The Fresh Loaf

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Three-Seed Sourdough Bread

Three-Seed Sourdough Bread


This is a great dinner bread – the seeds add a rich nutty flavor to the loaf, which is already full of sourdough flavor. It’s a bit too much for most sandwiches, though. This recipe was adapted from “Bread” by Jeffrey Hammelman.

Overall Formula
White flour: 80%
Whole wheat flour: 20%
Water: 80%
Salt: 2.3% (high, because of all the seeds)
Sunflower seeds, toasted: 12%
Sesame seeds, toasted: 6%
Flaxseeds: 7%
Water: 75%

20% of the flour is in the starter (which should be a whole wheat starter), which is at 60% hydration


Flaxseeds: 30 grams or 3 Tbs
Water: 120 grams or ½ cup + 1 Tbs

Final Dough
White flour: 370 grams or about 3 cups
Water: 235 grams or 1 cup + 1 Tbs
Stiff whole wheat starter: 160 grams or about ½ cup
Salt: 11 grams or 1.5 tsp
Sunflower seeds, toasted: 60 grams or 1/3 cup + 2 Tbs
Sesame seeds, toasted: 34 grams or ¼ cup
All of the flaxseed soaker

Making the Soaker

Mix the flaxseeds and the water for the soaker together. Cover and let sit overnight.


Spread the sesame and sunflower seeds on a cookie sheet and toast them for 5 to 6 minutes at 380 degrees. Unless you have a high-end toaster oven, I’d recommend avoiding it – some will burn, while others will be raw. Very unpleasant.
Dissolve the starter into the water, and then add the salt and the soaker Finally add the flour and seeds. Mix until everything is hydrated.
Dough development and the first rise
However you develop the dough, from the time you mix until the time you shape the dough, it’ll take about 4 hours for the first rise at room temperature.

Be gentle. You want to retain as many of those air bubbles as possible. Rounds and batards are the traditional shapes.

Second rise and retarding

Sourdoughs benefit quite a bit from retarding – they often taste better. You can simply cover the shaped dough and place it in the fridge or, if you’re lucky and the overnight temperature will be between 45 and 55, you can simply place it outside, in which case the bread will probably be ready to bake when you wake up.

If you put it in the fridge, it’ll need to warm up for 3-4 hours to complete its rise.

If you don’t want to bother with retarding, you can let it rise for another 3 hours at room temperature. You can also speed things up (and increase sourness) by placing the dough on an upturned bowl in the bottom of a picnic cooler, throwing a cup of boiling water in the bottom and covering it quickly. After an hour, throw another cup of hot water in. The rise should only take a couple of hours this way.

Score the bread as you like. Hash marks are traditional for rounds, and batards usually take a single, bold stroke down the center or a couple of baguette-style slashes.

While you can certainly bake this bread on a cookie sheet, it benefits from a stone and some steam, or a covered baker. However you do it, bake at 450 degrees for about 40 minutes.