Jeffrey Hamelman’s Sunflower Seed Bread with Paté Fermentée

Hamelman's Sunflower Seed Bread with Paté Fermentée

I recently made the Sunflower Bread with Paté Fermentée from Jeffrey Hamelman’s book Bread as I have got a bit behind lately with Mellow Bakers, the group that is slowly but surely doing its best to bake all the recipes in the book. This is one of those breads that is full of grains, so if you are a seedy person then it’s another variation to try.

I am not quite sure why this one came out so flat in profile. When I sliced into it it was reasonably aerated and I don’t think it was overproved, but it didn’t do much in the way of rising at any point so I think it was the load of grains, soaked chopped rye, sunflower seeds and some linseed that I added as I was short on sunflower seeds.

Hamelman's Sunflower Seed Bread with Paté Fermentée Crumb shot

So far it’s been fine, but maybe this bread could have done with ten per cent very strong flour in the mix to give it a bit more lift. I was using Shipton No 1 for the flour in this one. Who knows? I’ll have to check out what the others made of this one when I post the link over on the Mellow Bakers forum.  It’s been a while since I made a seeded loaf and I think there are other recipes which are less faff than this one and give you a similar if not better result than this one.

I also bake these breads at a lower temperature than Hamelman gives, simply because I don’t like these grainy breads to have very hard crusts. Any grains that are in the crust area then get super hard and are not pleasant to eat unless you have the teeth of a rodent. More people crack teeth on hard grains in bread than anything else according to my dentist. The trademarked ‘Granary’ in the UK being the worst culprit for this or so she says, not my words, hers!

Hamelman's Sunflower Seed Bread with Paté Fermentée and bacon

I am not convinced that just soaking the chopped rye (which forms a hefty component of this dough)  in cold water for four hours softens them enough either. Another time I would use warm water or gently simmer them to make sure they soften up and maybe soak them overnight in some fruit juice or ale as Dan Lepard does to great effect in his grain breads in the Handmade Loaf.

All the same this made a moist and tasty seedy loaf that improved in flavour and texture on the second day and was lovely with a rasher of middle cut bacon.

The sun came out for this shot!

Just a footnote: I wrote a couple of posts about this book (which is my second most useful bread book)  a while back and I also came across this thread on the Fresh Loaf, which might also be of interest.  It seems to imply that the most recent edition has had all the errors corrected. However, the only way to be sure that you get the most recent edition is to check the printing number at the front, and if you are ordering from an online supplier, they may well have old stock.

Patée Fermentée – For some reason this bread made with five different grains came out gloriously – so have a peek at that one if you want to see seedy loveliness!

28 thoughts on “Jeffrey Hamelman’s Sunflower Seed Bread with Paté Fermentée

  1. Abby

    I’m excited to see your results, Joanna, as the patée fermentée for this recipe is rising on my counter as we speak (or as I type, I guess)…I’m planning to try rolls for tomorrow’s dinner. Yours looks absolutely delicious…I love seedy breads.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi Abby! Good Luck with it! Did I tell you that I gave a friend of mine your pizza dough recipe and she made enough for fifty crusts for a friend’s event and left it in the fridge over night and it broke the shelf above it! There’s a moral in that somewhere… ;)

      1. Abby

        50 pizza crusts?!? That’s amazing. And I can’t believe it broke her shelf…yikes! Did she like it, I hope? :/

        1. Joanna Post author

          She left it all to prove in one big mass and it cracked the glass shelf above. It was her contribution to a friend’s big birthday do, they had someone build an earth oven and fire it and make pizza and from what she said the dough was just dandy :D

          1. Abby

            I can’t even imagine how big that batch of dough would be…very impressive! So glad it all worked out. What a fun birthday idea!!! :)

  2. ceciliag

    Oh dear i have so much to learn. in a few weeks I am going to california to see my son so i am going to take the starter and make some breads out there! c

    1. Joanna Post author

      You are going to the home of the fabled san francisco sourdough, you’ll be teaching us when you get back. Offer your starter to the air and see if it takes on a different tang :D

  3. sallybr

    I’ve had this type of “problem” happen to me more than once. I think in my case it was due to under-folding, but you are so much more experienced than me, I don’t see that happening to you. I guess it could be the weight of the seeds, or maybe a slightly different type of flour

    I know your bread tasted great anyway, but it can be a bit frustrating when the oven spring is not what we expected…

    I’d still have a few slices right now, if you’d send them my way ;-)

    1. Joanna Post author

      I folded this one a couple of times, but to be honest it didn’t make much difference, I wonder if it was the yeast now, I used SAF dried instead of the usual green sachet. It did taste fine though and I would happily frisbee some your way. Up and away……

  4. Misk Cooks

    That’s the sort of loaf that I’d expect to see a brickie pulling out of his lunch bucket, tug off a chunk and tuck an inch thick slice of ham and cheddar into it … and then wash it all down with a mug of white tea that’s had a bag floating in it for 5-hours. In order words, that’s a very handsome, he-man, machismo loaf. :)

    Mr Misk and I used to love heavily seeded loaves of bread … until he cracked a tooth in half … and then a few months later he required the dentist to pry a seed out that stuck fast between two teeth. He doesn’t do big seeds anymore.

