The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bulgur Flaxseed 30% Whole Wheat Sourdough

ciabatta's picture

Bulgur Flaxseed 30% Whole Wheat Sourdough

My 2nd attempt at a seed loaf.  First attempt was too ambitious (with sunflower, pumpkin, quinoa, oats and sesame) using Hamelmann 5 grain levain formula and turned out to be a salty wet mess due to soaker hydration issues.

This one I kept to my standard SD formula with adjustments from 16% to 30% whole wheat. Added a soaker of course ground bulgur and a cold soaker of flaxseed.

Dough seemed just a little bit loose but preshape and shaping went well.  after overnight cold retard, dough firmed up and didn't spread, which was what i was afraid of.

20 minutes covered in oven. much better spring than i anticipated from a loaded 30% WW.

nearly 30 minutes uncovered. i think i should have gone on for another 10 minutes. maybe at reduced heat. not quite enough color on the crust.

Crumb was good. it bit of moisture left (should have baked 10 more mins). But acceptable. I don't think i get any of the bulgur texture in the crumb, but on the crust, they add some good flavor and crunch.  maybe i should do a shorter soak.   the flaxseeds were interesting. making a gel envelop during the soak. next batch will be slightly lower hydration, longer bake, and a bit more salt and maybe a touch of honey.  For some reason i mentally expect more salty taste on a seed bread.


Roger-H's picture

Hello, this looks tasty. I’m a learner - do you have the recipe or baker!s percentages please? Also, what are you cooking the bread in/on?





ciabatta's picture

These are the numbers i used for this bake. see my notes for where i want to adjust


bread flour588   
whole wheat25030%  
total flour838   
Levine 100%200   
hot soaker    
cold soaker    
total flour + seed1058   
total water89985%hydration
Whole wheat40   
bread flour40   
ciabatta's picture

Made Levain in morning. my starter is a 100% hydration rye starter, very active.

At same time, setup hot and cold soakers.  Boiled water and poured onto Bulgar.  Cold soak for flax seeds

Once doubled (actually went past a little bit), I started mixing the final dough.

mixed water (less 50g for later) with levain,  added WW and bread flour.  mixed in mixer until it comes together. rest 30 mins

add salt to the 50g water and mixed in mixer for a few minutes until smooth. transfer to wide bowl with lid for bulk fermentation. rest and fold, 30 mins apart four times. 

soakers were added after 2nd fold 

after last fold, window pane test to be decent but due to grains, it's not super strong. rest 1 hour or look for some increase in volume (i didnt measure exactly how much but i was looking for ~15-20%)

divide and preshape.  20 mins rest

final shape and load into floured bannetons or cloth covered bowls.

bagged and put into fridge for 12 hour cold retard.

preheat oven with Dutch ovens to 500F for an hour (or until heat on DO above 400F)

load cold loaves onto parchment, dust with rice flour and score. Load into DO in oven.

20 mins covered @ 450F

30 mins uncovered @ 450F  (or until color darkens properly)  ** i should have gone longer here, maybe up to 40 mins with last 10 mins at 400F-425F.

rest until cooled



Roger-H's picture

Can’t wait to try. Thanks 

Roger-H's picture

Hi, I’m just copying down. Is the hydration right. You have 559 plus 120 plus 120, which is 799 not 899. So did you do 75% hydration? I’d probably do lower than 85% anyhow as not used to such a wet dough yet. Anyhow, I’ll try it. Thanks. 

ciabatta's picture

The amount of water i put in is 559+120+120+100 (from the levain, 50% of 200g) = 899

i'm making one now and those are the numbers and so far feels right. i will be adding in the seeds/grains in the next fold. 

due to the seed/grain soaker, the hydration is higher, but it will not feel like a 85% hydration dough.

you can hold back 10g-20g water if you'd like to work with less hydration.

My last batch, though i thought i should have baked it longer or used slightly less water. it worked out really well and i just ate the last slice this morning and the crumb was perfect. So i'm sticking to my formula and will just bake a tad longer for color.

Benito's picture

Those look wonderful ciabatta!  I’m sure they are quite tasty.


Jayco's picture

I can only dream.  New bakers, I’ll watch and learn.  Your loves look fabulous!

ciabatta's picture

I think I have been blessed with a very strong rye starter that's made all the difference in my loaves. i feed it only whole rye (great rivers rye flour) 20g/50g/50g feed.   I dont always manage to feed it daily.  i sometimes even skip a day. or i put it in the fridge for a few day and it comes right back after i take it out for a couple hours. 

I dont always autolyse, (i just withhold the salt and some water, but mix the levain right in with final dough). I don't have consistent stretch & fold times, doing it more by feel to see when it's done (window pane). i am very particular with my hydration, looking for rise after the last fold before shaping and cold retard,  and with my preheating of the Dutch ovens though.

I guess it's been a little bit of luck and lots of practice.


ciabatta's picture

Thanks for Rogers input on concern regarding to 85% hydration. I just made an batch and can provide some insight.

It is a sticky dough. but the seed/bulgur soaker does draw in much of that water so it's not quite what one may think an 85% hydration might feel like.

i fold seed and bulgur in after 2nd fold. the bulgur would have already absorbed the full amount of water used to soak it.  Where as the flaxseed will be sitting in a bit of the gel that it produces when soaked. i actually just pour them both on top of the dough after 2nd fold and dont mix them in until the next fold. prior to that the dough is at a regular 70 something hydration feel. after the first fold in, it will feel like the gel and seed are separating the layers of dough and it's not mixing. Do NOT try to mix them in by force, you'll break up your precious gluten. just give it time to absorb.  in 30 min when it's time for the next fold, they gel/moisture would have been absorbed enough that you can get a decent fold in. you may need one more fold after that.

for preshaping, i use water Slightly wet the counter, your dough divider and your hands. the dough will stick, use the dough scraper to flip. There should be enough gluten development to get a moist skin on the dough when preshaped.

For final shaping, i dust the top of the dough ball, and also dust the counter. Flip it with the dough scraper.  The sticky side (now on top) will be extremely sticky. i lift the dough with the back of my hands and stretch it out like one would with a pizza using your knuckles. and put dry side back down to letter fold then roll into a tight roll. then use scraper the help form ball. light dusting (i only use rice flour for all final shaping dusting) and go into the banneton.

Here are some photos to help

right after folding in seed/bulgur:

after next fold:

after preshape:

Final shape:

in basket:

Hope this helps.

you can also choose to take the hydration down to mid/upper 70s% if you dont want to try with this sticky dough. but i really like the outcome with the high hydration.


ciabatta's picture

I tried a version replacing 40g of bread flour with 40g of flaxseed meal. Leaving everything else the same. This means 80g if flaxseed in the dough. I just mixed the meal directly into the flour at the start. It absorbs more water than flour so you’ll be working with a dough that is less wet. Much easier to work with AND the crumb stays just as moist.   The crust is much tastier. More caramelization in the crust from the oils in the flaxseed meal. 

what I learn though, was that due to the oil content. The dough proofs much much slower. After the last fold I took a small piece of dough and put it in a little jar to gauge the rise. After 45 minutes almost nothing.  Fortunately the dough in the bowl seem to have grown a bit. I rested for an extra 45 mins before dividing and preshape. Probably could have gone longer. But with the coarse flaxseed meal I figured that I wasn’t going to get a very open crumb anyways. 

maybe 80g is a too much flaxseed. I’ll adjust to something like 25 whole seed 25g meal next time.