Blizzard conditions? (S)no problem… Stay home and bake.

Oh the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we’ve no place to go
Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

HA. That’s all well and good for romantic winter-istas, who like to imagine beautiful flakes sifting out of a soft evening sky through lantern light.

Or for skiers, snowmobilers, sledders, or snowman-builders.

Or even for those of you with a plow service that comes early in the morning, post-blizzard, to sweep everything out of your driveway, leaving only the brushup work of steps and walks for you to tackle.

Now, I don’t mean to sound like the Grinch Who Stole Winter. But I have to say, after living 52 of my 56 years in New England (and another 3 1/2 in New York), I could do without winter driving. And walking.

Snow on the rooftop? Great; except when it misbehaves and turns into ice dams, it’s the perfect insulator.

Snow in the yard, capping the trees, blanketing the frozen river I cross every morning on the way to work? Beautiful.

But snow under my tires, or icing up under my Crocs? No thanks.

Remember that Paul Simon song, “Slip Slidin’ Away”? At this time of year, that’s the anthem for all of us living north of the Deep South, or east of the Left Coast.

I find myself inadvertently humming that tune as the rear-wheel-drive car in front of me whines and drifts sideways going up the big hill leading into town, causing a chain reaction of slowed-down (and therefore potentially backslipping) cars all the way down to the river.

I hum a little faster when I’m behind a pickup truck on the interstate that decides we’re all scared weenies driving WAY too slowly, so passing us at 55mph is a fine idea – except for that patch of ice, which inspires a graceful 360° across three lanes of traffic and (if the driver’s lucky), a snow-padded crash landing in the median strip.

Let it snow?

Fine. So long as I’m snuggled safe and warm at home, car in the driveway, soup on the stove… and bread in the oven, of course.

Lusty yet light, hearty yet whole-grain healthy, this Crunchy Seed Braid is a wonderful winter loaf. High-rising and soft enough for sandwiches, it also makes tasty toast, perfect alongside soup, salad, or your breakfast eggs.


Bread flour is the ideal choice for this recipe.

Most yeast breads do just fine with all-purpose flour. But for those including whole-grain flours, and/or added seeds or grains (think rolled oats, cracked wheat, etc.), bread flour’s extra gluten helps “carry the load,” giving these breads the nice rise you’re expecting.


And speaking of whole grains, here’s my whole wheat flour of choice: our organic white wheat flour. It comes in a user-friendly 2-pound bag, for you occasional whole wheat bakers; as well as the usual 5-pounder.

How do I love organic white wheat? Let me count the ways…  1) It’s milder-flavored than traditional red whole wheat. 2) It’s lighter-colored (read: easier to sneak past fussy eaters) than regular whole wheat flour.

And, 3) The organic version, for whatever reason, bakes a taller loaf of bread than regular whole wheat. My theory is yeast loves whatever it is that distinguishes organic from non-organic flour, be it lack of chemical residue, extra minerals… not sure. Anyone who knows the answer, please enlighten me!


And here’s our top-selling Harvest Grains Blend, a mixture of seeds and whole grains I first put together many years ago.

What’s in this crunchy blend? Whole oat berries, millet, rye and wheat flakes, and flax, poppy, sesame, and sunflower seeds. A half cup of Harvest Grains Blend in your yeast bread adds welcome body and flavor.

OK, let’s bake bread.


Place the following in a mixing bowl, or the bucket of your bread machine programmed for the dough cycle:

1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1 1/2 cups King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour, white wheat preferred
1/2 cup Harvest Grains Blend
1/2 cup traditional rolled oats
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
2 teaspoons instant yeast


Mix till cohesive…


…then knead till smooth and supple.

Since we’re moving into the very driest part of winter right now, you may find you need to add a couple of tablespoons additional water to make the dough smooth, rather than gnarly.

Which brings up a teaching moment here: don’t be afraid to adjust your yeast bread recipes seasonally. Flour is like a sponge. When the weather is hot and humid, flour absorbs that humidity, and your bread recipes will need less water.

