On the first day of the year… I’d like to say that bread baking is a great way to welcome 2010!   I  debated whether to make a simple sourdough, or to mark another notch in my BBA Challenge-belt.   Once I realized that the BBA bread was a sunflower seed rye, I immediately went to work on it.   From its whole flours and sunflower seeds, the bread casts a healthy aura that’s perfect for this time of the year,  in which we all feel the impact of holiday excesses.

Welcome 2010 with Peter Reinhart’s couronne of
sunflower seed rye…

The recipe calls for a soaker and a firm sourdough starter.  Once again, I couldn’t find pumpernickel flour, and settled for a regular dark rye instead.  I still prepared the soaker exactly as described – mixing rye flour with water and allowing it to sit overnight.

The dough rose slowly and less than I expected, but it was fun to shape the ring.   First, form a ball, then poke a hole in the center, stretch it out, and finally make a deep indentation to define quadrants.  I added some flour to try to prevent the square from closing during the rising, but it didn’t end with dramatic look of the picture in the book.

The bread didn’t have the oven-bounce of a typical, white flour sourdough,  but it felt light as I grabbed it from the oven.  The taste was wonderful, hearty, and the toasted sunflower seeds made it just like Reinhart described:  a “loyal” bread, that stays with you long after you enjoy it.

Another winning recipe, and with it completed, only EIGHT breads remain to finish the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge!

I am submitting this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting, my favorite weekly net-event…

Enjoy rye breads? Go to Foodista for more…
Rye Bread on Foodista

On a side note,  my New Year’s Resolution in 2008 was to regularly bake bread.   It’s been two years of ups and downs, many failures but so much fun!  If you’re a believer in New Year’s resolutions, have you considered baking bread?    😉


The BBA Challenge has had its ups and downs.  Unfortunately with this bread I hit the lowest point in the whole challenge.  I had problems from the very beginning, my dough refused to get smooth, it felt like a mixture of sand and water, “breaking” as I tried to knead it.     I moved on, shaped the bread, allowed it to rise – which, it did not, I barely detect any changes – and baked it.

It was dense, and too chewy for my taste.   I definitely need more practice with this kind of a dough.  Rye won big time,  I got a lesson in humility….

Next day I cut the bread into thin slices and turned them into rye crisps, which were ok, but not great.

I look forward to the reports of my fellow bakers following the BBA Challenge, maybe they can give me some tips to deal with such a tricky dough.