Do you remember the first novel you read from cover to cover? Mine was Hörbe by Otfried Preussler, in German. That author has a youth literature prize under his belt and is quite well known in Germany.

The book, and its sequel, were gifts from two different close friends, and I prize both with a lot of sentimental value.

The book has wonderful and whimsical things in it. There are people with conical hats made of leaves. The hat is actually two hats, an above-over hat and a beneath-under hat - the English does not make much sense, but in German those two hat names rhyme. The people with leaf hats live in a forest with a whimsical name, the Siebengiebelwald. There is marmalade. There is adventure. And there is their bread.

Which brings me to a recipe. Here is the page from the book about the bread, which was my inspiration for making bread.

Hörbe book

The character makes bread from the grains of forest grass. Making bread is a science in itself. You can spend days looking up different grains. Basically, I think it comes down to a grain being an edible seed. The two main types of grains are cereals and legumes. And cereal crops are members of the grass family. So it makes sense that this character was making bread from the grains of forest grass!

This is a recipe for multi grain bread, that I’ve come up with from inspiration from many sources. Boiling water is placed in the oven along with the bread to create steam, to form a nice crust. I think this makes a big difference to the crust. Industrial bread ovens do this too, by releasing steam.


  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 packet yeast
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed meal
  • 2 cups wholergrain flour
  • 1 3/4 cups multi grain flour
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 cup boiling water


  1. Combine warm water, yeast, honey, salt, flax seed and flours in a large mixing bowl and stir. It will be sticky at first, keep stirring and then knead it until it is no longer sticky, adding more flour as needed.
  2. Take out of bowl. Grease bowl with olive oil. Cover and let rise for two hours at room temperature, then for another 2 hours in the fridge.
  3. Create a small hole and pour in sunflower seeds, oats and poppy seeds.
  4. Transfer to flat, floured surface and knead for about 30 turns until elastic. Form in to a loaf shape.
  5. Place in a pan lined with baking paper, with the smooth side up. Coat with flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Have 1 cup of boiling water ready.
  7. Slash the bread a few times on the top, place in middle oven rack. Also pour the hot water in to a shallow pan on the bottom oven rack. The boiling water will create steam and bubbles.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool completely.