Birdseed Bread

The list of things I can’t eat has become quite tiresome: gluten, dairy, tapioca (cassava), gums, faux sugars, and foods containing a lot of fat.

Knowing my stupid diet, my good friend Ellen Weissbrod sent me a version of this bread recipe. It was entitled “Life-Changing Bread.” I snorted at the title.

Now, I’m a convert. It’s satisfying to the mouth like real bread. It’s so easy to make. It freezes well. I can toast slices and take them with me on trips for several days. And it’s delicious!

Warning: This bread is very high in protein…but also in fiber. The ingredient used to bind the seeds and nuts into a bread, psyllium husk powder, is also the main ingredient in Metamucil. So, you don’t want to eat too much of this in one sitting, or you’ll be sitting somewhere else for a long time.

That said, the fiber in this bread is great for your gut. These are ingredients that will keep your microbiome happy and keep everything moving. As one gut-sensitive friend who tried it put it, “It fills me up in the morning and empties me out in the evening.” My body has felt so much better since this became my morning treat. I swear, it’s like good medicine.

I adapted this recipe slightly and also changed the name to “Birdseed Bread” because that’s what we call it in my household.


  • 1+1/2 cups rolled oats (use certified gluten-free if you want the bread to be gluten-free; I subbed in buckwheat cereal for a celiac friend who can’t do oats, and that worked fine)
  • 2 cups raw seeds (raw pumpkin seeks, sunflower seeds, chia) and/or raw nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios) – use whatever raw seeds and nuts you like, mixing and matching as you like. 
  • 3/4 cup flaxseed meal, regular or golden
  • 3 heaping tablespoons psyllium husk powder (available in health food stores in the “digestive health” aisle)
  • dash of sea salt, optional
  • 1 tablespoon sweetener like maple syrup, agave syrup, or honey (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon oil like olive oil (optional)
  • 2 cups of water


  1. Line a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on opposite long sides for easy removal from the pan. (If you use a Teflon loaf pan, you can skip the parchment  paper. It’s also really fine if you cook it without parchment paper in a glass loaf pan – but you may have to get it out slice by slice.)
  2. In a large bowl, stir together all the dry ingredients.
  3. Add the wet ingredients (sweetener, oil, water) and mix with a spoon or your hands until well combined. The dough will be very thick and stiff. This takes just 1-2 minutes of stirring.
  4. Transfer the dough to the loaf pan and squash it down with your hands, smoothing the top with your hands (it helps to moisten them with water).
  5. Leave the dough in the pan on the counter for anywhere between 5 minutes and a few hours. Leaving it for several hours seems to give it a little bit more bready flavor, presumably because some fermentation happens. But you don’t need to let it sit out. The 5 minutes is needed for the husk powder to absorb the water and expand.
  6. Bake for about 40 minutes in a 375-degree oven. Take it out of the pan and let it finish baking another 20 minutes on the oven rack or on a pizza stone. (You can also let it finish backing in the pan or on a cookie sheet.) Alternatively, you can just bake it in the pan for an hour.
  7. Take it out of the oven and let it cool on a rack, so it doesn’t get soggy.


This bread is best sliced and toasted in an air fryer or toaster oven. Toasting it makes the nuts more flavorful and the texture better.

I generally make a double batch and freeze the second loaf. It’s just as easy as making one loaf. Just double everything in the bowl and roughly divide the dough between two pans. It behaves very well with freezing.

Sprinkle “everything bagel sprinkles” on the top before toasting slices, if you love those flavors.

Excellent with avocado! Also yummy with jam. Delicious with a little olive oil and lemon juice, too.

Yes, you can add dried fruit, and you can even make a cinnamon-raisin version. This recipe is super forgiving.

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