Easter Sourdough with Honey, Almonds and Sunflower Seeds

I baked these loaves to take to an Easter BBQ. I wanted something that was good on it’s own, or with some meat piled on top. The subtle honey aromas and added twist from the sunflower seeds and shaved almonds was perfect! As a bonus, one loaf got a rabbit stenciled on top.

Schedule

Using the lazy sourdough method is actually quite simple. The real key to this method is that you can use your unfed starter straight from the fridge without the need to make a levain. There’s also no autolyse which saves about 30 minutes.

Schedule: Here’s a link to the lazy sourdough method.

The exact schedule I used is at the bottom of this post.

Ingredients:

This recipe makes two loaves. Simply divide all the ingredients by two if you only want one loaf.

Dough

  • 900g bread flour
  • 100g whole wheat flour
  • 750g filtered water @ 88’F
  • 175g unfed starter straight from fridge (100% hydration)
  • 50g clover honey
  • 50g sunflower seeds (added at first fold)
  • 25g shaved almonds (added at first fold)
  • 22g sea salt

Method:

I added the honey to the warm water and stirred so the honey would more evenly distribute through the bread. After mixing the dough, I performed 4 stretch and folds within the first 2 hours, adding the sunflower seeds and shaved almonds at the first fold.

I let the dough bulk ferment at room temperature for a total of 8 hours. If your kitchen is on the cooler side, a full 8 hour bulk fermentation might be necessary. We’re easing into Spring here in Santa Fe, but my kitchen was still hovering around 70’F.

Once the dough had doubled, I divided and shaped the loaves and put them in bannetons that I liberally dusted with rice flour. For one banneton I added sesame seeds and left the other plain. My plan was to make a stencil and dust a rabbit on this loaf since it would be served at an Easter BBQ. I put the bannetons in vegetable bags and then placed them in the fridge for a 17 hour cold proof.

One hour before baking I started preheating the oven, with dutch ovens inside, to 450’F. When it was time to bake, I took the loaves straight from the fridge and placed them in the preheated dutch ovens, gave them a quick score and then put them in the oven. For the loaf that was getting the rabbit stencil, I added it to the top of the loaf and then used a fine mesh sifter to dust some flour over it. I removed the stencil and put the loaf in the oven.

I baked the loaves at 450’F for 20 minutes covered, then removed the lid of the dutch ovens and baked for an additional 30 minutes.

Result:

I’m really happy with how these loaves turned out. The honey is subtle but was apparent when the loaves first came out of the oven. The shaved almonds and sunflower seeds are distributed very well throughout the crumb. Next time I might try adding more of each, or using solely shaved almonds.

My first try with stenciling the rabbit worked well. I went a little heavy with the sifted flour on top, but you could still tell that it was a rabbit. Next time I’ll use less flour to outline the stencil.

I also changed the scoring pattern for the loaf with the rabbit on top so it wouldn’t break the rabbit when it rose. This worked really well and I’ll probably use this scoring method in the future.

My friends got a real kick out of the loaf at our Easter BBQ. I brought some garlic butter to spread on the bread and it went great with all the food.

I still had some bread left over and made a pressed sandwich with it as well. The bread worked really well with the sandwich. The crumb was tight enough that nothing really leaked out during the sandwich making process.

My Baking Notes

  • Ambient Temperature @ mixing: 71’F
  • Mixed @ 11:45am on April 14th
  • Dough was 83’F at mixing
  • 4 stretch and folds in first 2 hours
  • Started proof @ 7:25pm on April 14th
  • Preheated oven @ 11:25am on April 15th (~17 hour cold proof)
  • Out of fridge and into oven @ 12:25pm

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