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
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Recipe Rating


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!


I made these and love the grains that are incorporated in. Before, I had never heard of 3/4 of the ingredients, but after a while spent at Whole Foods, I picked up some incredibly tasty grains that I've fallen in love with! Thank you so much for introducing these new healthy items to me! As for the "biscuits" as I refer the them... I think I smashed them down a bit too much with my hand as they didn't rise and it was all I could do to cut through them (they were very hard), and actually have 2 halves. These don't rise much if at all, so make sure you don't pound them too flat like me! Even pounded flat, they were still delicious toasted with butter and some homemade Strawberry/Rasberry/Pear preserves! Tip: If you plan on saving them for more than a few days, make sure to freeze a few, because even stored tightly I did get a bit of mold after a few days... if you ask me I'd rather forego the "chock full of preservatives" bread for these delicious jewels.

Scott W.

Hide bread is a great bread to customize to your own liking. Once you make the dry base of the flours and seeds that you want, you can make the dough out of any liquids. For example, you could put buttermilk or regular milk for different textures, or even mix buttermilk and beer. It doesn't have to be in little patties either, I have made it so that it is one big loaf and I cut off slices like french bread. Experiment and adjust to your liking.


Yum! I saw this when you posted it a few weeks ago but now I'm about ready to actually make it! I'm not sure if you'll see this comment now, but if you do, would chia seeds be an okay replacement for the flax seeds?


Thanks for sharing the recipe. We stop by the bakery whenever we go to Big Sur. I baked the bread today and by mistake added a tablespoon of salt. I thought I had ruined it, but they were perfectly delicious. I made them with black sesame seeds so they had a slightly smoky flavour. We ate them with a little butter and coconut jam. Thanks again-

Michael Gilmore

I've made a lot of your recipes and love the site! But, this Hide Bread turned out like Hockey pucks! They are so hard - nearly impossible and even harder with toasting. The flavor is good, could be improved with some more salt however. I am thinking the addition of some fat in the dough would help with the hardness. I have made several very dense breads with lots of seeds, etc and none were as hard as these. You could knock a cow over with one of these rolls! LOL I am going to tinker with the recipe until I get a bit softer product as i would like to keep my teeth a while longer. I don't see how any professional baker could consider these rolls a success. Oh, well, not everything is a winner. Looking forward to the next installment! HS: Thanks Jan and thank you to everyone else who tried these. Sounds like people are in one of two camps: love/hate. Jan if you end up tweaking the recipe to your likening with good results, be sure to report back. Thanks again, -h

jan canyon

Fantastic, wonderful bread. My oven was a bit hot; baked for only 40 min but that was a bit too much. I actually enjoyed eating them without toasting them, straight warm out of the oven. I used unbleached all-purpose flour, and Ommegang brewery's Hennepin beer (chef's treat once the 1/4 c. is in the dough!). Made homemade veggie burgers and used these as buns, also fantastic! Certainly will make these again.


Hi Heidi, quick question. The recipe calls for all-purpose flour. Does it matter if I use bleached or unbleached for this specific recipe?

Kamran Siddiqi

I was wary of trying these, as several comments mentioned how tooth-breakingly hard they turned out... but I did, and am so very glad: these are keepers, and I have a few tips on getting the texture right. First, I used 4 cups of flour, and worked the last cup called for in the recipe in as I gently kneaded the dough into shape. I probably used less than 5 cups total; this is definitely not a bread to add extra flour to: it will make the rolls dry and hard. Second, I tried to stay close to the yield. If you make the rolls much smaller than called for, they'll overcook in the oven and become very hard. Do be sure your oven is at the right temp, and do not overbake, even if they look a little underdone (they'll dry out when split and toasted). Finally, when they came out, I gave them a quick brush with 2 tbl. melted butter, to keep the crust soft. They stayed moist, flavorful and wonderfully textured for two days. Thanks for the great recipe!


My Love and I are making homemade burgers tonight and trying these delicious looking buns. We love the healthy alternatives of the classics. Thanks Heidi!

Molly G.

