Sunflower and Wheat Bread Recipe

This recipe creates the time honoured sunflower bread that seems to pop up all over the place (including toasters..sorry).

A variation using toasted sunflower kernels will also appear in the site down the track, but this recipe makes for a deliciously creamy bread, quite different from the more nutty recipes with seeds I'll be puttimg up here soon.



 Bakery History Artefact:

At one of our 'pre bakeries' - a home kitchen in beachside Coogee, Sydney NSW, where we set up our first 'proper' bakery, Heaven's Leaven bread was baked to sell to local Eastern Suburbs delicatessens and at our 'mobile market stalls' in Paddington Markets in Sydney every Saturday. We baked this bread in Pyrex glass bowls, and originally turned the dough by hand, so that it would never come into contact with metal, to preserve an enzyme which would otherwise not reach us, apparently. I can't remember, or possibly I choose not to remember the science (ideology more likely) - I only remember turning massive plastic tubs of dough for sunflower sourdough which we made and baked in a small commercial oven in the back room. I grew forearms the size of a bricklayer over the six months or so of hand mixing we did for all the bread made from this little kitchen. Always a good workout, I told myself at the time, but my body ached after producing six or seven of these 25 or 30 kilo doughs, by hand from scratch..(I will put this story on the site at a later date).

The Sunflower and Wheat bread recipe following is another Porridge Bread recipe using the porridge method not once but twice! and to prepare the sunflower kernels, you'll need to follow the Blanched Method in the Tips and Tricks Section of the website. This recipe makes, as usual, 2 one kilo loaves of Sunflower and Wheat Bread.









You'll need:


1kg of organic 80/20 flour, or organic wholemeal and organic light flours mixed at about half and half (regular wholemeal flour will do if you are unable to access organic flour, or are a cheapskate, like me, at times...)





300g of blanched sunflower kernels (Using Whole Grains tells you more details about how to blanch and store blanched mixtures and porridges so you can multiply the enzyme benefits in your doughs).




(In short, this means 150 grams of sunflower kernels and 150 grams of boiling water allowed to cool. Thus, 300g!)





300 grams of sourdough starter - old dough, wet starter, dry starter, whatever you have or use mostly. It has to be ripe, but the porridge mix will help activity along nicely.




500 mls ml of warm water (liquid measurements, I'll say again, are always the most flexible part of the recipe. Different flours can hold vastly different amounts of water. I believe it's best to develop a feel for dough and doughmaking, a very pleasurable thing to do for most people, so you can refer to your own experience - and of course a degree of 'touch' definitely comes into it.  This recipe may well nee d less water than I've indicated.Start by adding in about 400 mils, and more in splashes as required).





24 grams of cooking salt.




You'll also need:

Two Bread Tins. This recipe makes two loaves of about a kilo each. You can experiment with tin sizes until you find one that suits this sourdough loaf. It will rise well, but it takes a while to rise.


Mixing bowl or large plastic box. This little box does everything you need in a home bakery. It proofs, stores dough, starter (for larger home bakeries) and fits neatly tin the fridge. This one is 10 litres, and there's a larger one that's 15 litres, which is excellent for storage of 5 kg bags and general home baker products.

Available now from SourdoughBaker Shop.


Digital Scales. Preferably 2gm increment, for up to about 2 kg. You won't generally need more than th is.





Water Jug or container. Should measure up to about 2 litres. See through is be tter.





Dough Cutter. Another utility device for the home baker. Cuts dough, scrapes benches and boxes. I've got different ones for different purposes. They all get used.




Stop Press: You can get most of these handy kitchen utensils right here at the brand new SourdoughBaker Shop Utensils and Tools Section. Check out our selection of quality home bakery utensils and tools.

We have a flat rate of $10 for postage and handling Australia Wide, can send overnight to most places, and our Bulk Prices (see '5 packs') will save you 12% or more on our already very keen prices in other sections too, such as Ingredients Supply.




Divide the flour into two equal parts, put into separate containers, and 'blanch' one with warm water (half your total water, or 250ml) and set it aside to cool for an hour or so. I always blanch organic wholemeal flour. This is because the wholemeal needs a little bit of softening before using it in dough. Bran, especially bran which comes from the stone milling process, is quite 'sharp', when referring to its effect on the development of gluten. Bran tends to 'cut' gluten up. That's why I like to soften it beforehand for long enough for the bran to have absorbed the water, thereby rendering it 'blunt', and harmless to the development of gluten.





Pour into the mixing box or bowl the blanched sunflower kernels, and add the dry flour from the previous step.



Add the Starter. In this case, I'm using my Dry Dough Sourdough Starter, which is a more powerful starter than we usually use. It's very similar to old dough in texture, though, only drier, a bit like desem starter dough, which one of my readers kindly directed me to. Thank you Julie! I'm experimenting, as you can see!



All the 'dry' and some of the 'blanched' ingredients are in the mixing box, ready for water. Note the texture of the dry starter! It's like a piece of sandstone, only made of rubber..well, this stuff is different and very interesting. More soon, I promise!




Mix almost all the fairly warm water (warmer than luke warm) in your Mixing Box or Bowl with the Sourdough Starter, and the cooled blanched sunflower kernels, stirring them together till it's softened all the starter.




