May 10, 2009

Sunflower Honey Bran Bread (B&P-10)

Baking & Pastry Project #10 - Sunflower Honey Bran Bread

Happy Mother's Day

While my husband and I were engaged, we had a discussion about whether or not we'd like to have children and how many. My husband came from a large family and informed me he'd like to have enough kids for a ball team. Somewhat stunned, I asked him what kind of ball team. He smiled and said, "Baseball." Laughing, I told him I'd agree to enough kids for a beach volley ball team, but not baseball. He smiled and said, "Great! How many people are on a beach volley ball team?" Smirking, I said, "Two."

Mother's Day is a great day for me. We were married for almost 7 years before we had our first child, a son. As soon as he could manage it, he started moving and still is at 13 years old. He's working towards his brown belt in karate now. Three years later, we had a daughter, although my dearest husband was hoping for another boy so he could talk me into having a third baby. She started life by watching her brother move and trying to mimic every physical challenge he made. At 10 years old, she loves to dance, ride horses and is still following her brother by taking karate.

I didn't do the whole pregnancy thing well, needing lots of bed rest, trips to the doctor and the hospital. I got an ambulance ride during rush hour traffic around the beltway in Virginia to the Fairfax County Hospital with our son. Our daughter decided life was quieter and more comfortable inside my body rather than in the labor and delivery room. So she got to spend ten days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, while she adjusted to a life of breathing air. When we got her hospital bill, all we could think of was "Thank the good Lord for health insurance."

So today is very special to us, because in spite of all the challenges, we have two awesome kids. We love watching them grow, change and develop inquiring minds. It's shallow of me I know, but I think it's pretty exciting to have another set of muscles in the house. No more cranky jar lids that have to wait for my husband to get home. Not to mention my great joy in finding out that my daughter absolutely loves to wash dishes. I'm sure the thrill of picking up new chores and other odd jobs will fade for the kids, but for us, it's pretty cool.

Today's bread is a delicious Sunflower Honey Bran Bread. It's a very verstile bread, as I've used it for sandwiches, croutons and even as a base for the filling of the breakfast pastry I made for Mother's Day.

This recipe has both roasted and raw sunflower seeds. Grind the raw sunflower seeds to make the meal for this bread. When you grind the seeds, add some of the flour mixture to grinder to help absorb the oil and to keep from making sunflower seed butter.

Originally made with bread flour, the protein content was 47.97 grams per 100 grams of flour. While the gluten free version has 47.75 grams of protein per 100 grams of flour.

Yield: 1 loaf
3.1 Tb/45 g brown rice flour (4.05 g)
3.1 Tb/45 g sweet rice flour (2.7 g)
3.1 Tb/45 g arrowroot starch (0.13 g)
4.2 Tb/60 g raw sunflower seed meal (9 g)
3.8 Tb/55 g millet flour (6.32 g)
.47 cup/110 g white bean flour (23.65 g)
1.8 tsp/9 g chia seed meal (1.89 g)
.63 tsp/3 g agar agar powder
2.9 Tb/42 g rice bran
3.1 tsp/15 g instant dry yeast
1.8 tsp/9 g sea salt
2.9 Tb/42 g roasted sunflower seeds
1.59 cup/378 ml whole milk, room temperature
2.1 Tb/70 g honey
1.4 tsp/21 g sunflower oil

1. Lay out a sheet of parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Pour in the honey, milk and sunflower oil then stir together. Sprinkle the parchment paper with sweet rice flour and place the bread dough in the center of the paper. Shape into a round ball and score a slash down the center of the top of the dough. Cover and allow to rise for 1 ½ hours.

2. Preheat the oven to 435 degrees F/225 degrees C. If you have a baking stone, place it in the oven at the same time on a shelf in the top third of the oven. Gather an oven proof bowl that can hold water and a squirt bottle filled with water for steaming your bread. Place the water bowl on a shelf in the bottom third of the oven. Brush sunflower oil over the top of the loaf and sprinkle with sunflower seeds.

3. Remove the stone or brick from the oven and slide the parchment paper with the loaf onto the baking stone. Squirt the sides of the oven with water and the top of the bread. Then bake for 30 minutes. Prop open the door of the oven and allow the bread to cook for 10 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven, then let the bread cool about 1 ½ hours before cutting.


