Big Sur Bakery Hide Bread

From the Big Sur Bakery cookbook, a seed-packed pocket bread recipe contributed by a good friend of the bakery. Sesame, sunflower, flax and poppy seeds, quinoa and oat bran impressively cram themselves into these delicious, hearty rolls.

Big Sur Bakery Hide Bread

The Big Sur Bakery sits back off California's famous Highway 1 a bit, nestled next to a gas station. The owners, three of them, left the Los Angeles restaurant scene years ago, determined to turn a property with a lackluster track record into something special. They set their sights on a house-turned-abandoned-restaurant, eventually wrangling it into what is now the beloved Big Sur Bakery.

Small round homemade breads topped with seeds and butter on a baking sheet
It was tough choosing a single recipe to feature from their namesake cookbook, but a seed-packed pocket bread contributed by a good friend of the bakery jumped out at me. Sesame, sunflower, flax and poppy seeds, millet, oat bran, and a splash of beer impressively cram themselves into palm-sized hearty rolls in a way that doesn't disappoint.
Small round homemade breads topped with seeds on a marble counter

Big Sur Bakery Hide Bread

The recipe is from Terry "Hide" Prince, one of the bakery's earliest friends. If you can imagine dense, seed and grain-packed soda bread, you're in the ballpark. Rather than using salt, Terry gathers kelp from the coast and uses it to season the bread. I use sea salt (and salad booster), or dulse flakes if I have them. Use what you have. The key to enjoying these delicious little breads (and I can't emphasize this enough), is splitting them open, toasting until they are deeply golden, then slathering generously with butter (or drizzling with olive oil). Then sprinkle with a bit more salt. Blissful buttery crunchiness.


These are divisive little pucks. People either have deep love for them, or….don’t. You can browse the comments for insight into both camps. They also take well to endless variations. As you can see from terry's comment below, that's the spirit of it!

  • More from Terry: He says, “There’s no need to be intimidated by making my bread. It was born out of a sea voyage, from Hawaii to New Zealand, because it was easier than yeast bread. I used my friend, Jay’s, Irish soda bread recipe, only I added my own super foods. Amaranth, millet, and quinoa all have the 8 essential amino acids for building muscle, flax seeds for digestion, and kelp or seaweed for vitamins and minerals. I keep a 5 gallon pickle bucket with my dry bread mix, adding whatever sounds healthy.”
  • A gluten-free version: Obsoletepostergirl says, "this recipe adapted very well to gluten free. I used my usual mix of brown rice flour, millet flour, oat flour, and tapioca starch in place of the flour. I used coconut milk in place of buttermilk as well. They turned out wonderfully when toasted!"

Bread in a roll shape topped with seeds held in the palm of a hand

The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook

The cookbook captures a year in the life of the restaurant through a series of vignettes, purveyor profiles, and recipes. Anyone who dreams of starting their own restaurant should have a read. One of the things I like about this book is the way it illustrates many of the things that make creating a restaurant so fulfilling. At the same time it isn't afraid to touch on some of the stuff that also makes it so difficult. As I'm sure many of you know (or can imagine) Big Sur is remote, and running any sort of business in a town connected by a single power line to Carmel isn't without its challenges.

How To Make Big Sur Hide Bread

Here's a quick guide to the major steps needed to make this bread. 

Large mixing bowl with bread ingredients including flax seeds, sunflower seeds, quinoa, flour, and bran

Step 1: This bread comes together like a soda bread. No yeast is called for, it's a quick bread that comes together in no time with baking soda as the leavener. Start by combining the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add buttermilk to this dry mixture and stir until everything comes together.

bread dough rolled out on counter and cut into portions
Step 2: Turn the dough out onto a countertop, roll into a wide log. Slice into equal pieces and for into patties. The shape I aim for is like a small English muffin.

