Friday, January 13, 2012

Sourdough Seed Bread: Mellow Bakers (December)

As the Mellow Bakers group winds down with its final few breads left in Jeffrey Hamelman's book Bread, I'm trying to sneak in a couple on my 'must make soon' list.  The Sourdough Seed Bread was one that the group did back in December, but that's when we were moving, so I wasn't able to get it done then.

Hubby and I love seeds in our bread, so this one was right up our alley.  I have not made nearly enough sourdough  breads yet, so this one was destined to be made.  The bread calls for a liquid levain build (which is just some bread flour, water, and 2 Tbsp of mature sourdough culture) and a soaker.  Both of these were put together the night before and left to rest on the counter.  The soaker was made up of 1.1 oz (31g) of flaxseeds and ~ 3 oz of water.  I read a comment posted on The Fresh Loaf yesterday that said if you google it,  you will find that soaking flaxseeds in water makes the seeds more readily digestible and I guess helps release some of the good stuff in the flax for our bodies to use.  I had previously thought our bodies only received the benefits of flax in baked goods if it was ground first.  I learned something new!

The final dough for this bread includes two other seeds, sunflower and sesame, both of which are lightly toasted first .  Here are my seeds ready to go, the flax seeds having gotten kind of gooey after sitting in the water overnight.
 The liquid levain, which I mixed up the night before, was to sit at room temp. for 12 to 16 hours.  I mixed up my final dough after 13 hours.  My levain smelled pretty tangy, tasted good and it had lots of little bubbles on the surface so I figured it was ready to go.  I tried to get a good picture of the gluten that had developed in my liquid levain,
but my picture was not nearly as good as the one Joanna took of her levain for this post (second picture from the top).  Her levain was a stiff one, but I think it's a pretty cool shot of the gluten that can develop in a sourdough levain build overnight.

The recipe for this bread was really quite simple.  The final dough only involved combining 12oz (348g) bread flour, a bit of whole rye flour, the two bowls of toasted seeds, water, salt, the soaker, and all but 2Tbsp (returned to the fridge) of the liquid levain build.

The bread, since its a sourdough, and didn't include any commercial yeast in the dough, involved ~ 4 1/2 hours of fermentation time.  I could have retarded the loaf in the fridge overnight, but I hate doing that, because it takes up so much room in my already too crowded fridge.  The first stage of fermentation took 2 1/2 hours and involved folding the dough once.  After this, into the pan it went, since I wanted a sandwich loaf.
The above photo is just before the loaf went into the oven.  For the final 2 hours of fermentation I kept the loaf pan in the oven w/ the light on.  It was quite happy in there I think.  I baked the loaf @ 360° for ~ 36 minutes taking it out when the temperature reached ~197°.
The loaf was beautiful, at least from this side:)  The other side burst open a bit.  Note to self is already in the book  This loaf needs scored.  Even if its baked in a loaf pan, I believe it needs scored since the loaf will split, burst open, if you don't.  When the crust starts to form and when the pressure builds inside the baking loaf, it will seek to release this pressure by opening at the weakest point in the loaf.  I should've gone w/ my gut feeling that told me before I slid this into the oven, that it needed scored!

Over at The Fresh Loaf site, the consensus was that this was not a good sandwich bread, which dampened my spirits a bit as my 'intended for sandwiches' loaf baked away in the kitchen.  Hubby and I think, though,  that this will make wonderful sandwich bread.  He took his usual turkey/cheese sandwich to work for lunch today, so when he gets home we'll see how he liked it.  For myself, my lunch sandwich is usually peanut butter and jelly, but today I just warmed a slice and slathered on the fresh ground peanut butter.  Yum!!!


  1. It looks beautiful from here and I had to giggle at you talking about the other side of the loaf....I always take pictures of the pretty side too and then end up outing myself about the flaws. :) And I agree that this one is good for sandwiches, especiallynif you like seed breads!

  2. i love your photos for this post and you tell the story really well. I know exactly what you mean about not wanting to score these loaves. i think it"s to do with seeing completely smooth topped commercial loaves,no idea how they do they bake them, maybe it's to do with steam? i liked this bread too !

  3. I did not understand all of the details, but the final product really looked good. I don't know if I would like all of those seeds. However I would be willing to give them a try.
    Love your post!

  4. Now I want to see the other side of the bread. It's a beautiful loaf.

  5. I wonder why they'd think this wouldn't make a good sandwich bread? It looks perfect! :)

  6. Thank you for the sensible critique. Me & my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research about this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more from this post. I'm very glad to see such wonderful info being shared freely out there.
    Fender Amp Screen Thermal Shirt Black Small