Since fall is in full swing and turning my place into a sauna is starting to make sense, we continue with more bread baking. Our most recent exploit had the oven cranked up at maximum temperature but today’s featured recipe bakes at a balmy 460ºF with steam. Lots of steam. So much steam that I had to keep a safe distance from the oven lest nether regions get soft-boiled.
The result is a crusty boule that crackles audibly when pulled from the oven. Bespeckled with toasted sunflower seeds and coarse rye grains, nutty flavors thoroughly permeate the loaf and give it its distinctive character.
Jeffrey Hamelman suggests pairing sonnenblumenbrot with hard cheeses, peanut butter, jams, or butter. My pick? None of the above. A lightly toasted slice is enough to satisfy my simple tastes.
German Sunflower Seed Bread
makes one boule weighing approximately 1 1/4 pounds / 567 grams
Cracked rye and raw sunflower seeds.
For the Pâte Fermentée (Pre-fermented Dough):
Ingredients Volume Ounces Grams bread flour, unbleached 1/2 cup 2.13 60 water, at room temperature 3 tbsp 1.4 40 instant yeast pinch kosher salt pinch .33 1
Pâte Fermentée (Pre-fermented Dough) Instructions:
Mix the pâte fermentée ingredients until a shaggy ball of dough is formed. Knead the pâte fermentée for about 2 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
Place the pâte fermentée in a bowl and cover. Leave at room temperature for 12 to 16 hours.
For the Soaker:
Ingredients Volume Ounces Grams rye chops 1/2 cup 2.13 60 water, at room temperature 1/3 cup 2.67 76
- I used cracked rye instead of rye chops. Cracked rye absorbs water at a slower rate than rye chops, so use boiling instead of room temperature water to fully soften the grains.
Mix the soaker ingredients until evenly hydrated. Cover and leave at room temperature for about 4 hours.
Final Dough Formula:
Ingredients Volume Ounces Grams all of the soaker bread flour, unbleached 2 cups 8.5 242 water, at room temperature 1/2 cup 4.5 127 kosher salt 2 tsp .2 6 instant yeast 2 tsp malt syrup or honey 1 tsp sunflower seeds, toasted 1/2 cup 2.13 60 all of the pâte fermentée, cut into small pieces sunflower seeds, raw, for topping
Final Dough Instructions:
Mix Mix all of the ingredients, except the pâte fermentée pieces, until a shaggy dough is formed. Add the pâte fermentée pieces and continue mixing until evenly incorporated. Knead 6 to 8 minutes Rest 5 minutes Knead 1 minute to further strengthen the gluten. The dough will still be a bit sticky. Ferment #1 1 hour at room temperature Stretch and Fold Ferment #1 1 hour at room temperature Preshape loose rounds Rest 15 to 20 minutes Shape and Top shape into a tight boule and top with raw sunflower seeds Preheat Oven 460ºF/238ºC Final Proof 60 to 90 minutes at room temperature, seeded side up
Proofed sunflower seed bread dough.
Score Try to keep as much of the sunflower seeds intact.
A surgeon I am not.
Steam 2 cups of boiling water poured into a heavy steam pan, preferably cast iron Bake Bake at 460ºF/238ºC for about 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking to brown the loaves evenly and let the steam escape. Cool At least 1 hour
The crust crackles as it cools.
How do you slice without scattering sunflower seeds all over?
Links about Jeffrey Hamelman’s Sunflower Seed Bread: