Bread Baking for Beginners: Soft Enriched Poppyseed Loaf

This soft-crumb, barely sweetened loaf is made with an enriched dough (eggs and butter are added to the recipe). Perfect for first time bread bakers- remarkably simple loaf.

a loaf of bread with two slices buttered

Ingredients for soft enriched poppyseed loaf:

Pantry items:

  • dry yeast (not instant)
  • all purpose flour
  • kosher salt
  • sugar
  • poppyseeds
  • water

Fresh ingredients:

  • egg
  • heavy cream
  • unsalted butter
a collection of ingredients for bread baking- yeast, flour, salt, butter and eggs

Equipment you’ll need/ knead for this recipe:

  • Stand mixer with dough hook (not required, but makes kneading much easier)
  • 2 baking sheets- buy my favorite HERE
  • parchment paper
  • plastic wrap
  • thermometer to temp the water
a glass measuring cup with a thermometer in it

Tips for a great loaf:

  • Do not slice the bread until it is completely cooled. the loaf will compress if sliced too soon.
  • make certain you by fresh yeast. If it’s been sitting around din your pantry, check the expiration date
  • Add the salt towards the end of mixing or else w it will retard the growth of the yeast.
  • Make certain your poppyseeds are fresh. If they smell “off” or rancid, toss them.
  • Use all purpose flour for this recipe. Do Not use self rising, bread flour or cake flour.
a bowl of eggs and a measuring cup filled with heavy cream

Why this recipe works:

This is a perfect recipe for beginners. You don’t even need a baking tin, just a large sheet pan and some parchment paper. First things first- water temperture- get it right. I microwave my water and then pop a thermometer into it. When it the water hits 110 degrees, I add my yeast. Never fails me.

The most important thing about bread baking is to FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS. Read this recipe and then read it again. Make certain you add the salt towards the end of mixing so it does not retard the growth of the yeast. Give yourself plenty of time to bake this recipe. It takes about 4 hours from start to finish.

An large mixer with an egg mixture and flour in a measuring cup

How to serve this loaf:

  1. Slather with softened butter, honey and flakey salt.
  2. Makes great bread for tea sandwiches
  3. Perfect for any French toast recipe
  4. Make into a bread pudding
  5. Serve with your favorite jam or toasted with berries and cream
a stand mixer with dough inside of it

Common Questions about bread baking:

A glass bowl of dough rising on a table
First Proof- Let the dough rise until doubled
How do I know when the bread is ready and not raw inside?

You need to be certain to fully prove your bread for 1 to 1 1/4 hours before baking. Make certain your oven is at the correct temperature. When the bread is fully cooked, it will sound hollow when you tap it on the bottom.

How do I know the yeast has activated?

The water will begin to foam and smell a bit like beer or bready. If the foaming does not happen, your yeast may not be fresh. Or the water was too hot and cannot produce any CO2 (Carbon Dioxide gas) or too cold and not activated the yeast.

If the bread does not rise after the first hour, can I save it?

The yeast did not have a chance to rise. It may be air temperature is too cool or the yeast was expired. Be certain to use fresh yeast. Best to toss the dough and start over.

Does altitude affect this recipe?

Above 3500 feet, the altitude affects many things: adjust the oven temperature to 15-25 degrees warmer when baking. Decrease this bake time by 10-16 minutes. You may need to increase the liquid by 1-2 TBSP of extra water. Decrease the sugar by 1 TBSP. You may want to use a bread flour or high-gluten flour and measure your flour by weight- you’ll need about 29oz.

Can I omit the poppyseeds?

Yes, but try sprinkling flakey salt or bushing with honey prior to baking to enhance this bread. You can, of course, just do the egg wash and bake.

How do I store this bread?

Store in an airtight container. Once completely cooled, wrap in plastic and freeze up to two months.

an unbaked oval loaf of bread dough
an unbaked loaf of bread dough on a sheet of parchment paper next to a bowl of eggs and cream and a silicone brush

Baking Notes

  • Flour- King Arthur All purpose unbleached flour
  • Yeast- Red Star Platinum yeast- do NOT use instant for this recipe
  • If you do not have a stand mixer, knead the dough for three minutes until soft and pliable.
  • Chill the dough for 2-3 minutes if it too sticky to work with. Chilled dough can be easier to manage.
  • You can add coarsely chopped apricots, walnuts, prunes or raisins to this recipe.
an unbaked loaf of bread dough with black poppyseeds sprinkled all over it

Other Bread Recipes to try:

two loaves of golden brown poppyseed topped bread cooling on a black wire rack

Soft Enriched Poppyseed Loaf

This is a simple enriched dough that will yield two loaves of free form bread.
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Course: Bread
Cuisine: American, European
Keyword: poppyseed bread
Prep Time: 3 hours 11 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 4 hours 11 minutes
Servings: 2 loaves
Calories: 77kcal


  • 2 pkgs dry yeast
  • 1.5 cups water at 110 degrees
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 TBSP kosher salt
  • 4 TBSP unsalted butter , melted
  • 4 large eggs
  • 7 cups all purpose flour sifted, * see baking notes
  • 1 large egg yolk , beaten
  • 2 TBSP heavy cream
  • 4 tsp poppyseeds , for garnish


  • In a glass measuring cup, dissolve the yeast in the 110 degree water. Let rest for 3 minutes. Once foamy, pour yeast mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the sugar, butter and eggs and mix throughly. Add in the flour 1 cup at a time until the dough is sticky but coming together. Finally, add in the salt. Mix on low for 3 minutes.
  • Turn the dough out of the bowl onto smooth surface with a bit of flour (not too much) and knead a few times to bring it into the shape of a large ball. Place the dough in a large bowl that has been buttered all over or greased with a neutral oil- like canola ( I prefer butter). Roll the dough around inside the bowl so all the surface of the dough are coated with the butter or oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm area and let rise for 1- 1 1/4 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
  • Punch the dough down with your fist and roll it out onto a floured marbled (or smooth) surface to rid it of any air bubbles. Cut the dough into two loaves and shape it free form into two large Batard shapes (or ovals). Place on a parchment-lined, rimless baking sheet. Cover with plastic, place in a warm area and let the loaves rise again for a second proofing until they have doubled again- about another 1 to 1 1/4 hours. The dough will be light and springy to the touch.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Mix egg yolk with the heavy cream and brush the dough/loaves with the mixture. Sprinkle poppy seeds generously on the loaves. About 2 teaspoons per loaf.
  • Place loaves on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until they sounds hollow when you knock the bottom with your knuckles. The bottom will be deep golden brown.
  • Place the loaves on a wire rack to cool.


  • You will need plastic wrap, parchment paper, 2 baking sheets and a large glass bowl
  • Nutrition

    Calories: 77kcal

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