The Fresh Loaf

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Rye Sourdough with Carrots, Flaxseeds, And Pumpkin Seeds - Vitalbrot, or is it?

txfarmer's picture

Rye Sourdough with Carrots, Flaxseeds, And Pumpkin Seeds - Vitalbrot, or is it?

I'm still tackling that big bag of Costco carrots. This formula is inspired from this blog post, which in turn is adapted from 《Brot backen: Mit Rezepten & Ernährungstipps vom Bio-Bäcker》(No, I have no idea what it means, until Google Translate came to help). It is supposed to be "vitalbrot", a bread that's often seen in Austria. The trouble is that I know little about Austrain bread, even less about this particular kind. After making some "slight" modifications to the original formula, I really have no idea how authentic this is comparing to the original version. However, I do know that it's fragrant, moist, delicious with layers of deep flavors. My adaption involves: 

- halved the recipe

- used sourdough only, no commerical yeast

- retarded overnight after shaping

- no oil in the dough


Even without the oil, the dough is plenty wet at 79% hydration. I think shredded carrots released water, while seeds absorbed extra, they kinda balanced out. Two significant things I noticed about this dough:

1. It's needs a lot of S&F to develope enough strength. I mixed with my hands after autolyse for a while, then S&F every half an hour during teh 3 hour fermentation. Wet carrots, seeds, and rye all may have contributed to the lack of gluten of the dough, but at the end of bulk rise, all is well, the dough expanded for about 50%, and gained enough strength. Still a wet and sticky glob, but a strong glob.

2. It fermentate so very fast. It might just be my rye stater, which has a history of rising dough with lightening speed. The bulk rise took barely 3 hours, and the house was on the cool side (70F, cool for Texas, or at least this Texas girl!). After retarding, the dough was ready to be baked straight from the fridge! Doughs with similar hydration usually would require some further proofing at room temp, but not this one. After sending them into the oven, I was second guessing myself and worried about underproofing, but in the end, the breads showed that I caught it at the right time. Any more proofing, they will be flat.


Nice open crumb studded with carrots and seeds, deliciously fragrant, and very moist

Made two loaves, each about 1 lb. I think with such wet and relatively weak dough, it's better to bake smaller loaves, that way they don't spread as much on the stone. Happy with their volume this time around.

Baked them long enough to ensure a crisp singing crust

My formula (adapted from 《Brot backen: Mit Rezepten & Ernährungstipps vom Bio-Bäcker》)

Note: makes 2 loaves, each 1 lb

- Soaker

Flaxseeds, 40g

pumpkin seeds, 40g

hot water, 75g

1. Mix and put aside for overnight


- Final Dough

Bread Flour, 325g

water, 165g

salt, 8g

carrots, 100g, shredded

rye starter (100%), 150g

all of the soaker

2. Mix everything but salt, autolyse for 30min, mix with hand until dough comes together, a few minuts.

3. Bulk rise at 70F for 3 hours, S&F every 30min.

4. Divide into 2 parts, preshape, rest, shape into loaves.Put in brotforms smooth side down, cover wiht pastic, and put in fridge (40F) overnight.

5. If needed proof more at room temp the 2nd morning (I didn't need that), bake on stone at 450F for 35min, the first 12min with steam.


Delicious flavor, great texture for both crumb and crust. Yes, it's also healthy, but even if it's not, I would devour it in a heartbeat. Now, only if someone can tell me whether it's anywhere close to the real Austrian Vitalbrot?


Sending this to Yeastspotting.


MadAboutB8's picture

Beautiful loaves and nice crumbs (and fantastic pics). It sounds really yummy too.


txfarmer's picture

It's superb with some goat cheat spread!

arlo's picture

I'd agree and say the volume is very nice on both the loaves.

Glad to see you are using your skills to come up with creative ways to use up what you have left from your Costco expedition.

