District 11 Bread

Sometimes when Sara and I are together and meet people who don’t know us as individuals, they comment on how different we are personality-wise, but how they can tell that we really click. Of course, we know this better than anyone, but sometimes I wonder how exactly we come across to other people. I don’t wonder enough to actually ask them because, since I’m the slightly neurotic one in our relationship, I’m convinced that they’re going to say mean things about me. But I still wonder.

However, I can tell you that from my perspective, I’m definitely the nerdy one. I say that with pride. I own it. Back when I was 10 and the girls in my neighborhood were mean to me, I wished I was anything but nerdy, but these days, I’m completely happy to be a nerd (and to be married to one). I’m the one with the Lord of the Rings references and the tribute to Harry Potter and the Tim Riggins Valentines (my level of devotion to Friday Night Lights is definitely indicative of my nerdiness).

So…yeah. The Hunger Games is right up my obsessive alley. It seems like I read the series in the midst of some minor life crisis–I read them when we were turning in the final manuscript for our first book, then I read them again when my husband was in the hospital for a week last year, and now I’m reading them again as we turn in the final manuscript for our second book. Plus, in case you’ve been living under a rock, the first movie just came out, which only feeds my “problem.” Yeah, I saw it twice in less than a week. And I felt kind of embarrassed about it until I came home and found my husband listening to variations of the same Adele songs in his office and then I felt a little silly for both of us.

I know there’s a lot of controversy surrounding the books and movie and I don’t really want to get into it other than to say that I realize the subject matter is not everyone’s cup of tea, but that doesn’t make them “bad” in a moral sense. Also, when it comes to popular literary heroines, I think Katniss is someone I’d be friends with in real life. It’s also pretty likely that I would unfriend Bella on Facebook (or at least hide her so I could avoid her 6 posts a day documenting the interior monologue running through her brain, but check in from time to time and then feel bad to realize I was only looking at her Facebook page to feel better about my own life choices).

Given the title, it’s not shocking that one of the recurring themes in The Hunger Games is food. There’s lots of talk of food, the excess in the Capitol, the starvation in many of the other districts. I loved hearing about all the regional foods, the things people made with what was available to them. And one of my favorite scenes in the book was when Katniss, who was hungry, tired, and heart-broken in the games, received a gift of warm, fresh bread from District 11, which was the agricultural district. It was a hearty bread made with whole grains and seeds, formed in the shape of a crescent. While I knew it could be hard to recreate the lamb stew with dried plums that appeared again and again in the books, I was pretty sure I could make me some District 11 Bread. Plus, I saw on Facebook that my sister-in-law Stephanie (of Peter’s Lasagna fame) made Hunger Games bread and I wanted to be awesome like her. 🙂

To start, you’ll need 3/4 cup of warm (105-115 F) water, sugar, and bread machine or instant yeast.

Pour the sugar into the water…

and mix, then sprinkle the yeast over the sugar/water mixture.

Stir to combine

and then let it hang out for about 10 minutes or until it’s light, bubbly, and frothy. As always, if your yeast doesn’t look like this:

start over. It’s so, so, so much better to have to repeat that particular step than to realize in two hours that your bread isn’t rising and then feel compelled to write me a really mean email.

While the yeast is proofing, measure out 2 tablespoons each of flax seed, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and unsalted, shelled sunflower seeds. You can also use 2 tablespoons of ground flax, it just depends on your personal preferences.

Combine the seeds in a small skillet…

and toast, stirring frequently, over medium heat until they are fragrant and the sesame seeds are starting to turn light brown. If you hear popping, definitely remove from heat ASAP.

In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, combine 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk, 2 tablespoons of melted butter, 3 tablespoons of honey, and 2 teaspoons of salt.

Combine well. Add the yeast mixture and combine.

Measure out 3 cups of whole wheat flour (preferably hard white wheat) and 2 tablespoons of vital wheat gluten…

and combine it with the toasted seeds.

Add the whole wheat flour mixture to the yeast/buttermilk mixture and mix well. Using 1/2 cup of bread flour at a time (yes, you need to use bread flour; it has a higher protein content that will help your bread rise and bake properly), add enough bread flour so that the dough comes together in the middle and barely sticks to your finger (about 2-3 more cups). When the dough has reached the desired consistency, allow the machine to knead it for 5 minutes.

