Honey Sunflower Bread

$2.09 recipe / $0.17 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.75 from 16 votes
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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

Loaf of Honey Sunflower Bread with a butter ramekin on the side

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Honey Sunflower Bread

4.75 from 16 votes
This honey sunflower bread is hearty, nutty, and just slightly sweet.
Servings 12 (2 slices ea.)
Prep 3 hours
Cook 25 minutes
Total 3 hours 25 minutes


  • 1 1/4 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)
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds ($0.60)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour ($0.38)
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt ($0.05)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour ($0.14)
  • 1 large egg, optional ($0.17)


  • Dissolve the yeast and honey into the warm water and let it rest for five minutes to allow the yeast to activate.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 1 1/2 to 2 cups of all-purpose flour total (including what was added when it was in the bowl).
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.

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Serving: 2SlicesCalories: 200.58kcalCarbohydrates: 31.32gProtein: 6.09gFat: 6.28gSodium: 301.83mgFiber: 3.03g
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Top view of two loafs of Honey Sunflower Bread, one sliced with knife and butter on the side

Step by Step Photos

yeast, water and honey in measuring cup Dissolve 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 seeds in food processor Roughly 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 Ingredients in mixing bowl Add 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 yeast in measuring cup By 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 ingredients being poured into dry ingredients in mixing bowl Add 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…

mixed dough in mixing bowl A 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. 

dough placed on floured countertop Take 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 Dough formed into ball After 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).

dough ball placed back into bowl to let rise Put 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.

Dough divided into two loaves and placed on baking sheet lined with parchment paper Deflate 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).

loaves risen a second time Once they’re double in size, begin preheating the oven to 400 degrees. You can bake them just like this or make them pretty…

Egg Wash with small brush To 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.

slashed loaves with design on top To 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.

Top view of two Honey Sunflower Bread loaves on cooling rack Seriously, how gorgeous is this bread? And it tastes every bit as delicious – no lies.

Honey Sunflower Bread sliced up Mmmm… Nutty goodness.

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  1. This recipe was easy to follow and produced wonderful results. We couldn’t find raw sunflower seeds, so we just used regular roasted/salted ones and omitted the salt. It worked out perfectly. We’ve tried several different recipes for sunflower seed bread and none of them were as good as this one.

  2. Amazing recipe!! Just like from the bakery! Turned out perfect except for the fact my ingredients were not fresh and I could taste it. Made the dough in the bread machine on dough setting. I will get everything fresh and definitely make a bunch more!

  3. I made this recipe today. The texture of the bread came out very nicely, but I thought it was a little too salty — I couldn’t taste the honey as much as I had hoped. Next time, I’ll cut the amount of salt down to 3/4 of a teaspoon. Next time, I’ll leave the sunflower seeds whole, too. I was careful not to chop them too finely, but doing just that little bit of chopping made it easy for the sunflower seeds to not be too much of a star. I want them to stand out more. By the way, I only had salted sunflower kernels on hand, so that’s what I used and it came out just fine. The whole family enjoyed the bread. I pulled it out of the oven at about 2:30, and one loaf is already gone at 4:15! Nom, nom, nom.

  4. Mine also came out flatter than expected but they were still fluffy on the inside and delicious. I would knead for longer than 5 minutes next time though. I used salted, roasted sunflower seeds because that’s all I had and it tasted fine. 

    1. If your bread spreads out more than up as it rises, that’s usually a sign that the gluten is not strong enough to hold the bread up. Weak gluten is usually from not kneading quite long enough.

      1. Thank you – I also live in Denver and have never baked in high altitude

    1. You can, but the bread will have slightly less flavor and texture. Also, you may need to use slightly more flour as whole wheat flour tends to absorb more of the water.

  5. Hi! I am at the last rising stage! Is there any way I can save one loaf and freeze it?

    1. If it’s already risen the second time, I would go ahead and bake it, let it cool completely, then freeze. If you freeze it while it has risen but not baked, it will collapse. You can freeze raw dough that hasn’t risen yet, but not once it’s risen.

    1. This comment is old but for others reading, a cup of flour is 120 g. I use a calorie counting app to convert cups to grams, ounces, etc easily. 

  6. This is the best homemade bread I’ve ever made. Very filling too! Thank you so much for the recipe.

  7. This recipe was simply delicious – would love to try and make a bigger loaf next time! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  8. Made this recipe a couple times and the bread is fantastic! That being said I’m pretty new to baking and can’t seem to get it quite the same as yours. It tastes great but the presentation is… sad. When I go to cut the X the dough ball doesn’t cut nicely like yours it just stretches along with the blade. I’ve tried using a chef knifes and a serrated bread knife, though not micro-serrated.

    1. Hmm, yes, try a micro-serrated if you have it. For the non-serrated it must be very sharp. If it’s not sharp it will tug the bread instead of slice through it.

    2. Use scissors and cut a criss cross on top of the loaf. Must easier than a knife.

  9. nice combination with sunflower seeds and honey. Thank you for sharing this great recipe.

  10. Thanks the recipe was easy to follow bread came out great
    I have a question are you single