Wait 15 minutes while it softens, give it a thorough stir, wai t another 15 minutes, and proceed to the next step. With a bit of luck, the 'porridge' you are making here will still have a  b it of warmth in it by the time it's mixed with the blanched wholemeal flour.  



Handy Hint for warm proofing:

I position my mixing box with the porridge or whatever I'm proofing or blanching in on top of my coffee machine, (a beautif ul B e zzera Domus Galatea, which fuels this writer each hour or so with precious golden espresso). The machine keeps the dough very warm for short periods, but overheats it if left there for longer periods. I just place an inverted second lid beneath the box, which insulates the base from the heat if I want to actually incubate or proof things a bit. You'll improvise at home. There are always warm places - under the hot water unit, on the front window sill in the sun, on top of the fridge, in the linen press, etc., etc. 




Here's an 'almost sponged' porridge of the previous ingredients (dry flour, ripe dry starter, blanched sunflower kernels and warm water.

This was kept atop the bezzera coffee machine for about an hour, and came out warmer than it went in. The texture, on this occasion, was amazing - was very similar to a yeasted sponge, but lumpier and slippery.


Pour all of the ingredients into the mixing box bowl ready to bring together to a dough.


I've just poured the blanched wholemeal flour on top of the sponged porridge mix, and I'm poking it with my fingers to push everything together. This gets the blanched wholemeal flour and soft porridge mix introduced to each other.


You may need a splash more water to do this, but be sparing - at this stage the dough looks dry, but it will soften soon. I stir the flour around on top of the paste until it comes together, then proceed to the next stage.

Remember to add only a little water at a time, because each time you add water the dough comes apart. Try to avoid this happening - and add less next time.

Press it all together into a flat sheet in the box, and roll with both hands roughly till you form a big cylinder of dough, no matter how rough. Rough is good. It's a fairly soft dough, so don't try to work it. Just tuck in the ends under the cylinder in until you form a ball in the bowl.

You can repeat this flattening and folding process a number of times before the salt is added, allowing the unsalted dough to rest for at least 10 minutes between turns. Each time, cover or lid the container, and leave in a warm place.  When it's beginning to become a smooth dough, allow to rest for half an hour, and move to the next stage.


Add salt by wetting the dough with either a spray gun or wet hands, sprinkling the salt over the top of the wet dough. You will notice a dramatic transformation as soon as you begin to work the salt into the dough, as it causes the fully relaxed gluten to suddenly contract. The autolyse process has had time to form the gluten into strands and then sheets. That's 'Delayed Salt' proving its strange worth again.



Knead it in until combined, which will be when the salt can't be felt as you knead. Round the dough, and leave with the seam on the bottom.





Let the finished dough rest and rise for about three to six hours, depending on the season.





It's ready when you poke it and there is little, if any, resistance. It feels like it has given up. Your finger marks will stay there for a while. If it resists, it isn't ready.



Now cut the dough into two chunks of roughly one kilogram each.





Round them, with the seam at the bottom. Rest for an hour or so. Again, if you poke the dough and it resists, it isn't ready yet. If it feels like it is giving in, it's ready. 




Form into two cylinders, just by squeezing the bottom in with the outside of each of both hands, as if you are holding an open book in both palms. Spray or wipe with water, and dust with sunflower grits, or simply leave plain. Slash deeply and slowly with an 'S', or whatever your chosen decorative signature might be.




Place formed and slashed dough cylinders in your pre oiled tins. Allow to rise, covered, for about an hour or more - this bread rises quite a bit, but quite slowly. Keep it in its box, in a warmish place, but be careful of overheating when proofing this long. So a warm place, but not too warm! When the tin is broached by about a quarter of the dough inside, in other words when the dough has risen to completely fill the tin, it's ready for baking. If you've made good dough, you can achieve a good height in this loaf. It's all in the turns!




Bake at 160 degrees in a prepared oven (see 'how to use an oven properly') for 55 to 75 minutes.


If you like a really thick crust, wind the oven down to 140 and bake for another half hour.

This bread is derived from my very first sourdough bakery's product range. We used to walk around Paddington markets and sell fifty of these in half an hour to all the stallholders. Then we'd have to leave as the security guards would chase us away! Hmm.. keep an eye on the stories section for that one!

Other Sourdough Recipes in this site include:

White Sourdough, using a wet starter

White Sourdough, using the old dough method

Spelt Sourdough

Wholemeal Sourdough

Light Rye Sourdough

Medium Rye Sourdough

Continental bread

Feel free to investigate and refer to this site as a resource.


For more Sourdough Breadmaking information, recipes and resources - read on!

If you would like to flesh out your knowledge about sourdough breadmaking at home, have a look at the Recommended Reading section. I have listed a number of my all time favourite breadmaking books there. Follow the links if you would like to purchase any of the books online. Remember, if you buy a book through this site, it will help me to continue building this free sourdough breadmaking resource.

While you're here, have a look at SourdoughBaker's Online Shop. A dedicated shop for the keen home baker.

Right now, you can get the following essentials:

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You can find direct links to any of the sourdough recipes in this site by following your favourite looking recipe below:

Happy Sourdough Baking!