Friday, May 28, 2010

Whole Grain Sunflower Seed Bread

As part of my recent healthful living kick, I’ve been trying to eat less refined white flour. Luckily, my friends have clued me in about the magical substance known as “white wheat flour.”

I thought at first that it must be some sort of food industry hoax – like probiotic-added yoghurt, say, about which I remain deeply skeptical – until I read up on it and discovered that it really is genuine whole-wheat flour. White wheat flour is simply made from a less bitter varietal of wheat than the standard American version. Even though it’s wholly whole grain, it has a milder flavor and texture than what Americans are accustomed to expecting from whole wheat.

I picked up a bag of it at Trader Joe’s, and I am a total convert. I haven’t had the nerve to use it in place of all-purpose flour in cookies and delicate baked goods, but I think it’s just a matter of time. White whole wheat: the flour of the future!

Having just announced my love for white wheat, I should hasten to add that I really love the flavor of “regular” American whole wheat. However, I find that breads made exclusively from whole wheat flour are simply too dense and earthy. This is another bread I just sort of threw together to see if the use of mostly white wheat would eliminate this excessive graininess. And it does! This bread definitely smacks of wholesomness, but it lacks the sodden lump-like quality one too often obtains from 100% whole wheat loaves.

I love sunflower seeds in bread, and I had quite a few of them on hand, so I included them for more texture and protein. This loaf does have a very high sunflower seed/dough ratio – if you don’t want a very seedy bread, you might want to include only half a cup or so instead of the three-quarters cup I dumped in.

I tend to hack of slices of this and eat it with almond butter for lunch. Husband and I also had this for dinner one night as toasted slices with brie, avocado, tomato, and spring mix lettuce, and it was divine. Because it’s so easy and healthy, I think this is going to be my go-to everyday loaf.
Whole Grain Sunflower Seed Bread

2 cups white wheat flour
1 cup regular whole wheat flour
1 cup oats (I used 5 min.-cooking old-fashioned rolled oats)
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
¾ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons malted milk powder (optional but adds a nice caramelized note)
1 ½ tablespoons vital wheat gluten (optional but will provide a nicer texture)
¾ cup sunflower seeds

3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups warm water (about 110 degrees – I just use warmish tap water)

In bowl of a stand mixer or large bowls, stir together flours, oats, yeast, salt, and malted milk powder.

In a measuring cup, stir together water, oil, and honey. Add to dry ingredients and blend until it comes together.

Knead in a stand mixer or by hand for 5-10 minutes or until dough feels stretchy – I don’t think a dough this grainy will ever pass the windowpane test, but it should become more cohesive. Use a bit of oil to coat the dough and let rise in a warmish place for an hour or so.

Punch down and shape into a loaf. Let rise for another hour to hour and a half. Preheat oven to 350 and bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown, crusty, and hollow-sounding when thumped. Makes one loaf.

I plan to submit this to Yeastspotting.

Printable recipe here.


  1. What a great looking loaf and sunflower seeds are so healthy!!

  2. Thanks! It's tasty stuff. :)