Individual rolls shaped and arranged on metal baking sheet prior to baking
Step 3: Brush the tops of each roll with buttermilk and sprinkle with seeds and seaweed.
Individual bread rolls on baking sheet sprinkled with seeds prior to baking
Step 4: Bake for about 45 minutes or until the bottoms are golden.
Small round homemade breads topped with seeds on a marble counter

A Few Things That Make the Big Sur Bakery Special

I've been to the bakery a number of times over the years. I love the dark wood, the beautifully rustic morning pastries, and the mix of locals and people just-traveling-through intersecting at the counter. The bakery serves coffee and pastries in the morning and early afternoon, lunch on certain days, as well as dinner (hours listed here). The heart of the bakery is the wood-fired stove - and much of the food served (and featured in the cookbook) is inspired by it.

A Bit More About the Cookbook

The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook includes a wide range of recipes, not simply pastries and baked treats. Also plenty for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. I've earmarked the Dresden Stollen (legendary), Nine-Grain Pancakes, Date & Quinoa Muffins, and the Fresh Garbanzo Bean Stew. Sara Remington did the photography for the book - a beautiful combination of portraits, images of Big Sur, meals shared, and of course, no end to the photos of the food. In all, 262 pages, full color. If you haven’t been able to visit in person yet, the book is next best.

Small round homemade breads topped with seeds on a marble counter

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Big Sur Bakery Hide Bread

5 from 1 vote

This is an adapted version of the recipe incorporating tweaks I’ve made over the years including adding seeded tops and incorporating weight measurements. If you don’t have salad booster on hand, use dulse flakes which are called for in the original recipe, or skip the seaweed component if you like.

  • 5 cups / 625 g unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra flour for dusting
  • 1/2 cup / 90 g flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup / 80g sesame seeds plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 2 cups / 220 g oat bran
  • 1/4 cup / 36 g sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup / 95 G amaranth, quinoa, millet, or poppy seeds (or any combo of these)
  • 2 tablespoons salad booster or dulse flakes
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons beer
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk, half-and-half, milk, or water
  • unsalted butter, softened for serving
  1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle positions and preheat the oven to 375°F / 190°C degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper if desired.
  2. Place all the dry ingredients in an (extra-large) bowl, stir them together, and make a well in the center. Add the beer and the buttermilk. Mix with the handle of a wooden spoon until a thick, wet batter forms.
  3. Sprinkle a layer of flour over the top. Turn the batter onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into a loose log about 2 inches in diameter. Cut it into 1 1/2-inch-thick slices and pat them down with your hands to form chubby patties.

  4. Place the patties on the baking sheets, brush them with a bit of buttermilk and sprinkle with seeds and crumbled seaweed / dulse. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Let them cook completely.

  5. To serve, slice each patty in half, either warm from the oven (or toast it well). Smear with butter, and sprinkle with salt. Hide bread is similar to an English muffin in that if you don’t toast it, it can taste a bit raw.


Makes about fifteen homemade bread rolls.

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
55 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Recipe Rating


Wow Heidi, these look good. I have been making english muffins lately, but these look way easier because there is no rising time. These are basically mini soda breads, rights? HS: Perhaps even denser than most soda breads I've had.


I just moved to California and have no idea where Big Sur is, but now I have incentive. This place sounds pretty cool. I think I'll have to pick up a copy of this book too.


We went on vacation in Big Sur last year, and the Big Sur Bakery was one of the highlights of the trip. We had one of the best dinners of our lives there. I still dream of the salad with blue cheese and hazelnuts. We ended up going back for breakfast and lunch. What a wonderful place. I must get that cookbook.


The recipe looks wonderful! Please come up with a GF alternative! I'm also vegan, so I'd use the water, and not dairy. I do use seaweeds regularly, so using the dulse sounds like a wonderful alternative to salt! I live in Alaska and unfortunately won't be going to CA anytime soon, but will pass on the Bakery location!


wow!!! everything you make looks delicious. i'm so intimidated by making my own bread but this makes me want to try it. thanks again! HS: Kyle - this is a good, easy starting point - give them a go. They are relatively unfussy and worth it. I may not have mentioned it up above, but a few of these also got a rub of clove of garlic after the butter slathering was done. Thanks for the nice comment on the last post as well, your India photos are inspiring, I can't wait to go there someday. :)


I love the Big Sur. Hubby and I drove down it on our honeymoon several years ago. It's too bad I didn't know about the bakery then because I would have loved to stop there.

