Leonors

Seeds & baking

Hello everyone, 

Did you know that seeds are both used for giving structure to the dough as well as flavor, color and texture? They tend to be rather for savory dishes, like bread. 

What are the most commonly used seeds in baking?

Flaxseed

Is a small, brownish oilseed with a mild, nutty flavor and crisp. With its crunchy consistency, flaxseed can enhance the taste and texture of almost any recipe. Its unique health benefits are due to the high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, similar to chia seeds. 

You can use it as a substitute for eggs and fats in bakery products and various functional foods. One other way to use this seed is by mixing it into a morning smoothie, for example. It also makes an excellent addition to pancake batter.

Sunflower Seeds

Are rich in healthy fats, minerals, and vitamins. They give breads a rustic touch and crunchy feel. Sprinkled on top of a bread, they turn brown and make the bread crustier. 

Sunflower seeds add a firm and tender texture to the final baked good. 

As for their taste, they have a have a mild nutty taste.

Poppy Seeds

Are small, oval shaped, nutritious oilseeds obtained from the opium poppy capsule. Their pleasant nutty taste and aroma make them suitable for baked goods such as bread rolls, cakes, cookies and biscuits. 

There are several varieties of poppy seeds such as white, yellow, brown, blue and black. (1)

Poppy seeds have several functions in baked goods such as:

  • Flavor: provide a rich nutty flavor, intensified when they are toasted
  • Aroma: provide a mild nutty aroma
  • Texture: contributes to a crunchy texture
  • Fat replacer: the seed oil can be used as a fat replacer
  • Flour enhancer: the flour may be used as a partial substitute for wheat flour
  • Thickener: crushed seed are used to thicken fillings

Pumpkin Seeds

Are high in proteins, healthy fats, and minerals such as zinc and magnesium. With a greenish color pumpkin seeds will give a bread a rustic, earth flavor.

Pumpkin seeds also add color and a crunchy element to cakes and snacks, especially if sprinkled on top of the dough. They have a subtle sweet, nutty flavor.

Chia

Is terrific for gluten-free and vegan baking because it can replace a number of other ingredients.

You can use chia eggs as a substitute for regular eggs if you want to make a recipe vegan or plant based. You can also use regular chia to add some crunch or extra thickness to your baked goods. But you can also mix ground chia seeds in with your flour to give a fluffier texture.

Sesame Seeds

Are tiny, oil-rich seeds that grow in pods on the Sesamum indicum plant.

Sesame seeds are a good source of protein. A tablespoon (or 9 grams) of sesame seeds contains 1.60g of protein. A tablespoon (or 15 g) of tahini – which is sesame paste – provides 2.55g of protein.

Protein helps bone, muscle and tissue in the body stay healthy. It plays a key role in growth.

Sesame seeds have several functions in baked goods such as:

  • Flavor: provides a rich nutty flavor, intensified when they are toasted
  • Aroma: provides a characteristic nutty aroma
  • Texture: contributes to a crunchy texture
  • Fat replacer: the seed oil or butter can be used as a fat replacer
  • Flour enhancer: the flour may be used as a partial substitute for wheat flour

I could go on giving your more examples of seeds that you can use in baking, but I rather point out the fact that ALL seeds bring fiber to your preparations, which is so important to a healthy diet and to balance the glycemic index and glycemic load of a recipe or a meal.

Share your thoughts in the comment section below and let me know what seeds do you usually turn to when you bake?

Lots of love, 

Leonor

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