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Sunflower Whole Wheat Bread on a white plate

Sunflower Whole Wheat Bread

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I spied this soda bread recipe in an old North Dakota cookbook that belonged to my aunt. With a touch of sweetness, this Sunflower Whole Wheat Bread is perfect smeared with butter and jam.

Sunflower Whole Wheat Bread on a white plate

Sunflower Whole Wheat Bread

We spent a week in Ireland when the kids were little. They loved exploring castles (Nick was enthralled with “murder holes”) and we all appreciated the kind and jovial residents. We had a little fender bender when trying to maneuver a rather narrow hotel entrance in Kilkenny, and when returning the car at the airport, Bill was reassured that it was “not a hangable offense.” Plus it cost nearly nothing to repair. Gotta love that.

Now where was I going with this? Oh, yeah, back to soda bread. I must have eaten a different variety of Irish brown bread once, if not twice, a day. Plain or with Irish butter, I enjoyed every iteration of this classic Irish loaf. I’m always on the lookout for hearty, whole wheat soda breads like this yummy Sunflower Whole Wheat Bread. And when you finish this loaf, why not bake up this healthier whole wheat banana bread. Why not feel virtuous while you’re enjoying a slice of homemade bread??

Loaf and Sliced Sunflower Whole Wheat Bread on a slate tray

Tips for Making Quick Breads

I have admitted my weakness for grainy, seedy breads. This month’s Twelve Loaves theme was “Seeds,” so adding a handful of sunflower seeds to a soda bread sounded heavenly to me! And, believe it or not, Bill did not even notice the extra crunch and ate a big slab himself. He is not a fan of nuts or seeds so I called it “whole wheat bread,” and gave him a small sample to taste. After an “mmmm, that’s good,” I cut him a thick slice to eat along with his dinner. I call that a win!

  • Make sure your baking powder is fresh. Soda does not expire, but baking powder does! And since less recipes call for baking powder, you are less likely to replace it on a regular basis.
  • Do not over mix your batter. PRO-Tip: Never use a mixer when making quick breads. Over working the dough will cause tunnels throughout your bread!
  • Mix just until the dry ingredients are incorporated Any longer, the dreaded tunnels can develop and your bread may be tough.
  • Prep your pan well so your bread does not stick. Besides greasing the pan, I like to line the bottom of the pan with a rectangle of parchment paper which I then grease.
  • Start checking your bread about 10 minutes before the timer goes off. I insert a toothpick in the middle. When it comes out clean, the bread is done.
  • Don’t worry if your bread develops a crack along the top. This is characteristic of a quick bread. Just make sure to make sure that center area is cooked before pulling the pan out of the oven.
  • Let your bread cool for 10-15 minutes before removing it to a cooling rack. This will help the bread’s crust to firm up before it’s released.
  • Enjoy warm or at room temperature. Quick breads can be stored at room temperature for a couple days, then in the refrigerator for up to a week and the freezer for up to 3 months!
Sunflower Whole Wheat Bread slices on a square white plate with jelly

Twelve Loaves

#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess and runs smoothly with the help of Heather of girlichef, and the rest of our fabulous bakers.

Our host this month is Lora from Cake Duchess and our theme is Seeds. For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month’s selection of #TwelveLoaves Malt Breads!

For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month’s selection of #TwelveLoaves Malt Breads!

If you’d like to bake along with us this month, share your Seed Bread using the hashtag #TwelveLoaves!

Loaf of Sunflower Whole Wheat Bread on a slate tray
Yield: 12 servings

Sunflower Whole Wheat Bread

Sunflower Whole Wheat Bread

A whole wheat soda bread with some extra crunch from sunflower seeds.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, plus more to sprinkle on top of loaf, if desired.


  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine the flours, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the buttermilk and egg just till combined. Mix in sunflower seeds.
  3. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle top with a few more sunflower seeds, if desired.
  4. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, then remove to wire rack to finish cooling.


Inspired by a recipe in The Prairie Collection Cookbook.

Sunflower Whole Wheat Bread
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26 comments on “Sunflower Whole Wheat Bread”

  1. Your soda bread rose beautifully Liz! It made a very pretty loaf:@)

  2. Perfect crumb! This would make a perfect sandwich.

  3. Bread with sunflower seeds is actually my favorite!

  4. Your bread and your post have taken me back to Ireland too. Fun memories. It is where I learned that everything is better with Irish butter; your bread could proudly be served in any Irish home.

  5. This sounds really good! I am so nervous about making homemade bread … The Adamama bread also looks good. Now I’ve got 2 things on my “to-do” llist! Thank you!

  6. Sunflower seeds addition sounds nice.

  7. Yes, I love seedy bread too. I don’t get it nearly enough since Jordan doesn’t care for seeds and I cannot handle a whole loaf on my own. This loaf looks great!

  8. Gorgeous loaf, Liz! I can only imagine how amazing this smelled while baking :).

  9. Your bread looks gorgeous! So soft in the middle mmmm 🙂

  10. I do enjoy a wonderful soda bread and this is one for sure. Soda does give it a special subtle taste. And thumbs up on choosing sunflower seeds.

  11. Welcome back! Loved your story about Ireland! When we went, our rental car turned out to be an old care with 50K miles on it, and thank goodness! Getting used to driving on the “wrong” side of the street was not easy.

    Your bread looks wonderful! I love the flavor of sunflower seeds in bread!

  12. Sounds like a great hearty loaf and looks good too!

  13. I absolutely love soda bread so why do I only make it on St. Patrick’s Day? Mine is usually the traditional round version and, with whoever is around, we eat it in one day. I see no reason why this whole wheat version, love the seeds also, couldn’t work the same way. Thanks. This is so easy. Will try.

  14. There is nothing like home made bread and I think Fall must be the beginning of the bread season. Of course for me, bread doesn’t need a season. I love soda bread, Liz because it is quick to make and no need to wait for the rise! Saving for immediate use-I hope!

  15. What a gorgeous loaf! I love that you used sunflower seeds (and I also just love oats!!). Now, how do I get a slice for breakfast?:) xx

  16. This looks delicious, I can just imagine toasting it and spreading with butter and jam.

  17. I love a good quick soda bread! Such flavor, and so easy to make. And speaking of flavor — wow! You’ve really packed it into this. Excellent loaf — thanks.

  18. What a beautiful loaf. Pinned!

  19. Gorgeous loaf, Liz! What a great, classic recipe

  20. I love that this is a quick bread Liz. It’s easy to make and looks beautiful. I’ll be saving this try soon. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  21. What a perfect loaf! I love seedy and textured bread too and am definitely craving a few slices of this.

  22. Your tales of Ireland and inspired soda bread story paint such fun family times…Speaking of family, so nice you could incorporate your aunt’s recipe =) The sunflower wheat bread photos are tantalizing!

  23. Amazing load Liz! The best part is, there’s no kneading involved! :):):)
    Super easy to make, this is a recipe we’ll be using again and again. We love whole wheat breads and never tried something like that in the past!
    Thank you for sharing this dear!
    Panos and Mirella

  24. Lizzy,
    This must be a fantastic bread if your hubby gave his approval. 😉 From the photos, it looks like it could be a yeast bread.

  25. If Bill approves it’s a must try!

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