Honey Sunflower Bread

$2.09 recipe / $0.17 serving

It’s been a while since I’ve made bread for the blog because I pretty much have all of the basics covered (Honey Wheat Sandwich Bread, Focaccia Rolls, Oatmeal Molasses Bread, No Knead Ciabatta, Naan, and Pita), plus several flavor variations on those staples. But sometime last week the idea for this bread popped into my head and I knew I had to make it.

I based this recipe on the Honey Wheat Sandwich Bread, but added chopped sunflower seeds for a nutty flavor… and OMG it’s SO GOOD. The nutty bits are a perfect compliment to the very slight honey flavor and it tastes great with just a slather of butter or toasted with peanut butter (that’s been my breakfast for the past week).

You can make two smaller boules like I did, or one big loaf (either a round boule or it can be placed in a loaf pan). Just be sure to extend the baking time slightly if you make one loaf instead of two. You’ll want to use raw sunflower seeds instead of roasted because roasted usually have added oil and salt that will mask their pure nutty flavor and cause the bread to be overly salty. I bought my sunflower seeds from the bulk bins so that I could buy the exact amount I needed worrying about leftovers.

I think you’re gonna love this one!

Honey Sunflower Bread

Honey Sunflower Bread

4.8 from 5 reviews
Honey Sunflower Bread
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $2.09
Cost Per Serving: $0.17
Serves: 12 (2 slices ea.)
  • 1¼ cups warm water $0.00
  • 2 Tbsp honey $0.24
  • 2 tsp instant or active dry yeast $0.19
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • ½ cup raw sunflower seeds $0.60
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour $0.38
  • ½ Tbsp salt $0.05
  • 1½ to 2 cups all-purpose flour $0.14
  • 1 large egg (optional) $0.17
  1. Dissolve the yeast and honey into the warm water and let it rest for five minutes to allow the yeast to activate.
  2. While the yeast is activating, roughly chop the sunflower seeds with either a knife or a mini-food processor. Add the chopped sunflower seeds to a large bowl with one cup of the whole wheat flour and the salt. Stir until evenly combined.
  3. By this point the yeast should be foamy and frothy in the water. Add the olive oil to the yeast water and then pour it all into the bowl with the flour and sunflower seeds. Stir until the mixture is fairly smooth.
  4. Add the last half cup of whole wheat flour and stir until it is incorporated. Add a half cup of all-purpose flour and stir until it forms a loose, shaggy ball of dough.
  5. Take the dough out of the bowl and place it onto a floured work surface. Knead the dough for five minutes, slowly adding more all-purpose flour as you go. After five minutes of kneading, the dough should be soft, supple, not sticky, and will spring back when poked gently with your finger. You should use between 1½ to 2 cups of all-purpose flour total (including what was added when it was in the bowl).
  6. Place the dough back into the mixing bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let it rise for 1 to 1.5 hours, or until double in size.
  7. Once it is double in size, deflate it, divide it in half, and form it into two balls. Place the balls on a large baking sheet covered with parchment paper, cover with a damp towel, and allow them to rise until double again (1 to 1.5 hrs).
  8. Begin preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Separate the egg white and yolk. Whisk a tablespoon of water into the egg white and then brush it over the tops of each loaf. The egg wash is optional, but it will create a nice deep brown, glossy crust.
  9. Take a sharp knife (a micro-serrated bread knife or a very sharp chef's knife) and carefully slice an "X" in the top of each loaf. Be sure to use no downward pressure while doing this, just carefully drag the knife horizontally or you'll deflate the loaf. Bake the loaves in the preheated 400 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Allow the loaves to cool before slicing.


Honey Sunflower Bread

Step by Step Photos

yeast water honeyDissolve the yeast and honey in warm water. Let this sit while you prepare the next ingredients. I use the hottest water that will come out of my tap, which is around 110 degrees. It shouldn’t be so hot that it will burn you, or else it may very well kill the yeast, too.

chopped sunflower seedsRoughly chop the sunflower seeds so that the pieces and their flavor are more evenly distributed throughout the bread. You can use a knife or a mini-food processor like I did.