Kari (Eating Simply)

Thank you Heidi for coming through with perfect timing. I'm pastry cheffing/breadbaking at a small restaurant in London that brings you to mind almost daily. You'll see why one day I hope. I think I will go in tomorrow and promptly make this recipe. I have fond memories of the bakery and the book sounds amazing; thanks for its delicious introduction. HS: Toast and slather Shuna, you won't be sorry. ;) And I can't get to London fast enough - I have an ever growing hit-list of people and places I can't wait to visit. And I have family there now! I'm hoping next year, if not sooner - but I suspect I'm not going to make it before years end. Hope you are well lady. Sending a bit of California love in your direction. xo -h

shuna fish lydon

Heidi, We were there just once and we were so in love with it. I was there on Gov.t business at the time and they gave me a day off so I could see the area. What an awesome treat. Of course, hubby and I thought we were going to starve until we found this fantastic place. Thanks for sharing. Blessings to all, Bev

Beverly Jane

Thank you for the very interesting recipe. We are going to make this weekend . We have some friends from Sweden visiting for several days. In reading the recipe I noted it lists Flax seeds as an ingredient and it doesn't mention the flax must be cracked. The reason I mention this is: For flax to be digestible it must be cracked, otherwise the whole seed will pass through body without being digested. This seems to a common problem with bakers, I'm not sure why.

Duane J Marcroft

Thanks for this inspirational recipe! I will try it very soon- toasting the sesame and sunflowers, and coarsely grinding the flax.


When I'm back in California I'll definitely have to make my way to this bakery! I lived in SLO for 6 years but somehow never made it to Big Sur... I definitely feel like I'm missing out! I'm always looking for breads that are't purely white flour and this one looks like it includes some great stuff!


This looks wonderful. I spoke to the owner of Big Sur Bakery as the book was nearing completion then recommended Carl look in on his last visit. It's in my notebook for the next trip down the coast. HS: Hi Pam! I can't wait to get down there again as well. It is quite the drive though :/

Pamela Hunter

do you grind the flax seeds ? HS: The recipe calls for whole flax. As my mom used to tell me - chew your food well!


One of my favorite places to eat. We live on the Monterey Peninsula and a drive to Big Sur is the perfect get away. The traditional bakery items are great. The dinners here, though, are amazing. They make the most interesting and delicious side dishes that can totally change an entree. I really hope to find these sides in the book.


Heidi, these look lovely! Does anyone have any suggestions for replacements for the oat bran? HS: Hi Ashley, I haven't tested it, but I suspect wheat germ would be a reasonable substitute 1:1.


I LOVE this bakery. I discovered this bakery a few months ago when I was traveling from the Redwoods and stopped in Big Sur. I will definitely try this bread recipe, looks good! By the way, I love your cookbook and have tired several recipes from it. Yummy :)


Loving these stories about mobile foodies. I almost want to turn one of my antique cars into one. or maybe buy an antique Good Humor truck from my youth and hit the road


Question: if I use quinoa, do I put it in as a dry ingredient? Normally before cooking, I rinse it; is that unnecessary here? HS: Yes, as a dry ingredient. Some of the quinoa we see here in the US has been pre-rinsed, it is often hard to tell if you are buying from bulk though. If you are unsure give it a rinse and drain well.


this does indeed look spectacular. i love any good bread that serves as a vehicle for butter consumption. what kind of beer did you use? i'd imagine it makes a difference.


I love that bakery! My husband and I discovered it years ago on an impromptu trip to Big Sur. Thanks for sharing the recipe AND the fact that they have a cookbook.


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