Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sourdough Flax Seed Bread

I was looking for yet another sourdough recipe in which to use my starter, Virgil. I felt like he had been neglected ever since Number One took over Horatio and started making sourdough biscuits almost every day, and also since I acquired a third sourdough starter (yet to be named) from our lovely aunt Becky.

I was intrigued by some recipes I ran across which called for flax seeds. I have an abundance of flax seeds for making homemade granola, but it only calls for 1/4 cup per batch and they just don't get used up fast enough. As luck would have it, for some odd reason (a town full of bread bakers perhaps?), the grocery store actually carries flax meal as well. I didn't have to special order it or go to a big city or anything! So it was settled.

I got Virgil out of the fridge, apologized for neglecting him, and fed him. I let him sit extra long on the counter because I felt bad. And then I chose this recipe. It is from a website called Sourdough Home, modified from a recipe out of Classic Sourdoughs: A Home Baker's Handbook. (another cookbook I don't have...yet).

I halved the recipe because, what if it's not our family's favorite bread? and I didn't have 4 cups of sourdough starter ready.

I also did something else. This may sound snobby, but I simply cannot abide by a poorly organized recipe. Sorry. There is just something in me that recoils if the ingredients are not in the proper order in which they are to be used. So I rewrote the recipe. I included the original amounts, which will make 4 two-pound loaves of bread. To make 2 two-pound loaves instead, simply halve the ingredients like I did.

To be honest, the reason I am telling you the original amounts is this: I do not have the patience to figure out what one half of 1/3 cup would be. I just took out my 1/3 cup, filled it approximately halfway with olive oil, did the same with honey, and called it good. I understand that some folks would look at my scribbled "one half of 1/3 cup" and balk. So that's my reason.

Also, the author did not mention the method for baking the bread, in a loaf pan, on a baking sheet, ???, so I baked my loaves in greased loaf pans.

This bread is slightly sweet, and the variety of seeds are a nice addition. I can't wait to have some toasted for breakfast!

Sourdough Flax Seed Bread

Yield: 4 two pound loaves

4 tablespoons sunflower seeds
1/2 cup flax seeds
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
4 cups active sourdough starter
1 1/4 cups cold water
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup honey
1 cup flax meal
1 tablespoon salt
9 to 10 cups unbleached flour

Put the sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and poppy seeds in a clean, dry skillet over medium heat. Roast, stirring frequently, until they become fragrant. Be careful to make sure they don't scorch! You may also roast the seeds in a 375F oven for 5 to 10 minutes.

Mix the active starter, water, oil and honey together. Add the seeds. Stir in the flax meal and salt. Stir in the flour one cup at a time until dough is too thick to stir.

Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead until the dough is resilient. The dough is rather sticky, so be careful not to add too much flour (I probably added about 1 more cup). Once the dough is well kneaded, place it in a well-oiled bowl, turn to coat with oil, and cover with a damp dish towel. Let it rise until doubled, approximately two hours. *My kitchen was chilly and drafty this morning, so it never really doubled.

Punch dough down, knead again briefly, divide and shape into loaves. Place in greased loaf pans and let rise, covered, until doubled. *Again, even though my kitchen was warm enough by now, my loaves didn't double. They did rise some, just not double.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake 30 to 45 minutes.


reddquilter said...

Love the Bread!
I will try this recipe very soon.
I buy WHOLE flax seed and then grind as needed using a coffee grinder (one that I only use for the flax seed and spices). It is cheaper this way and more importantly fresher.

Min said...

This is a yummy bread, let me know what you think! I have a spice grinder too, but didn't think to grind my own seeds...maybe when my new kitchen is finished, I'll be up for trying it!

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