With Whole Wheat Flour, Wheat Bran, and Seeds
Valentine's Day is almost here, and heart-shaped everything is everywhere you look. However, this loaf with a beautiful heart scoring design was not made for it. It was inspired by an American Heart Month that raises awareness about heart disease and the lifestyle changes we can all do to prevent it. One of them is eating healthier food that lowers blood sugar and cholesterol. So, in this Seeded Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread, I used all of the ingredients that are good for your heart.
First of all, sourdough bread itself has a low glycemic index, i.e., the rate at which glucose is released into the bloodstream, which is essential for blood sugar levels. When made with Whole Wheat Flour, it has the additional benefit of reducing cholesterol and blood pressure. According to Heart Foundation, "eating whole grain foods can reduce the risk of heart disease by up to 30%". On top of that, I added Wheat Bran for its amazing fiber content that lowers blood triglycerides as well as adds a sweet, nutty flavor to the bread.
Another source of fiber are Flax seeds, full of fiber and omega-3 fats, they help reduce "bad" LDL cholesterol. Sesame seeds, like flax seeds, contain lignans that, along with Vitamin E and other antioxidants, "may help prevent plaque buildup in your arteries, maintaining healthy blood pressure" (Healthline). To this mixture, I added one more seed kind that is especially high in Vitamin E (37% of RDI) - Sunflower seeds. Vitamin E functions as an antioxidant and reduces inflammation along with the levels of C-reactive protein, a protein that detects inflammation in the body. Lastly, I used Hemp Seeds, a great source of magnesium, which helps regulate your heartbeat (WebMD). To add even more nutrients and sweeten the bread, I added raw Honey, a wonderful and delicious antioxidant.
Since I try to make every process easier, I did not prepare a soaker for the seeds, and I did not incorporate them after mixing the dough. I just mixed everything together and added a little bit more water for the seeds to absorb. And the result was amazing - super soft, moist bread that stays like that until you finish it ( for us, it takes four days). Its golden brown color turned out lovely as well and created a nice contrast with the flour.
Use egg wash for the seeds to stick to the top of the dough, otherwise they fall off.
To make the flour stick better, slightly mist the dough with water, so there is a bigger visual contrast with the design when baked.
Use a linen liner with your banneton to create a smooth surface while proofing the dough.
Rice flour is the best for dusting the banneton and avoid the sticking of the dough.
Check out this post to learn more about the Benefits of Sourdough Bread.
As usual, I simplify my recipes, so they are easy to follow for beginners. I avoid using complex numbers and ingredients, so the recipe is more clear and less intimidating for new bakers. I list ingredients for 2 loaves so you can bake 2 and share 1 as a gift. To make a single loaf, simply divide each ingredient by 2.
Ingredients for 2 loaves:
Starter feeding 1:3:3 Ratio
50g Sourdough Starter (we use Whole Wheat starter)
75g Bread flour
75g Whole Wheat Flour
150g Water (bottled or filtered)
700g Bread flour
250g Whole Wheat Flour
50 g Wheat Bran
800g Water (bottled or filtered)
300g Starter @ 100% Hydration
50g Sunflower Seeds
50g Sesame Seeds
50g Flax Seeds
50g Hemp Seeds
2 tbsp Honey
Rice Flour for dusting
1 Egg for egg wash
Extra Seeds for decorating the top
Prepare the Starter (morning 10 am)
Feed 50g of starter with 75g bread flour, 75 g whole wheat flour, and 150g water at 85-90°F, cover, and leave it on the counter to ferment for 6 hours. It should double in size by then.
Make the Dough (afternoon 4 pm)
Combine 300g of starter with 800g of water at 85-90°F and 1 tbsp of honey in a large mixing bowl and mix until the starter is dissolved.
Mix in all of the seeds and 50g of wheat bran.
Then add 700g of bread flour, 250g of whole wheat flour, and 20g of salt to the mixture and mix the dough with fingers until all of the ingredients are well incorporated with no dry bits left.
Cover and leave it on the counter for 30 min - 1 hour to autolyse.
Stretch and Fold
For the next hour and a half, perform stretching and folding technique every 30 min: take one side of the dough, stretch it as far as you can, and fold it on top of the dough. Turn the bowl counter-clockwise and do it 7 more times, stretching and folding each side.
Cover and leave the dough on the counter for 3-4 hours to rise at about 76°F room temperature.
Shape and Proof (evening 8 pm)
Mist the bannetons with water and sprinkle with Rice flour.
Gently take the dough out of the bowl, place it onto an unfloured surface, and divide the dough into 2 equal parts.
Shape the dough into the final round shape using the same stretch and fold technique as above, stretching and folding 4 sides until you see a smooth side of the dough (about 8 times).
Gently turn the dough with your hands round and round to create the surface tension and make it into a tight ball. Do not over-shape.
Flour the top with bread flour and put each piece in the banneton seam side up and dust the top of the dough with rice flour.
Place the bannetons in plastic bags and let the dough rest overnight in the fridge.
Bake (next day)
Test the dough if it's ready to bake by gently pressing it with your finger. If it springs back up slowly - it's ready.
Preheat the oven to maximum temperature (550°F in our case).
Carefully flip the dough out of the banneton into the dutch oven or a cast iron combo cooker (no need to preheat it.)
Dust off the rice flour with a brush, brush the top of the dough with an egg wash and cover it in the seed mixture entirely or partially.
Score the dough with a razor blade and put the lid on.
Reduce the temperature to 475°F and bake for 30 min.
Remove the lid, reduce the temperature to 450°F and bake for another 20 min uncovered.
Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool completely before cutting.
Tools I used: