The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Seeded Sourdough Variation with Flax Seed Soaker

CAphyl's picture

Seeded Sourdough Variation with Flax Seed Soaker

I wanted to try a seeded sourdough with a flax seed soaker, so i found the recipe below.  I made a number of variations along the way, due to preference and timing.  I noted the changes I made at the right of the original recipe.I wanted more of a whole wheat loaf, so I changed the recipe to add much more whole wheat and used a whole wheat starter. My husband and I really enjoyed the result.  It was crusty, but chewy, and the seeds inside really added a lot of tangy taste to the loaf. i tried a new scoring pattern on the top, but I think it's harder to see with a bread with seeds!

The recipe was adapted from Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman and the Bread Experience (link below).


Liquid Levain Build

  • 4.8 oz (1 1/8 cups) bread flour
  • 6 oz (3/4 cup) water (I used 1 cup)
  • 1 oz (2 T) mature culture (liquid) (I used whole wheat)

Flaxseed Soaker

  • 2.2 oz (3/8 cup) Flaxseeds
  • 6.7 oz (3/4 cup) water (I used 1 cup)

Final Dough

  • 1 lb, 8.6 oz (5 5/8 cups) bread flour (I used 2-1/2 cups all purpose and 2 cups whole wheat)
  • 2.6 oz (5/8 cup) whole-rye flour
  • 2.5 oz sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 2.25 oz sesame seeds, toasted
  • 11.3 oz (1 3/8 cups) water, plus additional during mixing
  • .7 oz (1T + 1/2 tsp) salt
  • 8.9 oz soaker (all of above)
  • 10.8 oz liquid levain (all of above, less 2T) (I used it all)


1)      Building the Liquid Levain:  Make the final build 12 to 16 hours before the final mix and let stand in a covered container at about 70 degrees F.

This is the liquid levain after about 16 hours.           

2) Flaxseed Soaker: Make a cold soaker with the flaxseeds and water at the same time you build the liquid levain. Cover the container with plastic and let it stand along with the liquid levain.

3) Mixing the Dough: Add all of the ingredients to the mixing bowl of a stand mixer and mix on first speed for 3 minutes, adjusting the hydration as necessary.  I found that the dough was so dry that I held out on adding all of the flour called for in the original recipe.

 The dough looked and smelled great coming together.

Mix on second speed for another 3 minutes or so. The dough should have moderate gluten development.

4) Bulk Fermentation: 5-7 hours.  I deviated from the original recipe here. I folded the dough every 45-50 minutes during this time.. I had to go out, so I put it in the refrigerator for four hours after all of the turn and folds.

5) Shaping: It was such a heavy dough that I was concerned it would not come up overnight in the fridge, so I took it out before I went to bed, divided into two large loaves and placed the large boule into a banneton coated with brown rice flour. I froze the other loaf, spraying a freezer zip back with cooking spray before popping the dough into the bag and then the freezer.

6) Final Proof:  Left the loaf on the counter overnight for about 9-10 hours for the final proof at a temperature of about 70 degrees.

It came up nicely overnight.

7)  Preparing to bake: In the morning, as I was using my LaCloche covered baker to bake the bread, I put the LaCloche in the oven, both top and bottom to preheat.  Set the oven temperature at 500 degrees (after you have placed the LaCloche inside).  If you don't have a LaCloche:   Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F., with a baking stone on the middle rack and a steam pan underneath.  Place the loaves on the hot baking stone.  Fill the steam pan with hot water and close the door of the oven.   Let the loaves bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the loaves are golden brown.

Getting ready for the oven:  Be careful as both the top and bottom of the LaCloche have been in the oven and are very hot. You can see my Bordelaise scorer next to my well-used LaCloche covered baker.  I really love my scoring tool.  I got it in the internet for about $12; well worth it. I also recently purchased the large pizza stone that is underneath the LaCloche.  My plan is to use it for baguettes! We used it already on sourdough pizza, and it was fantastic, with a very even bake...better than our older round pizza stone.

8) Baking the bread:  Using heavy oven gloves, remove the lid from the LaCloche and take the preheated bottom from the oven as well.  Sprinkle the bottom with corn meal, pop the loaf out of the banneton onto the preheated stone bottom, score as desired.  Put the loaf in the LaCloche in the oven and place the dome over it.  Bake for 25-30 minutes with dome on.  Remove dome and bake for 10 more minutes or so until crust is brown and done to your desired taste.

9. Serving: Cool completely on wire rack before slicing. Enjoy!



dabrownman's picture

This is one of the great breads to make and it is so tasty too - really suprised me.  I'd like to know how the frozen piece turns out.  I'm guessing that the cold dough had to warm up for a few hours coming out if the fridge before it really got rolling.  9-10 hours on my 70 F counter would mean way over proofed  but your good thinking to fridge it for 4 hours and get it really cold first - paid off well.  It is great when things turn out just the way you plan isnlt it?.  Love the score and the tool too.

Well done and happy baking Phyllis.

CAphyl's picture

dabrownman:  I was surprised, really, that it turned out as well as it did.  The dough was very strange to deal with...thick as a brick and sticky at the same time. I probably had it in the fridge longer than I thought....perhaps even 6-7 hours. Taking it out late at night and dividing it as I wanted to bake it fairly early in the morning worked out.  I have had really good luck with freezing different types of dough.  Our guests left the day before, so I didn't need two loaves. I usually let the dough defrost and do a series of stretch-and-folds before the final proof and that seems to work out.  At times, I have added more water if the dough seems dry, using a spray bottle.  Will have to see how this one comes back to life from frozen.  My husband really enjoyed this one, so i am sure i would make it again.  Perhaps I'll do less whole wheat in the next one and see how it takes in lighter form. Thanks for your encouragement, as always.  Phyllis

wassisname's picture

Love those seeds!  Looks delicious, especially with some extra whole wheat. Nicely done!


CAphyl's picture

I also had a photo of the sunflower seeds that I toasted on the stove that I did not include. I agree that the seeds add so much flavor; you are quite right!  The extra whole wheat worked as well. Thanks for your comment.  Best,  Phyllis

isand66's picture

Very nice bake and write-up.  Thanks for sharing.


CAphyl's picture

I took more notes and photos during the bake, so I could do a more detailed write-up. It was fun, so I will do it again!  Best,  Phyllis