    But as I said, that’s a very handsome loaf.


    1. Joanna Post author

      Brian doesn’t eat them etiher but I am determinedly making my way through as many of the recipes in this book as I can still. Sunflower seeds are fairly soft cmpared to some of the things you find in granary meal, but stuck beween your teeth, yes that would put me off too ;)

    1. Joanna Post author

      I think this is one of the last of the seedy breads Heidi, if not the last. I’ve avoided most of the raisin ones lately too and been baking loads and loads of soft white stuff for Brian while he has dental work done and someimes a girl just needs a lttle variety. I’m even avoiding baking crusty rolls. :0

  5. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    Joanna, I agree about grain breads not being too hard – a miller friend once told me that in “the old days” all grains were soaked before inclusion, but modern bakery methods and timings don’t allow for that any more, so it’s far more common for people to crack a tooth on a hard bit of grain.

    Your loaf might be a little flat (to you), but it seems to have some wonderful aeration in the crumb! Look at those huge holes! :)


    1. Joanna Post author

      I was very pleased to see the aeration when I sliced it as I was gearing myself up to turning it into crumbs. I think your miller friend is spot on with that observation. A spanish friend told me that in the village where she grew up there were two sorts of bread produced by the baker, the finer whiter one was ‘rich people’s bread’ and the one with the coarse gritty flour with bits of grain in was predictably the ‘poor people’s bread’. But in the same way that suntanned skin became desirable and fashionable where once it was an indicator that you worked outdoors, so wholegrain bread with seeds etc has become desirable again and associated with the foodie thing, so the factories mimic the good stuff but just produce inferior quality bread and most people never get to taste the difference. Vollkorn bread when made properly is all soft and full of grain but very much not to the English taste as a rule.

  6. gillthepainter

    I think that’s one of the most beautiful looking loaves I’ve seen, Joanna.
    I can almost taste it.
    I love the way you can see the folds and you handiwork in the sliced shot.

    The few times I’ve made grain loaves, I’ve found them pleasantly sticky, but definitely flatter. They don’t seem to force the rise like other loaves.

    Could you do me a favour please.
    Have you got a link to the error sheet so I can check my book version for amendments.
    Ta. XX

    1. Joanna Post author

      Aw thank you darling that’s very sweet of you to say. Thank goodness for crumb shots eh? Without them it really is just speculation what’s inside there :) I will email you the pdf for the errors. [have added link once more into this post for anyone else, good idea Gill!] Most of them relate to instant yeast quantities and relatively (to my mind) minor things. Though he did come up with an extraordinarily elaborate formula for making crossing paste for hot cross buns that is in the later books.. ;)

  7. cityhippyfarmgirl

    I just stocked up on sunflower seeds today as well, so a sunflower loaf must be calling. I didn’t realise I didn’t like a hard crust with the seedy ones either until you wrote that, I’ve been making them softer and denser lately.
    (btw- have you ever tried making a pumpernickel type loaf?)

    1. Joanna Post author

      The sunflower seeds stay soft inside the bread and actually don’t get that hard on top of this one. What is harder and potentially challenging is the soaked chopped rye grain in this bread (which doesn’t feature in the name of the bread but forms quite a big part of it). I ate some more of this one about four days later and the crust had softened in a very pleasant way and it had more of that lovely juicy vollkornbrot/pumpernickel texture to it. So many breads benefit simply from being left to relax a bit, but people are so hung up on the idea of ‘fresh’ bread that they don’t leave them, or maybe they worry that they will go mouldy. I suspect in a warmer, more humid climate than the UK this is probably a real concern of course!

      Pumpernickel loaves? Do you mean German traditional style or the American version which is just a dark bread with a little rye? Yes I have had a go. Ideally you need to create a closed tin, either one with a sliding lid or wrap your tin in layers of foil, so the steam stays in and that way you don’t get too dry a crust. It is really essential to leave them to stand for at least a day, preferably two before you cut them.

      It is worth, if you have time, exploring Nils’s blog, which is full of lovely grainy breads and helpful notes from his bread experiments.In fact I should go back and read again myself. I have his e-book on the computer here which he put together a while back.


      1. cityhippyfarmgirl

        Hmmm, thanks for that link. The German pumpernickel is the one I had in mind. When you need only two tiny slices and your full, kind. I might have a play… My problem is the different kind of rye flours. I don’t seem to be able to find many choices around.
        Will ponder…. :-)

        1. Joanna Post author

          The coarse rye meal or schrott is hard to come by here too. I had some from a German friend. Any german bakeries in Sydney? Or contacts in the mill world? You know who might know…… ;)

          I’ve emailed you a link to a German bakery group in Sydney and then there is Fourleaf who have distributors in Sydney but I don’t know if the shops near you carry their full range…. x

  8. Melanie

    It might be a little on the flat side, but it is gorgeous on the inside!! Would love to have a taste. Luckily, hubby likes seedy breads, so I just make smaller loaves so we can get thru it all.

    1. Joanna Post author

      I’ve come round to it since I drafted the post Melanie :) I made half the quantity of the recipe, so only two smallish loaves. Much safer if you’re not quite sure if you’ll eat it all. These were around the 450 g mark. (unbaked). Hope Hubby likes it too !

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