Hier geht’s zur deutschen Version dieses Posts.

German breads are often made with a combination of three or more flours, and loaves with grains and seeds are, also, very popular.  Flaxseed breads are, therefore, one of the regulars in German bakery shelves.

My Leinsamenbrot, made with bread flour, rye and whole wheat, is a hearty bread with a pleasantly nutty taste and little crunch from the seeds.

Though whole flax seeds, even when thoroughly soaked, do not release much of their nutrients into our digestive system, the little brown specks give the bread an attractive look – and the fiber supports (to put it elegantly) bowel movement.

Like most German everyday breads, Leinsamenbrot makes good sandwiches with ham, salami or cheese, but tastes also good with jam or honey.

Different from Americans, Germans eat their sandwiches mostly open faced – only if they take it to work or school the cold cuts will be covered by a second slice of bread.

I adapted this recipe from one of my old German bread baking books,”Brot backen” by Cornelia Zingerling.

It contains a lot of good recipes, though I “remastered” the techniques to more modern methods, utilizing pre-doughs and autolyse, as well as cold fermentation.

Leinsamenbrot is made with a soaker and biga. I like mixing the dough the day before and let it rise slowly overnight in the fridge.

This kills two birds with one stone, I don’t have to wait for the rise, and I don’t need to get up too early on baking day.

The heavy lifting being all done, I only take the dough out of the fridge 2 hours earlier to de-chill, and shape, proof and bake the breads.

But you can also prepare the biga in the evening, and the final dough on baking day, but the soaker should be mixed 24 hours earlier, so that the flax seeds have time enough to soften and absorb all the water they need.

To achieve the pretty star pattern, you need a large, star shaped cookie cutter.

Scored with a smaller cookie cutter


200 g whole rye flour
111 g whole wheat flour
5 g/1/2 tsp. salt
150 g whole flaxseeds
273 g buttermilk
33 g water

311 g bread flour
1 g/1/4 tsp. instant yeast
203 g water

all soaker and biga
78 g bread flour
  7 g salt
  7 g instant yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
19 g/1 tbsp. honey
15 g/1 tbsp. pumpkin seed oil (or other vegetable oil)
    milk, for brushing

In the morning, stir together all soaker ingredients until well hydrated. Cover with plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature. (Soaker will become pretty stiff).

Mix together all biga ingredients at low speed (or with wooden spoon) for 1 – 2 minutes, until all flour is hydrated. Knead for 2 minutes at medium-low speed (or by hand).

Let dough rest for 5 minutes, then knead for 1 more minute. Place biga in lightly oiled bowl, turn around to coat with oil, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (up to 3 days). Remove 2 hours before using, to warm up.

In the evening, mix together ingredients for final dough for 1 – 2 minutes on low speed, or by hand, until dough comes together. Knead for 4 minutes on medium-low speed. Dough should be slightly sticky, adjust with a bit more water as needed.

Let dough rest for 5 minutes, then resume kneading for another minute. Place dough in lightly oiled container, turn around to coat with oil. Cover, and refrigerate overnight. (I divide the dough at this point already into 2 portions and refrigerate them in 2 containers.)

The dough has risen overnight in the fridge

Remove dough from refrigerator 2 hours before using, to let it come to room temperature.

Shape dough into 2 boules, and place them, seam side down, on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with milk. Score them with a big star shaped cookie cutter. Spray breads with baking spray, and cover them with plastic wrap. (To learn how to shape your bread into a boule, click here.)

Shaped (and cookie cutter scored) boules on baking sheet

Preheat oven to 425º F, including baking stone and steam pan. (To learn how to prepare your home oven for hearth baking, click here.)

Let breads rise at room temperature for 45 – 60 minutes, or until they have grown to 1 1/2 times their original size. (Poke test: gently poke dough to make an indentation, it may slowly come back a bit, but should stay visible.)

Bake breads at 350ºF, steaming with 1 cup of boiling water. After 20 minutes, rotate breads 180 degrees, remove steam pan, and continue baking for another 20 – 25 minutes.

They should be a deep golden brown, sound hollow, when knocked on bottom, and register at least 195ºF (instant thermometer).

Let breads cool on wire rack.

