German Seed Bread - Dreikernebrot

German Seed Bread
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  • Total: 111 mins
  • Prep: 50 mins
  • Cook: 61 mins
  • Overnight fermentation: 12 hrs
  • Yield: One Large Loaf (12 Servings)

This bread is thick with seeds and whole grain goodness. It can satisfy your craving for dense, chewy German bread. It makes use of overnight soaking and fermentation to unlock as much flavor out of the flour as possible.


  • Dough 1: 
  • 1 1/4 cup/145 g. flour (whole wheat)
  • 6 tbsp./50 g. flour (dark rye)
  • 2 tsp. flaxseed (ground)
  • 3/8 tsp. salt
  • 5/8 cup water
  • Dough 2: 
  • 1 5/8 cup/193 g. flour (whole wheat)
  • 1/4 tsp. yeast (instant)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Finishing Dough: 
  • 6 tbsp./46 g. flour (whole-wheat)
  • 5 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 5 tbsp. sunflower seeds (toasted)
  • 5 tbsp. pepitas (pumpkin seeds, toasted)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. yeast (instant)
  • 1 tbsp. honey

Steps to Make It

  1. Start the bread the evening before you want to bake it. Bring all ingredients to room temperature. In the first bowl mix the first 5 ingredients (Dough 1) until a soft ball forms.

  2. For the second bowl, mix the dry ingredients together with the flour until a dough ball can be formed. Knead for 2 minutes, let it rest and knead it again with wet hands. This "sponge" will rise slightly before morning. This dough should be tacky.

  3. Wrap dough 1 in plastic wrap and leave on your table overnight. Place dough 2 in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out, and refrigerate overnight.

To Make the Finishing Dough

  1. In the morning, remove dough 2 from the refrigerator at least an hour before you use it. Cut or pinch both doughs into several pieces and place together in a bowl.

  2. Sprinkle with the additional 6 tablespoons of flour. Add the sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds, along with the salt, yeast (you may soften in 1 tablespoon water if it is not "instant" yeast) and honey and knead together for about 5 minutes.
    You should have a homogeneous dough by the end of this mixing (this may be done with ​a stand mixer and dough hook). If it is too sticky (not coming off your hands or spoon), you may add a small amount of flour, but since whole wheat flour soaks up a lot of water, try to add as little as possible.

  3. Turn out on a lightly floured board and knead for 3 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes. ​The dough should be firm but slightly tacky (sticks to hands slightly).

  4. After 5 minutes, knead again for 1 minute, form into a ball, place in a clean container and cover with a dish towel to let rise.

  5. Let rise at room temperature 1 to 2 hours, or until well risen (almost doubled). I keep my house at 58 F in the winter, so my rise took about 4 hours.

  6. For a free-standing hearth loaf, shape into a round shape or oval (do not knead again or you will remove air), draw the surface of the dough from top to bottom and pinch the dough closed on the bottom. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Decorate top if desired (wet with water to stick poppy seeds, sesame seeds or cracked wheat to loaf) and let rise until the loaf is not quite doubled in size. This will take 60 minutes to 2 hours.

  7. About 20 minutes before you bake, start preheating your oven to 500 F. For free-standing loaf, place an old aluminum pan on the bottom rack and your baking rack on the next level up.

  8. Slash surface of bread with a sharp razor blade or very sharp knife to about 1/4 inch deep.

  9. To bake, place cookie sheet in ​the oven, pull bottom rack with old pan out and pour about 2 cups of water into it. Close quickly. If you have a spray bottle with water, open oven after 3 and 6 minutes and give 10 quick squirts onto the walls of the oven. Turn oven down to 450 F after 10 minutes and bake for 30 to 40 more minutes, or until ​the internal temperature of the bread reaches 200 F.

  10. Allow loaf to cool completely before slicing or it will still be wet on the inside.