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roasted sunflower and sesame bread

Sunflower and Sesame Sourdough Bread Recipe

  • Author: Maurizio Leo
  • Prep Time: 24 hours
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 25 hours
  • Yield: 2 loaves


This delicious sourdough bread is chock full of healthy roasted sunflower seeds and black sesame, finished off with a touch of honey. The sunflower seeds bring a rich, nutty flavor, and the umami-forward sesame adds depth and complexity. A wonderful bread for lunch, dinner, or any snack!



  • 27g medium-protein bread flour or all-purpose flour
  • 27g whole wheat flour
  • 55g water
  • 27g ripe sourdough starter

Seed Soaker

  • 35g black sesame seeds
  • 35g water, boiled

Main Dough

  • 587g medium-protein bread flour or all-purpose flour
  • 236g whole wheat flour
  • 132g sunflower seeds, unsalted and roasted
  • 35g honey
  • 16g sea salt
  • 542g water 1 (autolyse)
  • 44g water 2 (reserved for mix)
  • 137g levain


  • White sesame seeds to top dough (optional)


  1. Levain (9:00 a.m.)
    In a small container, mix the Levain ingredients and keep it at a warm temperature for 5 hours.
  2. Prepare soaker (9:10 a.m.)
    Right after making the levain, prepare the seed soaker. Add the soaker ingredients to a heat-proof bowl. Cover the bowl and let rest until called for in bulk fermentation.
  3. Autolyse (1:00 p.m)
    In a medium mixing bowl, add the 587g medium-protein bread flour, 236g whole wheat flour, and 542g water 1 and mix until no dry bits remain. Cover the bowl and let rest for 1 hour.
  4. Mix (2:00 p.m.)
    To the mixing bowl holding your dough, add the honey and levain and a splash of water. Mix thoroughly and strengthen the dough for about 5 minutes. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes in the mixing bowl. Add the salt, another splash of water, and mix until incorporated. Strengthen the dough further if necessary until it’s elastic and smooth. Transfer the dough to a bulk fermentation container and cover.
  5. Bulk Fermentation (2:15 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.)
    This dough will need 3 sets of stretch and folds during bulk fermentation. First, mix together the soaked and cooled sesame seeds with the sunflower seeds. Before you give your dough its first set of stretch and folds, spread about 1/4 of the mix-ins over the top of the dough. Add the rest of the mix-ins in the same way through the remaining folds for the first set. Perform two more sets of gentle stretch and folds during this 3 1/2 hour period, then let the dough rest the remainder of bulk fermentation.
  6. Divide and Preshape (5:45 p.m.)
    Lightly flour your work surface 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 (6:20 p.m.)
    Shape the dough into a round (boule) or oval (batard) and roll in the white sesame seeds to top, if desired. Then, place the dough in proofing baskets.
  8. Proof (6:30 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. the next day)
    Cover proofing baskets with reusable plastic and seal shut. Then, place both baskets into the refrigerator and proof overnight.
  9. Bake (The next day, bake at 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 2 hours on a wire rack before slicing.