Breads at Hamfelder Hofladen, a farm bakery near Hamburg

Submitted to YeastSpotting and BYOB


  1. Looks great! I love flax seeds in bread (and typically grind them) but I agree that whole flax seeds make the bread look prettier. Can you believe I have yet to bake yeast bread with rye flour? I might have to try this one. Thanks for sharing!


  2. This sounds like the perfect bread for toasting in the morning or for lunch-time sandwiches. I love breads with flaxseeds. Plus, the star cut-out in the center is just irresistible. Thanks so much for adding your beautiful bread to the BYOB bread basket this month. 😀


  3. Thanks, Heather. It really is.
    I saw a bread with such a star design in a bakery, and was wondering how to achieve it. A large cookie cutter works perfect.
    It's nice to have a special place for a collection of breads. And it's never enough time to bake all you would like to.


  4. What a great looking bread. I've been meaning to try using some flax seeds in one of my multi-grains so this is a good one for me to try. I love the idea of using some flour in the soaker as I usually only soak grains and oats.
    Great idea to use the cookie cutter. I have seen this before but you reminded me to try it on my next bake. Wish I had seen this about an hour ago as I just put some dough in the baskets!


  5. Thanks, Ian!
    The idea to soak not only grains, flax seed or coarse grinds came from Peter Reinhart's “Whole Grain Breads”, one of my favorite baking books.
    I saw a star shaped scoring pattern like this in a bakery, and loved the looks of it. I don't know how they achieved it, but a large cookie cutter works very well.
    We can trade – you bake my Leinsamenbrot and I your fabulous looking Cocoa Bread – nice blog (and nice cats), by the way.


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  7. I am so glad you visited my blog coz it gave me an opportunity to come across your lovely blog! I am loving the bread…its sounding so delicious….can't wait to try it. I have taken some time off from my blog but intend to return soon.
    I am a happy follower of your blog now 🙂


  8. I know, blogging takes a lot of time – tempting if you are supposed to do something else (like tax preparation).
    Your blog has many wonderful recipes, and I'm glad I discovered it.
    Namaste, Karin


  9. Hi there! I am glad to stop by your site and know more about flaxseed bread. Keep it up! This is a good read. I will be looking forward to visit your page again and for your other posts as well. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about flaxseed bread.
    One hundred grams of ground flax seed supplies about 450 kilocalories, 41 grams of fat, 28 grams of fiber, and 20 grams of protein.
    Eat Organic Flaxseed Bread For Healthy Sandwiches Or Toast.


  10. Hi, nice post. Well what can I say is that these is an interesting and very informative topic. Thanks for sharing your ideas, its not just entertaining but also gives your reader knowledge. Good blogs style too, Cheers!
    If you are looking for an all natural Flaxseed Bread to enjoy with your sandwich, we sell some of the best-tasting, Genuine Bavarian Flaxseed Bread on the market.- The flaxseed bread


  11. Hello there! Thank you for sharing with us your recipe, I'll definitely try this at home, I was really looking for something new for my kids who always go to school and I really wanted to bring with them my home made recipe as their snacks because I don't want them to buy anywhere in canteen or outside the school. I have already copied it in my recipe notebook. Thank you so much for this and I'm looking forward for you more recipes to post.

    cakes bakery in Brooklyn


  12. This is one of my favorite breads, and it leans itself to scoring with a pattern since the dough has enough structure from all the seeds. Let me know how you like it.
    Cheers back! Karin


  13. Hi, I just made this bread, substituting a rye starter for the buttermilk (3:4 ratio of dark rye to water), and added an additional 200g of water to 5x the recipe (I was making 10 loaves on a test bake). I found the dough extremely stiff to work with – is that your experience as well? And, my star score, due to the exceptional oven spring in a wood-fire oven, erupted to look more like a shooting star – has that been an issue for you? I scored prior to proofing, but my star cutter was perhaps a bit on the small side…


  14. Hi, Mark, though the dough is fairly stiff due to the many seeds it contains, I wouldn't say the final dough hard to work with. It might have something to do with the missing buttermilk, since milk proteins soften the dough.
    You can certainly exchange the biga for a starter, but I would not leave the buttermilk out. I make some other breads with buttermilk plus a starter, and they are not too acidic.
    It must be great to have a wood fired oven, though I can imagine it needs some experience to bake in it. I didn't have any issues with the pattern being destroyed by too much ovenspring, perhaps the breads could have proofed a little longer?
    I hope you liked the taste in spite of those difficulties,


