The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

flax seed bread

Connie.'s picture

   Here's my first loaf to place on The Fresh Loaf, hope you enjoy it!                        
Today I’m baking with Flax seeds. I like the nutty taste of these tiny brown seeds and if only part is true about the benefits, Flax seeds are also amazingly healthy.I changed 6 things with this recipe:

  1. I used 100 grams more water because I soaked the flax seeds in boiling water and when cooled enough added the water too.
  2. I used rye flour and added whole wheat bran, instead of only rye flour.
  3. An autolyse of more than 3 hours in stead of the required 1 hour.
  4. After bulk fermentation I gently formed a kind of batard with the help of flour and dough cutter without pre-shape placed it directly in the floured banneton.
  5. I placed a wet towel (instead of a plastic bag) on top of the banneton and let the dough proof.
  6. I baked the loaf at approx. 230°C. My oven only heats from the bottom and to get a brown color on the bread it needs more heat. And it’s very difficult to adjust the temperature without a proper thermometer.
I will bake it this way again because the result is GREAT. The crumb is very soft and it smells nutty and is slightly sour, with a crusty crust.You find the recipe here 
dmsnyder's picture

This weekend, I baked another version of my San Francisco-style Sourdough and Hamelman's Flaxseed Rye Bread. 

I baked two large bâtards of San Francisco-style sourdough bread. My procedures were modified to accommodate other demands on my time. My starter was fed only once before mixing the levain, and the activated starter was not retarded. The levain was retarded. The levain was then fermented at 76 rather than 85ºF. (I document these details for my own reference, to see if the differences make a difference. Others may find comparison of the procedures I used among my sequential bakes of this bread of some interest. Or not.)


I started with my stock refrigerated 50% starter that had been fed two weeks ago. This feeding consisted of 50 g active starter, 100 g water and 200 g starter feeding mix. My starter feeding mix is 70% AP, 20% WW and 10% whole rye flour.

I activated the starter with a feeding of 40 g stock starter, 100 g water and 100 g starter feeding mix. This was fermented at room temperature for 16 hours, then refrigerated for about 20 hours. I then mixed the stiff levain.

Stiff levain

Bakers' %

Wt (g)

for 1 kg

Wt (g)

for 2 kg

Bread flour




Medium rye flour




Water (Warm)




Liquid starter








  1. Dissolve the starter in the water. Add the flour and mix thoroughly until the flour has been completely incorporated and moistened.

  2. Ferment at room temperature for 6 hours. Refrigerate for 12 hours.

  3. Remove from refrigerator and ferment further for 3 hours at 76ºF.

Final dough

Bakers' %

Wt (g)

for 1 kg

Wt (g)

for 2 kg

AP flour




WW Flour












Stiff levain









  1. In a stand mixer, mix the flour and water at low speed until it forms a shaggy mass.

  2. Cover and autolyse for 40 minutes

  3. Add the salt and levain and mix at low speed for 1-2 minutes, then increase the speed to medium (Speed 2 in a KitchenAid) and mix for 6-8 minutes. Add flour and water as needed. The dough should be rather slack. It should clean the sides of the bowl but not the bottom. (Note: Today's dough was considerably looser than any of the previous mixes using this formula. It has been raining heavily. I assume my flours had a higher moisture content. I considered adding flour but did not.

  4. Transfer to a lightly floured board and do a stretch and fold and form a ball.

  5. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly.

  6. Ferment at 76º F for 31/2 to 4 hours with a stretch and fold at 45 and 95 minutes. (Note: Even after the first of these foldings, the dough was very smooth and had good strength. After the second folding, it was quite elastic.)

  7. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. (Note: I had made 2 kg of dough. I had decided to bake two large bâtards today rather than three or four smaller boules.)

  8. Pre-shape as rounds and rest, covered, for 10 minutes.

  9. Shape as boules or bâtards and place in bannetons. Place bannetons in plastic bags.

  10. Proof at room temperature (68-70º F) for 1-2 hours.

  11. Cold retard the loaves overnight.

  12. The next morning, proof the loaves at 85º F for 3 hours. (If you can't create a moist, 85 degree F environment, at least try to create one warmer than “room temperature.” For this bake, I took two loaves out of the fridge and started proofing them. I took the third loaf out about an hour later and stacked it balanced on top of the other two. I did one bake with the first two loaves and a second bake with the third loaf.)

  13. 45-60 minutes before baking, pre-heat the oven to 480º F with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  14. Transfer the loaves to a peel. Score the loaves as desired, turn down the oven to 450º F, steam the oven, and transfer the loaves to the baking stone. (Note: These loaves were baked at a lower temperature for a longer time because of their larger mass. A boule of the same weight would require an even longer bake because the center of the loaf is further from the oven heat.)

  15. After 15 minutes, remove the steaming apparatus, and turn down the oven to 425º F/Convection. (If you don't have a convection oven, leave the temperature at 450º F.)

