Which comes first: the dough or the seeds?
These are a couple of excerpts from my eBook: Seedy Sourdough: A Companion Guide for Adding Seeds On and In Your Favourite Bread Recipes (eBook)
I wrote Seedy Sourdough to help home (and professional) bakers and cooks add seeds to bread. It's about techniques to complement your existing recipes and methods. I hope you find these snippets helpful!
Inside Out (Seeds in the dough)
Mixing seeds into the dough is an excellent way to add flavour, texture, variety and nutrition. Various options and considerations are outlined below.
There is no exact rule for how much seed to add to a dough; it is a matter of personal preference and desired outcome. More seeds result in a more dense and seedy bread. Please see below for some extremely broad starting points.
HOW TO (based on dry* seed weight):
- Lightly seeded: 50–100 grams seeds per 1000 grams total flour.
- Medium seeded: 200–300 grams seeds per 1000 grams total flour.
- Heavy seeded: 400–500 grams seeds per 1000 grams total flour.
- Extra-heavy seeded: 600-1000 grams seeds per 1000 grams flour.
*Dry seed weight does not include any soaking liquid, if using.
A caution: grains used in the bread can still be quite hard when eating, mostly if they are near the crust surface and so have been thoroughly dried during the baking. This is especially noticeable with large wholegrains; for example, wheat, rye or spelt grains....
There are two or three options for adding the seeds to the dough. Both have advantages and disadvantages.
All together now from the beginning
One method is to add the seeds (soaked or unsoaked) at the start of mixing, with all the other ingredients (e.g., flour, water, sourdough starter, salt, etc.). The advantage to this method is that the dough texture can be adjusted quickly and easily near the start of mixing. The downside is that it seems to require more mixing to achieve the same level of ‘dough readiness’ (that’s a topic for another book). This would only be a problem if mixing by hand or in a machine with limited power. This option is generally necessary if following a limited kneading process, although the grains can often be sprinkled on during stretch and folds (this could be considered a third method).
Dough first, then add seeds
The other option is to add the seeds once the dough is adequately mixed and gluten has formed and developed to your recipe requirements. The advantage of this method is that the dough can be mixed without the interference of the seeds between the gluten structure being formed during mixing, thus requiring less mixing and resulting in a more structured dough. The challenge is that if the seeds are very wet or dry, this will alter the dough significantly, requiring adjustment to the dough when the dough is largely finished mixing, risking a break-down of the structure.
Once you have tried a few test batches to get a consistent result for how much soaking water is required, this second method can produce a lovely dough (the other one can too). The other advantage of this method is that a larger dough can be mixed, in either a home or commercial kitchen, then divided and grains added to a portion of the dough, without having to mix two separate doughs, and the associated time and effort...
To find out more and to purchase: Seedy Sourdough: A Companion Guide for Adding Seeds On and In Your Favourite Bread Recipes (eBook)