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Poppy Seed Bread

1 1 3/4-pound loaf

3½ hours 1 hour active

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This bread, with its inner swirl of poppy seed filling, has a touch of richness from milk and butter and a subtle sweetness from honey. It's great sliced and served for breakfast or brunch. You will need a full cup of poppy seeds; instead of purchasing multiple jars from the supermarket, check the bulk section of natural foods stores, spice shops or markets that specialize in Eastern European foods. The bread can be baked a day in advance. If that’s your plan, hold off on making and applying the glaze. Wrap the cooled unglazed loaf tightly in plastic and store at room temperature. About 30 minutes before serving, make the glaze and drizzle it on.


1 3/4-pound loaf


Don't try to grind the poppy seeds in a food processor, as the seeds won't break down. An electric coffee grinder dedicated to spice grinding is the best tool for the task. Don't use butter* *that's not at room temperature. If the butter is cold and firm, it won't incorporate properly into the dough. Finally, don't use a serrated knife to slash the loaf before baking, as the blade will tug at the dough and make ragged cuts; a sharp paring or carving knife is a better choice.

3½ hours

1 hour active


  • cups whole milk

  • 111

    grams (⅓ cup) honey


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Amy T.

I've made this as part of Christmas baking for two years now. We like it- beautiful and not too rich. Fresh poppy seeds are critical to a good taste though!

Diana L.

I finally made this. I make walnut rolls for holidays and its very similar. It was really good (with glaze).

stephanie e.

I have made this a couple of times and love it (I think I ate the whole thing once). Wondering if the dough can be made and rise overnight in the refrigerator successfully as I do with Babka doughs. Thank you!

Lynn C.

Hi Stephanie -

You could refrigerate it after the dough has rise and been shaped (so the second rise would be done slowly in the refrigerator), but you will need to let it come to room temperature before baking.

The Milk Street Team

Jenni L.

I love this recipe, but I always wish there were more poppy seed. Would it hurt anything to increase it by half a cup?

Lynn C.

Hi Jenni -

Unfortunately, if you add more poppy seeds we think the loaf may split and the filling will leak out. I believe we had this issue during development and is why we went with 1 cup. We felt the poppy flavor was strong enough without overfilling the bread.

The Milk Street Team