1. White Bean Flour – You can purchase white bean flour from Barry Farm or you can grind your own using a coffee grinder. Make sure to sift your bean flour before using to make sure any bits that weren’t ground are removed

2. Chia Seed Meal – You can purchase chia seeds from Barry Farm and use a coffee grinder to turn them into meal.

3. Rice Bran - You can purchase rice bran from Ener-G Foods. You could also try the baking aisle at Whole Foods, that's where I purchased my box.

Other Baking & Pastry Project Posts

Baking & Pastry Project #9 - Black Bean Millet Pullman Loaf with Caraway Seeds (mock rye)
Baking & Pastry Project Week 5 - Mock Rye & Sunflower Seeds
Baking & Pastry Project #8 - Cocoa Chia Whole Grain Pullman Loaf
Baking & Pastry Project #7 - Adzuki & Job's Tears Pain de Mie
Baking & Pastry Project Week 4 - Sandwich Breads
Baking & Pastry Project #6 - Garbanzo & Pine Nut Grissini
Baking & Pastry Project #5 - Tepary Almond Sweet Potato Soft Rolls
Baking & Pastry Project Week 3 - Sticks & Rolls


Anonymous said...

That loaf is just so beautiful looking, Natalie! You did an amazing job! And not just with the bread, but with your two children! Happy Mother's Day to you, and thanks for such a beautiful post.
I only have one daughter (so far), and my pregnancy was also a challenge, so I can relate a little!

Nicole said...

WOnderful! I can't wait to try this! Thank you!

I Am Gluten Free said...

Hi Natalie,

I am so glad I visited your blog today. I see you've been very busy making very, very interesting breads. I'd like to try some of them but I'm uncertain about the measurements. Many of the ingredients call for unusual amounts, like 3.1 TB. How should I measure these ingredients? Is there something I'm not seeing? I'd love to give them a try and would welcome your help! Thanks!


Sheltie Girl said...

Shelly, Nicole and Ellen - Thank you so much for visiting. I really appreciate your comments.

Ellen - It's not exact when I convert the weight measurements to volume measurements. In your example, 3.1 Tb converts to 9.3 tsp or 9 1/3 tsp. You could say that it is 9 1/4 tsp + 1 small pinch. A great website for helping with these odd little measurements is: They have a great conversion calculator at: calculator.

I hope this helps.


Kim said...

Like all your recent bread projects, what a beautiful loaf! this one, in particular, looks absolutely divine to me, and I need to try it! Sadly, I can't eat yeast; do you have any suggestions for how I could make this yeast-free? How much baking soda/powder would you recommend adding, based on the amount of flour? I know the whole proofing process adds to the final texture of the bread, so it wouldn't be quite the same. I've played with making GF sourdough, and ended up with some great starter and good loaves, but even that was almost a little too yeasty for my system at the time. I'd love to hear your suggestions! Thanks : )

Kim said...

I tried a yeast-free adaptation of your bread, subbing goat's milk kefir for milk, and using a little baking soda and cream of tartar. While I LOVED the flavor, It turned out really salty - 2 tsp seems like a lot of salt for only about 2 total cups of flour. And the dough was VERY soft - and I even used less liquid (only 1 c kefir). But overall, it was great! Thanks for the great recipe. My adaptation is here:

Sheltie Girl said...

Hi Kim - I made the bread with whole milk and the salt amount was fine. It didn't taste like it had too much salt.

I think the difference is that you used kefir which has a higher mineral content (i.e. sodium, potassium, etc.) than whole milk. If you make the recipe again with kefir then you will want to reduce the amount of salt the recipe contains. Start with 3/4 tsp and check the taste of the dough.

I hope this helps,


Kim said...

Hi Natalie,
Thanks for the suggestion - I didn't think about the mineral content in kefir vs milk, that would make sense. what a wise insight! I'm guessing there is a whole lot you could teach all of us about baking, baking ingredients, and everything else - I'm amazed at your protein content calculations! anyway, thanks again, and I look forward to trying other recipes out - and eating the bread this afternoon for lunch

Best! Kim