightly floured counter. Divide it in half, shape it into logs, and place it in the pans.
  8. Proof, covered, for about an hour and 50 minutes, until the loaves have risen above the tops of the pans and a finger indentation springs back very slowly.
  9. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375F. You will also need steam during the initial phase of baking, so prepare for this now.
  10. Just before baking, slash the loaves down their long axes, with the blade held perpendicular to the dough.
  11. Bake for 8 minutes with steam, and another 37 minutes or so without steam.
  12. Remove the loaves from the pans and cool on a wire rack.

CommentsLeave a comment

  1. says

    I hope you’re still able to run?
    The bread looks very tasty and I just love the nutty flavour of wholewheat flour. We’ll try this recipe as soon as possible.

  2. says

    I thought about buying this book but thought it was more food than bread recipes. So there are bread recipes in it? If so, I’m game. (PS. The photos in that book are by my friend Clay… great guy, exPat in Paris)

  3. Paul says

    Drat! I recently bought some pumpkin seeds in Seattle (I can find none in my hometown in the Midwest) for the specific purpose of trying your Carrot/Spelt bread from earlier this summer. (Baked it this past weekend and it’s delicious!!!) If I had only known that you were going to give us another recipe calling for pumpkin seeds, I could have gotten more. My bad! Your loaf looks absolutely delicious, Susan.

  4. Esther says

    While this bread looks wonderful, I think I will be too busy to try it for the next while!
    I just received my order for ‘Bread’ by Jeffrey Hamelman. Based on your description as your ‘desert-island bread book’, I couldn’t resist any more. That and I finally got my belated Mother’s Day gift, a gift certificate for Chapters two weeks ago.
    The problem you have created for me, is what do I bake first, I will need a pullman pan so I can try the ‘Horst Bandel’ bread, what technique do I use: levain, sourdough…?!
    I think I will start by reading the book and eating bread already in our freezer.
    Thanks again for a wonderful, informative and beautiful blog, I really enjoy it!

  5. says

    hi – wow – i love erick kayser’s bakeries in paris. we were able to get a behind the scenes tour at the one closest to the bastille in paris with our group of culinary students last summer. come share my journey of writing a novel about a 16th century women bread apprentice in france. planting cabbages.
    many merci’s for your wonderful blog!


  6. says

    That bread looks delicious and I’ll add it to my long list of Yeastspotting Musts! I wonder if this Kayser book is the same one I got in Paris last winter. I’ll have to check when I get back home if this recipe features in mine. As I recall it, mine is mostly focused on creative uses of bread in cooking. I would be grateful if you could look up the French title in your copy (must be in the very first pages).

  7. says

    Another wonderful bread! I love finding crunchy whole seeds in my bread and this does look the perfect sandwich loaf. Sorry about the ankle! And funny how you just happened to end up in front of a bookstore, stumbling into the cookbook section! Sounds like me…

  8. says

    Sam, there are maybe half a dozen bread recipes (some sweet, and not all yeasted), and another half dozen that use bread as an ingredient (not the same breads for which recipes are given, though). The photos are just gorgeous; please feel free to pass that along to Clay!

    MC, the book was originally published in French as Mes Recettes: Céréales, Graines et Fruits Secs.

  9. says

    Absolutely lovely bread as always Susan. I love the crunch seeds give to breads, especially for sandwiches.

    Hope your ankle gets better really soon though, remember RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) :)

  10. says

    Oh, a sprained ankle sounds bad! I hope it is better now!
    I love pumpkinseeds in bread, my only problem is, that my boyfrind seems to have telepathic abilities for finding hidden pumpkinseeds *lol* My last pumpkin seed bread was a sunflower seed bread in the end because of missing pumpkinseeds :-D

  11. says

    Thanks, Susan! The one I have must be the French edition of Beyond the Bread Basket. I’ll definitely look into this new one. I was sorry to read about your ankle but I always marvel at serendipitous (is there such a word?) events and love the way this unfortunate accident led you to a new book and a new bread. I hope you feel better now though!

  12. says

    Yikes, I hate sprains, hope you’re walking better now.
    Love the look on this crumb! Also love this book.
    Isn’t it funny the stories we have of how we found a book, and how often it’s a bread book ;)

  13. says

    That bread looks and sounds great. And now i really, really want that cookbook! Didn’t Peter Reinhart have a recipe from Eric Kayser in one of his books?

  14. says

    This his is the bread I’ve been looking for since my last trip to Frankfurt!!!! I bought a similar bread in a German bakery and it is great.
    I love these breads but, I cannot find them in Spain. I have been looking for this pumpkin seed bread recipe even in German cooking web sites but, did’nt find it.
    I would like to congratulate you for your web. It is absolutely fantastic for new homebakers (as myself, he he he).
    Now, I would like to raise a question about whether it would be possible to make this bread with 100% whole flour. Your recipe includes 175 g flour and, I was wondering if you could use a little bit more of the other whole flours (both wheat and rye) in this recipe.
    Another question is about the percentage of hydration of the starter. I am a complete beginner and I have read some post but I do not have a very clear idea about it. 100% hydration means that it is made with both the same amount of flour and water?
    I appreciate your suggestions in advance.
    Best regards

  15. Claire (UK) says

    The seeded multigrain sourdough loafs are in the oven at this moment (looking fantastic) and these pumpkin seed ones will follow soon! But -it feels like I’m loosing it- at what stage do the pumpkin seeds go in?
    Thanks for your very informative blog!

  16. Skye says

    Help Please!
    I have proofed it for a hour and 50 min it hasn’t reach the top yet and when I lightly touch the dough it sinks. Have I over proof it ?? or should I wait longer??


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