sunflower seed rye bread

David Lebovitz is one of my favourite food writers. When I read his post on rye bread, I decided straight away that I'd like to make a loaf. I grew up eating rye bread and I've not had any in an age. I had most of the ingredients in the cupboard apart from the sunflower seeds so after I picked up a packet at the fruit shop I was good to go.

A year ago, I wouldn't have bothered because I couldn't make bread to save my life. I bought a stand mixer with a dough hook just before Christmas last year and my life changed. I'd put off buying one for years because they're pretty expensive in Australia and I was worried the mixer would take up too much of my precious bench space. Now I'm wondering why I waited so long! 

David's adaptation of the rye bread recipe from 'Das Cookbook' by Hans Röckenwagner is very detailed so I followed the method to the letter but I did make a few tweaks to the actual recipe. I ran out of wholemeal flour so I had to use a cup of plain flour. The quantity of the honey in the dough seemed huge so I just used 1 tsp in the recipe. I made the dough up to stage 4 then left it in the fridge over night. The following day I took the dough out of the fridge, let it come to room temperature and continued the process. David's recipe is below with the original quantities.

Sunflower Seed Rye Bread
Adapted from Das Cookbook by Hans Röckenwagner
1½ cups (375 ml) lukewarm water
¼ cup (80 g), plus 1 teaspoon honey
2¼ teaspoons dry yeast 
2¾ cups (330 g) whole-wheat flour
1 cup (110 g) rye flour (dark or light)
2½ tsp sea salt
1 cup (125 g) lightly toasted sunflower seeds
Vegetable oil, for greasing the pan

1. Mix the water, 1 teaspoon of honey, and the yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer. If making the bread by hand, mix them together in a large bowl. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Little bubbles should start to appear. (If not, you need to replace your yeast and start again.)
2. In a separate bowl, mix together the whole wheat and rye flours with the salt. Attach the dough hook to the mixer, or use a wooden spoon if mixing by hand. Stir the ¼ cup (80g) honey into the yeast mixture and then gradually add the flours. If necessary, add an additional bit of flour if the dough is too wet or another tablespoon of water if the dough is too dry. It should feel soft and moist, and when you touch it, your finger should just barely stick to it.
3. Knead the dough at low-to-medium speed until smooth, about 6 minutes.
4. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured bench top and knead in the sunflower seeds thoroughly, making sure that they are evenly dispersed throughout the dough. Return the dough to the mixer bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a dish towel, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, 1½ to 2 hours.
5. Punch the dough down with your fist, cover, and let rise again until doubled, about 1 hour.
6. Lightly grease a 9-inch (23 cm) loaf pan. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured bench top, shape the dough into an elongated rectangle, and place the dough in the pan. Cover and let rise 1 hour. (Note that it won’t rise much.)
7. About 15 minutes before you plan to bake the bread, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
8. When the dough is ready, bake it for 45 minutes to 1 hour. It’ll sound hollow when you tap it in the centre. Remove the bread from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes, then tilt the bread onto a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing.

The recipe makes a very dense loaf which I topped with smoked salmon and ricotta cheese for my lunch. I stored half the loaf in the freezer and it freezes and defrosts very well. The bread is excellent toasted and topped with lashings of butter and your favourite topping. I couldn't go past Vegemite toast for my breakfast on Sunday and smoked salmon scrambled eggs last Sunday. Do you have a favourite Sunday breakfast?

I had a very busy weekend in the kitchen. The 2 Christmas cakes have been made and are in their tins maturing their little hearts out; the cookies for the Christmas edition of Plate 2 Plate have been baked and I decided as I was already in the kitchen, I may as well make a batch of these triple ginger cookies. My finger nails are a mess and I've given up counting how many loads of washing up have been done.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen,



  1. Hi, just made this rye bread dough, to finish baking later... I decided to mix caraway seeds, sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts, toasted sesame seeds for the nutty element..
    Looks very promising!

  2. I hope the bread turned out well. I only just found your comment I'm afraid.


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