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Jessica's Seeded Sourdough


This started out as Carol LeValley’s delicious sourdough and morphed in to my own seeded recipe after lots and lots of practice and experimentation.


Makes 2 round ~1lb loaves, ready to bake in the late afternoon.



Mix the following, cover and let ferment for ~8 hours:

2 oz firm starter

5 oz water

5 oz flour



7 oz whole wheat flour

16 oz unbleached bread flour

2 oz sunflower seeds

2 oz sesame seeds

2 oz flax seeds

.7 oz rye flour

.6 oz salt

16 oz water



Night before baking:

Make the Levain.


Morning of baking:

The levain should have tripled in size, be full of bubbles and started to collapse onto itself.

  1. Mix the dry ingredients except the salt in mixer with dough hook.
  2. Mix the water and levain together with a whisk.
  3. Pour wet ingredients in to dry and mix with dough hook on low (#2 on Kitchenaid) for 15 minutes.
  4. Cover with proofing cloth (i.e. cotton dish towel) and rest for 20 minutes.
  5. Add salt and mix 10 more minutes. The dough should pull away from sides and have an internal temp. of 78 degrees.



  1. Place dough in lightly oiled plastic container, covered tightly with a lid or plastic wrap.  Note the exact height on the side of the container with a piece of tape.
  2. After 30 minutes, dust top with flour and turn on to lightly floured board. Turn once. Place back in container and cover.
  3. After 30 more minutes, turn again place back in container and cover.
  4. After 30 more minutes, turn again and place back in container and cover.
  5. Leave the dough to rise for 1-1/2  to 2 hours more, or until almost doubled from the original height. Total fermentation time is about 3 hours.



  1. Turn the dough out onto a board and divide it into 2 pieces with a pastry cutter, gently round the dough and cover with a towel. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
  2. Shape each piece into a nice round, place into floured proofing baskets and cover with a plastic shower cap. Let rise any where from 2 to 4 hours, depending on the room temperature, or until about doubled.


Note: When proofing your bread, remember that under proofing is always better than over proofing, if you have to make a choice.  Over proofing results in yeast that has no more food to eat and you'll end up with a rock instead of a nice, airy loaf.



  1. At least 1 hour before baking, place a baking stone on the lowest rack of your oven and preheat to 500 degrees.
  2. Cut a piece of parchment large enough to hold the dough, place it on a peel, and place this on top of your proofing basket.  Flip the basket over gently onto the peel and remove the basket gently. Use a sharp knife to "score" the loaf in a cross shaped pattern, about 1/4" deep.  Scoring is very important, as it allows the dough to rise one last time as the heat and the steam hit it.
  3. Slide it onto the baking stone and mist your oven with water (use a spray bottle), avoiding the glass door and light bulb cover.
  4. Turn the oven temperature down to 450 degrees.
  5. Mist 3 times more during the first 5 minutes of baking, opening the door as little as possible, for as short a time as possible.
  6. After 20 minutes, remove the parchment paper, turning the loaf as you remove it (to ensure even baking) and bake for 20-25 minutes more for a total baking time of 35 to 40 minutes.
  7. After 35-40 minutes, the crust should be nice and brown.  Remove the bread and place on a cooling rack.  It should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. 
  8. Bring the oven temperature back up to 500 degrees and repeat the baking phase with the second loaf of bread.


Note: Unless you want a stomach ache, resist eating the bread until it has cooled 20-30 minutes.  Hot dough has a tendency to ball up in your stomach.


Note about bread baking schedules:

This recipe assumes that you start the levain just about before you go to bed at night and then will be home to work on the bread all the next day, starting when you wake up.  The bread does not take a lot of work during the day, but it does require that you follow its schedule.  This recipe, as written above, will have bread ready for the oven mid- to late-afternoon, in time for warm bread for dinner.


If you'd like to have bread made by mid-day, make the following adjustments:

Levain: The day before you want bread, make the levain first thing in the morning.

That evening: Do the mixing, fermentation and start the proofing.  Once the bread has started to move, just a little, in the baskets, put them in the refrigerator.

The next morning: Take one loaf out of the refrigerator when you wake, take off the plastic cover / shower cap and place a dish-towel on top (the bread will be moist from condensation so the dish towel will allow the bread to be covered, but lose the excess moisture).   You're going to let the bread come back up to room temperature and rise a bit more.  This takes about 3 hours.  I like to take one loaf out first, and then an hour later, take out the second loaf, so that the second loaf has been rising in the room temperature air for the same amount as the first loaf before being baked.


When I make bread this way, the first loaf is usually in the oven around 11 or 12, depending on what time I wake up and how warm it is in the kitchen.



Turn = Place dough on lightly floured counter and, using a pastry cutter/scraper, fold the dough in on itself from all four sides.  I.e. I always fold the right side to the middle, then the top to the middle, then the left to the middle, then the bottom to the middle.


Peel =   A long-handled, shovel like tool used by bakers to move bread or pastries into and out of an oven.  Usually made of wood.  If you don't have one, a cookie sheet will work (that's what I used for a long time until I found a peel for really cheap).


Proofing baskets = Usually made of willow with a fitted linen/cotton liner.  The baskets are slightly larger than the round of bread you expect to make.  In a pinch, if you don't have baskets, you can use a colander and a dish towel.  Baskets really are better though -- I know from experience.  I found mine at Cost Plus... they were sold as bread baskets, but they make excellent proofing baskets.  You can use the floured liners 5 or 6 times before washing them, by the way.  They get nice and impregnated by the flour -- it makes them work better.


Email: jessicafm (at) mindspring.com


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