I find the crusts on mine seem to be softening over time (or again, it could be the weather). And thanks for the nutrition info, Katy - I figured these would be a good start for the day, now I know the numbers! Really, people, don't be discouraged by the "hard crust" comments - think "English Muffin" with a french-bread crust. They aren't a standard bread, but they are really tasty. I'm eager to eat up this batch so I can try some other variations on the next one (I used amaranth, millet, buttermilk and a honey porter, for the record.)


What a disappointment! I tried these over the weekend and, like some of the others, ended up with hockey pucks. The flavor is pretty nice actually, and I like the crunch of the millet, but I feel like I'm going to cut my fingers of slicing them, and there is a LOT of chewing required. Might they be improved by increasing the leavening a bit?


The husband and I traveled PCH1 in 2002 for a couple of weeks after graduating college. The Big Sur Bakery was such a wonderful and fantastic find. We frequently still talk about it frequently. Awesomely enough, it is also my first reference point when I dream about opening my own bistro. I still remember what I got- a pizza with butternut squash sauce - which was fantastic.


I tried these today and the flavor was delicious. My oven runs hot, so I lowered the temp by about 25 degrees - they still came out rock hard and the bottoms were close to burning after about only 25 minutes. Next time I I'll bake on an even lower temp for only half and hour - I can't imagine these being chewable after a day or so without altering the temp/time.


i LOVE this bread - all the seeds i desire and no yeast - it's a dream. first try i used whole wheat flour as i was too lazy to go to the market for all purpose - it had a good flavor but a bit too dry or dense or something. second try i followed directions with all purpose and used a blackberry wheat beer. i also only cooked 40 minutes which made for a bit softer crust. now thinking i have a bit of an addiction to big sur bakery hide bread.


I made these last night, and they're delicious. Try drizzling them with honey! The only modification I made was to use 3 c white flour and 2 c whole wheat flour. Regarding the options, I used poppy seeds and lowfat milk. I turned out 16 buns from the batch -- it was easier to divide the log that way. For anyone who's interested, I ran the recipe through These buns are a breakfast powerhouse. They have more calories than the standard breakfast bread (273 kcal each), but have substantial protein (11g) and fiber (7g).


I made these today with white whole wheat flour. I don't know if the weather is drier than I realize, or if it was the flour, but I couldn't mix in all the dry ingredients in, and ended up with a rather dry dough (and dry bread). As has been mentioned - the crust is _quite_ hard. However, when split and toasted I found them quite edible, with exactly the seedy crunch I was expecting. I would suggest people (especially those using whole grain flour) start with just 4 cups of flour, and add the 5th (if necessary) after the liquids have all been mixed in (that's what I'm going to do next time). As for this batch - I suspect the dryness can be handled quite nicely by topping the butter with some honey, or perhaps blackberry jam. Either way, I think they are going to make a nice start to the day this week. (oh - and I got 19, out of a 2" log cut in 1-1/2" pieces - so make that 'the next couple of weeks').


Hello Heidi What a coincidence, just a couple of days ago I started planning our trip to California in September (my hubby and I will fly to San Francisco on labor day weekend and will then drive down to San Diego) and one of the first places to visit which I put on my list was the Big Sur Bakery. I can’t wait to go there and your story just confirmed my decision to buy their cookbook while I’m there. I’ve been a big fan of your blog for a long time now and this is the first time I’m posting a comment (I live in Zurich/Switzerland). I love your delicious recipes and the wonderful pictures. Would you possibly have some recommendations for 3 days in San Francisco (nice, but affordable hotel and foodie essential places)? And do you think it would be worthwhile adding a trip to Napa Valley?


I live in Big Sur and LOVE to see one of our favorite establishments featured here!!! The Big Sur Bakery has enriched local dining options and consistently turned out mouth-watering eatables since its inception. They work hard and deserve the recognition!!! Thank you!!! :)


Those look extra hearty and like they would be perfect for making caprese sandwiches out of my homemade mozzarella I have on hand. Yum!


Heading to Big Sur from SLO in a couple of weeks on vacation and will check out the bakery (then come home and try and make this lovely bread). Love all your recipes, Heidi - thanks!


