Monday, 11 January 2016

Wholewheat sourdough with flax seeds and walnuts

This is all the bread we should have feasted on through the weekend, but the weather was so chilly right through the day that my yeast just wanted to nap and not do any work!

Anyway, everything happens for the best, and we will now calm our crazy Monday with fresh crusty bread for dinner!

In this recipe, I have used twice the quantity of sourdough that I would normally use, to make a mild flavoured loaf.  While this seems counter-intuitive, the logic was that a larger quantity of starter would speed the rise and not leave enough time for the dough to turn very acidic. It seems to have worked. The bread has just the hint of a tang, while it has the trademark chewiness and uneven air pockets of a sourdough.

Another interesting aspect of this bread is the colour and softness of the crumb. I believe these came from ground flax seeds (which can supposedly be used to replace eggs in muffins and cakes).  But I need to experiment more to be sure.


500 g wholewheat flour
100 g sourdough starter
15 g of mixed flax seeds and walnuts, ground fine
450 ml water at room temperature (90% hydration)
9 g salt
Flax seed for topping loaf


The dough after mixing
Mix the flour, starter and water and stir until there's no dry flour in the mix. Cover and allow to autolyse for an hour, or until the dough is stringy.

Add salt and the ground flax and walnut mixture and stretch and fold until combined.

Stretch and fold every 30 minutes at least 4 times, in the bowl. Allow to rest until the dough rises. Since the weather was cold today, it took 6 hours for the dough to show the slightest sign of rising.

Shape and set out in a proofing basket lined with a floured cloth. I used a rectangular cane basket lined with a kitchen towel.

Leave to rise, covered. After 4 hours, my dough had risen slightly, and was nowhere near double the volume (a loaf I had made last week with the same starter had risen dramatically in just 3 hours).

Preheat oven to 250ºC with a baking tray in place.

Turn out the shaped loaf onto parchment paper. Mist with water and sprinkle flax seed, pressing slightly with your fingers to get the seeds to stick.

Score the loaf and slide it along with the parchment paper onto the baking tray.

Slip a small bowl filled with boiling water into the oven and bake for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, remove the bowl, turn down the temperature to 180ºC and bake for 35 minutes or until the internal temperature of the loaf registers 94.5ºC.