Sunflower and Pumpkin Seed Sourdough Bread

Sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.

The toasted seeds in this sourdough bread recipe provide extra texture, taste, and aroma. (Image: Nopparat Promtha via Dreamstime)

Sourdough bread is made with a sourdough starter that’s created from a mixture of flour, water, and the wild yeast found naturally in the air around us. This is used in place of the store-bought dried yeast. 

Prior to baking anything with it, the starter is fed and nurtured for a number of days, under favorable conditions, to start a slow fermentation process to allow the lactic acid-forming bacteria and wild yeasts present in the starter to break down the carbohydrates and gluten and neutralize the phytic acid found in the wheat which makes it easier for the body to digest. Other health benefits of sourdough bread are that it contains healthy resistant starch and doesn’t raise blood glucose levels.

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Bread making requires the use of flours with high protein content such as can be found in wheat, spelt, and rye. Gluten is formed when the proteins gliadin and glutenin found in flour are hydrated. Kneading the dough further develops the gluten which provides the elasticity, form, and structure for the bread as it encapsulates the carbon dioxide while baking, giving the bread its characteristic holey texture. Combining different flours will create more interesting flavored breads, while adding toasted seeds and nuts provides extra texture, taste, and aroma.

Female hands kneading bread on a floured board.
Kneading the dough further develops the gluten, which provides the elasticity, form, and structure for the bread. (Image: Yulia via Dreamstime)

Sourdough bread requires a sourdough starter

For this recipe, you will need a mature sourdough starter. If you want to try making one yourself, it will take about 7 days for it to get to this stage. However, some people may be lucky enough to know a baker who already has some starter they are willing to share. If that’s the case, you will be able to make bread right away.

For everyone else, freeze-dried cultures are available and can be used to rapidly and reliably get a sourdough starter going. Sources include Friends of Carl and Cultures for Health. You will need to add flour and water according to the directions they provide in order to revive the culture once you receive it. Another option is King Arthur Flour, which offers fresh sourdough starter for sale.

SOURDOUGH STARTER:

  • 50 g  Sourdough starter                                                                                                                                    

  • 120 g     Wheat flour 

  • 120 g Water

Sourdough starter in a glass jar.
A mature sourdough starter ready to be used to bake bread. (Image: Graham Corney via Dreamstime)

Ingredients

  • 120 g      Spelt flour 

  • 150 g      Wheat flour 

  • 100 g       Rye flour 

  • 700 g + 50 g Water  

  • All of the sourdough starter above

  • 20 g         Salt 

  • 170 g       Sunflower seeds 

  • 40 g         Pumpkin seeds 

Closeup view of organic whole spelt flour in wooden cup with baked bread, sourdough starter in a jar, and cup of water in the background.
Bread making requires the use of flours with high protein content such as can be found in wheat, spelt, and rye. (Image: Gajus via Dreamstime)

prior days preparation (feeding of the sourdough starter)

  • Evenly mix the sourdough starter into the water. 
  • Add in the flour and combine to form a smooth even mixture.
  • Allow the starter to rest, covered loosely, in a warm place (not in direct sunlight) until it doubles in size and forms many bubbles. This may take 8 to 12 hours depending on:
    — How often the starter is normally fed
    — Whether the starter is cold from being stored in the fridge or is warm from being allowed to ferment on the counter
    — Environmental temperatures found in the kitchen
  • Bread Baking Day 
  • Dry fry or bake the seeds, via a frying pan or the oven, until golden brown.
  • Transfer the seeds onto a plate to cool.
  • Sift and combine all flours in a large bowl.
  • Add 700 g of water and mix well.
  • Cover the dough and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
  • Add the sourdough starter and combine evenly into the dough.
  • Let the dough rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Dissolve the salt into 50 g of water and then knead into the dough until well combined.
  • Knead the toasted seeds evenly into the dough. Halve the dough to form two loaves.
  • Lightly oil a couple of bread baking pans, then evenly coat with a thin layer of flour.
  • Place the dough into each baking pan. Cover and rest until they double in size.
  • Spray the top of the bread with a little bit of water (helps create a crispy crust). Place it in the oven.
  • Set the oven to 450 °F and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Lower the temperature to 400 °F and bake a further 30 minutes.
  • Remove bread from the oven and tip onto a cooling rack to cool.

Tips

  • 1g of Water is equal to 1ml
  • You can mix/ knead the dough via a machine or by hand. If you are using your hands, then make them a little wet so that the dough will not stick to them.
  • Dissolve the salt in water so that it is easier to evenly mix it into the dough.
  • Greasing and flouring a baking pan is helpful as it is easier to remove the bread from the form after baking.

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