Serendipitiously, I read this just before taking off for Big Sur for a few days. We found the bakery and stopped there. OMG!!!! Everything was the very very best. I tried their graham crackers, which they told me would ruin me for any other graham crackers, ever. Well, they were right - those things were awesome. I am normally reserved, and though I try bakeries all the time, am mostly sanguine about them. But this place is very very wonderful. Definitely worth a stop, and thanks Heidi for a great find. Lesley

Lesley Maul

I feel healthier just reading the recipe! Can't wait to try it, with a bit of butter!


Hmm. I'm eating one of these rolls right now, and I think they came out pretty well. Sorry to hear that so many of you got a bad roll. It's true they are quite crunchy on the outside, but the inside is so dense and creamy - the crunchyness is a welcome addition. I ran out of all purpose flour, so my last cup was whole wheat pastry flour. I also didn't have flax seeds so i left them out. They are like a dense English muffin - I dig.


These sounded intriguing, had the ingredients so I made them, but like the above comment they were rock hard on the outside. In fact National Defense want me to make more as they can use them for hand grenade practice. (just kidding) Did I do something wrong to make them rock hard on the outside. The inside is fine and delicious toasted but one could break a tooth biting into them.

Val from Cambridge, Canada

looks absolutely great!


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.


How timely is this recipe - was just planning on making english muffins next weekend. Thanks for posting!

marry D

Love this recipe!! I just made some rolls and a loaf out of it. Is it normally so dense? The rolls and loaves seem very heavy, but that may have been my rough mixing!!


I just finished making these rolls and have a few comments. First, I made the "patties" smaller so that I ended up with 31 rolls instead of 15. However, even so I had to bake them for almost an hour. After fully cooling they are really quite hard on the outside and still moist (I would say not completely cooked) on the inside. They are flavorful but definitely lacking in salt. Perhaps at least 1 teaspoon would improve the flavor. I very much like dense breads, but the really hard crust and somewhat undercooked inside is not necessarily characteristic. It's true that butter and salt help; but further toasting only made the crust even harder. I need to try the ones at Big Sur Bakery to see if I've missed the mark somehow.

Angela Gresser

Oddly, after reading this post yesterday I had a dream last night that I made these and that they were delicious. Looking forward to testing them out in real life this weekend....


I've been there! I too stopped with my honey when we were on our way to Monterey for a romantic weekend. What an adorable place. And I think my ideal retirement plans involve me chillin in a cabin in Big Sur, holding book club meetings and watching cliffside coastal sunsets.... SIGH....


All those seeds sound great, and would give them a lovely crunch. Toasted and buttered sounds really lovely.

Arwen from Hoglet K

Just a few weeks ago I went to Big Sur - too bad I didn't know about this bakery. I'm sure it would have made my day. I will definitely try the bread recipe. Thanks for sharing!


This place is amazing and Big Sur is like heaven on earth !!

Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer

Recently Terry made a fabulous batch of bread with almond milk, my new favorite!

Rachel Moody

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. You can substitute water for milk or beer, and spelt for a gluton free bread. The bread in the picture looks exactly like mine! HS: Thanks for the amazing recipe Terry - everyone who tried the bread loved it. And as I said to Rachel up above in the comments - thank you for sharing part of your story in the cookbook. I can't wait to introduce your bread to more of my friends here in San Francisco - with all the grains it is right up my alley. The next time around I look forward to working in the seaweed. Thanks again. -h

Terry Hide

You have delivered yet again another amazing recipe with such good good ingredients! I have followed your amazing site for quite awhile now and have finally purchased your cookbook. Sitting on the couch after its arrival my husband was laughing at me because I was giddy with excitement after reading each recipe, and kept saying with each flip of a page "this looks good, and this looks good..." grinning ear to ear. I have never bought a cookbook where I was excited to make almost everything and plus learn an immense amount about different products at the same time. Thank you! With your knowledge on ingredients, I was wondering... my daughter is allergic to soy and dairy. Nothing seems to be a great replacement for butter in recipes - especially baked goods. What might you suggest for a butter and milk replacement? HS: Thanks for the nice comment Katie. It is really nice to hear. As far as substitutions go - it really depends on the recipe. I've had quite a lot of success experimenting with coconut milk and coconut oil (the fully scented, unrefined oil).I like some almond milks, I had a really nice tasting hemp milk a while back - meant to play around with that more....


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