Getting Seeds to Stick to Bread

In a recent thread on My Nebras­ka Kitchen, the issue of how to get seeds to stick to bread came up.

So, today I tried an experiment.

I made a batch of Chica­go-style hot dog buns (the KAF recipe), mak­ing 12 buns. (We like our buns a lit­tle small­er than what the recipe sug­gests.) I divid­ed them into six pairs, and each pair got a dif­fer­ent method for stick­ing pop­py seeds to the bun:

  • Water
  • Seeds on the bottom
  • Oil
  • Egg White
  • Milk
  • Hon­ey (dilut­ed with water)

All six treat­ments were done right after shap­ing and allowed to final proof for about an hour. I left the ones with the seeds on the bot­tom sit that way for about 45 min­utes, then rolled them over so the seeds were on top. Here’s how they looked just before going into the oven:

Buns before baking

Here’s how they looked when they came out of the oven. (The order I list­ed them in above is not the order they are on the pan.):

Buns after baking

I let them cool for an hour and then tried to see how eas­i­ly the seeds came off each type. So, how well did each method work?

The oil treat­ment fared the worst. I can brush the seeds off fair­ly easily.

The oth­ers all did bet­ter, I’d rank the ‘seeds on bot­tom’ and ‘hon­ey’ meth­ods as being the most stuck down, with the oth­er three just slight­ly behind them.

There are a few oth­er meth­ods I might try anoth­er time, but for now I’d rec­om­mend using some hon­ey and water to stick your seeds down.

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Published:September 6, 2017


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    Mike Nolan

      In a recent thread on My Nebraska Kitchen, the issue of how to get seeds to stick to bread came up. So, today I tried an experiment. I made a batch of Chicago-style hot dog buns (the KAF recipe), maki
      [See the full post at: Getting Seeds to Stick to Bread]

      Spread the word

        Thanks for the experiment, Mike. I always enjoy seeing photos on this site.


          Interesting, Mike. Did you do a second egg wash on that pair after they came out of the oven, as KidPizza suggested? I'm not so sure about using honey on the rye, or any other savory, buns, but I might try it on one or two just to see.

          Mike Nolan

            No, I just did an egg wash, let it sit for a minute then sprinkled poppy seeds on.

            I've got one or two other ideas to try, I may do a followup experiment the next time I make hot dog buns. (We've been eating a lot of hot dogs lately because I made a big batch of tomato relish last week and it is SO GOOD on hot dogs when it's fresh!)

            My wife agrees with me that other than the oil version, they all had the seeds stuck down fairly well.

            There really isn't much honey in the honey wash, I couldn't taste it on the bun I had for supper. (I had one from the honey group and one from the oil group, seeds kept falling off as I was eating the latter, so that method is a total failure.)


              I enjoyed reading and following in pictures the experiment. How much honey did you use and how much did you dilute it?

              Do you think this method might also work with whole grains sprinkled on top of loaves? Or do grains need a different approach?

              Mike Nolan

                Since it was just for 2 buns, probably less than a teaspoon of honey, diluted with about 2 teaspoons of hot water. Don't see any reason why it wouldn't work with whole grains or other sizes of seeds. I've used the water method successfully to stick rolled oats to loaves, and I've seen at least one recipe that suggested sticking them down with honey diluted in water, which is where I got the idea from.

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