Toasted Sunflower Recipe

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Artisan Sourdough Made Simple: A Beginner's Guide to Delicious Handcrafted Bread with Minimal KneadingOne of my favorites in this chapter, this blend of earthy flours creates a harmonious sourdough that will undoubtedly beckon you, slice after slice. It’s an excellent loaf for wholesome sandwiches and to enjoy with balsamic-dressed leafy green salads. The toasted sunflower seeds, although they are pesky and bounce all over the floor, take the crust to the next level.

About the Dough: This dough was born purely out of experimentation. You’ll notice it has a unique texture, too, slightly gritty from the semolina flour and little muddy from the rye. After a long initial rest, it will absorb all the water it needs to soften the texture and make the dough easier to shape.

  • Yield: 1 Loaf


  • 50 g (¼ cup) bubbly, active starter
  • 365 g (1½ cups plus 1 tsp) warm water
  • 100 g (⅔ cup) semolina flour
  • 100 g (¾ cup plus 1 tbsp) white whole wheat flour
  • 50 g (½ cup) white rye flour
  • 300 g (2½ cups) bread flour
  • 9 g (1½ tsp) fine sea salt
  • 180 g (1½ cups) sunflower seeds, for coating
How to Make It
  1. A few days before baking, feed your starter until bubbly and active. Store at room temperature until ready to use.
  2. Make the dough
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the starter and water together with a fork. Add the flours and salt. Combine to form a rough dough, then finish mixing by hand until the flour is fully absorbed. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Meanwhile, replenish your starter with fresh flour and water, and store according to preference.
  4. After the dough has rested, work it into a fairly smooth ball, about 15 to 20 seconds.
  5. Bulk rise
  6. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let rise at room temperature until double in size. This will take about 6 to 8 hours at 70°F (21°C). Optional Step: About 30 minutes into the bulk rise, stretch and fold the dough for added structure and height. Repeat this technique, about 2 to 3 sets, spaced 45 minutes apart.
  7. Shape the dough and coat with seeds
  8. Remove the dough onto a floured work surface. Shape it into an oval and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, line a 10-inch (25-cm) oval proofing basket with a towel and set aside. Spread the sunflower seeds on a damp kitchen towel.
  9. With floured hands, gently cup the dough and pull it toward you to tighten its shape. Lightly brush the surface and sides of the dough with water. Using a bench scraper, place the dough onto the seeds, wet side down. Lift both sides of the towel and rock it back and forth to coat the dough. Place the dough into your basket, seam side up.
  10. Second rise
  11. Cover the dough and let rest until puffy but not fully risen, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  12. Score
  13. Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C). Cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit the size of your baking pot.
  14. Bake
  15. Bake the dough on the center rack for 20 minutes, covered. Remove the lid, and continue to bake for 40 minutes. When finished, transfer the loaf to a wire rack. Cool for 1 hour before slicing.
  16. This loaf will stay fresh up to 1 day in a plastic bag, stored at room temperature.

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