There’s a bakery where I grew up, that has all sorts of seedy baked goods. To me, nostalgia is a cheese filled twisted seedy breadstick. I just can’t help myself. Or their bread I believe they call “Hikers” bread, is what I had in mind when I was coming up with this recipe. I’ve been making a loose version of this for a year or two but finally got it together enough to measure and record things so you too, could have a good seedy whole-wheaty sandwich loaf.
The eggs are optional although I obviously recommend them. People add a powdered supplement called lecithin to wholewheat bread to make it better…lucky for you, eggs naturally have lecithin in them and you’ll notice a different in how it holds up for a sandwich and stays softer for more days.
Yes there is many many chewy, big holes loaves of sourdough recipes out there, and they’re delicious. But when it comes to packing cold lunches, frankly, I don’t feel they fit the bill. I need a sandwich bread to be good for making cold sandwiches for 2-3 days after its baked, which is why I have my plain Sourdough Sandwich Bread recipe, and now you can add this to your repertoire.
Many seedy breads call for hydrating the seeds separately, draining the water, then adding to the dough. Quite frankly…I don’t need extra steps in my life. I’ve explained how I compensate for the seeds in the method.
Seedy Whole-Wheaty Sandwich Bread
1 1/2 cups active sourdough starter
1/4 cup sugar or 2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp salt
2 cups water (if you want a shorter rise, add warm water. Longer rise, add cold water)
2 eggs (0ptional)
2 cups whole wheat flour (I use fresh ground hard red wheat)
1/3 cup small seeds such as poppy, sesame, flax, chia or millet
2/3 c big seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin seeds, even a soft nut like walnut would work
4 cups white flour
Mix starter, sugar, salt, water and eggs well together in a stand mixer or by hand.
I use a danish dough whisk by hand. Add whole wheat and the seeds, then add white flour.
This dough is going to be a little stickier than my sourdough sandwich bread recipe, because the seeds and wholewheat take time to soak up all the liquid. It should still be a nice formed dough, just not as smooth. Mix it together just enough for their to be no dry flour, then cover and let sit 30 minutes. This lets the wholewheat soak up the liquid and gives you a taller loaf with a softer inside crumb.
Now knead it together 15-20 folds, right there in the bowl, it’ll still be a little stickier because the seeds take longer to hydrate, but still a nice workable dough, not sloppy at all.
Now, choose your path for first rise depending on your schedule and weather. Warmth speeds up sourdough, cold slows it. This is all on counter unless specified.
Winter- let sit 12-18 hrs/shape/second rise 2-3hrs (if your house is really nippy in the morning like mine, I often preheat the oven for 2 minutes, with the bread pans in there, turn it off, then let it rise for an hour or two. This way I’m not waiting all day for them to be ready)
Summer- let sit 6-8 hrs/shape/second rise 1-2 hrs
Alternative Winter- let sit 4-6 hrs/shape/put in fridge for 12-18hrs/take out an hour before baking. Our laundry room is fridge-ish temp so we put them back there. Before baking when I use this method, i put bread pans in oven, turn oven on for 2 min then turn it off. Let sit in warm oven an hour, take out, then preheat oven for baking. This is my current favourite method.
After your first rise, its time to shape! Dump your dough onto a floured surface. Divide into two and Press each dough roughly into a 6x8inch rectangle, fold like a letter with long sides in, flip seam side down and let sit about 10 minutes. This is called a preshape/bench rest and makes your loaves taller!
Prep your loaf pan by lining with parchment or greasing the pan. After the bench rest, flip seam side up, press into rectangle again but this time roll it up, and tuck sides under to make a tidy loaf, then put into the loaf pan. You can also bake it in a boule, as instructed in my Sourdough Boule recipe! Although if you feel like the dough is a little more soft than it should be, go for the loaf pan, its more forgiving and prevents your dough from spreading out wide as it rises and bakes.
Let rise for second rise depending on which path you choose. It’s not going to be doubled, more like 1 1/2, noticeably more puffy for sure though. Preheat oven to 425F. Using your sharpest knife, slash the loaf by slicing a one inch deep line down the length of the bread. You can get artistic or just leave it at that. This allows the bread to expand and rise in the oven better.
Put pans into oven and bake for 25 min, turn around and then bake 20 more. Remove bread from oven and put on a cooling rack. Remove from pan and let cool until around room temp. Its hard to wait but i promise its worth it! The bread is still finishing up baking as it cools.