How many seeds can I add to my bread?

One way to make bread lower carb is to replace some of the flour with seeds or nuts. Seeds have more protein and fiber than flour which makes for a slower blood sugar rise. They also add flavor and interest.

How many seeds and nuts can one add to a dough? Several threads on The Fresh Loaf suggested 15-20%.

On page 78 of Bittman Bread, Mark Bittman suggests adding seeds up to 15-30% of the flour weight.

Master baker Jeffrey Hamelman has several seed heavy recipes in the 2004 edition of his book Bread. The sourdough seed bread on page 176 appears to be the most densely seeded, with 7.9 oz of seeds in 32 oz of flour. This is a 1:4.6 ratio of seeds to flour. A couple of other recipes were closer to 20% of the flour weight as seed or a 1:5 ratio.

Hamelman’s recipe calls for toasting the sesame and sunflower seeds for 5-6 minutes at 380 degrees to bring out their flavor. The flax seeds are added to water and soaked for 12-16 hours. Some people theorize that toasting seeds like chia may limit the water they soak up.

What does Peter Reinhart say? In Bread Revolution one variation of the Naturally Leavened Carolina Wheat Hearth Bread created by Harry Peemoeller calls for 283g sunflower seeds in a bread with about 535 grams of flour. That’s a bit more than a 1:2 ratio of seed to flour!

Reinhart’s recipe empowered me to go crazy with the seeds. Experiments with roughly 1/3 flour, seed, whole grain ratios have shown some promise.

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