Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Honey & Sunflower loaf

This Saturday, I'm doing another sourdough workshop, for the Toowoomba Simple Living Group. It will be held at The Range Christian Fellowship, Blake Street, Wilsonton.

I'm not sure how it's going to feature at the workshop, but I intend to showcase the lovely Honey & Sunflower, sourdough loaf. It's simple and delicious.

Honey & Sunflower loaf

You'll need some sourdough starter, you can make yourself, or borrow some from a friend who makes sourdough. Here's what you do:

Step 1 - Make Sponge:

In a clean bowl, add;

  • 1 cup bakers flour
  • 1 cup room temperature water
  • 1 cup starter

Mix together and leave on the counter, between 2-4 hours. It should look like the picture (below) when it's ready. Lot's of bubble action.

 Sponge is ready for next step

Step 2 - Make Dough:

To that bowl of sponge, add;

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons powdered milk
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 cups of bakers flour (add last)

Little kitchen helper

I add everything in the above list, to the sponge - all, except the flour. Make sure the rest of the ingredients, are mixed in thoroughly, then add one cup of flour, and continue to stir. A sturdy spatula is good, because you can scrape down the sides as you go.

 Ready to turn out

Add enough flour, until it's too firm to comfortably mix with a spatula. This picture (above) is after 2 cups of flour have been added. Then turn onto a clean surface, and incorporate however much flour, to make a tacky dough.

Tacky dough, means, it will stick to your hands, but will come away easily, from you or the bench. If it's sticking like glue, then you need more flour. I only needed another half cup - so 2 and a half cups, total, out of the 2-3 cups, required in the recipe. It will change every day, how much flour you'll need, so learn to read your dough. I've written a post All about the dough.

After kneading

Once your dough has enough flour incorporated, it's ready to knead for 10 minutes. It should look like the above picture, when it's finished. It will be firm, and hold it's round shape, without slumping.

Now the dough is ready to place in an oiled bowl.

 First Rise

If you're wondering what the two balls of dough are about, my son helps me make sourdough. He handles a small portion of it and gets to make a pizza.

Step 3 - First Rise:   

Given, you'll face the dough downwards into the bowl, first, then flip it over again - the oil on the surface of the dough, will ensure it won't form a skin, as it rises. The above picture is what it should look like, when you're done.

Next, cover the bowl. There are several options: a dinner plate, a moist tea towel, or a round glass casserole dish, lid, like I use.

Ready to mould

Leave dough to rise anywhere from 4-8 hours. The warmer the ambient temperature, the less time it will take to grow. Your dough will need to double in size, but mine often grows a little more!

Now it's ready to place in a lightly oiled, loaf tin. Roll your dough into a cigar shape, then place the seam side, facing down into the tin - see below.

Dough in tin

Step 4 - Second Rise:  

Last rise now. It will take anywhere between 45-60 minutes. Check at 45 minutes and see if it's doubled in size, or needs a little more time.

I place my loaf, in a warmed oven (50 degrees Celsius) with a bowl of water at the bottom. Once the tin goes in, switch off the oven. The aim is to use the residual warmth and water, to create humidity, so the dough doesn't form a skin as it rises.

My dough was ready at 50 minutes

Step 5 - Score & Bake:  

Now remove the tin out of the oven, then preheat it again, to 180-200 degrees Celsius (fan forced) 200-220 for a standard oven. Leave your bowl of water, in there.

While waiting for the oven to reach the correct temperature, score the top of the bread gently, with a sharp knife, or clean razor. Then place in the oven, and bake for 25-30 minutes. Be sure to turn after 10-15 minutes though. Even in my fan forced oven, I need to turn the tin, for consistent browning.


The bread should be a lovely, golden brown colour, when done, and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. I always take my bread out of the tin, as soon as it's removed from the oven, and place on it's side (on a cooling rack). This ensures the bottom isn't too moist, which makes slicing, easier.

Still just a little warm

Leave at least, half an hour to an hour, before slicing, so it will hold it's shape. Lovely with just butter, or served with honey or marmalade.

To get a better indication of time, if I start this loaf at 8am, it will be ready to go in the oven between 2-3pm. It all depends how warm or cool your kitchen is. The cooler it is, the longer it will take.

Tip: Use your oven on a low temperature, to speed the process up, when it comes to making the sponge and rising the bread (both times).

See you all, on Saturday!


  1. That looks delicious, Chris! I'm wishing I lived out your way now so that I could come along on Saturday and learn how to make it. Meg:)

    1. I hear it's going to be a full event, so definitely a lot of interest. I'd love to meet you in person, but understand the tyranny of distance. :)

  2. Your loaf is looking great, Chris. Looking forward to the workshop on Saturday.

    1. Thanks Chel. See you there, so long as it doesn't flood, lol. ;)

  3. Great looking loaf of bread there!

    1. Hi Cheryl, nice to meet you. Will check in your blog. :)

  4. That looks perfect Chris. I think sourdough would have to be the epitome of simple living

    1. Absolutely, and I love the idea of adding a little, to leaven a lot! ;)

  5. Hope your course went well today. One day I hope to get to one as I am not quite sure what I am not getting quite right.

    1. The course was great, even if we all got wet, getting inside, lol. I wonder if your starter is active enough? I struggled with knowing what an active starter looked like, before I knew what it SHOULD look like. I thought if I saw bubbles, it should be active enough to use. But it needed a lot more bubbles. :)

  6. Hello Chris, I will definitely try this bread, slightly different from the main one I make and a great recipe. By Bakers flour,do you mean just the strong plain flour for bread, no ordinary plain flour at all? The powdered milk is a great idea. I wish I could attend your workshops:) Thanks so much for sharing.Pauline

    1. I'm sure there might be some success with specific brands of plain flour (the kinds that don't bleach) but for learning the ropes of sourdough making, stick with the baker's flour. As it's designed to enable yeasts to proliferate. :)

      You can buy it from the supermarket, in 5kg bags. "Wallaby" is my favourite brand, and then, "Defiance", does one too. For the latter, make sure you buy the bag labeled "Baker's Flour", not the, "Bread Mix".

      It would have been great to see you there, but it was a rather wet day too. I was happy when so many people braved the rain. I thought it might have put them off.

  7. I am enjoying these sourdough recipes Chris. Thank you :)


    1. It beats just eating white, lol. Although, white can be nice too. :)


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