The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Flaxseed + Raisin Sourdough

quirkey's picture

Flaxseed + Raisin Sourdough

First post!

I've mainly been working on my high hydration country loaf (based on Tartine, but with tweaks for our cold kitchen + weather) but this week my wife bought a loaf of Raisin/sunflower seed bread from the co-op and then asked if I could make something like it. A Challenge! I found a recipe for a sunflower/flaxseed loaf in Tartine 3 and thought since I don't have sunflower seeds, but did have raisins, I could soak both and add to the same base dough.
The dough was mostly whole wheat, and unfortunately I cant find high extraction flour (anyone have any tips or good sources in NY?), so I tried the trick of sifting whole wheat through a fine sieve.

The mix ended up being:
200G Levain
500G Sifted KAF Whole Wheat
300G KAF Bread Flour
200G KAF Whole Wheat
70G Wheat Germ
25G Salt
850G Water (100*)

After the first 2 folds I added
110G Flaxseed
140G Raisins
Soaked over night in 220G Warm water (they absorbed all the water).

After mixing in the seeds


Bulk rise for 4.5 hours total, then proofed at warm room temperature for 4 hours before baking in dutch ovens.


I let them cool over night before cracking into them.

End result: Flavor is great and makes for a really good breakfast bread. Lots of whole wheat flavor and the seeds add a nice textural element. Slight sour flavor, but happy that its actually very mild. The crumb is actually really interesting. The bread is very soft and the crust is great, but the crumb is much less open then I was hoping for - consistent small pockets, but no big openings. A couple ideas:

- I think I didn't score deeply enough, so I'm guessing that that caused not a lot of steam to escape in the dutch oven, which reduced the oven spring (but not sure how much this resulted in the tighter crumb).
- Even though the dough was 85% hydration, I think that was actual low for the amount of whole wheat in the dough. If I do something like this next time, going to try using white whole wheat instead or really seek out the high extraction OR just use a greater ratio of white flour.

Next up, I'm going to go back to working on the basic country loaf. I also finally found some Einkorn flour at a local health food store, so going to try experimenting with that.


dabrownman's picture

toast for breakfast with a slather of butter.  With your large amount of high extraction WW and whole wheat you are probably over a 50% whole grain equivalent .  With the additional seeds and raisin add ins ,that crust looks pretty soft and open.  Well done!

Welcome  and happy baking 

quirkey's picture

Thanks dabrownman. Butter is definitely the way to go with this bread. 

Its definitely at least 60% whole wheat if not more. I think it would pair nice with some soft ripe cheese, too.

amber108's picture

I think the crumb looks plenty fine considering how much bran/germ/meal there is in there, we make a 60% whole rye and it looks very similar, bet it smells divine :)

Floydm's picture

What a gorgeous loaf!  Would you mind if I featured it on the homepage for a bit?

quirkey's picture

Would be honored to be featured!


greenbriel's picture

Beautiful loaf, great info, and fantastic photography. Welcome from another newbie TFLer.


a_warming_trend's picture

That's a great-looking loaf. I'm always debating when to add heavy mix-ins, but I have yet to try adding after two fold. I'll have to experiment with that!

Cher504's picture

Looks fantastic Quirkey!

Regarding the high extraction flour - I've ordered it in the past from, but recently I tried Farmer Ground flour 'Half-White' which is sold in my local Whole Foods (in NYC) and found it to be really great. Here's a link to their website - 

     This is what they say about their 'half-white' flour: "High-Extraction Bread Flour:  Also sometimes called “half-white” flour.  This flour averages between 12.5 and 13.5% protein.  It contains all the original germ and a small portion of the original bran.  Slightly darker in color than conventional white flours, but much closer in performance to a white flour than a whole wheat.  This sort of high-extraction flour is what in Europe would be called “T-85,” the same sort of flour used by the Poilan Bakery to make their world-famous Miche."

I made a half-batch of the Tartine loaf using this flour recently. Here's a few pix

Tartine with all high extraction flour

And the crumb

I love the flavor of this flour - it has a sweetness to it and wonderful aroma...I'll have to try out your formula next.



nmygarden's picture

and congratulations on the homepage highlight! I think Floyd knows what we all want to see.

This is definitely my kind of bread, whole grains, seeds, add-ins, the more the merrier. I'm thinking it would be terrific with some peanut butter, though butter would be the conventional favorite. Enjoy!

My last one had a soaker that included poppy seed, polenta, wheat germ and flax seed meal. I added it to a 50%multi-whole grain dough at the 2nd fold. The flax seed meal sorta clumped (as it will), so didn't distribute completely, but it all worked out, regardless.


MJ Sourdough's picture
MJ Sourdough

Very nice consistent crumb. Can i ask about the wheat germ? why do you use it? what does it add? I have never used wheat germ in my breads before

MJ Sourdough's picture
MJ Sourdough

Very nice consistent crumb. Can i ask about the wheat germ? why do you use it? what does it add? I have never used wheat germ in my breads before

MJ Sourdough's picture
MJ Sourdough

Very nice consistent crumb. Can i ask about the wheat germ? why do you use it? what does it add? I have never used wheat germ in my breads before

quirkey's picture

The Wheat Germ addition is straight from the Tartine Book 3. I've read a bit about it here (though he doesnt really go into it the book) but the idea is that when you use higher extraction flours or normal whole wheat flours, you're sifting out the bran which is the "healthier" and "wheatier" part of the flour. You add germ back in to give it more of the whole wheat taste and health benefits. It's not really something you can see in a single bite of the bread, but it definitely adds to the overall flavor.

Mebake's picture

Looks beautiful to me. nice work!


markdabaker's picture

Looks great but can I make one recommendation? The next time you use flax please pull out your coffee grinder and whiz the flax around long enough to break them up. We cannot digest flax in their whole form. So flax are often soaked when they become gelatinous or they are often found ground in the grocery store. This is the most digestible form for us. When you whiz them you don't have to grind them to a powder. You just need to break the shell of the flax seed.

quirkey's picture

Thanks for the suggestion - I'll definitely try that next time. 

Thaichef's picture


  I want to try to make your bread above because it looks so delicious but your recipe only said that it bake in the"dutch oven". What temperature and for how long?

Thank you.



Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Mmmm, the crumb looks lovely - moist and chewy, I bet! I'm wondering if the flax seeds had a significant effect on the texture, as they tend to absorb moisture and turn into gelatinous goo when soaked. I might try this bread with a different dried fruit (chopped apricots or currents, maybe) and sunflower or even sesame seeds. Or maybe a bit of toasted millet?

Amesbakes's picture

Flax is super mucilaginous when introduced with water - why it’s great for digestion! But I’ve also noticed in my few loaves I’ve baked with whole golden flax, soaked at room temp, that the crumb is denser and more moist - as if the flax is just not wanting to give up that water! I’d be cautious with ground flax - yes it’s more nutritious for us ground but it’s water holding capacity goes up due to increased surface area when the seeds are ground. Nonetheless, the loaves look and sound tasty!