While the dough is kneading, spray a large glass or metal bowl with non-stick cooking spray. When the dough is done kneading, turn it into the prepared bowl and cover with a clean dish towel. Allow it to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

When the dough has risen, transfer it to a lightly floured (or sprayed-with-cooking-spray) surface and divide it into equal halves. Roll each half into an even circle about 12″ in diameter and 1/4″ thick (or a little more).

Using a pizza wheel or a dough cutter, cut the dough into 8 equal wedges.

Starting with the wide end, roll the dough down to the point and place on a Silpat- or parchment-lined baking sheet. Curve into a crescent shape.

Repeat with remaining dough pieces (you’ll make 2 pans). Cover with a clean dish cloth and allow to rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

While the rolls are rising, combine 1 tablespoon flax seeds (definitely use the seeds this time, even if you used ground flax seeds in the dough), 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon unsalted sunflower seeds, 1/2 tablespoon poppy seeds, and 2 tablespoons uncooked oats in a small bowl.

Also, mix an egg white with 2 tablespoons cold water and set aside. Preheat oven to 375.

When the rolls are done rising,

carefully brush them with the egg white mixture and then sprinkle the seed mixture evenly over the rolls.

Bake in the preheated oven for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown on top. If you have one oven (like me and most everyone else reading this recipe), you can either bake them one sheet at a time (I recommend that; weird things happen when you start crowding your oven) or you can rotate the baking sheets halfway through. Allow to cool slightly and then eat with butter while they’re still warm.

Makes 16 crescent rolls.

P.S. If you haven’t entered our Bosch mixer giveaway, head straight over HERE right now. Not trying to be bossy or anything. Also, if you’ve already entered, you can get another entry by becoming a fan L’EQUIP on Facebook. Then head back over to the giveaway post and tell us that you’re a fan of L’EQUIP on Facebook–don’t leave the comment here because you may be flogged and your comment will be deleted.


woman in denim shirt holding a salad bowl
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

Read More

Join The Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Questions & Reviews

  1. I’m so excited! I just finished making these to go with the grilled stuffed zucchini from the OBB cookbook. I used my bread machine, which got a little crowded – I had to help it along using a wooden spoon to stir things up (it’s an older magic chef I got for $5 bucks at a garage sale – so I’m not complaining!), but the dough rose beautifully, and these rolls are GORGEOUS. Thank you gals for tonight’s dinner! 🙂

  2. So while I was reading the Hunger Games, I was thinking about this bread and how I wished I could get the recipe…wishes really do come true!! 😉

  3. I made these for Easter dinner, and they are fantastic! We’ve been enjoying the leftovers all week – they’re even wonderful re-heated. I love whole grains, but my family prefers white bread. However, even the white bread devotees loved these rolls.

  4. I am so excited to try this! You are so awesome for not only creating this recipe, but tying it back to literature. Thanks for being yourself. I love reading your posts because I feel like I am reading a letter from a friend.

  5. I made these for Easter dinner and OMG they were awesome!!! so so good. Since I know have all the ingredients, I will be making them again real soon. I also added a little bit of Kosher salt on top like an everything bagel would do, really liked the salt on top. Thank you for the recipe!!! I have already passed it along to many people!

  6. I must say, my favorite part of the book, was when Dstrict 11 sent Katnis the bread. That it was not in the movie, was a big disappointment. I was really sad it wasn’t there. Your bread looks delicious. Thanks for the idea.

  7. I just teared up at your ‘District 11 sending bread to Katniss’ reference so, yeah, I’m pretty sure I’m destined to nerd it up with your bread. And cry every time I eat it… *sob*
    Thanks for the recipe!

  8. Awesome post! A very creative idea… I too am obsessed with the Hunger Games (in a completely non-teeny-bopper way.) 🙂

    1. The author’s name is Veronica Roth. It’s one of my favorite books I read last year.

  9. My mouth watered whenever I read about the breads in this series!! This looks amazing, can’t wait to try it. Bought the cookbook today too, can’t wait for Monday, when it shows up on my doorstep!! 🙂

  10. I love katniss! I am not so much fond of Belle either she seems….weak? Is that a good word. Anyway great post gonna try to figure this out with some GF flours how fun!

