Brown rice and sesame sourdough bread recipe

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Open my refrigerator door, and chances are you’ll find a big bowl of leftover brown rice. It’s not that we don’t love rice; it’s just that my (amazing) rice cooker works best when we make at least 2 cups, which means we often have leftovers.

So I thought: maybe I can create a back pocket bread recipe that calls for a heavy addition of rice from the refrigerator (or quinoa, farro, or other grain—see below), virtually eliminating the chance of wasting any rice.

The health benefits of rice are well known, and adding it to bread dough brings additional beneficial vitamins and minerals such as thiamine, magnesium, selenium, and more. But rice also brings a wonderful earthy flavor to the bread and improves the texture and keeping quality days after baking. I think that the added moisture from cooking the rice may be locked up in the grain itself, which then brings additional moisture to the baked bread.

The funny thing is, after baking several rounds of this bread using leftover rice, the tables turned: I started making brown rice to make this bread.

Be sure to use my printable baking notes to track this bake in your home kitchen →

Brown rice and sesame seed sourdough bread
Using black sesame seeds lends a stronger flavor and more pronounced crumb color.

Flour and ingredient selection

Type-85 flour

This brown rice and sesame sourdough bread is made with 100% type-85 (T85) flour. Also called “high extraction,” this flour lands between whole wheat and white. I love this flour because it performs like strong white flour, which leads to a more open crumb, and also has ample flavor due to its increased bran and germ content.

Lately, I’ve been baking with Cairnspring Mills Trailblazer T85. Trailblazer is quite strong and able to support the high percentage of rice and seeds that go into this dough. The result is a loaf with ample volume, an open crumb, beautiful color, and a delightful flavor.

If you don’t have T85 flour: Mix 70% strong white flour with 30% whole wheat for the flour in this recipe to get a similar crumb color and volume.

Rice or other grain

This bread is very flexible. Of course, I’ve made it with leftover brown rice, but I’ve also tried using many other cooked grains and cereals, such as white rice, millet, quinoa, and farro. I often use these ingredients in my home cooking, so there always seems to be plenty of leftover goodies to mix right into my dough.

Important note about using rice in this recipe

Be sure not to use rice that's been left out at room temperature for excessive periods. As with most foods, especially rice, if left out at room temperature (or a warm temperature) for too long, it can spoil. I like to store my rice in the refrigerator promptly after cooking it, then mix it into this dough straight from the refrigerator. I would also recommend storing the baked loaves in the refrigerator after they've cooled sufficiently.

Brown rice and sesame dough in bulk fermentation
Dough after the last set of stretches and folds.

Sesame seeds

Use either black sesame seeds or white sesame seeds (these are my favorite) in this recipe. Using white seeds results in a bread with a milder sesame flavor, whereas using black sesame brings the flavor more forward, in addition to tinting the loaf black in places. Both are equally delicious, but perhaps in a small way, I prefer white sesame seeds since they allow more of the brown rice flavor to shine through.

Brown rice and sesame sourdough baking schedule

Baking schedule 

This brown rice sourdough is made over two days. On day one, mix the levain, prepare the rice and seed soaker early in the morning, mix in the afternoon, and finally retard (cold-proof) the dough overnight in the refrigerator. Then, bake the loaves first thing the next morning.

If you’d prefer to bake this bread all in a single day, instead of retarding the dough overnight, let it sit out on the counter to proof at warm room temperature for 2 to 4 hours until a gentle poke very slowly springs back.

Vitals and total formula

The following tables represent the total formula for this recipe. In other words, it includes every ingredient you will need to make this bread. In the method section below, the total formula table will be broken down into smaller tables showing you exactly what you need for that step of the recipe.

See my guide to baker's percentages for an in-depth bread formula explanation →

Vitals

Total dough weight1,800 grams
Pre-fermented flour6.5%
Hydration80.0% (not including rice cooking water)
Levain in the final dough17.4%
YieldTwo 900g loaves

Total formula

Desired dough temperature: 78°F (25°C) (see my post on the importance of dough temperature).

WeightIngredientBaker’s percentage
844gType-85 (“high extraction”) flour (Cairnspring Trailblazer Bread Flour T85)100.0%
68gSesame seeds (black or white)8.0%
169gBrown or white rice, cooked and cooled220.0%
633gWater 1 (levain, seed soaker, and autolyse)75.0%
42gWater 25.0%
16gFine sea salt1.9%
27gRipe sourdough starter, 100% hydration3.3%
Brown rice and sesame sourdough cut

Method

1. Prepare the levain – 9:00 a.m.

Mix the following ingredients in a jar and leave them covered at a warm temperature, 74-76°F (23-24°C), to ripen for 5 hours.

WeightIngredientBaker’s percentage
55gType-85 flour100.0%
55gWater100.0%
27gRipe sourdough starter, 100% hydration50.0%

2. Prepare the sesame soaker – 9:10 a.m.

In a small jar, mix 68g of sesame seeds and 74g of boiling water. Cover the jar and let sit until called for in bulk fermentation.

