• The loaf has a hint of honey, making it ideal for a sweet or savoury breakfast. (Alan Benson)

Bake your own wholesome loaf of sourdough, dense with wholegrains and nutrition-packed seeds. 

Makes
2

Preparation

1hr

Cooking

35min

Skill level

Mid
By
Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

Standing time: 13 hours | Proving time: 7¾ — 8¾ hours | Cooling time: 1 hour

This loaf has a more dense, less ‘holey’ texture than the basic sourdough bread due to the seeds and added bran from the wholemeal flour. It’s wonderful used to make sandwiches, or toasted for breakfast, topped with avocado and tomato, or with lashings of butter or ricotta and honey. It makes two loaves or you can also make rolls using the same seeded wholemeal dough (get the recipe for the rolls here).

I love the process of setting a day aside to bake bread. This dough is folded six times (not kneaded) with rests in between. Below is a timeline to help you map out your day of baking.

Feed your sourdough starter to get it active, 4 — 8 hours

↓ ↓ 

Make levain, stand 12 hours (overnight)

↓ ↓ 

Mix levain + dough, stand 1 hour

↓ ↓ 

1st folding, prove 45 mins

↓ ↓ 

 2nd folding, prove 45 mins 

↓ ↓ 

3rd folding, prove 45 mins

↓ ↓ 

4th folding, prove 45 mins

↓ ↓ 

5th folding, prove 45 mins

↓ ↓ 

6th folding, prove 1 — 2 hours

↓ ↓ 

Shape into loaves, prove 3 hours
(OR prove 1-2 hours, then transfer to fridge for 12 — 14 hours)

↓ ↓ 

Bake at 240ºC for 20 mins, then 220ºC for 15 — 20 mins

↓ ↓ 

Cool (1 hour), slice, eat!

  

This recipe is part of our Bakeproof: Sourdough column. 

Ingredients

  • olive oil, for greasing
  • strong bread or pizza flour, for dusting

 

Levain

  • 50 g (2 tbsp) active sourdough starter
  • 75 g (½ cup) baker’s wholemeal flour (see Baker’s tip #1)
  • 80 g (80 ml/⅓ cup) lukewarm water

 

Dough

  • 500 g (3⅓ cups) strong bread or pizza flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 200 g (1⅓ cups) baker’s wholemeal flour
  • 2½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 50 g (¼ cup) fine polenta
  • 40 g (¼ cup) pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 40 g (¼ cup) sunflower seeds
  • 40 g (¼ cup) sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp linseeds (flaxseeds)
  • 2 tbsp poppyseeds
  • 540 g (540 ml) lukewarm water
  • 1 tbsp honey

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

1. To make the levain, combine the sourdough starter, flour and water in a medium bowl and mix until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and stand at room temperature overnight (12 hours). The levain should have expanded and be very bubbly when it’s ready to use (see Baker’s tip #2).

2. To make the dough, sift together the flours and salt, returning any husks to the bowl. Mix in the polenta and all the seeds.

3. Transfer the levain to a large bowl. Combine the water and honey. Add half to the levain and use a balloon whisk or spatula to break up the levain until almost smooth. Stir in the remaining water mixture. Add the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until combined and a very shaggy dough forms. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm draught-free place for 1 hour.

4. Instead of kneading, you are going to stretch and fold the dough (See Baker’s tip #3). To fold the dough, leave it in the bowl and pick up the top side of the dough, lift it up and fold it back on itself. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat three more times, turning the bowl after each fold. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm draught-free place for 45 minutes or until slightly risen. Repeat this folding process five more times (which will be 6 foldings in total), resting the dough for 45 minutes between each time you fold (see Baker's tip #4). When you start this process, the dough will be loose and shaggy but will become less so as you continue to fold and rest. Once all six folding and resting processes have been completed, the dough will be smoother, spongier and more elastic.

5. After the final sixth folding, cover and place in a warm draught-free place for 1-2 hours or until slightly puffed (you can leave to stand for up to 4 hours).

6. Brush two 11.5 cm x 20 cm (base measurement) loaf tins with oil and dust with flour to lightly coat. Gently turn the dough out of the bowl onto a well-floured surface. Being careful not to deflate the dough too much, use a sharp knife or a pastry scraper to cut the dough in half. Gently shape one dough portion into a rough rectangle. With a long side closest to you, fold the top third of the dough down and then fold the bottom third up in to cover. Use the side of your palm to press the dough where it meets to help seal it. Turn the dough over so the seam is underneath and use well-floured hands to roll the dough back and forth, gently stretching the dough, until the dough is about 25 cm long (slightly longer than your tins). Fold the ends of the dough under and place in one of the prepared pans. Repeat with the remaining dough portion. Place the loaf tins in sealed plastic bags (see Baker’s tip #5) and set aside in a warm draught-free place for 3 hours to prove or until well risen (see Baker’s tip #6).

7. Preheat the oven to 240°C (220°C fan-forced).

8. Place the loaves in the oven, throw a large handful of ice cubes into the bottom of the oven and immediately close the door (see Baker’s tip #7). Bake for 20 minutes.

9. Reduce the oven temperature to 220°C (200°C fan-forced) and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the crust is deeply coloured and the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the base. Transfer the loaves to a wire rack and set aside to cool before slicing. 

 

Baker’s tips

#1. Wholemeal baker’s flour has a higher protein content that regular wholemeal flour, making it more suited to bread making. You will find it at good health food and wholefood stores.

#2. To test when the levain is ready to use, drop a teaspoon of it into a glass of water and it should rise to the surface. This indicates that the levain is active and strong enough to produce enough carbon dioxide for it to be light enough to float.

#3. Folding the dough, along with the multiple resting / proving times in this recipe, replaces the kneading process and produces a bread with quite large, uneven air pockets and a great texture. The more air you can retain during this process, the more opened textured your crust will be.

#4. It is very easy to lose track of how many times you have folded your dough. To make sure you don’t lose track, use a permanent pen to put a mark on the plastic wrap covering your dough each time you finish a folding.

#5. Recycled plastic shopping bags or large snaplock bags work well to seal the dough in the tins for the last proving stage.

#6. In step 6, you can prove the loaves for 2 hours, or until risen slightly, in a warm draught-free place and then put them in the fridge overnight for 12-14 hours, if you wish. Remove the tins from the fridge and stand the dough at room temperature in the tins for 1-2 hours before baking.

#7. Creating steam by throwing a large handful of ice cubes into the bottom of your oven will help give your bread the best possible ‘oven spring’ or rise when baking and a thick, crunchy crust (read about 'Baking your bread'). 

 

Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Sarah O'Brien. Food preparation by Anneka Manning. Creative concept by Belinda So.

 

View previous Bakeproof columns and recipes here.

 

Anneka's mission is to connect home cooks with the magic of baking, and through this, with those they love. For hands-on baking classes and baking tips, visit her at BakeClub. Don't miss what's coming out of her oven via Facebook,TwitterInstagram and Pinterest.