Mellow Sourdough Seed Bread And A Soup Recipe

Where did the time go?

The Mellow Bakers are almost at the end of their long journey through ‘Bread’ by Jeffrey Hamelman and I have been so mellow of late that I have hardly baked any of the monthly breads.

Jeffrey Hamelman Sourdough Seed Bread

Yesterday though I promised someone some seedy bread and made this delicious sourdough from the December choices.

I adapted the recipe to suit what I had in the house and speeded it up too so I am not sure how close it is to what Mr H has in mind but so it goes. I only made a half quantity as I wanted to make two small loaves, one for a lunch and one to give away.

I had a feeling that we have made something very similar before but I have lost track!

For this bread I used:

  • 360 g strong white bread flour
  • 40 g wholemeal rye flour
  • 11 g salt
  • 150 g refreshed starter at 125 % hydration
  • A soaker of flax/linseed  35 g seeds to 110 g warm water
  • 30g of toasted sesame seeds and 60g of pumpkin seeds
  • 110 g warm water

The house is coldish at the moment, averaging about 18 º C without the heating on so the first prove was fairly slow about 3 hours.

I split the dough into two small balls, shaped them and put them in my smallest bannetons and tucked them in the boiler cupboard to prove and I turned the heating on as it was getting dark and late and I was chilly.

The boiler cupboard is the insides of a kitchen cupboard, hung on the wall over the ancient boiler that heats this house. It has a frame built round it and a door. It gets a bit overcrowded as you can see, though I have tidied it since I took this picture.

The book says give this dough a long cold prove, but I gave them a warm prove for another two and a half hours or so, and then baked them in my new La Cloche (birthday present) at 220º C for approximately thirty minutes.

I served the bread with a delicious Red Pepper and Sweet Potato winter soup made with:

  • One large sweet potato
  • 3 large red peppers
  • 1 large leek
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 4 sprigs of fresh coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cumin
  • A litre of jellied chicken stock (from roasting chickens)
  • A small piece of red chilli
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Peel, chop and seed and wash etc., all the vegetables. Sweat in a little olive oil in a heavy duty pan with the lid on for about an hour till soft and juicy, stir in the ground cumin or any seasonings you prefer.   Leave overnight if you are making this soup ahead but you can simply continue on if that’s your schedule.
  2. The following day, add the chicken stock, a little boiling water. Whizz with Braun hand whizzer thing till smooth. If the soup seems too thick add more water. If you want a super smooth soup then put it through a sieve but I rarely do that.
  3.  Adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Serve piping hot with thick yoghurt or creme fraiche and garnish with coriander leaves. The slight bitterness of the red peppers sets off the sweetness of the sweet potato beautifully.

We also had Portuguese freshly roasted chestnuts –  we are so lucky to live near countries where they grow these so well like Italy, Spain and Portugal –  to toss from hand to hand while we peeled them and greedily followed up with a slice of apple rye cake (yes the almonds on the top do go soggy!)  and as my friend doesn’t drink caffeine, I found my dried lime flowers from the summer and made her a tisane with that.

Jeffrey Hamelman Sourdough Seed Bread

Outside there is hail, snow, rain, wind, and darkness but inside there is bright orange soup and fresh bread, very hyggeli!

30 thoughts on “Mellow Sourdough Seed Bread And A Soup Recipe

  1. Lou

    They look lovely loaves. I do like the texture of a seeded loaf. I was going to make a loaf with rye flour today but my work has taken me longer than I expected to get done so have now run out of time.
    I see you have all the kit! Fab.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks Lou! This is a good one as it uses linseed or flaxseed depending on what you call it. I think it’s great in breads and I use it quite a lot.

      I have a ridiculous amount of kit ;) And I just splashed out on more as I was given birthday vouchers for Bakery Bits…..

  2. Misk Cooks

    Absolutely stunning loaf, Joanna. Sorry, not loaf – loaves. It’s entirely possible that what’s baking in the oven right now might become bird food and future rye soaker ingredients. It’s a good thing that I don’t shy away from failure. I will just look at your loaves instead of mine. I’ll feel happier that way. :)

    1. Joanna Post author

      I have made so many dodgy loaves, in fact the one I made only two days before this was immediately turned into croutons. It was a sourdough version of the semolina bread and it didn’t work, it came out dense and heavy with big holes and tight crumb, not a pretty sight inside, made tasty croutons though. Maybe you could make crisp breads with the one you are not sure about, slice it very thin and put in the oven. I have done that too ;)

  3. ceciliag

    oo, your soup sounds gorgeous. it has started to pour down over here and is definitely a soup\y kind of day.. Joanna, what is 125% hydration?.. i am dying to find some bannetons, I know I can get them on the internet but i am rather hoping they will turn up somewhere more interesting, like a nick nack shop or something.. i know I have seen them somewhere! c

    1. Joanna Post author

      125% hydration refers to the proportion of water to flour in the mixture. Flour is always 100% so this means that there is 125 g water to every 100 g flour in the starter. I had made a bigger bowl of starter, I used some for another bread I was making as well. A wetter starter rises and subsides more quickly than one which is say 100% hydration i.e. 100g water to 100 g flour and Jeffrey Hamelman seems to use them quite a lot in his breads. I tend to follow what he does, because if I change them then I have to alter the final quantity of water and do small sums.

      As to bannetons I have heard of people using florists’ baskets to make their own and lining them themselves with unbleached linen, or artists’ linen if you have access to such materials and are handy with scissors and thread, you might be able to save a few bob. Unless it is the coiled cane ones you are after… I hope you find the ones you fancy. If you have difficulty sourcing them, the Fresh Loaf (american bread forum) will have lots of people who can tell you the cheapest places to order online in the US.

