Recipe: Gluten Free Pepita (Pumpkin Seed) Sandwich Bread with option for Dinner Buns

Recipe: Gluten Free Pepita (Pumpkin Seed) Sandwich Bread with option for Dinner Buns

It’s time for Week 2 of – A Gluten Free Holiday 2011 Event. Somehow, suddenly Christmas 2011 and New Years 2012 are coming on fast. Weren’t we in the middle of summer a few short weeks ago? Where has the year gone? *sigh*

Back in October, I shared my recipe for Mushroom and Hazelnut Pot Pie , a savoury Vegan dish that I thoroughly enjoyed at our Canadian Thanksgiving Dinner. With that recipe already published, I have to pull a new  Thanksgiving recipe card out of my apron pocket, so, drum roll please…I present you with a recipe for the best bread I’ve had since going Gluten Free.

It was eight months ago that I went totally gluten free and surprise, surprise, the best bread I have had, is bread that I made myself. It’s surprising because baking a really good Gluten Free Sandwich Bread is notoriously difficult and I am only a novice bread baker. I’ve used this recipe for Pepita Sandwich Bread a couple of times and I have been amazed with the results each time, so now I’m ready to share it with you.

My earlier attempts at bread baking were pretty much all flops but with each attempt, I gathered some valuable GF bread baking experience. The flops never went to waste, they came in handy for Gluten Free Bread Crumbs. So, if you are new to Gluten Free living and reluctant to try your hand at baking bread from scratch, I say, go for it. You really have nothing to lose. You could end up with some of the best Gluten Free bread you’ve ever had, or you could end up with some really good Gluten Free Bread Crumbs to use in your favourite Stuffing recipe. I say, keep trying until you find the best recipe with the perfect balance of ingredients. With every loaf of bread you bake, you will develop the bread baking methods that work. You keep working at it until you end up making the best Gluten Free bread you’ve ever had and I promise you, that will feel amazing.

The idea for this recipe started with the first slice of a Pepita Loaf from Origin Gluten-Free Bakery in Victoria BC. We stopped in at the dedicated Gluten Free Bakery on our way through Victoria before we headed up Island for a Get-Away on the Wild Pacific West Coast of BC. What a treat it was for me to walk into a bakery knowing that I could order anything I wanted off their menu. My only disappointment was that because we were on vacation, I couldn’t load up on baked goods for the freezer. Besides, their prices were slightly on the high side but not surprising for a specialty bakery. The Pepita Loaf was $7.50 and we picked up a couple of Cheese Scones – soft and savoury with Gruyère cheese and herbs for $2.25 each. Come to think of it, the scones were super good! I am going to have to attempt to recreate them one of these days. I thought about getting some Cinnamon Buns but they were disappointingly small for the $3.25 price tag.

Before I go any further, I want to apologise to those of you who are allergic to eggs and to my Vegan friends but as a novice bread baker, I haven’t got the nerve to attempt making yeasted bread without eggs. The Pepita Loaf at Origin Bakery is without eggs, they use ground flax seeds but they also have this to say about their Pepita bread “Not recommended as a sandwich bread due to its more fragile texture. If frozen, do not thaw before toasting”

After we got home from our vacation on Vancouver Island, I started my search for a Gluten Free Pepita Bread recipe. There wasn’t much in Googleland and what was there, seemed to point back to a posting on September 22, 2008 for Gluten Free Pepita Powered Bread by Kate at Gluten Free Gobsmacked. Kate has some good nutritional information about her recipe, you should consider popping on over to her site to take a peek.

I made the following adjustments to the original recipe. My body doesn’t do well with flax or oats, so I replaced those ingredients with extra flour. I swapped in some organic coconut sugar for the brown sugar, a couple of extra egg whites and some cider vinegar and Voila! Some fabulous gluten free bread. I should also tell you that I prefer not to bother with “proofing the yeast”.

The idea of proofing yeast originally came about as a way of “proving” that the yeast was still active. This was back in the days when yeast had a lot shorter shelf-life and bakers couldn’t always be sure their yeast was still good. Nowadays, yeast is refrigerated or frozen for about a year and still works just fine.

My instructions with the recipe below are for you to mix the Active Dry yeast in with the dry ingredients before adding them to the wet ingredients (while the water is still warm). The yeast dissolves and the dough begins to rise when placed in a warm place. This method is one that I have had success with but if you prefer, you can proof your yeast first by putting it in a 2 cup glass measuring cup along with the warm water (about 110°F) and the coconut sugar. Stir the mixture, and then set aside for about 10 minutes. If the yeast has foamed up about 1/2 an inch or more, it is active and you may use it in your recipe.

What are your thoughts about ‘proofing the yeast’ before you use it?

