I think that most people who follow my site will agree that I really like making breads above all other things. I can’t seem to help it. There is no other baked good that requires as much nurturing and understanding as a loaf of bread. It is unique in the fact that it really is alive, well that is until you go and throw it into a 500 degree oven. Sure cakes can be tempermental and delicate pastry dough can be fickle, but the challenge of making an excellent loaf of bread is like no other.
This sunflower seed batard recipe utilizes a 100% hydration sourdough or levain, which I believe adds to its incredible texture and flavor. It is a really wet dough, in the 80% hydration level, like a ciabatta, so patience is a must when working with it. Maybe I love making breads, especially difficult ones, because I enjoy that feeling of being needed. But however my obsession with bread started I can’t see it ending anytime soon.
Time is going to be your friend when making this dough. It does not require a whole lot of kneading, but it does want a lot of time with some short bursts of kneading spread out over a few hours. I would make these sunflower seed batards on a day when I was planning on staying home all day. I do believe though that you can work the dough through the first rise, then shape it and refrigerate it overnight and have excellent results. I haven’t done it yet, but feel pretty confident that it is a loaf that will only improve in texture and flavor during a cold overnight rise.
- 350 g (12.34 oz, 2 3/4 cups) bread flour
- 40 g (1.41 oz, 1/4 cup) rye flour
- 63 g (2.22 oz, 1/2 cup) whole wheat
- 362 g (12.76 oz, a little over 1 1/2 cups) warm water
- 12 g (0.42 oz, 2 tsp) salt
- 275 g (9.7 oz) levain (refreshed 8-12 hours before you plan on using it)
- 90 g (3 oz) toasted sunflower seeds
- Toast your sunflower seeds and let them cool. I did this in a dry medium skillet set over medium heat. I kept tossing the sunflower seeds until they were just lightly browned. Make sure to remove them from the pan immediately, otherwise the remaining heat of the pan could scorch the seeds.
- Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until no dry bits of flour remain. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to res for autolyze for 30 minutes.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead for two minutes. The dough is going to be very loose and sticky, allow it to rest for another 15 minutes then repeat the whole knead rest process two more times. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and give it a business letter turn. Repeat the 30 minute rest and the turn two more times. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rise for about 2 hours, or until it has doubled in bulk.
- Turn the dough out onto a well floured counter and divide it into two equal pieces. Preshape each piece into a round. Allow the dough to rest on the counter for 5-10 minutes to relax the gluten.
- Shape each ball of dough into a batard. I found that the dough rises best in between the folds of a baker’s couche or a well floured linen cloth. Dust the tops of the loaves with flour and cover with more baker’s couche or linen. Allow the loaves to rise for about an hour or until they have noticeably swelled in size. In the meantime preheat your oven to 500 degrees with a baking stone set in the middle and a cast iron skillet set on the bottom rack.
- Carefully transfer your loaves to a floured or parchment lined baker’s peel. Score the tops with three slashes about 1/4″ deep. Slide the loaves off of the baker’s peel and directly onto the baking stone.
- Quickly and carefully pour a half a cup of water into the cast iron skillet and bake for 15 minutes, reduce the temperature to 450 and bake for another 15 minutes, turn off oven and keep loaves in for another 5 minutes. Transfer the loaves to a wire cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before slicing.
This recipe was submitted to Yeastspotting.