3. Autolyse – 1:00 p.m.

I use the autolyse technique for this bread to help increase the extensibility of the dough, which I find helps when adding in a high percentage of inclusions (mix-ins). Additionally, this long autolyse time helps to reduce the total mixing time required.

Warm or cool the autolyse water so that the temperature of the mixed dough meets the FDT of 78°F (25°C) for this recipe. Place the flour and water 1 in a large bowl. Use wet hands to mix until no dry bits remain; the dough will be shaggy and loose. Use a bowl scraper to scrape down the sides of the bowl to keep all the dough in one area at the bottom. Cover the bowl and place it near your levain for 1 hour.

WeightIngredient
790gType-85 flour
504gWater 1

4. Mix – 2:00 p.m.

The method gives instructions for mixing this dough by hand. A mechanical mixer, like a Famag spiral dough mixer, is also a great option to quickly develop the dough. If using a mechanical mixer, I might add the rice and seeds at the very end of mixing at a very slow speed, mixing only until the inclusions are just incorporated.

WeightIngredient
42gWater 2
15gFine sea salt
137gRipe levain (from Step 1)

Add the salt and levain to the top of the dough that was just in autolyse, and use a splash of water 2 to moisten. With wet hands, mix thoroughly. Add the remaining water if the dough feels like it can handle it. Next, knead the dough for a few minutes using either the slap and fold technique or folds in the bowl. For this dough, I kneaded for about 5 minutes until the dough smoothed and became elastic.

Transfer the dough to a bulk fermentation container and cover.

5. Bulk fermentation – 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (3 hours)

At a warm room temperature, 74-76°F (23-24°C), bulk fermentation should take about 3 hours.

In a small bowl, mix the cool brown rice and soaked sesame seeds (be sure to include any excess water in the seed soaker).

Dough with sesame and brown rice mix-ins added
The brown rice and sesame dough after adding rice and seeds.

This dough will require 3 sets of stretches and folds during bulk fermentation. After the first 30 minutes, spread about one-quarter of the inclusions over the top of the dough. Grab the side of the dough farthest from you, and stretch it over to the other side. Next, spread another one-quarter of the inclusions to the new top. Rotate the bowl 180 degrees and perform another stretch and fold. Next, spread on another one-quarter of the inclusions, rotate the bowl 90 degrees, and do another stretch and fold. Finally, spread on the last inclusions, turn the bowl 180 degrees, and do one last stretch and fold. The dough should be neatly folded up in the bowl.

Perform 2 more sets of stretches and folds at 30-minute intervals. Then let the dough rest, covered, for the remainder of bulk fermentation.

6. Divide and preshape – 5:30 p.m.

After 3 hours, the dough should be well-risen in the bulk fermentation container and puffy to the touch. The edge where the dough meets the container should be domed downward, showing strength and rise.

Fill a small bowl with water and place it next to your work surface. Scrape the dough onto a clean counter. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces and preshape into a loose round.

Let the dough rest, uncovered, for 35 minutes.

7. Shape – 6:05 p.m.

Flour the top of each preshaped round and your work surface. Using your bench knife, flip one round over onto the floured area. As shown above, use floured hands to shape each piece into a bâtard (oval) or, if you prefer, a boule (round). Transfer the shaped dough into a proofing basket, seam side up.

If you want to top this bread with additional seeds (like more sesame) or a grain/cereal (like oats), see my guide to topping bread dough.

Repeat with the other preshaped round.

8. Proof – 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. (about 14 1/2 hours)

Cover the baskets with a large, reusable plastic bag and seal shut. Then, place the baskets in the refrigerator to proof overnight.

9. Bake – 9:00 a.m. (the next day)

Brown rice and sesame sourdough cut
White sesame and brown rice for a mild, earthy flavor.

Place an oven rack in the bottom-third of the oven. Put a Dutch oven, combo cooker, Challenger bread pan, or baking stone/steel on the rack. Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C) for 30 minutes.

I baked these loaves in my Challenger bread pan, but you could follow my guide to steaming an oven when baking bread.

Take one of the proofing baskets out of the fridge, uncover it, and put a piece of parchment paper over the basket. Place a pizza peel or inverted baking sheet on top of the parchment and, using both hands, flip everything over. Gently remove the basket and score the dough.

Check out my scoring video below, which goes over how I like to score an oval loaf of bread such as this one:

Slide the dough into the oven. Steam the oven: either cover the Dutch oven or pour ice into the preheated pan at the bottom of the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Vent the oven of steam: either uncover the Dutch oven and remove the lid or remove the steaming pans.  Continue to bake for 30 minutes more. When done, the loaf should have an internal temperature of around 204°F (95°C), and the crust should be deeply colored.

Let the loaves cool on a wire rack for 1 before slicing.

Important note about refrigeration

While I do not typically store my bread in the refrigerator, to avoid having the rice spoil, I would store these loaves in the refrigerator after they've cooled.

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Brown rice and sesame seed sourdough bread

Brown rice and sesame sourdough bread recipe

  • Author: Maurizio Leo
  • Prep Time: 24 hours
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 24 hours 50 minutes
  • Yield: 2 loaves
  • Category: Bread, Sourdough
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Rice and sesame lend an earthy flavor, tender interior, and golden crust to this sourdough bread.


