Three Seeded Bread With Poolish Recipe

The three seeded bread was the first recipe that I designed! Based on French baking techniques it uses a seed soaker and a poolish pre-ferment. The seed soaker and poolish will need to be left overnight to develop so allow around 18 hours from start to finish. In warmer climates, it will be quicker to rise.

I remember how I designed this three seeded bread recipe. Just after opening my bakery, there were calls for seeded bread from customers and staff. I had no recipe to adapt and nothing close. I copied and pasted a blank bakers formula, added the ingredients I wanted and came up with a recipe.

And after the first trial bake, it was perfect. Since that day it was the most popular bread in the bakery, and the recipe has never changed.

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Try eating this seeded bread toasted with a poached egg. The combination of nutty seeds plus the aroma of a small amount of rye is potentially life-changing!

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What you need to make Three seeded bread

To make this amazing three seed bread you’ll need the following equipment:

Using a thermometer will help you with controlling proofing times. For accurate dough temperature readings try this thermometer from Gdealer

What if I don’t have a baking stone?

A baking stone conducts heat into the loaf. Using one increases the height of the oven spring and helps to give an even bake on the base of the loaf. If you don’t have a baking stone, preheat the thickest baking sheet that you have.

Can I use a dutch oven to make this recipe?

Yes, if you would rather use a dutch oven to make this seeded bread recipe you won’t need to add steam to the oven. Simply preheat the dutch oven and drop the dough inside when it comes to baking. If you are looking to get a dutch oven, I recommend getting this one from Challenger.

three seeded bread with poolish


For the seed soaker:

  • 55 grams of Sesame seeds
  • 55 grams of Black poppy seeds
  • 55 grams of Sunflower seeds
  • 110 grams of Water
  • 6.6g grams of Salt

For the poolish:

  • 138 grams of White bread flour
  • 138 grams of Water
  • 0.3 grams of Fresh Yeast (0.15 active dried)

For the dough:

  • 467 grams of White bread flour 
  • 83 grams of Light rye flour
  • 275 grams of Water
  • 1.1 grams of Fresh yeast (0.5 active dried)
  • 5 grams of Salt
  • Extra seeds to cover the loaves
Use French T55 or T65 flour if you can get it for this bread. It generates the perfect crust colouration.

How to use active or instant yeast to make this bread

If using instant yeast, divide the amount of fresh yeast used by 3 and follow the same method as fresh yeast. Active dried yeast needs to be activated before use. In this case, warm the water for the poolish to 35C (95F) – no higher. Add the yeast to the bowl, whisk and leave for 10 minutes to bloom. Combine the flour for the poolish with the yeasty water and place in the fridge for 10 minutes to cool. Return to the worktop and allow to ferment as above.

When ready to start the dough, warm 10 grams of water to 35C (95F), add the yeast with half a teaspoon of sugar, whisk and leave to stand for ten minutes before adding to the dough. Remove 10 grams of water from the recipe.

Changing the size of the recipe

This recipe makes 2 medium sized loaves. If you want to change the size of the recipe, use the bakers formula.

How to make a three seeded bread

1) Start the poolish and the seed soaker

Create the poolish and the seed soaker the day before. For the poolish, add the yeast to the water and whisk. If using dried yeast follow the instructions below. Next add the flour and combine with a dough scraper. Prepare the seed soaker by adding the seeds, salt and water and lightly stirring.

Cover both, and leave untouched at room temperature for 12-18 hours. 

2) Prepare the ingredients

The poolish’s surface will be significantly covered in small gas bubbles when it is ready. It will also rise around 50%. Weigh the ingredients and if using dried yeast, follow the instructions below.

3) Combine into a dough

Add all the ingredients alongside the poolish and the seed soaker to a large mixing bowl or dough mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment.

By hand:

Using a plastic dough scrapper incorporate the ingredients together using a fluid half turn method. Once it forms a masss, it’s ready to be removed from the bowl and kneaded on the table.

In a dough mixer:

Add all the ingredients including the poolish and the seed soaker to the dough mixer. Mix for 8 slow minutes on a slow speed and then increase the speed and knead for another 6 minutes. Once mixed, placed the dough in a mixing bowl and move to step 6.

4) Slowly knead

Set a timer for eight minutes and stretch the dough slowly, but firmly using the heel of your hand. Knead until the timer sounds then place the dough back in the bowl, cover and put in the fridge for 15 minutes.

5) Knead faster

After the rest, remove from the bowl, back onto the table and start a timer for ten minutes. Fast knead the dough using the stretch, slap and fold method until the timer sounds. Return the dough into the bowl.

6) First rise (bulk ferment)

Take a temperature check, if it’s above 26C (78F) we’re going to put it in the fridge for the next stage, if it’s not this warm, leave it on the kitchen table. Either way, cover and leave to rest for one hour.