  11. This looks so yummy! I love your recipes; every one I’ve tried has been a hit with my family.

  12. This looks good might have to try it out. As for saying the lamb stew with dried plums would be too hard…not at ALL! My mum made us a wonderful stew the other night, and I just realized it was a great version of what I imagined the hunger games stew to be..I think she just googled “moroccan lamb stew” and it even had the dried plums in it! So yummy!

    1. It’s just the protein (gluten) portion from the wheat kernel. It will help make your rolls light and airy even though they’re made with whe wheat flour. You should be able to find it in the baking or health food section of a grocery store.

      As far as hard white wheat flour goes, it’s just a type of wheat that’s lighter and milder than red wheat, which is theirs traditional wheat. I’ve seen bags of hard white wheat flour at my backwoods grocery store, but you can use regular wheat flour if you can’t find white wheat flour.

      1. I buy my Vital Wheat Gluten at Walmart. In the baking section where the flour is. More than likely it will be on the top shelf.

  13. Hi! I have been following your blog for years but rarely comment! I just wanted to say you are hilarious! I love that you made District 11 bread! I actually saw the movie before reading the book, and I still loved it! Of course I ran home and read it that weekend. There was so much including the scene you talked about that I didn’t get to see in the movie so I am so glad I read it and can’t wait to read the others.

    Anyway, everything I make from yall is FANTASTIC!! Thank you so much for your blog and recipes! I am so excited to hear you speak at Time Out next weekend. Honestly, my MIL bought the tickets ages ago and I didn’t even know who was speaking and actually forgot all about it until she sent me the itinerary. Now that I saw ya’lls names I am COUNTING the days!!!

  14. Interestingly enough, when I read the books and she was raving about the lamb stew, I was like “YES!” My favorite meal (and its super easy to make) right now is a lamb tagine with dried plums and apricots and honey. It is… to die for. Now I need to make it.

  15. I am SO glad I’m not the only one with that opinion of dear Bella. Man she can drive you nuts! Very obnoxious.

  16. I too embrace my nerdiness and am proud of it. And I am so excited about trying this bread!

  17. I honestly laughed out loud when I saw the title of the bread! Love it, love District 11, and yes… Love Hunger Games. 😉

  18. What incredible rolls! If my computer had smell-o-vision I’d be in deep trouble. Do you think it would not upset the universe too much if I let the bread machine make this dough. Yeast refuses to play nicely for me otherwise. Also, what about the chia seed for poppy seed substitution? We can’t use poppy seeds in this house and 2 1/2 tablespoons seems like a pretty significant amount to leave out of a dough. Hmm… Ideas? Thank you again for the wonderful recipes, tips and inspiration.

  19. Excellent recipe! I want to make my own Hunger Games inspired bread now!

    ps totally with you on the geekiness. And secretly liking Twilight, but wanting to unfriend Bella 😉

  20. After reading the books I was really intrigued about the different kinds of bread. This looks so good, I think I’m going to make it tomorrow.

  21. See, I knew we were meant to be friends! I have only come to embrace my nerdiness in the last few years. I actually cried when I read your Harry Potter post. I’ve read The Hunger Games series three times now as well and love the complexity of it more each time, it’s so much more than a love triangle. Have you gotten the soundtrack? AMazing! I’ve loved figuring out whose perspective each song is told from. OK, I’ll stop now. Can’t wait to make this bread!

  22. I love that you made District 11 bread! That was one of my favorite parts in the series. I loved it when Peta and Katniss were getting to know each other, and Peta was explaining all the breads form all the districts. It just made the gift of the bread even more significant after Rue was killed. I think I’ll have to make this. My kids are too young to get it, but it will make my inner cheese-ball happy.

  23. I just got through reading the Hunger Games trilogy on Monday night, and have been suffering major withdrawals ever since! I’m *hopefully* seeing the movie this weekend. I’m at work right now, and seeing this recipe just totally brightened my day! Power to the nerds, I’m right there with you!