Hot and dry, or dry and cold outside? Your flour will be dry, and your recipe may need more water. Stay focused on your goal – a smooth, supple dough – and become comfortable adjusting the flour/liquid ratio to get there.


Isn’t this a nice ball of dough? Considering the seeds and grains, it’s very supple.


Put the dough in a greased bowl, or greased 8-cup measure. I prefer the measuring cup, as I can easily track it as it rises.


Let the dough rise, covered, for 60 to 90 minutes. It’ll become quite puffy, though it may not double in bulk.


Here’s a picture taken from above. It continues to look smooth and supple, doesn’t it. Can you tell I just LOVE working with this dough?


Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into three pieces.


Roll/stretch each piece into a 24” rope.


Yes, 24”. That’s quite long, so leave yourself enough counter space to roll.


Brush the ropes with 1 large egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water, coating them as well as you can.


Next, get your seeds ready. You’ll want a generous 1/2 cup mixed seeds: poppy, sesame, flax, fennel, and anise are all good choices.

I’ve started here with our artisan bread topping, a blend of flax, toasted sesame, black caraway, midget sunflower, poppy, and anise seeds.


Then I’ve added a tablespoon of fennel seeds, because I like their size, flavor, and crunch. They’re assertive, and lusty – just the ticket for this crunchy-crust bread.


Sprinkle the ropes with the seeds.


Coat them pretty heavily.


Roll them over, brush with egg white, and sprinkle on more seeds.


Roll them around a bit, to coat as completely as possible.

Allow the ropes to rest for 15 minutes, uncovered.


Squeeze the three ropes together at one end.


Braid into a braid. Outer rope over the top of the middle rope…


Opposite outer rope over the top of the middle rope…


…all the way to the end.


When you get to the end…


…squeeze the three pieces together… and tuck them underneath.


…and tuck them underneath.


Brush with any leftover egg white; this’ll help the seeds adhere, and give the finished loaf a satiny/shiny crust.


Scrape up any seeds that have fallen off along the way, and plaster them back on.


Transfer the braid to a lightly greased or parchment-lined pan.

Cover the braid, and let it rise for 1 hour.


It’ll become noticeably puffy. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.


Bake the bread for 15 minutes. Tent it lightly with foil (to prevent over-browning), reduce the oven temperature to 350°F, and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is golden.


The braid’s internal temperature should register at least 190°F.


Cool on a rack.


Doesn’t that look gorgeous?


And the swirl of seeds inside is a tasty surprise.


Bring on the pastrami and Swiss!

As you can see from the greenery in the picture above, I first tested and photographed this recipe last summer. As I type these words, it’s -1°F, and those same trees are blanketed in white. Time to put the soup on…

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Crunchy Seed Braid.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. Dottie Caul

    I so enjoyed the process baking this lovely braided loaf. Hope it tastes as good as it looks!
    I do not have your covered pan so I used a long baking cookie sheet and covered it with doubled aluminum foil.
    Could I split the dough for two smaller loaves and bake in my cast iron pot with lid on and put the other loaf in CAST iron 8×4 loaf pan. You made a rainy cold day warm and satisfying. Thank you!

  2. Patience

    During this polar vortex we’ve been having in Michigan, I decided to try my hand at KAF recipe for multi grain sourdough boule. I had zero yeast on hand and didn’t dare drive to the store, so I took my chances and just left the yeast out of the recipe. I did add 2tablespoons of gluten flour, used the dough cycle on my bread machine and let the dough rise a half hour or so extra each time. I baked it in a covered stoneware bowl (after spritzing it with water). Voila! The most beautiful, perfect loaf i’ve Ever made! Crusty outside with a beautiful chewy and flavorful inside. Awesome recipe! 🥰

  3. JJnAZ

    Can this be baked in the long glazed baker by Emily? Preheated 425 deg.? Looks awesome! Wishing I were 10’ tall so I could make this today! Just made the Harvest Blend and too much for 2! Love all your breads. And you, too!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Oh yes yes yes! That would be amazing. Preheating the base would be ideal. A little trick I like to do with that pan is to put my loaf in a parchment paper sling and let it rise in the lid. It helps the loaf hold its shape perfectly. Then you can carefully lower the loaf down into the hot pan, pop on the lid, and bake away. Give it a go! Annabelle@KAF

  4. Lynda P

    Hello there. I’m new to this site and plan to make this bread. Can this bread be made as a simple loaf? What size loaf pan would be needed? Great blog and comments!!!