      1. ceciliag

        Ok, i think that makes sense, so much more for me to learn however i was talking to my daughter about the bannetons just now and they have them at her work (Moro in London) and the baker is going to give her a few of the old ones to jam in her luggage.. fingers crossed. i love things to have story.. otherwise yes, i can make them, i am better at needle and thread than baking! c

        1. Joanna Post author

          I was in a hardware store today and bought an unlined wicker basket for £5.49 and Brian, who is far better at these things than me, is going to line it with some of window cleaner’s scrim for me. I’ll take some pics if it is successful. I also found a spool of carpet linen thread (!) in my collection of darning wool. One of the few things I can do is darn wool socks using one of those wooden mushrooms. ‘surprising thing about me factoid of the day’ :D

  4. teawithhazel

    a loaf of bread
    a bowl of soup
    and a friend beside me in the kitchen (eating cake and chestnuts and drinking tea) on cold winters ‘ day
    and the kitchen is paradise enow

    (apologies to omar khyayyam)

  5. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    Lovely post! Your loaves always look so good, but I particularly loved the shot of your boiler cupboard and am well chuffed to see the welding gloves hiding in there.. :)

    Soup sounds particularly good – isn’t jellied roasting stock the best thing ever? :)

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks Celia ! The welding gloves ? Oh you noticed them? ;) Very important bit of kit that ! One day I will line all the bannetons up for a photo shoot, though I don’t really have enough….

  6. Mal

    Oooh what a nice stock of bannetons! I make do with baskets and muslins but can feel the innevitable pull. (Maybe a post Christmas cheer up purchase).

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi Mal thanks for commenting ! I like wicker baskets too! the ones with the ridges are very traditional but I like the smooth topped ones for making fancy slash patterns best :)

  7. Robin

    More lovely loaves to view (pop over to Mick’s blog for some envy inducing loaves by Bicycling Ben). I’ve been making lots of rolls for the past months for ease of storage (i.e. freezing) but every so often you just get a hankering for a bit of sourdough toast – not very easy with a roll :-(

    This weekend, a big, bouncing Pain au Levain I think!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi Robin! Thanks for visiting me :) I will hike over and have a peek at Ben’s baking, he is a real perfectionist. I hope your bread bounces magnificently this weekend.

    1. Joanna Post author

      It’s a very disorganised cupboard, but it keeps the bannetons dry when they are not being used and is a useful place to prove the odd loaf which is having a sulky moment “… me rise? You must be joking, far too cold in here….”

  8. When Harry Met Celery

    I LOVE sourdough bread topped with creamy mushroom. You just made me crave Joanna! Sorry been off lately! But I’m back with my red bean hummus and waitingggg to hear from THE baking diva!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi nice to hear from you again :) Mushrooms on toast are a great supper meal, with a little garlic and chopped parsley; that’s my personal favourite.

  9. Anne

    Hi Joanna,
    Beautiful bread and pictures as always. You should have added a picture of the soup !
    Are all those bannetons yours ? how many do you have ???!!!!
    Enjoy your week-end (from the comfort of your house…. it’s too cold outside with snow trying to fall here in Staffs.)

    1. Joanna Post author

      I know I should have added a picture of the soup but we ate it too quickly :)

      I haven’t counted… some are very big and don’t get used very often and come from a variety of places, some were gifts from France. I saw that Doves are selling banettons from their website yesterday by the way.

      If I was starting now I would get 2 x 750/800 g dough size and 2 x 500 g size and that would be ideal, maybe 1 x 1 kg one if I was feeling extravagant.

      Have a lovely weekend you too! I made your apple/orange marmalade the other weekend. It’s very tasty :)

  10. sallybr

    Hey, lady…. you cannot slip a remark like “Birthday present” and leave us hanging…

    when was your Bday???? Next year I won’t forget… wanna bet?


    wonderful bread – I am trying to decide what to bake this weekend, and this recipe is calling my name, although I don’t think I have pumpkin seeds at home. Will have to tweak it a little….

    1. Joanna Post author

      I can let it slip… ;)

      Nice and easy this one Sally. Hope you have time to bake something. Sun shining and I must head to the market xx

  11. C

    Beautiful loaves as ever, and your soup sounds delicious too.

    I think I have banneton envy, but I don’t use them enough to justify buying any (more)!!!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Cake tins… bundt tins…. in particular…. cookie cutters…. I want a Moomin cookie cutter…..

      I reckon one needs five bannetons minimum ;)

    1. Joanna Post author

      The science part is quite interesting, do you mean the bit about the water to flour ratio in the starter? I am not always as accurate as it sounds here, but I aspire to be if that makes sense. I can’t control temperature as well as a professional baker can, with her retarding cabinets and steam injected deck ovens. For them it is all about hitting the time slot to use all their resources effectively and efficiently, so they have to be accurate and know what their doughs are going to do and when, I guess that’s where the numbers come in. Even so, dough doesn’t always do what you think it’s going to do, especially sourdough ;)

  12. heidi

    Just looking at your bread is a gift right now. I want some good bread so very badly but I’ve been to busy to make any. Tomorrow for sure- you’ve inspired me and I do want some sturdy and toothsome bread- although, alas and alack, I have left my starter behind in Ohio. :(

    1. Joanna Post author

      I am not too hectic right now, taking it all very easy after a bit of a rush earlier this month. It’s such a busy time to read blogs too, I am very grateful you dropped in. See you soon! :)

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