Gluten Free Pepita (Pumpkin Seed) Sandwich Bread with option for Dinner Buns
Recipe type: Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Summary: I’m really excited about sharing this GF bread recipe and just in time for the American Thanksgiving holiday. It forms a perfect loaf of bread that slices up beautifully for toast and sandwiches or you can bake it in muffin tins for dinner buns. Even my gluten-eating Hubby loves this bread!
Inspired by a slice of Pepita Loaf from Origin Gluten-Free Bakery in Victoria BC. Recipe based on original Gluten Free Pepita Powered Bread by Kate at Gluten Free Gobsmacked.
Gluten Free | Dairy Free | Refined Sugar Free | Real Food | Vegetarian
*** Always refer to packaging labels for the most up to date allergy information
  1. Prepare a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper if desired. Note: fresh warm Gluten Free bread is pretty fragile and it sticks to the pan more so than wheat bread. I like to use parchment paper. I cut it extra long and drape it over the sides of the loaf pan to make it easier to slide the loaf out of the pan after baking.
  2. In a food processor, pulse pumpkin seeds until evenly ground. Add flours, millet, sorghum, quinoa, brown rice and tapioca. Pulse a couple of times to blend.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together the pepita flour blend with the xanthan gum, coconut sugar, and yeast. Set aside.
    Pepita (Pumpkin Seed) Sandwich Bread
  4. Put 1 1/4 cup of warm water, eggs, egg whites, oil, agave (or maple syrup or honey) and vinegar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix until combined. Add the dry ingredients except the salt and mix on low until incorporated. Increase to medium high and mix for a minute. Turn off, add the salt, and mix for two minutes more. If necessary, add the last 1/4 cup of warm water one Tbsp at a time until dough is of a Gluten Free Bread Dough consistency (think THICK muffin batter).
  5. Turn the batter into the prepared loaf pan and push out evenly with a wet spatula or wet hands.
  6. Place in a warm place for up to an hour to rise, or until the loaf just about doubles in size. This step can take less time or more time depending on how active your yeast is. Don’t let the dough rise more than double it’s original size or it might collapse later while baking in the oven. I like to let my bread dough rise in a microwave oven beside a steamy hot mug of water, with the door closed. I open the door periodically to check on the progress of the rising loaf and replace the hot mug of water if necessary.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350°F. If using oven safe glass loaf pan reduce oven temperature to 325°F and increase baking time.
  8. Score the bread with a sharp, serrated knife if desired and/or sprinkle with coarsely chopped raw pumpkin seeds. Bake for 45 – 55 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it or until the centre reaches an internal temperature of at least 205°F.
    Pepita (Pumpkin Seed) Sandwich Bread
  9. NOTE: Check the bread after 20-30 minutes to see if the top is getting too brown. You may need to cover the top of the bread with a piece of foil draped loosely over while it finishes baking. (I did not need to cover mine at all. I baked it in a glass loaf pan for 1 hour and 10 minutes at 325°F, until the internal temperature reached 210°F).
  10. Let it cool for 5 minutes in the pan then turn the loaf pan on its side, scoot the loaf forward so the steam can escape – but leave it in the pan (see picture of loaf on it’s side above). Note: to make this step easier, cut parchment paper extra long and drape it over the sides of the loaf pan.
  11. Let cool for another 10 – 15 minutes then move to a wire rack to cool completely. Allow to cool for a minimum of 30 minutes before attempting to cut, otherwise your slices may crumble.
  12. To store, wrap with plastic and keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Dinner Buns
  1. Prepare the bread dough as directed above.
Option #1 – Individual Dinner Buns:
Pepita (Pumpkin Seed) Sandwich Bread
  1. Flour and grease or line 18 muffin tins with parchment paper. Wonder how I got such nice circles of parchment paper to line my muffin tins? I got the idea from a simple How to: line a cake pan the no fuss way by Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.
  2. Use an ice cream scoop to form the dough in the muffin tins.
  3. You can even out the tops with a wet spatula or wet hands if desired.
  4. Place in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour to rise, or until the buns just about double in size.
  5. You can score the tops of the dough with a sharp knife if desired.
  6. Bake at 350°F for 30-40 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and the buns sound hollow when you tap them or until the centre reaches an internal temperature of at least 205°F.
  7. Let cool for 10 – 15 minutes and then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Allow to cool for a minimum of 30 minutes before serving, otherwise the buns may crumble.
  9. To store, wrap with plastic and keep at room temperature for up to 3 days or in a freezer for several months.
Option #2 – Pull-Apart Dinner Buns:
Pepita (Pumpkin Seed) Sandwich Bread
I think these balls of dough should have been closer together. If they're touching one another, it forces them to rise upwards, instead of flattening and spreading outwards. Will use a smaller pan next time.

