The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough Seed Bread

dmsnyder's picture

I am retired. This is the first full week since I retired, July 31. Already I see big problems. I no longer have to limit my baking to weekends and vacations. In principle, I could be baking bread any day ... or every day. But, I do not need to be eating more bread than I have been eating. I will certainly be gifting more loaves, but I have to find a new equilibrium. Ah, well. Life is good.

Anyway, this explains how I happen to be baking bread mid-week. 

My San Francisco-style Sourdough quest of last Spring was a ton of fun. Of the various tweaks I tried, my favorite version was "Take 4." (For the formula and procedures, see: My San Francisco Sourdough Quest, Take 4.) I believe I have baked this version about 5 times now, and, for me, it has been pretty consistant in producing my personal ideal bread of this type. Today was no exception. Crunchy, sweet crust and moist, chewy, complex-flavored crumb with moderate sourness. Excellent keeping quality.

It's been very hot in Fresno. My fermentation times for the levain builds were shorter than those indicated in my methods. "Watch the dough, not the clock" applies to levains as it does to final doughs. The times were not so short I felt I had to refrigerate any build, but I would have done so if the times to maturity were so short I thought flavor would be compromised.

Diamond scoring pattern

Cross-hatched scoring pattern

Crust close-up for the bubbly crust lovers

SF-Style Sourdough crumb

I also made the Sourdough Seed Bread from Hamelman's Bread today. In the past, I have generally made this as 500-600 g boules. Today, I shaped two bâtards of 1 kg each.

Sourdough Seed Bread cross section

Sourdough Seed Bread, crumb close-up

This particular bread profits greatly from overnight cold retardation. It is not bad baked the day it's mixed, but it is fantastically delicious if allowed those extra hours of flavor development. 

There are some gastrointestinal conditions for which the standard advice is to avoid eating seeds. If you have the misfortune to suffer from one of these, I suggest you not eat this bread. However, the heavenly aroma of this bread when it is sliced still slightly warm from the oven is not to be missed. So, bake it even if you can't eat it. Give it away ... but only after cutting a loaf and taking a few deep breaths. 

Happy baking!


MadAboutB8's picture

First rule of baking - KNOW YOUR OWN OVEN.

I think I did until a couple of weeks ago when I finally found out that I have been baking my breads in a not-so-correct oven mode for the past 6 months.

Instead of pre-heating my oven with fan+top & bottom heat, I pre-heated my oven and baked in a fan-assisted (with some heating elements) mode. The result after using the correct baking mode is significantly improved.

The loaves are more open with nicer ears and crumbs. Finally, I have a decent looking loaves.

This is my latest bake, Sourdough Seed Bread from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread cookbook, more details are here:(

This bread is also one of our favorite. It has a lovely texture and nuttiness taste from sesame seeds and sunflower seeds. I used black sesame seeds as I find them tastier than the white one and they're more nutritious, I believe. Generally, I like breads with a bit of texture, being it grains, seeds, nuts or fruits.

I also put some sesame seeds onto the loaves just before putting them into the oven. I spray the loaf surface slightly with water before pressing sesame seeds onto it.

  Latest bake with correct baking mode


 Previous bake of the same loaves, but in a not-so-correct baking mode

 Always had some troubles with the diagonal scoring.

 The crumbs

Yes, I had suffered from the oven mishap. I'm hoping that my loaves will be prettier in the future bakes.


Franko's picture

For this weeks bake I wanted a loaf that had some seeds or nuts as a component as well as one using a levain so Hamelman’s Sourdough Seed Bread seemed to fit just what I was looking for. The formula uses a liquid levain at 125% hydration for the leavening and never having used the liquid type in any previous bakes I was curious to try it out to see how it would differ from a stiff levain in terms of fermentation and flavour. The seeds that are called for are sunflower, sesame and a cold soaker of flax seeds. The one and only addition to the ingredients I made was to include some pumpkin seeds in the mix for a little more variety. All the dry seeds are given a light toasting in a 380F oven to bring out their flavour and which I’m sure adds significantly to the flavour profile as Hamelman suggests in his side note to the recipe. The flours used in the overall formula are bread flour @ 92% and whole rye flour @ 8% with a recommended total hydration of 75%, the water from the flax soaker contributing almost 60% of the total. Once it was time to mix I decided to use David Snyder’s method of using the paddle of a stand mixer for the first 2-3 minutes on 1st speed, and then switch to the hook for the 2nd speed mix of 7-8 minutes. This method works well to get everything combined uniformly and quickly and one I’ll use from here on. Thank you Mr. Snyder! The total weight of all the ingredients was 1.740kg which my poor old KA struggled with it at first but after I adjusted the water slightly it came together nicely requiring only a few minutes work up by hand to a medium consistency. The final dough temp was 77.2F, just a shade over the DDT of 76F then with a bulk fermentation of 3 hrs with 2 folds at 1.5 hr intervals. The dough was molded and placed in floured brotforms, covered and placed in the refrigerator for 15 hours at which point they came out and finished the final proof at room temp for 3 more hrs before going into a 500F oven for 8 minutes with the remaining 30 minutes of bake time at 460F.
The loaf has a good crust along with a crumb structure that is open but fairly uniform, which is just the way I like it. Eaten on it’s own it has a marvelous medium sour, nutty flavour that lasts for some time after, I’m sure due to the long cold fermentation time it had. One of the aspects of this breads long fermentation that I really appreciate (besides the flavour) is that it allows me to do some other things away from the house and kitchen while it does its thing. That for me is a win-win situation that will see me using this method more often.

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