The Fresh Loaf

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Hamelman's Flaxseed Bread (Leinsamenbrot)

LindyD's picture

Hamelman's Flaxseed Bread (Leinsamenbrot)

Inspired by Hansjoakmin's five-grain rye sourdough, I decided to try a sourdough rye. I chose Hamelman's Flaxseed bread, which is a 60 percent rye, because I've never tasted such a rye (let alone baked one). Plus, flaxseed is good for you.

Given my inexperience, I went by the book and followed Hamelman's instructions precisely, starting with building a rye sourdough from scratch.  That began on February 16, using Arrowhead Mills organic rye flour, and feeding it twice a day from the third day on.  

On February 28 the rye sourdough culture looked and tasted ready, so I built the sourdough that evening (rye flour 100%, water 80%, mature sourdough culture, 5%). The flaxseed soaker was also made and left overnight.  

The overall formula is:

Medium rye flour 60% (No medium rye available, so I used Arrowhead Mills organic rye)

High gluten flour, 40% (didn't have HG flour - used KA bread flour)

Flaxeeds, 10%

Water, 75%

Salt, 1.8%

Yeast, 1.5%

The mix the next day was short and gentle, per Hamelman's counsel, in my KitchenAid mixer.  Desired dough temperature is 80F.  Mine was 81F and while doing the calculation before the mix, I wondered why the soaker temperature isn't included in the calculation.  My soaker temp was 74F but I had to ignore that number.  I don't know the answer but have sent off a post to KAF asking why it isn't included.

While I had expected a really sticky and tacky dough (Leader advises to embrace stickiness when working with rye)  it wasn't really difficult to handle nor did it stick to my counter when shaping into boules.  

Bulk fermentation is 30 to 45 minutes and final fermentation 50 to 60 minutes at 80F.  Just about everything I've baked over the past six months has been retarded overnight, so I have to consider the flaxseed bread as a  "quick" bread!

I sprayed the top of each boule with water, dipped them in a bowl of sesame seeds, and baked at 460F for 15 minutes (steamed once), then at 440F for an additional 35 minutes.  Twenty-four hours later, on Tuesday, I tasted the bread.   It has a nice light texture and a very pleasant tang.  The sesame seeds in the crust add a nice, light nutty flavor.  Last night I made a grilled sandwich using the rye, Boars Head lean corned beef, and Swiss cheese.  Very tasty in spite of forgetting the sauerkraut.

If you haven't tried a high percentage rye bread, this Flaxseed recipe is an good introduction to working with rye - which is very different from wheat.  It was a good education for me.  Maybe someday I'll have the courage to try the Detmolder method.


hansjoakim's picture

Congratulations on a stunning loaf! It looks pretty much perfect from here :)

Best of luck with your new rye starter as well!

trailrunner's picture

And I would have LOVED a sandwich too ! I never use flax seeds as my husband doesn't like them . I may have to try this and just not tell. C

blockkevin's picture


That is a beautiful looking rye. I haven't yet started on any rye adventures myself(my wife doesn't care for rye all that much) however I was reading the rye chapter in "Bread" last night and I think that very soon I am going to make my first rye bread. This maybe just the formula that I might try.

Thanks for sharing,


LindyD's picture

Hans, thanks for your nice comment.  I'm so glad I took your advice and let that rye starter continue to develop.  I've never maintained one before and am unsure about how often it needs to be refreshed (in the fridge right now).  If I can treat it just like my wheat sourdough, then no problem.  

Trailrunner, am betting you'll have some mighty fine corned beef sandwiches quite soon - I recall Carnegie had some great ones.  The flaxseeds aren't toasted and since they are soft, they aren't all that noticeable.  If you use lots of sesame seeds on the top of the boules, maybe your husband will think the flaxseeds are sesame seeds?  

Kevin, I read that rye chapter just about every night while the starter was maturing.  I was worried about the infamous starch attack.  I think that no matter which rye you choose from "Bread," it will be wonderful because Jeff Hamelman is such a good, thorough teacher.  Be sure to share photos when you do your rye!