Whole Wheat bread with sunflower or other seeds is one of the most common loaves of bread in Germany. We often call it “Vollkornbrot” but there are many, many versions of Vollkornbrot. However, this one is really very authentic to the one I got at our bakery in Germany and that’s why I love it so much.
People often get confused about the bread designations of German bread and to be honest, we Germans do too. When we are at the bakery, we often select our bread by telling the baker “Das da!” (“This one”).
Every bakery has a bunch of standard bread but also some bread that is unique for this bakery by the mix of seeds or the flour they used or other features and ingredients. They have names like Weltmeister Brot, Aronia Walnuss Brot, Angeschobenes, Apfelweinbrot, Alemannenlaib, Bayrisches Hausbrot, Das Kernige, Das Echte, Frankenbrot … and so on. It’s crazy! So, just to bring a little clarity into this. The normal German person mostly differs between Schwarzbrot (including Pumpernickel, Vollkornbrot, Feinbrot – also known as Graubrot or Mischbrot), Roggenbrot, and Weißbrot. And it is especially the Schwarzbrot which has so many variations with seeds and nuts. So, this recipe is probably of the category Schwarzbrot but that might be debatable.
Video: How to bake Whole Wheat Bread with Sunflower Seeds
Schwarzbrot and Pumpernickel
Pumpernickel is in a way a Schwarzbrot but it contains larger amounts of molasses and is more dried than baked. It has a slightly bitter taste and I have a recipe on the blog HERE which resembles a Pumpernickel.
However, the regular Schwarzbrot is usually made with rye flour but in more southern regions it can also be made with or contain whole wheat flour. The reason for this is the soil and climate of the different regions of Germany. While in the North of Germany, farmers mostly grow rye because of soil, rain and colder temperatures, the South of Germany is more likely to grow wheat. So traditionally there is more rye baking in the North than in the South.
Whole Wheat Flour or Rye Flour?
You could bake your bread with rye flour but it really gets a lot more fluffy with whole wheat flour while rye bread tends to be a lot more dense. Since it is WHOLE wheat, it is healthy, too. But for those who want to avoid any wheat flour, there is a recipe on this blog for a 100% Rye Bread.
If you want to bake this bread with rye flour instead of whole wheat flour, you need to increase the water by 5% to 10% for all water parts. You might also want to increase the amount of salt a little bit like 2 additional grams.
Sourdough or Yeast
I like baking with sourdough since it gives a bread more character (taste) and keeps it fresh longer. But I know that many people shy away from sourdough since it seems complicated to maintain the starter. Nevertheless, I have an article about sourdough starter and maintaining it HERE if you want to give it a try. If you’d rather stay in your comfort zone, don’t worry, you can make this bread with yeast instead of sourdough! I’ll mention it in the ingredients.
Pin Whole Wheat Bread with Sunflower Seeds
Whole Wheat Bread with Sunflower Seeds
Day 1: Sourdough
- 100 g Whole Wheat Flour
- 100 ml Water
- 10 g Sourdough Starter or 3 g dry yeast
Day 1: Scalded Flour
- 100 g Whole Wheat Flour
- 150 ml boiling Water
Day 1: Seeds
- 100 g Sunflower Seeds alternative Pumpkin Seeds
- 200 ml Water
- Sourdough from Day 1
- Seeds from Day 1 (including the water)
- Scalded Flour from Day 1
- 300 g Whole Wheat Flour
- 4 g Instant Yeast
- 13 g Salt
- some additional Sunflower Seeds for the top
- TIP: Measure the water on the scale if possible. 1 ml water = 1 g!Mix the ingredients for the sourdough: Mix the water with the sourdough starter, then add the flour. Mix well, cover, and set aside overnight.Next. mix the ingredients for the scalded flour: Pour boiling water over the flour and mix until it has combined. It's supposed to be a big lump so don't worry that it's not enough water! Cover and set aside for several hours or overnight.Soak the Seeds: Pour the hot water over the seeds, cover and set aside for several hours or overnight. This step is important so the seeds won't soak the liquid from the bread dough later.
- In a large bowl place the flour, the scalded flour, the sourdough, and the soaked seeds including the water.Add the yeast and salt. But the salt a little aside and not right next to the yeast.Start mixing at a low speed for 3 minutes, then increase the speed and mix for another 4 minutes.
- Put the dough into a large bowl, spread it out and let rise for 90 to 120 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and shape it into a log.
- Brush some water onto the top of the dough. Put some sunflower seeds on the board and roll the top of the bread over it so it sticks to the bread.
- Grease a loaf pan and put the dough into it – sunflower seeds on top. Make sure it goes all the way into the corners.
- Cover the baking pan with a clean kitchen towel and let ferment for about 50 minutes until it has clearly increased in size.
- Preheat the oven to 250°C / 480°F.Place the bread into the oven. Also put an oven-safe bowl with water into the oven to create some steam. Close the oven door and reduce the heat to 210°C / 410°F.Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the bread from the baking pan and also remove the bowl with water. Put the bread back into the oven.Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes. The bread is ready if it sounds hollow when you knock on the bottom of the load.Let cool completely before cutting.