7) Stretch and fold

After the hour, degas or stretch & fold all four sides and return to the bowl.

8) Part two bulk ferment

Bulk ferment in the bowl for a second hour. Again, take a temperature check to decide whether it needs to go in the fridge.

9) Divide

Divide the dough into two equal weights, push the gas out of each by pushing down with your hands. Shape into rounds and bench rest on a lightly floured area of the worktop for 10 minutes.

10) Shape

Flatten the dough pieces and shape into batard shapes. Give them a light misting with water and roll in the seed mixture, the seam area is going to me at the bottom so no need to seed that area. Put the dough in the bannetons, seed side down.

11) Final rise

Proof for 2 hours whilst preheating the oven to 250C (480F) with a baking stone above a lipped baking sheet. Prepare a peel by lightly dusting with flour.

Three seeded bread can be prepared the night before and left to proof slowly in the fridge. You could also toast the seeds in a pan before soaking, this draws out more flavour.

12) Score

Once the breads have risen over the tops of the bannetons turn the baskets upside down above a peel. The three seed breads should fall out, but give the banneton a light bang if they don’t come out straight away. Cut with a large cut length-ways at a slight angle.

If you can't fit both breads in the oven at the same time put one in the fridge to slow down the rise. After baking the first one, wait ten minutes for the oven to heat up and then score and bake the second loaf.

13) Bake

Slide off the peel into the oven, baking directly on the stone and adding a cup of water to the tray below to create plenty of steam. Careful not to burn yourself! Lower the temperature to 230C (440F) and bake for 35-45 minutes, open the door temporarily to release the steam and lower the temperature to 210C (410F) after 25 minutes.

14) Remove and cool

Once the bread’s crust is nice and golden, using the peel, slide it underneath to remove them from the oven so they can cool.

How to make three seeded bread video lesson

A Three Seed Bread With Poolish Rec...
A Three Seed Bread With Poolish Recipe (Very Popular Bread!)

Nutritional information per loaf

Calories: 1800kcal | Carbohydrates: 284g | Protein: 53g | Fat: 51g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Fiber: 24g | Sugar: 2g | Calcium: 804mg | Iron: 24mg

Other bread recipes to try:

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  1. Recipe was way too dry. I think you forgot to add water to the final dough.

  2. Whoops! I must have deleted it by accident! Sorry about that, I’ve added it back now.

  3. Hey Gareth,

    Not sure what I did wrong so wondered if yo could help please? I followed the instructions, weights of ingredients were correct to the gram and timings correct to the minute, but after the last prove the dough was still really wet and had not grown in size at all after 2 hours. When I poked it the dough was still really wet and stuck to my finger. I left it to prove for another hour still and no change. Eventually I got the dough out of the banneton and it just flopped out and immediately spread out on the worktop as a gooey mess!

    I used dried yeast which I mixed with water as stated my scales are only accurate to the gram but was really careful to ensure I was as close to the measurements as you stated for yeast. The poolish was bubbly in the morning (14 hours after I’d made it) before I mixed and kneaded the dough in the mixer with the dough hook so this all looked good at this stage, I have had this issue in the past when making soudough loafs which ended up more like flatbreads, so I assume I am doing the same thing wrong?! Obviously with sourdough though I am using a starter so I don’t think it’s a yeast issue – more likely to be when kneading the dough on our kitchenaid and either going too far or not far enough? Please let me know any thoughts and tips for knowing when the kneading is done or pitfalls of using a machine to knead if you agree this is the issue?

    Can’t wait to try this again once I know where I went wrong! Thanks.

  4. Hi Joe, I understand your frustration and it sounds like you are doing everything right. There are two things that could be happening here:

    1 – The flour you are using requires less water than what you are using. It could also struggle in a longer risen dough and collapse. To fix this you could try to use less water in your recipes, or change your flour.

    2 – Most of the domestic stand mixers that I’ve used struggle to work effectively. For reasons I don’t understand, water doesn’t get absorbed into the flour meaning it becomes “sloppy” and “wet”. I believe that they add too much oxygen to the dough which after a long bulk fermentation leads to the dough collapsing. They also fail to work the gluten effectively. I think this is most likely your issue.

    It could also be that you are mixing too fast, or too fast too early. I wouldn’t go above speed 3 on these mixers and would mix on speed 1 for at least 4 minutes to incorporate the ingredients and hydrate the protein.

    To fix, there are a few methods you could try:

    – Try making the dough by hand kneading and see if the same thing happens.
    – Autolyse the flour with the water before kneading in the mixer.
    – Mix for just 3-4 minutes on a slow speed or by hand and store, covered in the fridge overnight. Then continue with bulk fermentation.

    Hope this gives you a solution Joe, let me know how you get on.

  5. Ace thanks, will give it another go and will let you know how I get on 🙂

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