Multi-seeded whole wheat sourdough bread is airy, chewy, and springy, is loaded with 6 different types of seeds inside, and has a signature crispy crust coated in more seeds. This small batch sourdough takes just 15-20 minutes of actual work to make. The rest of the time needed is to allow the dough time to sit and rise. So so easy.
What is in Seeded Sourdough?
- sourdough starter - you can make your own sourdough starter with a combination of flour and water. It takes about 7 days to create a mature starter.
- flour - combination of all-purpose flour + whole wheat flour
- seeds - mixture of flax seeds, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, white sesame seeds and black sesame seeds.
How to Make Small Batch Seeded Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread
Making seeded whole wheat sourdough bread is essentially the same as that of regular sourdough, with a few key differences.
Prepare the Starter and the Dough
- If your sourdough starter if not ready to go, and is stored in the fridge, take it out and feed it 12 hours in advance. Let it rise for 6 hours or until doubled in size. Do a float test to check if it is ready.
- In a large mixing bowl, add sourdough starter, all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and water, and whisk to combine. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 30 minutes. Add salt and fold into the dough for a few seconds to combine.
Develop the Gluten in the Dough (Kneading vs. Stretching and Folding)
There are many techniques in helping develop the gluten network in the dough. The type of flour and hydration in a recipe plays an important role in choosing whether you should knead the dough or stretch and fold.
- When handling the sticky wet dough (over 70% hydration), 3 sets of stretching and folding with 30 minutes rest periods in between is sufficient.
- When handling low hydration dough (less than 60%) such as bagels, good kneading is required to get all the flour incorporated and the gluten strengthened.
This recipe calls for 68% hydration in dough. Therefore, it’s not as sticky and can hold its shape relatively well. You can choose to either knead the dough by hand or stretch and fold.
>> To Knead the Dough by Hand
- Transfer the dough onto a clean and dry surface. Push the dough down and outward using the palms of your hands. Fold the dough in half toward you and press down. Repeat this motion for 5 minutes by pushing the dough down and outward, and then folding over towards you.
- Cover the dough with a large bowl upside down on top and let it rest for 5 minutes. Resting allows the gluten in the dough to relax and further strengthen more efficiently. It's also the science behind no knead bread by allowing the dough to rest for a long fermentation period and effectively breaking down the gluten by itself into shorter pieces, making it much easier to travel and re-align. (This is very similar to how sleep aids in muscle repair and new muscle growth in the human body). However, this technique only works for high hydration wet dough (over 70% hydration). Low hydration dough, on the other hand, takes much longer time to develop gluten. Hence, kneading will greatly help combine all the ingredients and build gluten strength.
- Knead for another 5 minutes until dough is smooth and supple.
- Cover and let the dough rest in a large bowl for 2.5 hours, or until it almost doubles in size.
>> To Stretch and Fold the Dough
- Apply some water on your hands and stretch and fold the dough in the bowl by folding the edges over to the centre, one edge at a time. Wet hands makes it easier to work with the dough and it should take you less than a minute to fold all 4 sides.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes. Stretch and fold the dough again, cover, and let dough rest for another 30 minutes.
- Repeat this step one final time -- stretch and fold the dough, cover, and let it rest until it almost doubles in size, up to 90 minutes.
Add Seeds and Shape the Dough
- Mix the seeds together in a shallow bowl. Add half of the seeds into the dough by flattening and folding the mixed seeds into the dough. Repeat until seeds are evenly distributed into the dough.
- Transfer dough to a floured surface and sprinkle dough with a little flour. Shape the dough into a tight ball by folding the edges over to the centre. Turn the dough over and use a bench scraper to push the dough back and forth to create a tight ball.
- Lightly press the dough on a clean damp dish cloth and then dip it into the remaining mixed seeds in the shallow bowl. Swirl the dough to cover it evenly with seeds.
Proof, Score and Bake
- Place the ball of dough into a medium bowl lined with a floured dishcloth. Cover the bowl let the dough rest at room temperature for approximately 3 to 3.5 hours (OR rest in the refrigerator overnight for 8 to 12 hrs).
- Remove dough from bowl and place upside down into the centre of a 9x9-inch piece of parchment paper. Use scissors to gently snip to score the dough. Place dough back into the bowl and cover until oven is preheated.
- Place a 4-quart Dutch oven with lid (or a medium oven-safe cooking pot with metal lid) into the oven and preheat to 450° F. Gently place dough with parchment paper into the Dutch oven. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Then, remove lid and continue to bake for another 20 minutes. Remove the bread from the pot, and allow it to cool completely for one hour.
Frequently Asked Questions on Whole Wheat Sourdough
- How do I make sourdough starter? You will need 7 days create a fully mature starter using flour and water. Please refer to my sourdough complete starter guide for help. The guide also includes the top frequently asked questions.
- How do I make my dough rise? Always use a fully mature sourdough starter to ensure that your bread rises. A lively and mature sourdough smells yeasty and a little fruity. Check that your starter is ready by dropping a teaspoon of starter in a cup of water and see if it floats (the float test).
- Why did my dough not rise? There are a few reasons why this could happen. One reason is that the starter was not mature. Another reason is that the dough was over proofed. Do not over proof the dough. Over proofing breaks down gluten in dough and makes dough sticky and slack. The dough will not rise, but instead will be flat, and have a stronger sour taste. You can prevent this by letting the dough rise at cooler temperature (such as in the refrigerator overnight).
- How do I make a bigger or small batch? Generally speaking, in most of my bread recipes, I add in 2% salt, 20-25% sourdough starter (for sourdough recipes) or 1% to 1.5% yeast (for yeast bread recipes). The hydration of the bread determines amount of water added. For example, if you are making a smaller batch using a total of 300 grams flour, you would need 6 grams salt (300 x 2% = 6), 60 grams sourdough starter (300 x 20% = 60). If you are making 60% hydration bread, then you would need 180 grams water (300 x 60% = 180). This method is commonly known as the Baker's percentage. Baker's percentage indicates a ratio in percentages for each ingredient's weight to the total flour weight. For sourdough recipes, percentage of starter added not only affects the total hydration in dough since the starter itself is 100% hydration dough (water to flour ratio) but also changes the rate of fermentation. The consensus is that longer fermentation yields tastier bread. The same reason why I would leave my sourdough in the refrigerator overnight (8 to 12 hours) before baking instead of sitting it out at room temperature for 3 hours.
How to Serve Seeded Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread
This sourdough bread is delicious with some cream cheese or butter. I love to serve it for breakfast with some scrambled eggs and micro greens on top. It's also really good in a tuna melt grilled cheese sandwich.
More Sourdough Recipes
- Small Batch Sourdough Bread
- How to Make Sourdough Starter
- Artisan Green Olive Sourdough Bread
- Savoury Chive Pancakes with Sourdough Starter
- Sourdough Cinnamon Roll Twist Bread
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