Carrots are one of my favorite veggies : )

txfarmer's picture

So wanna take some from my 10lb bag? :P Seriously I feel I am turning orange these days.

ehanner's picture

I swear txfarmer, you could fall down a flight of stairs with a bag of flour in your hands and bake the mess into a beautiful loaf. Very nice health food bread.


txfarmer's picture

However it's not a totally impossible scenario to fall like that, the day before a race too - don't ask me how I know. :P

SallyBR's picture

Sorry to hijack, but I read (in a hurry) a post about your upcoming marathon, and wanted to wish you good luck in this final month of training


Is your husband back running with you, or he is still struggling with injuries?  We pretty much bagged the idea of running another marathon, but I want to try the San Diego half in April, if we can train for it.  We run hills here in LA, I love it! Our street has a very steep 1.7 mile climb up, and it's perfect for us.

Happy carbo-loading, and please keep me posted on all fronts (running and baking!)


Good luck!

txfarmer's picture

My husband is off running, not because of the injury (healed long time ago), but because he doesn't like it. He's now swimming instead, which is actually a good thing - I tend not to play nice when running. :P


That SD half is hilly! But I am sure you are getting good hill training in. I am a softie now after running flat flat flat Dallas, the couple runs in Seattle around my parents house nearly killed me. Fingers crossed for the marathon, my last attempt didn't end well - had to stop halfway due to unbearable heel pain, turned out that I was running on a heel stress fracture for 13.1 miles. Ugh. This time, so far so good!

SallyBR's picture

My fingers are crossed for you! My last attempt at the full marathon ended at exactly 12.5 miles - my left knee simply quit on me, unbearable pain shooting up and down the leg.   Very frustrating to have completed the full training Including a 22 miler three weeks earlier), to have to walk to the halfway point and catch a ride to go back home. 

I could not help but cry a bucket of tears... 


so, I know exactly how you felt, and how much you want to finish this with flying colors - I know you will!

hanseata's picture

Txfarmer, your bread looks delicious(as usual)!

And I can assure you - it is as authentic as can be, because there is no such thing as an authentic Austrian or German or whatsoever "Vitalbrot" out there. The term "Vital" (= healthy and strong) is nothing but a fashionable prefix for any product that is supposedly beneficial for your health. if it's a bread, you can expect something like grains and fibers etc.

Many bakeries offer one of their breads under the name "Vitalbrot", there is nothing traditional or authentic about that, just a nice name to attract health conscious customers.

I have one suggestion for this recipe: I would not put the pumpkin seeds into the soaker, they are not hard to digest like flaxseeds, but more like nuts, and should be a bit crunchy. Therefore I would also recommend toasting them.

And if you or anybody else need a translation from German to English - I'm here!



txfarmer's picture

Yay, so glad that you chimed in! So vitalbrot is not a specific term for "bread with carrots and seeds" huh? What you said totally make sense. I wish I can go back to Austria and Germany for a bread tour, last time when I went, I was not into baking, so I missed out on most of the breads (but not the drinks!).

dosidough's picture

Both the loaves and Eric's comment. Cracked me up and I totally agree.

txfarmer you are amazing...Bake on.

txfarmer's picture

BTW, I saw your notes about Tartine book. I never baked the loaves in dutch ovens (not in any containers actually), just directly on the baking stone. The loaves are quite wet, so I can see how a container would help to hold up shapes, but with good proofing, I think you can get good oven spring regardless. I also didn't bother to follow his starter raising instruction, just used my 100% starter, it was worked out well.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

They look fantastic and easily rival Austria's loaves without a doubt!  Right on the money!  Perfect!  Inside and out!  Just look at the deep caramel crust crackle!  I had to tell hubby they're made in Texas.  :(   Don't worry he'll be alright in a few days.

highmtnpam's picture

Costco often inspires...i.e. what am I going to do with the rest of this!  Some of us don't rise to the challenge!  he, he


SallyBR's picture

I am a bit lost in the schedule of things, but when is your marathon????


Good luck, I would love to hear from you once it's over....    YOU GO GIRL!


actually, I just checked online, and I think it's in FOUR DAYS!   If that's the one you will be running... I think it is, the one in Dallas, right?


Have fun with it, and eat a ton of bread the day before!

txfarmer's picture

Thanks for the cheering! I am a bit nervous, you know how taper gets to runners'. The pre-race dinner will be my 36 hour rye baguettes and pizza, then it's sleep and run for 26 miles! Yeek.

I will definitely report back after!



SallyBR's picture

I will be thinking of you,  you can be sure, maybe you will feel some running vibes around mile 22....


I just KNOW you will do great!