Chia Seeds Sourdough Bread


When I put myself on autopilot because I just need bread for our family I go for a recipe that I know it works. This doesn't mean that it has to be boring. Adding seeds at the lamination step may change the game. Depending on the type of seeds you add, the flavour is enriched with a nutty-specific taste from the seeds.

My next 3 posts will be about the same recipe but each time I change the seeds. This first one is with chia seeds. Chia seeds are super thirsty, you do not want to add them as such in your bread. You'll need then to keep them in water to become moist. Do this the evening before or at least when your mixer combines the flour with water, in the morning.

Adding seeds to bread not only enriches the taste but also adds nutritional value to the loaves. As you might already know, chia seeds are a very healthy ingredient, so I can only see advantages in adding them to the dough.

What do you think? Does it worth a try?

Ingredients: (2170g, 67.4% hydration)

  • 400g whole spelt flour
  • 600g strong bread flour (Manitoba )
  • 625ml water
  • 300g sourdough starter (100% hydration) [built the night before from 30g of mother starter+ 135g Manitoba flour + 135g water]
  • 20g salt
  • 75g chia seeds + 150g water to moist them

  1. [Day 1, Saturday, 8:00] Scaling. Start by scaling the ingredients using a balance and putting them on the table to ensure that nothing is forgotten.
    [Day 1 Saturday, 8:00] Mix water + flours. Mix only the flour with water (slightly warmed up for 1 minute in the microwave) until well combined. I generally use a standing mixer for this but it can be done manually as well. Do not knead at this stage, just ensure that there is no unincorporated dry flour resting in the bowl and that's it. Put the dough in a bread proofer set at 29ºC. No bread proofer? Find a warm place in your house or use the oven with the light on. The dough temperature is generally 3-4ºC lower than the setting on the bread proofer. Then let it sit for 2 hours for the autolyse.
    While mixing, I suggest adding 150g of water over the chia seeds in a bowl, covering them and letting them swell, up until the lamination time comes.
  2. [Day 1 Saturday, 10:00] Sourdough starter. Add the starter over the dough and mix it with a standing mixer for 10 minutes.  After mixing, let the dough relax for 1 hour.
  3. [Day 1 Saturday, 11:00] Salt. Add the salt and mix again for 5 minutes.  Then, let the dough relax again for 1 hour. 
  4. [Day 1, Saturday, 12:00] Divide and Stretch and Fold. Take the dough out of the bowl, put it on the slightly wet table board and divide it into 2. Do a few stretch and folds for each piece on the board and place them in squared glass bowls. Let them sit covered for 1 hour. 
  5. [Day 1, Saturday, 13:00] Lamination. Take each piece out of the bowl and do the lamination. Spread the wet chia seeds over the dough when completely stretched and fold the dough after. Repeat for the second piece of dough. Let the dough rest for 1 hour and 30 minutes. 
  6. [Day 1, Saturday, 14:30] Coil fold 1. Do a set of 2 coil folds straight in the bowls. Do the first one and let them sit for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  7. [Day 1, Saturday, 16:00] Coil fold 2.  Do a second set of coil folds in the glass bowls. Let them sit for 1 hour.
  8. [Day 1, Saturday, 17:00] Shape the loaves on a lightly floured board. Place the dough face down into bannetons. Repeated the process for the second piece of dough.  Place back the bannetons in a warmer place (in the bread proofer) and let them sit again. How much? Well, it depends. I left them for extra 2 hours but other times I reduced the time to 1 hour as the dough had a very nice rise. Then, put the bannetons in the fridge overnight.
  9. [Day 2, Sunday, 9:00] Score. Before scoring, preheat the oven to reach 270ºC. 
    Reverse the bannetons on a peel and score them. Immediately after, slide the loaves into the oven. Add some hot water to a tray under the baking stone to create steam. When I baked this bread I actually made it in a wood-fired oven as my kitchen oven died when preparing this dough. I was then forced to use my outside oven where baking is a bit more complex.
  10. Bake at 270ºC for 20 minutes then reduce to 220ºC and continue for 20 minutes more. 
  11. [Day 2, Sunday, 9:40] Cool. The loaves need to cool for at least 2 hours until they reach room temperature. The cooking process continues slowly even after taking the bread out of the oven, so this is why it is important to not skip this step and to resist cutting it too early.
  12. [Day 2, Sunday, 11:40] Cut. Time to enjoy a slice of bread... 


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