  1. Flour and grease or line either two – 8 inch round cake pans or one 9×11 cake pan with parchment paper. For round pans, see a simple How to: line a cake pan the no fuss way by Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.
  2. Using an ice cream scoop, drop the dough one scoop at a time into the prepared cake pan(s). For best results, keep the forms of dough fairly tight together. The balls of dough should touch one another as that would force them to rise upwards, not flatten and spread outwards.
  3. Place in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour to rise.
  4. Continue following instructions as above for Individual Dinner Buns.
~ Always store yeast in the refrigerator or freezer, check expiry date before using.
~ Because GF bread does not keep well at room temperature, I usually only keep a couple of slices in a plastic sandwich bag to use over a few days. I slice the rest of the loaf and freeze the slices individually so I can remove them from the freezer one or two slices at a time.
Pepita (Pumpkin Seed) Sandwich Bread

~ Freezing GF bread slices: Method #1 – Lay the GF bread slices out in a single layer on a large cookie tray. Place tray in the freezer until bread is completely frozen. Transfer frozen slices to a marked, dated, freezer safe bag and immediately return to the freezer.
~ Freezing GF bread slices: Method #2 – Use leftover scraps of parchment or waxed paper to layer between each slice of GF bread. Place the slices separated by paper in a marked, dated, freezer safe bag and store in the freezer.
~ Some GF breads become a little more crumbly after freezing, however, I did not find that was the case with this Pepita Bread. If your GF bread seems crumbly, you may have to toast it slightly before using in a sandwich.
~ Use stale leftovers or unbuttered toast for Gluten Free Bread Crumbs. You can make the bread crumbs right away, or you can freeze the individual slices in a bag dated and marked “For Bread Crumbs”.


Don’t forget to check back here next week for Week 3 of A Gluten Free Holiday Event. Starting on Thursday, November 17th, we’ll be sharing Edible Gifts. Nothing says love like a gift from the kitchen. We will also be sharing tips for making treats to give, along with how to package them! Alta fromTasty Eats at Home will be hosting Week 3.

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To see a text listing of Laureen’s gluten free recipes, click hereFor dairy, egg, nut and gluten free flour substitutions, click here

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Laureen Fox
Laureen is an enthusiastic amateur cook and Canadian Food Blogger from Vancouver BC. She loves spending her days creating good wholesome food in this Fox Kitchen. Evenings will find her blogging about the best that living without gluten has to offer.

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  1. Chaya says:

    Hi, I tried and tried to upload your photo. I even tried another one from this post. Neither would take. Everything went fine until the upload. I didn’t check the size. Could that be the problem? Is it too big?
    I will try again later.

  2. Wendy says:

    Oh those rolls look so light and tender. I so know what you mean about the abundance of bread crumbs when I started gluten-free baking. Not so many these days.

    • Laureen says:

      Thanks, I’ve been very pleased with how my bread has turned out and it does taste great with almond butter.
      BTW, I like your site. Beautiful pictures and interesting recipes. I’m going to try your Almond Stuffing :)

  3. Pingback: November Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup. | Real Sustenance
  4. Lorna says:

    Hello Laureen,,I just found your site,, it looks lovely, and I am so excited to find someone from BC that is GF,, I live in Vernon :) … I look forward to trying out some of your recipes,, thanks for sharing

    • Laureen says:

      Hi Lorna, one of the reasons I started this blog was because I felt there was a need to have more GF information from closer to home. Glad you stopped by my neighbour :)

  5. naomi devlin says:

    This looks like a great bread – proving it also allows the grains to absorb water and fluff up a little, so it does have another role to play even though yeasts are so reliable now.

    I love the idea of the ground pumpkin seeds in the bread – I find that nuts meals always add structure to gluten free baking.

    Thanks for taking part this month!

    x x x

    • Laureen says:

      Naomi, thanks for the info about the yeasts and I agree with you about nuts adding structure to GF baking…I find myself adding almond meal to just about everything I bake these days :)

  6. Hi Laureen, Thanks for sharing this with us at Beyond The Peel. It looks really good. Fluffy and light, not at all like typical gluten free bread.
    It’s also lovely to meet someone form my neck of the woods. Well I’m in the Comox Valley, so close enough in bloggy world:) I hope to see you back next week. Have a great weekend.

  7. Laura says:

    Hi Laureen.
    These buns look great. I’ve been gluten free for a couple years and occasionally crave a good bun/ bread. Do you think I could sub all the flours for the Cloud 9 mix? Its the only GF flour I have, other than coconut flour/ almond meal. (I mostly just don’t eat breads – focusing on meats and veggies) Also do you think this bun method would work with other recipes?
    Btw I also live in the area, currently in New Westminster. :) I just found your blog, can’t wait to look around more. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

    • Laureen Fox says:

      Hi Laura, nice to e-meet you. Lucky you to live close to my favourite gluten free bakery. I’m sure the Cloud 9 all-purpose mix would work. I’ve featured their mix in a few of my recipes. For this recipe, try using 2 1/2 Cups in place of the millet, sorghum, quinoa, brown rice and tapioca flours. Omit the xanthan gum because Cloud 9 already has it in their mix. I would love to hear how it turns out for you.

      Did you know Cloud 9 now makes a Bread Mix? I’ve got a couple of bags in my pantry but have yet to try them. Should be good tho.


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