  16. Bake for another 20-25 minutes.

  17. Turn off the oven, and leave the loaves on the stone, with the oven door ajar, for another 15 minutes.

  18. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack, and cool thoroughly before slicing.

Comparing this bake to previous ones, the crust was thin and crunchy-chewy. The crumb was quite chewy. The flavor was good with a mild sourdough tang and a more prominent flavor from the whole grains. I think the differences are attributable to my having one less feeding of the firm starter and not fermenting it at the higher temperature.

Hamelman's Flaxseed Rye

Hamelman's Flaxseed Rye crumb

This bake was inspired by hansjoakim's recent bake of this bread. Looking through my TFL blog, I found I had only baked this bread once before, back in September, 2009. (See Hamelman's Flax seed rye bread - Thanks, hansjoakim!) That time, I made one large boule. I found the dough extremely slack. This time, I substituted first clear flour for the AP, and the dough was tacky but much less goopy. This time, I made two 500 g bâtards. I need to make more rye breads, if only to practice my "chevron cut" scoring until I get it right!

Recalling how delicious this bread was and how much my wife - not a big rye bread fan - enjoyed it, I am amazed that it's been so long since I baked it again. Once more, I must thank hansjoakim for the prompt to bake this delicious bread. 

The flavor of this bake was as good as I remembered. It was delicious just cooled and the next morning, toasted - a nice accompaniment to pickled herring and scrambled eggs. And, again, my wife enjoyed it a lot. It is telling that she chose it over the San Francisco Sourdough for her own breakfast.



breadbakingbassplayer's picture

Hey All,

Long time no post here on TFL.  I have been working a little too much these days to post, how ever I have been baking about once a week.  I have been baking very whole grain breads with rye lately, and had some grains in the freezer that I wanted to bake with…  So here's what I came up with….  

For flours, I am using Whole Foods Market 365 Organic AP and whole wheat flours, and Arrowhead Mills Organic Stoneground Rye Flour.  The OG rye and spelt berries are from Fairway Market in NYC, the OG flax seeds and wheat germ are from a little organic market.  The water is NYC tap water.  

I also have a Porkert hand crank grain mill that I got at Lehman's…  It is the same one that Gerard Rubaud uses.  Sadly Lehman's called me a while a go and said Porkert went out of business…  Also, I mix everything by hand in a large stainless steel mixing bowl, using a rubber spatula, plastic scraper, and wet hands.  Everything is pretty low tech except for using a digital scale to weigh out the ingredients...

Here is the recipe and process below:

Rye/Spelt Soaker
250g - Organic spelt berries
250g - Organic rye berries
500g - Water
1000g - Total

Flax Seed Soaker
50g - Organic flax seeds
50g - Organic golden flax seeds
250g - Water
350g - Total

10:00pm - Weigh out spelt and spelt berries.  Coarsely grind using grain mill.  Mix with water, place in covered container and refrigerate.  

Mix flax seed soaker, place in covered container.  Refrigerate.

100g - Organic whole wheat flour
50g - Organic rye flour
100g - Organic AP flour
160g - Water
Pinch - IDY
410g - Total

12:00am - Mix biga, place in lightly oiled covered container, refrigerate. (I used organic flax seed oil to oil the container)

9:30am - Take biga out of refrigerator, place on counter at room temp.

Final Dough
350g  - Organic AP flour
25g - Organic wheat germ
20-22g - Fine sea salt
1000g - Spelt/rye soaker
350g - Flax seed soaker
410g - Biga
1 - Tbsp - Malt Flour
2157g - Total

10:00pm - In a large mixing bowl, combine the spelt/rye soaker, flax seed soaker, AP flour, and wheat germ.  Mix with wooden spoon until well combined, place into lightly oiled container, cover and let rest.

10:30pm - Cut up biga into pieces, mix into final dough using wet hands until well combined, cover and let rest.

11:15pm - Knead in salt with wet hands until well combined, cover and let rest.

12:30am - Scrape dough out of container on to well floured surface, shape into boule, place into well floured linen lined banneton/basket, cover with tea towel, place into plastic bag and let proof overnight.

6:00am - Place baking stone into oven on middle rack along with steam pan filled with water and lava rocks, pre-heat oven to 500F with convection if you have it.  Be sure to  place an oven thermometer on the baking stone so you can tell how hot the stone is.

6:30am - Turn off convection.  Turn boule out onto lightly floured peel, brush off excess flour, dock dough with bamboo skewer or Japanese style chopstick, place boule into oven directly on stone and bake at 500F with steam for 15 minutes.  After, remove steam pan and turn oven down to 425F and bake for another 60 minutes.  Turn off oven and leave loaf in for another 10-15 minutes.  When finished baking, internal temp should be approx 210F and weight should be about 15% less than before baking.  Cool and rest for about 12 hrs before cutting.






Submitted to Yeastspotting on 4/12/12

Subscribe to RSS - flax seed bread