    Welcome to our site, Lynda! Yes, you may turn this into a loaf and bake in a pan (standard 8 1/2 x 4 1/2). But, as written, it may be too large of a batch. I would cut the recipe down by 25%. Have fun with this one and on our site. Elisabeth

    1. Catherine DiDomenico

      This is exactly what I was wondering! Will the baking directions be the same? Start at 400 degrees for 15 min., tent and reduce temp to 350 for another 10 to 15 min?

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      It should be pretty similar, Catherine, though checking 5 minutes early is a good idea. Annabelle@KAF

  5. cjwzephyr

    This recipe looks fabulous and I’m anxious to give it a try this week (I found it only after I had already made some bread). But I’m wondering if you recommend kneading by hand or by machine – or some combination thereof. There’s something satisfying about kneading by hand, but does the trusty Kitchenaid simply do the job better?

    In general, unless you’re a really expert kneader, the KA will produce higher-rising bread; and a Zo bread machine, even higher rising than a stand mixer. But, with long enough rising times, bread kneaded by hand usually does catch up in the end. So use whichever method you prefer; I agree, hand-kneading can be a relaxing, satisfying process. Don’t deny yourself the pleasure just to save time, right? 🙂 PJH

  6. Great-grandma B.

    Wa-a-y back in the early 50’s, I did all the baking in my parents’ restaurant. I used ice water when making the dough for next day’s rolls. By morning, the dough rose nicely in the fridge and the slow rise developed a wonderful flavor for the clover rolls.

    Quick method for shaping any size balls for rolls: Take a look at your hand when you make a fist. See the hole made by your thumb and the curl of the index finger? The smaller the hole, the smaller the ball (clover roll). Big hole, hamburger bun. Lightly coat the palm of your hand with a dab of oil, butter, or shortening. Take a fistfull of dough, fold it over to present a smooth surface and squeeze your fingers together to force the dough through that hole. Keep squeezing ’till the ball is the size you want. Twist off with the other hand. The twisted side will be rough. Fold over the remaining dough in your hand and squeeze out another ball. Plunk three small balls in a muffin cup for clovers. Sometimes just for fun, I’d have the three rough sides up . . . clovers-in-the-rough. Re-grease your squeezing hand if the dough starts to stick. Beats rolling a ball on the bench or between the hands.

    Giggling re: the comment of shoveling the “global warming.”

    Envying the trip to Antartica.

    Blessed day to all.

    Great-grandma B.

    GG, thanks for staying connected here – always a pleasure reading your stories of “back in the day…” 🙂 PJH

    1. Sandi Edelson

      You make a comment on this blog that is kind of scary. You speculated on the reasons why your organic white wheat flour yields a higher rise than the non-organic variety, and mention a possible reason being CHEMICAL RESIDUE. With that said, are you declaring that your NON organic white wheat flour may contain chemical residue?? Oh no!

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      Thanks for your question and note of concern, Sandi. The line of speculation you’ve referred to simply acknowledges that for non-organic agriculture (including wheat) some synthetic substances have long been federally approved for use by farmers. If used, any application must comply with the substance’s regulatory approval and any minute residues should meet federally mandated thresholds. Our team is both glad and proud to also offer a full line of certified 100% organic flours, where the use of synthetic substances is generally prohibited. We offer our organic line to ensure that our customers have options to suit their individual needs and they are verified to meet USDA organic standards by QAI (Quality Assurance International). Kindly, Jesse@KAF

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *