The next bread in the BBA Challenge is #35 Sunflower Seed Rye. I loved making this bread! The dough is wonderful and so easy to work with and the flavor is extraordinary. I think I found my favorite bread! I could eat this bread and nothing else all day. Really!!!
I had been under a lot of stress due to a project at work last week, but when I got my hands on this dough, my stress just melted away. I like to mix and knead the dough by hand whenever possible. There’s just something about kneading and working the dough…
The fermentation time was only 90 minutes for the first rise and another 90 minutes after shaping so I was able to make this bread after work. I so needed (kneaded) that.
I really like the addition of sunflower (or pumpkin) seeds in this bread. Since the bread is called Sunflower Seed Rye, I decided it would be fun to shape one of the loaves like a sunflower. It’s actually a couronne with vertical cuts like an Epi but it looks like a flower to me so that’s what I’m calling it. The other loaf is shaped like a couronne.
This dough utilizes an overnight soaker made with coarse whole-rye (pumpernickel-grind) and water. I wasn’t able to find pumpernickel-grind and I didn’t want to order it, so I used stone-ground rye flour. However, I like this bread so much I just may have to order some.
Once all of the flour has been hydrated, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it out overnight at room temperature. The rye soaks up the water really quickly which is pretty cool.
You’re supposed to make the soaker the day before you want to bake the bread. However, I have a confession to make. I did this part and let the soaker sit overnight and most of the next day, but was too exhausted the next evening to do anything with it. So I put the soaker in the refrigerator overnight and took it out again the next day to warm to room temperature. So instead of using it the day after making it (Sunday evening), I used it the 2nd day after making it (Tuesday evening). I wasn’t sure how it would work, but it performed beautifully!
The day before, also make a firm starter using the barm (starter), bread flour or high-gluten flour and water.
The firm starter rests on the counter for 4 to 5 hours and is then refrigerated overnight and used within 3 days so I didn’t have to worry about this one.
The next day, or two days later in my case, remove the starter from the refrigerator 1 hour before making the dough.
Sprinkle a little flour on the counter and transfer the starter to the counter. Cut it into 8 to 10 pieces with a pastry scraper. Mist with spray oil, cover with plastic wrap, and let it sit for 1 hour to take off the chill.
Now, it’s time to make the dough by stirring together the dry ingredients, then adding the soaker and starter pieces and water.
And mix until the ingredients form a soft ball.
Transfer the dough to the counter sprinkled with flour and knead the dough until it feels soft and supple, tacky but not sticky. This needs to be completed in 4 minutes so that the dough doesn’t get gummy.
Add sunflower seeds (or pumpkin seeds) by gradually working them into the dough within 2 minutes.
The total mixing time should be no more than 6 minutes, if possible. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover it with plastic wrap.
And let it ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until it doubles in size.
Transfer the dough to a counter sprinkled with flour, taking care to minimize degassing it. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces and gently form them into boules. Let the boules rest on the counter for about 5 minutes, then shape them into a couronne.
Do this by poking a hole in the center of the ball.
Gently stretch it into a large, circular, doughnutlike shape.
Lay it down on a counter that has been dusted with flour.
Then, crease all four quadrants with a dowel or thin rolling pin. I used a dowel.
Dust the cracks with flour to prevent them from sealing closed. Set it aside for proofing.
For the 2nd loaf, I followed the above instructions for shaping a couronne.
Then let it rest on the counter sprinkled with flour for a few minutes.
I then made vertical cuts in the dough like you would for an epi. It was supposed to look like a wreath, but ended up looking like a flower, but I’m ok with that since this is sunflower seed bread.
Transfer the dough to a parchment lined baking sheet and mist the dough with spray oil. Then cover loosely with plastic wrap.
Proof the dough at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, or until it increases to about 1 1/2 times its original size.
Prepare your oven for hearth baking by placing a baking stone on the middle shelf and a steam pan on the bottom shelf of the oven. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Rather than baking the bread directly on the baking stone, I opted to place the baking sheet (with the dough on it), on top of the baking stone. This prevented the bottom of the loaf from burning.
At this point, pour 1 cup of hot water into the steam pan and close the door. After 30 seconds, open the door, spray the walls with water, and close the door. Repeat twice more at 30-second intervals, then lower the oven setting to 450 and bake for 10 minutes. Check the breads and rotate them 180 degrees for even baking
Lower the oven setting to 425 and continue baking until the loaves are golden brown. This should take about 15 to 25 minutes longer.
Remove the loaves from the oven and cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before slicing and serving.
Waiting was really the hard part on this one. The loaves looked so good, I wanted to taste them right away.
Here is the couronne!
And here is the Sunflower with a view of the crumb.
I really like this bread! It has a delicious, nutty flavor. I’ll definitely be making this one again. And soon!
Thanks for joining us this week in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge. The next bread in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge is Stollen (page 252 in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice).
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