Monday, 10 July 2017

Sunflower Bread - The Sourdough Way

I set this recipe for the July sourdough baking challenge.  It is on page 117 of Jane Mason's Book: Perfecting Sourdough.  I was inspired by a friend describing the sunflowers following the sun near her home in Spain, and also seeing those potted 'Sunflowers' for sale in a local supermarket.

The loaves were baked the morning in between folds of the bulk ferment, I spent time in the garden.  It is still very hot here which may account for the fast rises.  It was probably over 26 C in the kitchen.

The dough may have just over risen which meant it did not have quite the round shape I look for these days.  Never mind, I shall have to consider whether I need to leave out a little of the liquid, or allow the final rise to be set at a cooler temperature, bake a little sooner, or bake in tins.  Maybe it is the weight of the seeds, and the fact that I brushed the dough once it came out of the bannetons with skilly wash and then scattered on the sunflower seeds which may have flattened the loaves.  I look forward to seeing what other members of the group on facebook turn out.  Perfecting sourdough is a journey and with ones own lessons to be learnt.

Skilly wash as learnt from Clive Mellum in his book: 1 large teaspoon cornflour thickened with 125ml boiling water.  I keep the balance for more baking later in the week, in a jar in the fridge.  This really helps the seeds to stick on the loaves and give a great sheen, without having to 'break an egg'.

Here is the recipe with Jane Mason's permission with abbreviated directions...but I would recommend that you buy her book, or borrow a copy from the library,  and read carefully her good guidance at the start of the book, and various sections, as well as within the recipes.

80g wheat sourdough starter
330g whole wheat or spelt flour
250g white wheat or spelt flour
305g water
100g milk
50g honey
50g butter or lard
70g sunflower seeds, plus extra to decorate
10g salt

Evening:  refresh sourdough by adding 80g of the wholewheat flour and 80g of the water from the above ingredients, and put the sunflower seeds to soak.  These must be rinsed and drained before using the following day.  I allowed for 100g to include the topping for two loaves.
Morning: add all the ingredients, Knead well for 10 minutes, and leave in a bowl under cover on the work-surface.  Additionally, I like to do stretches of the dough still in the bowl, which helps to develop the gluten, every hour or so.
After 3 or four hours, shape, and put into a prepared basket or baskets, or tins,
After a further rise of about 2 hours or longer, when it has risen, it is time for it to be rolled carefully out of the baskets and onto a parchment lined baking sheet, and baked in a very hot oven for 10 minutes, then a further 30 minutes at 200 C.  The seeds can scorch so cover with more parchment after 20 minutes.

I prefer to cook my bread in smaller than 1 KG I used a 750g oval and 500g roundish one.  Next time I would use either tins, or my two 500g bannetons, and reduce the water slightly.  I used all wheat flour this time.....


  1. I'm definitely going to have to try this! I love Jane Mason's recipes, and have been obsessed with the Book of Buns. This skilly wash is intriguing too!

    1. Hi Karen, the Book of buns has some great buns....the sourdough book has helped me to get a good range of loaves.

  2. Lovely loaves.