This  loaf of bread was made on a whim on a busy weekend mainly devoted to the lab. Tired of refreshing my starter and putting it back in the fridge, I decided that – no matter what – we would be having home-made bread on Super Bowl Sunday.  I had to cheat, though. The dough got spiked with some commercial yeast to speed up fermentation. Let’s hope the Wild Yeast Gods will have mercy on me…  😉

(inspired by Hamelman’s Bread)

Starter mix:
2.4 oz bread flour
3 oz water at room temperature
1 Tablespoon mature sourdough culture

1.5 oz flax seeds (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup water at room temperature

final dough:
12 oz bread flour
1.6 oz rye flour
2 oz sesame seeds, toasted
5.7 oz water
10 g salt
all the soaker
4.8 oz starter mix (you will have a small amount left)
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast

Prepare the levain build 12-18 hours before making the final dough. Mix all ingredients and leave in a covered container at room temperature.  At the same time, make the soaker placing the flax seeds with water in a small bowl.  The seeds will expand quite a bit, so use a bowl that will allow that to happen without overflowing.

Next morning, make the final dough by mixing all the ingredients together in the bowl of a KitchenAid type mixer.  Mix on lowest speed for a couple of minutes.  Check the hydration level, adjust if necessary.  Increase speed to medium-low (level 3 of a KitchenAid), and mix for 3 to 4 minutes.

Let the dough ferment in a lightly oiled bowl for 2 and half hours, folding the dough twice at 50 minutes interval. After 2.5 hours, shape the dough as a ball and place in a suitable container for the final proofing.   My bread was ready to bake in 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Bake in a 450 F oven for 45 minutes. If baking covered to generate steam, remove the cover after 30 minutes.  Cool completely before slicing.


to print the recipe, click here


Whenever I bake a loaf of bread, I go into full scrutiny mode. I stare at the crust,  inspect the edge of the slashing,  and look for small blisters on the surface.  Then, after patiently waiting for the bread to cool,  I cut a slice and start the convoluted process of analyzing the crumb.  Phil knows better and allows me this important “bread-introspection” time before reaching to grab a piece. But, once he senses the green light, it never fails:  “This is good bread”.  Really, this bread is awesome!”   It gives me a thrill… I know he means it, and it puts all my bread scrutiny into perspective.   For instance, I had to stop beating myself up because the holes in the crumb did not organize into the pyramidal shape I love so much.  Oh, well… This is good bread.

The flax seeds are visible, of course, but the sesame more or less disappears in the crumb. However, the flavor is there beyond any shadow of a doubt, and complements very well the small amount of rye and the hint of sourness.  Everyone watching the Super Bowl loved this loaf, some even preferred to turn the back to the TV and concentrate on it.  😉


I am submitting this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting….

ONE YEAR AGO: Green Beans with Miso and Almonds

TWO YEARS AGO: Saturday Morning Scones



  1. That is one beautiful looking loaf of bread, Sally. The crust and crumb look perfect. You didn’t mention. Was Buck successful? Max is more thief than hypnotist. He knows that eventually I’ll have to leave the room or will get distracted by the phone, TV, or something. In his mind, it’s only a matter of time … 🙂


    • Any of our other dogs would definitely make a move, even if we are paying attention. Buck is a very unique dog. Probably because he was abused, mistreated badly, he won’t ever steal anything. IN fact, he doesn’t even make a noise. No moaning, no barking, nothing. He just sits there and stares… Yes, we ended up giving him a treat. Maybe two? 😉 (and the other two dogs get the same, of course. Canine equality rules)


  2. Buck is awesome! How could you resist that little face! This bread sounds delicious and I can just imagine how antsy Phil must be to sample it out of the oven. I know I would be. The smell of fresh bread makes it so hard to wait. 🙂


  3. Now that is one well-behaved pup. I tell you there would be no bread in the picture if Stella was anywhere near there (I think she prizes bread above all else. Did I tell you about the time she fit two (that’s 2!!) giant sized bagels in her mouth and tried to make it look like there was nothing at all going on in there?! :)). Your bread looks smashing Sally and I’m thinking that bread-introspection ritual may be better than meditation ;-). I’m diggin’ the flaxseed in this loaf!


    • Oh, my! I can see it just too well, Stella acting as if “nothing is going on here” – you know, our late dalmatian, Pits, once stole a whole Tbone steak, wrapper and all from over the counter. Sticks of butter he managed to steal 3 times (that I remember), also with the wrapping paper around and all. He would swallow his stolen goods so quickly that we were not sure he could survive his own crime… but, he lived a long (and very happy life) –


  4. Dear Buck, one of my blog readers saw him on the Fresh Loaf and emailed me his picture and I thought I know who that little face belongs to! What a star he is! Zeb disgraced himself and engineered it so that a two year old threw his sandwich at him, so he ate it. He is getting devious in maturity… Love the loaf, wonder if the seeds cut through the gluten strands a bit so that might be why your regular pyramid holes didn’t show up ( do you mean what I think of as a sort of volcano cross section?) Mysterious are the ways of the crumb… xx Joanna


    • Oh, that Zeb is something! Devious in maturity, I gotta remember that line… 🙂

      Indeed, it is possible the seeds did some damage to the strands of gluten – even with the soaking step, the flaxseeds are pretty big and still retain some texture.


  5. That blog reader was me!! Just love that picture. Spot would be up there in a trice if he could reach – he helped himself to a couple of prune and pecan muffins once when I stupidly left a chair near enough for him to climb on. That bread looks simply delicious.


  6. [laughing] Am collecting every sourdough recipe all of a sudden since Celia somehow ‘convinced’ me yesterday to get a few lots of starter to fly across the Pond from NWestern 🙂 ! Can’t wait!!


  7. Oh my, I wish I could have a slice of that bread! As much as I bake, I haven’t experimented with a starter before (shameful, I know!) But your post has inspired me! I need to order one ASAP! Thank you for sharing. What a warm way to end my weekend. I hope you have a great start to your week!


    • Flaxseeds are great, maybe a little bit of an acquired taste, but once you fall in love with them, that is it! I am now trying to warm up to chia seeds, but haven’t cooked much with them yet.


  8. I had good luck with this bread! After experimenting quite a bit with the tartine method, it was nice to finish a loaf within 24 hours and still have great flavors and chew. I forgot to take out the extra starter when putting together the final dough, but it turned out good – I had a bit more open crumb and burst. Great loaf, thanks for sharing!


    • I hear you! It is nice to have a nice bread that doesn’t take days to prepare. In fact, just today I made a batch of a bread called “ka’kat” that should be in the blog soon, a MIddle Eastern Snack bread – stay tuned!

      thanks for the feedback, I love it when one of my recipes hits gold! 😉


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