Sunflower Seed Rye – Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge #35

I’m going to confess something. If you’d put the words sunflower seeds and bread in the same sentence 5 years ago, I would have probably called you a hippie. I would have then continued on the theme and said, “What’s next? Twigs? Berries?”. Of course, I didn’t hold any ill feelings to this point of view, but growing up on white bread (even if it was homemade), made me shy away from anything that would add crunch…and god forbid, fibre!

Thankfully, for a lack of better words, my tastes changed. Sure it took the diagnosing of cancer in my mom to really kick start a life of new views, but I’m better off. Not only did I make a serious, and life altering, change with regards to food, but to the big picture in general. Something I think she’d be really happy about. So, before I get too sidetracked, lets just say that when I looked at the recipe this weekend, I was welcoming it with open arms. Having now conquered the basic sourdough, New York style rye, Poilane-style miche, 100% sourdough rye, and pumpernickel bread, meant this was the last of the “sourdough” section. And it should be good, what with the toasted sunflower seeds and all.

I cheated right from the get go on this one. Seeing as the bucket of rye that I have isn’t of a course variety, I didn’t think it would require the entire 12-24 soaking. So with my wild yeast turned into a firm starter, and my soaker nice and ummm, soaked, I mixed everything into a bowl of magic. I also caught myself making another error, when I dropped my entire firm starter in. Some recipes call for the full amount, and some just a portion, so I quickly had to pull the sticky mess apart. Another reminder to always check the recipe kids!

With an entire day left to rise and bake, I let the bubbly yeast do it’s thing. And do its thing, it did. Proofing on a perfect schedule, meant I was soon throwing these pillowy puffs into a 500 degree oven. After 40 minutes, I hit the magic number and brought them out to cool. The crust was perfect when I cut into them, offering a great crackle, snap and pop. The interior was soft, and surprisingly light; even with all the sunflower seeds. The taste – fantastic. The toasted sunflower seeds offered an addictive flavour, while the rye and sourdough combination was spot on. A definite success, both at the homestead, and at work. I wonder what it’ll be like toasted for breakfast…

7 thoughts on “Sunflower Seed Rye – Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge #35

  1. I think I’m definitely hooked now. I had two separate starters going, just as back up, and I’ve officially dumped one… Nerves = strong as steel!

    • That’s why I dried some of mine in the first place. I still keep two of them (that’s the problem with naming your starters; it’s like throwing away a child).

      • I was just on the verge of naming them. Which of course makes it worse, because now I have to pick one name out of two.

        Was it hard to dry the starter?

      • It’s not hard to dry it. What I meant was that I dried it as a back up, so that if anything happened to the live starter, I could restart it from the dried.

        Drying it is easy. You feed it up, and when it’s at its peak, spread it thinly on Silpat or parchment and let it dry. After a few days, break it into little pieces (I give it a whirl in the food processor).

  2. What a gorgeous loaf, Chris… or, two! I need to get my starters going… I start, and then forget. I hate that. So, funny – the hippie comment… as I think I lived through that era! Well, I know I did. I was too young to be one… but the influence was profound. When I was 18 I bought my first Magic Mill Stone Wheat Grinder and I still have it. I started sprouting sprouts, making my own bread, yogurt, granola and fruit leather. I guess those are all pretty “hippyish”! So sorry to hear of your mom’s diagnosis. That hit me hard when I read it. Cancer attacked my grandmother at 75. She underwent major surgery and lived 21 more years. I hope your mom is doing better and I am certain that your support through diet and your enthusiasm in food inspires her daily. Is she close enough for you to drop off the occasional loaf? YUM!

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