Sunflower-Oatmeal Bread

Monday November 2, 2009
slice your homemade loaves with a serrated knife

slice your homemade loaves with a serrated knife

When I worked at the bakery in 1980, my assistant Celeste made this variation of our standard Sunflower Molasses Bread with buttermilk and honey. It was scrumptous and ended up being one of our best sandwich/toasting breads, rich flavored and moist textured. When I wrote Bread for Chronicle Books, I included the recipe. Good thing I wrote it down for Celeste never did and had forgotten she ever created it. Always write down your variations!

Makes two 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaves


  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast or 2 teaspoons SAF instant yeast
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (105º to 115º)
  • 1 1/4 cups gently warmed buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • About 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds


  1. In the workbowl of a heavy duty electric mixer, sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the warm water and stir to dissolve.  Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the buttermilk, honey, molasses, egg, butter, whole wheat flour, oats, salt, and 1 cup of bread flour to the yeast mixture.  Beat on low for 3 minutes.  Add the sunflower seeds and the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft dough is formed.  Switch to the dough hook and knead 5 minutes by a timer on medium speed.  The dough will retain a slightly sticky, nubby quality, yet is very springy.  Do not add too much flour.
  3. Transfer the dough into a greased deep container or leave in the mixing bowl.  Turn the dough once to grease the top to prevent a skin from forming.  Loosely cover with a piece of plastic wrap or the plastic bowl cover.  Let rise at room temperature until double in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Grease two 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pans with  nonstick vegetable cooking spray.   Turn the dough out and divide into 2 equal portions.  Pat each portion of dough into a rough 8-by-12-inch rectangle and rollup from the short edge to make a pan loaf.  Place the loaves, seam side down, in the pans.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until the dough is fully double in bulk and about 1 inch over the rims of the pans, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375º (350º if using dark finish metal or glass loaf pans).  Place the pans on the center rack of the preheated oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown, the sides slightly contract from the pan, and sound hollow when tapped on with your finger.  Remove the loaves from the pans immediately to a cooling rack.  Loaves are best at room temperature.  Makes great toast!

Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2009

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.

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