  15. Hi Karin, just browsing your recipes, so many interesting bakes! I'm a Newby to the fresh loaf where I came across you, and was intrigued by some comments of yours about peter Reinhardt's methods and your experience in adjusting the recipes to suit your palate, so I followed you here. I can see myself making many breads inspired by you! Just one question- is it whole rye flour you use for this recipe? Lyn


  16. Yes, Lynn, it is whole rye flour (I corrected that). This bread is really worth trying.
    Thanks for visiting (and commenting!), and let me know if you have more questions.
    Happy Baking, Karin


  17. Thanks Karin, I intend to a make this in the coming days. One more question though, do you think I could substitute yoghurt for the buttermilk. maybe slightly diluted? Many thanks! Lyn


  18. Hi Karin, made the breads yesterday, replacing the buttermilk with natural yoghurt. They turned out okay, but not as good looking as your loaves! The crumb structure is quite tight, though soft and taste is lovely. The linseed were still a bit crunchy, which makes me think they could have done with a wetter soaker, or being soaked apart from the flours. So I'd like to try and get this recipe right. What I was surprised by to start with was the hydration- the soaker was really stiff. Maybe because the yoghurt is a bit stiffer than buttermilk. Anyway I added more water in the soaker. I couldn't
    give the dough the fridge rest, so let it rise straight after mixing. I had to add quite a bit more water in the final dough as well. So I was wondering if you also added quite a bit of water intuitively until you get the consistency you like, or if this might be due to the absorbency of UK vrs. US flours? I will give this recipe another go, and will try to do it with the overnight proof. My dough certainly didn't look as spongy as yours after proof, but maybe I should have given it longer at room temp… Any thoughts?


  19. Lyn, the linseed should soak for 24 hours (that would be the fermenting time in the soaker, and the overnight bulk rise) to make them fully digestible (so that they don't just pass through like fibers). Then they will be less crunchy, too. Alternatively, you can use ground linseed – only the crumb will not have the typical speckled look.
    The soaker is fairly stiff, indeed, but you can add more water, as long as you don't have to adjust with too much extra flour in the final dough to get the consistency right.
    You are right, flours absorb differently, therefore you should always go by what the final dough looks and feels like, and adjust accordingly. It should be somewhat tacky, but not very sticky – the Leinsamenbrot is, like most German breads, not a “hole-y” loaf. But, any case, a bit too much water is always better than to little, or, as my bread guru Peter Reinhart says: “It's always better to err on the sticky side”…
    I'm glad you liked the taste of the bread, and I hope you will not be discouraged to give it another try.


  20. Hi Karin, just to let you know I persevered with your recipe and am now regularly making this bread. Like you I have a micro bakery, though I still have so much to learn! The bread is back on our bread list for this week. We score it with a cross cross pattern, as I couldn't get the cookie cutter to work for me, probably because I went for a higher hydration in the end. I also grind the seeds and soak them separately. Also have omitted the oil and sugar! But have gone for the overnight fermentation. Check out a pic on our Facebook page. I'll do a crumb shot this week, and send it to you, would be intrigued to know if it bears much resemblance to your loaf. Thanks again for sharing the recipe and advice. There are quite a few recipes on your page I'm interested in, maybe I should get Reinhardt's whole grain breads…


  21. How nice! Your criss cross scoring looks very attractive. I usually tweak recipes a bit, too, and, also flours in different regions are different (something I never thought about before I moved to the US). Waiting for the crumb shot 🙂


  22. Most likely not.
    But if you want to be on the safe side, mix only the soaker in the morning (so that the flax seeds have enough time to soften), omit the biga, and prepare the final dough (plus biga ingredients) with Stretch & Fold (as described in this post: http://hanseata.blogspot.com/2013/10/spelt-pumpkin-bread.html).
    You can keep this in the fridge for 3 days without overproofing.
    Let me know how it turns out, I'm always happy for a feedback!


  23. I baked the bread yesterday evening, after keeping 18h in the fridge and it turned really good. By far my best homemade bread. I just had to wait longer to get the dough on room temperature.


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