I loved this bread the last time I made it. The seed combination is brilliant, a perfect combo that mirrors a seeded sourdough bread I used to buy at our farmer’s market that made me go all swoony.
But I made a mistake this time. (I’ve been making a lot of mistakes, but I try not to dwell on them too much because then I get discouraged and am no fun to be with.) I used seeds that had not been stored in the freezer (I do know better) and had been piled listlessly in the corner of my kitchen cabinet for a year, or, oh I’m so embarrassed, more. So the seeds were a little bitter, which kind of ruined the effect.
Moral of the lesson—buy fresh seeds if you are going to make this bread, and then store them in the freezer until you need them again.
George’s Seeded Sour
Adapted from Breads from the La Brea Bakery by Nancy Silverton
2 1/4 cups (1 3/4 pounds) white starter
1/4 cup (2 ounces) milk
2/3 cup (3 ½ ounces) whole wheat flour
½ cup (1 1/3 ounces) dark rye flour
2 tablespoons bread flour
1 ½ cups (10 ounces) cool water
2 ½ tablespoons quinoa
2 ½ tablespoons millet
1/4 cup amaranth
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
5 cups plus 2 tablespoons (1 pound and 5 ½ ounces) bread flour
1 tablespoon sea salt
Start the bread in the late afternoon of Day One:
Make a sponge with the first five ingredients: using a spoon, mix them altogether in a bowl, cover tightly with a shower cap and leave the bowl sit on the counter until it has doubled, about three hours.
Put the water, sponge, grains, poppy seeds, and flour in the mixing bowl and knead for four minutes. Let the dough rest for twenty minutes.
Add the salt and mix for another five minutes. The dough will be sticky. Knead it by hand on the counter for a couple minutes and then put in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a shower cap and chill in the refrigerator for about six hours, or overnight.
Morning of Day Two:
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and take off the shower cap. If the dough has not yet doubled, let it sit at room temperature until it does.
Cut the dough into two pieces and shape into elongated boules, about ten inches in length. Lay them on the counter, smooth side up.
Prepare your proofing tray: Lay a cloth on a cookie sheet, lightly dust it with flour and bunch up the cloth in the middle, creating a little wall to divide the two loaves.
For the seed mixture:
2 tablespoons amaranth
½ cup sesame seeds
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
3 ½ tablespoons anise seeds
3 teaspoons fennel seeds
Mix the seeds together in a small bowl and then pour into a large tray that has sides.
Now’s the fun part. Spritz the tops of the loaves with water, roll them, wet-side down, in the seed mixture and lay them, seed-side down, on the proofing cloth.
Cover them with another cloth and allow to proof for three to four hours.
Heat the oven to 500 degrees. Flip each loaf over, dock them, and slip them, seed-side up, into the oven. Follow the same spritzing and baking procedure that you use when making the Country White.