The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Help on a recipe

hukari's picture

Help on a recipe

Hello! I had some problems with a recipe yesterday and would like to know if you all can help. I made a new recipe from a new German baking book which seemed a bit strange. The recipe called for:

500g spelt wholemeal flour     250ml buttermilk, warm

250g rye flour                 1T "Brotgewürz" (mixture of fennel, caraway, etc.)

30g yeast                       2T salt

100g sunflower seeds


This seemed like a lot of flour for only 250ml of liquid, but since I had a whole 500ml of buttermilk, I decided I could add more if needed. The mixture as in the recipe turned out very dry, more like streusel, so I ended up adding the rest of the buttermilk and another 100ml or so of water! The bread turned out okay, but it made me wonder if something was left out of the recipe or if I should have handled it differently. The only thing I changed was that I added flaxseed and sesame instead of the sunflower seeds, albeit much less in weight than 100g, probably closer to 50g and used wholemeal rye as well as the wholemeal spelt called for.

hansjoakim's picture

Hi hukari,

Yes, no wonder the dough turned out dry! Either there is a typo (or more), or something is unintentionally left out of the recipe.

Does the recipe say anything about soaking the sunflower seeds? Usually, the seeds are soaked in at least an equal weight of water. You can add unsoaked seeds, but then they will rob moisture from the rest of the dough during fermentation. For sunflower seeds, I would soak them in equal weight water overnight. If you're using flax seeds, you might want to soak them in even more water, maybe two or three times the weight of flax.

For the particular recipe above then, I'd say:

a) Mix 100 gr. sunflower seeds with 100 gr. water and let them soak at least a few hours (preferrably overnight)

b) Increase the amount of buttermilk to 500 ml - 600 ml (depending on the absorption of spelt and rye flours you're using).

I think you'll get a better dough to work with next time around, since you'll avoid the "streusel-step" in the dough development :)

Sounds like a terrific bread, by the way!