Dry IngredientsAdd the chopped sunflower seeds to a bowl with ONE CUP of the whole wheat flour and the salt. Stir these together until they are evenly combined.

foamy yeastBy this time, the yeast will have gotten all foamy and frothy in the water. If it is not, your yeast may not be active. 

wet and dry ingredientsAdd the olive oil to the yeast water (it won’t really stir in because oil & water, you know…) and then pour it into the bowl with the flour, sunflower seeds, and salt. Stir the mixture until it is smooth. Add the last 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour and then stir until smooth again… add 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour and then you should have…

loose doughA shaggy ball of dough that you can no longer stir with a spoon. This is the point that you stop stirring in flour and start kneading it in. 

knead doughTake the dough out of the bowl and place it on a floured work surface. Knead it for about five minutes, adding more all-purpose flour as you go.

Kneaded DoughAfter five minutes you should have used about 1.5-2 cups of all-purpose flour total, and it will spring back when you poke it with your finger. The dough should still be slightly soft, supple, and not sticky at all. It shouldn’t be so hard that you can’t knead it (that means you’ve added too much flour and your final product will be very dense).

Risen doughPut the dough back into the mixing bowl and cover it loosely. Let it rise until double in size (about 1 to 1.5 hrs). This picture is after it has risen.

Divided DoughDeflate the dough (by punching it down), divide it in two, and then shape each half into a ball. Place the dough balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure to leave enough room between them so that they don’t touch once they have risen. Cover them loosely with a damp towel so they don’t dry out, and then let them rise until double again (another 1 to 1.5 hrs).

Second RiseOnce they’re double in size, begin preheating the oven to 400 degrees. You can bake them just like this or make them pretty…

Egg WashTo get a really nice brown, glossy crust you can use an egg wash. Whisk together an egg white with a tablespoon or so of water and then brush it over the loaves. If you don’t want to waste an egg, milk is a good wash that will help it brown, but it leaves a matte finish rather than a glossy finish. OR, you can just bake them as is.

slash loavesTo make the pretty design on top, use a very sharp knife to gently slice an X in the top of each loaf. The trick to this is to A) use a super sharp knife and B) use NO downward pressure. Just drag the knife horizontally and let the sharp edge slice the loaf open. I only cut about 1/2 inch deep.

Baked BreadThen just bake the bread in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes (start checking it at 20 in case your oven runs hot). Bake until the crust is nicely browned.

Honey Sunflower BreadSeriously, how gorgeous is this bread? And it tastes every bit as delicious – no lies.

Honey Sunflower BreadMmmm… Nutty goodness.


  1. Catherine says:

    OMG … this bread is SOOOO good. Thanks for the recipe. Next time I’m going to put it in bread pans for better sandwich size loaves.

  2. Amelia says:

    I made this and your honey wheat sandwich bread (HWSB) last night. Turns out I didn’t wait long enough for the yeast to get foamy (I later saw your instructions in time for the HWSB that it can take up to 10 min due to the honey) so my bread didn’t rise much at all. I ended up adding a lot of flour because it remained sticky. I was worried it was ruined, because the dough was only large enough to make one loaf. Turns out, it tastes GREAT! I love the recipe & am glad I was able to learn from my mistake. Next time, I’ll hopefully do it right & just end up with MORE, haha. (The HWSB is also great, btw!)

  3. Courtney says:

    I forgot to add the honey…..oh no!!!! Super sad.

  4. This bread smells and tastes wonderful! BUT, my rounds turned out more flat, and my dough was way stickier… any suggestions? I’m afraid that if I add too much more flour it’ll turn out dense.

    • I would experiment with adding more flour and kneading a little longer. I think you’ll find a happy medium between flat and dense. :)

  5. Christina says:

    In my quest for a good wheat bread recipe, I stumbled upon your site and found this wonderful sunflower seed bread! I made it yesterday, and it was amazing! The wheat bread is rising right now, and if it is as good as the sunflower, then I believe I can end my search! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Christy says:

    Just made this bread this afternoon, and it is seriously phenomenal!

