Seeds Add Elegance & Taste to Breads

Combined with the depth of sourdough, seeds, nuts, dried fruit, herbs – they can all transform a basic loaf into something undeniably delicious.”

– Amanda from Heartbeet Kitchen

Today as the sun is melting the snow off our roof, it is hard to believe that last week we had a nor’easter that dumped snow all over northern Vermont. My son, Dylan, took the Megabus from Boston the day before the storm. He wanted to spend some time with us before traveling to Indonesia to begin a year of Ph.D. research. While the snow piled outside, my husband and I spent time inside with him chatting, playing Rummy, and sharing meals. We were grateful to learn that he brought his snow boots so we could walk in the crunchy snow and that he was prepared to help us shovel the driveway.

After spending time in the snowy outdoors, it’s always great to come in for warm soup with homemade bread. My husband, son, and I enjoyed such a meal after being outside. I took several slices of my recently made sourdough bread from the freezer and toasted them slightly. This bread was topped with a generous layer of sesame and crushed anise seed. It tapped my baker’s curiosity to hear Dylan say, “Wow, mom, this bread is great! The seeds add so much flavor.”

This affirmation that topping the bread with seeds makes a difference in taste was interesting. I had begun experimenting more with flavorful spicy seeds in my bread baking. This addition seemed to make already delicious artisan bread truly special. Dylan’s compliment confirmed my thinking.

An assortment of seed toppings can add nutrition, crunch, and pizzazz to homemade bread. These include black and white sesame, fennel, flaxseed, sunflower, pepitas, anise (my favorite), poppy, and caraway. Topping bread with seeds is very easy. I read that to make them stick to the dough, you need to add egg wash beforehand, but I have not found this necessary. Spraying or brushing water on the dough, then adding the seeds before the bread rises works well.* There is no need to pre-toast seeds either because they heat from the oven will toast them perfectly.

It’s been fun to discover that blending the seeds into the dough makes terrific bread too. Amanda Paa @heartbeetkitchen has an Easy Seeded Sourdough recipe with sesame and pumpkin seeds. It has a crusty exterior with a flavorful nutty interior. My husband and I enjoy it toasted for breakfast with jelly!

Check out the links below that reference ideas in this post. Listed are some great sourdough recipes for using seed toppings.

Wishing you happy spring bread baking! — Carole

*Five ways to stick seeds to your bread dough so they don’t fall off – Bake with Jack

Topping Bread Dough — King Arthur Flour

Tested Sourdough Recipes for adding seeds)

Easy Seeded Sourdough Bread — Amanda Paa Heartbeet Kitchen

Sourdough Baguette (add your own seed choices) — @vindiskitchen Vindi

Sesame Sourdough Bread @everything.sourdough on Instagram – Deb

The Beauty of Braided Breads

When I was a young girl, I remember my sister Judy braiding a sweet dough interspersed with raisins and chopped nuts. She brushed the top with wonderful sweet icing. The soft sweetness of this golden bread made quite an impression. To this day, whether the bread is a German Stollen, Swiss Kopf, or Jewish Challah, I am captivated by the beauty of braided bread and associate it with that first experience.

During Rosh Hashanah, one of my favorite online sourdough bakers posted a slightly sweet Challah recipe on Instagram*. I have had so much success with her sourdough recipes that I was excited to try making this one. In addition, I was pleased to read that the ingredients included some honey, active sourdough, wholesome milk, two eggs, and oil. I have not enjoyed some recipes with sweetened sourdough bread because the two opposing elements of sweet and sour in sourdough bread often do not complement each other.

This slightly sweet braided bread that I made by everything.sourdough makes terrific French toast as well as sandwich bread. I sliced the bread into thick pieces and put the entire loaf into the freezer. Over the last few months, I removed slices for making French toast or toasted them in the oven creating the most flavorful bread for sandwiches and burgers. It’s not a dessert bread like a stollen, but it has the soft texture of the buttery artistic Kopf.

Deb’s @everything.sourdough’s Challah recipe is an easy sourdough bread to make and tastes great. – Carole

* Deb@everything.sourdough Sourdough Challah Recipe The full recipe including the directions is in my menu under Sourdough Bread