Ingredients

Levain

  • 55g Type-85 flour
  • 55g Water
  • 27g ripe sourdough starter, 100% hydration

Sesame seed soaker

  • 68g black or white sesame seeds
  • 74g boiling water

Autolyse

  • 790g Type-85 flour
  • 504g Water 1

Final (Main) Dough

  • 42g Water 2
  • 169g Brown rice, cooked
  • 16g salt
  • 137g ripe levain

Instructions

  1. Levain (9:00 a.m.)
    In a small bowl or jar, mix the Levain ingredients. Cover the jar and keep it at a warm temperature for 5 hours.
  2. Prepare the sesame soaker (9:10 a.m.)
    In a small jar, mix the sesame soaker ingredients.
  3. Autolyse (1:00 p.m)
    In a mixing bowl, add the autolyse ingredients until no dry bits remain. Cover the bowl and let rest for 1-hour.
  4. Mix (2:00 p.m.)
    Add the about half the water 2, salt, and levain to the top of the dough that was just in autolyse. With wet hands, mix thoroughly. Next, knead the dough for a few minutes until elastic and slightly smooth. If it feels like the dough can handle it, add the remaining water 2. Mix by pinching and folding until the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated and the dough is cohesive. Transfer the dough back to the bowl or to a container for bulk fermentation and cover.
  5. Bulk Fermentation (2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.)
    This dough needs 3 sets of stretches and folds during bulk fermentation. After the first 30 minutes, spread about one-quarter of the inclusions over the top of the dough. Grab the side of the dough farthest from you, and stretch it over to the other side. Next, spread another one-quarter of the inclusions to the new top. Rotate the bowl 180 degrees and perform another stretch and fold. Next, spread on another one-quarter of the inclusions, rotate the bowl 90 degrees, and do another stretch and fold. Finally, spread on the last inclusions, turn the bowl 180 degrees, and do one last stretch and fold. The dough should be neatly folded up in the bowl. Perform 2 more sets of stretches and folds at 30-minute intervals. Then let the dough rest, covered, for the remainder of bulk fermentation.
  6. Divide and Preshape (5:30 p.m.)
    Use water and a wet hand or lightly flour your work surface (whichever you prefer) and scrape out your dough. Using your bench knife, divide the dough in half. Lightly shape each half into a round shape. Let the dough rest for 35 minutes, uncovered.
  7. Shape (6:05 p.m.)
    Lightly flour the top of your preshaped rounds and using floured hands, shape the dough into an oval (batard) or round (boule) shape, then place the dough in proofing baskets, seam side up.
  8. Proof (6:30 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. the next day)
    Cover proofing baskets with reusable plastic and seal. Then, place both baskets into the refrigerator and proof overnight.
  9. Bake (The next day, 9:00 a.m.)
    Preheat your oven with a baking surface or combo cooker/Dutch oven inside to 450°F (230°C). When the oven is preheated, remove your dough from the fridge, score it, and transfer it to the preheated baking surface or combo cooker. Bake for 20 minutes with steam. After this time, vent the steam in the oven or remove the lid (you can keep it in the oven or remove it) and continue to bake for 30 minutes longer. When done, the internal temperature should be around 204°F (95°C). Let the loaves cool for 1 to 2 hours on a wire rack before slicing.

Notes

If you don't have Type-85 flour, mix 70% strong high protein flour with 30% whole wheat flour in its place.

Black or white sesame seeds can be used interchangeably.

Instead of cooked brown rice, feel free to use cooked white rice, quinoa, farro, or any other grain you have on hand.

Brown rice and sesame frequently asked questions

Do I need to refrigerate this brown rice sourdough bread?

To be extra safe, and because it's possible brown rice can spoil if left out even after cooking, I'd recommend storing the baked bread in the refrigerator.

What is a good substitute for type-85 flour?

Mix 70% high-protein white flour with 30% whole wheat flour. This flour blend will not be exactly like type-85 flour, but it will get you close in both performance and crumb color.

Can I substitute another grain for the brown rice in this recipe?

Yes! Feel free to experiment; practically any grain or cereal cooked in water will work for the rice in this recipe. I recommend trying quinoa, millet, farro, amaranth, cracked wheat, or even couscous.

What’s next?

If you like mixing other grains into bread dough, check out my millet porridge sourdough bread or, one of my all-time favorites, oat porridge sourdough.

Buon appetito!


  1. Be sure not to use rice that's been left out at room temperature for excessive periods. When rice is left out at room temperature (or a warm temperature) for too long it can spoil. I like to store my rice in the refrigerator promptly after cooking it, then mix it into this dough straight from the refrigerator. I would also recommend storing the baked loaves in the refrigerator after they've cooled sufficiently.

  2. Be sure not to use rice that's been left out at room temperature for excessive periods. When rice is left out at room temperature (or a warm temperature) for too long it can spoil. I like to store my rice in the refrigerator promptly after cooking it, then mix it into this dough straight from the refrigerator. I would also recommend storing the baked loaves in the refrigerator after they've cooled sufficiently.

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