    For anyone interested: I didn’t have any all-purpose flour, so instead I ground up 2 cups rolled oats in the food processor and used this instead. I did have to add extra whole wheat flour (I believe it was about 1/4 c.) before it got to the necessary consistently so I could knead it.

  7. Laura W says:

    I read this recipe and wanted to try it right away !!! …. only I didn’t have any sunflower seeds. I bought some sunflower seeds but the store only had ones in the shell or salted. I bought the salted seeds and was wondering if the salt could be tweaked so that I could use them. I was thinking of using the salted seeds and just not adding any more salt in the recipe. Do you think this would work?

    • Well, it’s really hard to estimate how much salt is on those salted sunflower seeds, but you can try it without adding any additional salt and see what happens. If there is too much salt it can prevent the yeast from rising (it will straight up kill the yeast) but if there’s not enough the bread may taste bland and doughy.

  8. Alex says:

    Hi Beth, this looks great!! I was just wondering, do you think it could be adapted to a no-knead recipe, like your focaccia? I’m terrible at kneading, I always seem to overdo it and make the bread too dense. Your no-knead focaccia turns out perfectly for me every time, and I’d love to try something similar with this recipe! Thanks so much for your help and your amazing recipes :)

    • Hmmm… I think it probably could! You will probably need to add a bit more water, though, as the no-knead doughs tend to be a bit more moist.

  9. I absolutely love home made bread, and am always on the lookout for another recipe to try. This looks so good, and the fact that it includes honey is a big plus – another love of mine. ;)

  10. kelli says:

    Hi Beth. I just found your blog and it’s awesome. I am already a fan. I had a question about this recipe. I was wondering if i could replace honey with agave. I prefer the taste of agave to honey, and i have everything needed to make this except honey.

    Thanks so much.

    • Yep, I’m sure you could substitute the honey with agave. I haven’t cooked with agave, though, so I’m not sure if it should be a simple 1:1 ratio swap. I’m sure you could google “honey agave substitution” or something and find out what ratio seems to be good. Good luck!

  11. Samantha says:

    This bread is just fab. I’ve made it twice already and my mom is begging me to make it again. I forgot the salt the first time and I definitely noticed the difference (since that bit of salt not only impacts the flavour but the texture too), but it was still wonderful!

  12. Desiree says:

    Hi Everyone,

    I made this recipe with the bread machine but I only use it to mix the ingredients. I usually set it to mix everything twice as I found I get better results. (Lighter and fluffy loaves) I then take the dough out and let it sit and rise as normal and cook it in the oven.

    Love you recipes Beth.

  13. Another option for shiny bread instead of using an egg… have a squirt bottle of water handy when the bread comes out of the oven. Lightly mist it with water. It will evaporate quickly leaving a lovely, shiny loaf of bread.

  14. Gina says:

    Wow! I am really excited to make this bread. Does it taste more sweet or savory? I’d like to use it for both grilled cheese sandwiches and PB&J. Does the olive oil have a strong flavor in the final product?

    • It’s actually pretty neutral in flavor. It goes great with both sweet and savory toppings :) The honey and the olive oil are both very subtle in flavor.

  15. Tracy says:

    What type of flour do you use?

    • Just regular all-purpose and whole wheat flours. No brand in particular. Sometimes generic, sometimes brands like Gold Medal… just whatever is on sale at the store! :)

  16. This recipe smelled amazing!! The honey and bread smelled just took over my entire apartment.

    The bread is great with the sunflowers! I actually forgot to add salt but it’s not too bad. I think I either kneaded too much or need to use all white flour because my boules are flatter…

    Either way, another great bread recipe!

