The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Soaking seeds

knit1bake1's picture

Soaking seeds

I made Rose B. Levy's hearth bread today, which I've made a number of times before. This time I refrigerated the sponge overnight, as suggested, and everyone raved about it at our potluck. I am in the habit of putting in some amount of the King Arthur seed and grain mix to many of my loaves. In this recipe, rose suggests that seeds should be soaked before being added to dough so they incorporate better. Would the experts here recommend soaking the grain/seed mixture overnight in some water? I've used soakers before, but not quite in this way. Thanks for your advice. Beth

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I think refrigerating a sponge overnight with the seeds in it would be the same as soaking separately to soften the seeds. There will be some absorbing but that can easily be corrected when mixing the main batch of dough. I do it all the time. The heavier grain, spices & seeds get wet in the poolish and they soften overnight improving flavour. Whether it stands in the fridge or not makes no difference, they still soften. I do suggest softening grains and seeds, I've broken enough teeth already to be wary.

I haven't noticed if the lacto bac. or yeasts soaking with the seeds were affected by them with maybe the exception to cinnamon and cloves.

Mini O

dougal's picture

The central thesis of WGB is to explore what can be achieved by separating the soaker/scald/mash from the biga/poolish/build, giving them time (and appropriate environments) to develop individually, before finally combining them (with extra yeast for a fast rise) for a rather brief bulk fermentation which functions simply to raise the dough - the various flavours having already been developed independently. And the speed of the rise minimises the effects of the active components from each part interfering with each other.


This so-called "two part epoxy" method does indeed seem to produce a different result.

That said, I don't recall spice seeds being used in this way.

But it does show that the considerations can go a lot further than mere softening of potentially tooth-wrecking seeds!

For people who's baking already includes slow-risen (maybe sourdough) whole grain and/or seeded breads, Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads should be a very interesting read.

knit1bake1's picture

I already use Reinhart's epoxy method frequently for struan bread. I had been told to add the seeds, etc. later so that they wouldn't cut through the gluten. I suppose if they have been soaking that's not an issue? I'll go back through Reinhart's book to see where he addresses the question of seeds, as I haven't made any of those recipes from the book. Thanks, Beth