  17. This looks AMAZING! Definitely will be trying it ASAP! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  18. G’day! Ypur bread look delish, true!
    I can almost smell it through my computer screen too!
    Cheers! Joanne

  19. Amanda Mananda says:

    I am addicted to homemade bread now because of you; I started with your no-knead focaccia recipe, and I have since moved on to kneaded doughs. Yeast is, like … the coolest thing EVER to me now. I am definitely making this — just as soon as my freezer is a bit more depleted of its bread stock. -:D

    Small typo in your step-by-step section. It says “The trick to this is to A) us a super sharp” — where it says “us” instead of “use”. I don’t know how OCD you are about such things; I just know that little missing letters bug me when I’m typing my own work. So, uh … just thought I’d point it out. (I know. I am a dork.)

    As always, thanks for the awesome recipe. -:)

  20. samantha says:

    Making these with rolled oats instead because my supermarket didn’t have the raw sunflower seeds. Fingers crossed!

    • Just be aware that the oats will soak up a LOT more moisture than the sunflower seeds – you’ll likely need a lot less flour (and your loaf/loaves will be smaller).

  21. Jeanette says:

    Hi Beth,

    Saw the picture of your bread as soon as you posted it and got on it right away this morning. I had the loaves out of the oven at noon, just in time for soup and home made bread.

    This bread is absolutely delicious. I will let you in on a little secret. I have been making bread a loootttttttt longer than you have and have been looking for and trying various recipes for honey oatmeal bread, honey wholewheat bread etc…..BUT, this is the one!!!

    My search is over. I don’t know if it is the addition of the chopped sunflower seeds or what but this is the recipe I will be making from now on.

    Oh, I hate to waste stuff so I added the egg yolk to the dough as I really would have no other use for it at the present time.

    I live in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in the Calgary area and for my conditions, I needed the full amounts of flour that the recipe calls for (probably because I added the egg yolk) and I needed to bake mine for about 25 minutes. We are at a higher altitude and baking is a bit different here:))))

    Anyhow, thx for a great recipe!!!

    • Awesome!! I think the secret is in the sunflower seeds… they’re so yummy. I love the idea of adding the yolk. I bet that makes it nice and tender like a brioche!

  22. Christina says:

    @Louann: I totally agree! Divided into maybe 4 loaves instead of 2.

    @Beth: Do you think these would freeze well? I don’t eat that much bread in a week, and I usually have to freeze my store-bought bread so it doesn’t get moldy. Would you freeze before or after baking? I have zero experience with homemade bread, but this sounds too delicious to pass up!!

    • Yep! I freeze my homemade bread all the time because I don’t go through it fast either. I like to bake it first and then freeze it. Sometimes I even slice it before freezing so that I can just take out a slice or two at a time. If I leave it whole, I just let it sit out at room temp until thawed. I usually just freeze it in a gallon sized freezer bag.

  23. Louann says:

    I bet these would make great bread bowls!

  24. Samantha says:

    I love making homemade bread – definitely making this tomorrow morning for a late breakfast :D

  25. Gorgeous loaf. Looks very hearty and healthful.

  26. Mmm looks awesome!

  27. Jesi says:

    Hey! Quick question about this bread and your others — I have a bread machine, and was wondering if you had ideas for adapting it to that setting? Would any ingredients need to change, and would I just put everything in in the beginning as per the machine’s directions? White bread setting? Wheat bread setting? Anything you could give me would be helpful, otherwise I will just start experimenting! Thanks!

    • Well, I’ve never used a bread machine, but this is basically just a regular bread recipe with sunflower seeds added, so I think it should work fine. It may take some experimenting to get the amount of flour right, though, because I usually decide that based on how the bread feels as I knead it and you won’t have that luxury in a bread machine. Also, I’d use the wheat bread setting :)

    • I just made this on the dough setting in my breadmaker and I’m sure that it would be fine if you are planning to bake it as long as you have a larger style bread maker and as stated, use the wheat setting. I’m making one large loaf out of mine and baking it in the oven. Be sure to rehydrate your yeast for the very best results. I know my breadmaker just had you add them, but the yeast really needs the water and sugars to feed on to give the very best results. I just tasted the raw dough and can’t wait to have it baked!

  28. Allyson Kelly says:

    beautiful! i am inspired to try this, thanks!

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