Monday, 14 March 2011

Braided Sourdough Loaves with Poppy, Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds (Pane a Treccia con Pasta Madre e Semi di Papavero, Zucca e Girasole)

Braided Sourdough Loaves with Poppy, Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds

Hello! I have been away for quite a long time, but I am back. Life is hard sometimes, but what is important, is to keep up the fight.
Kneading bread surely helps to produce some good, positive energy, so let’s get started again. This recipe is inspired by my previous one (Sourdough Bread, Autolyse Method), with the addition of poppy, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. This bread is truly delicious.

Ingredients (makes two braided loaves)
  • Strong white flour, 475g
  • Dark rye flour, 25g
  • Water, 360g
  • Ferment, 150g
  • Fresh yeast, 5g
  • Salt, 10g
  • Some fine semolina flour
  • Poppy, Sunflower and Pumpkin seeds
  • Egg white for brushing


In a large bowl, mix the flours and the water. Cover with cling film and let it rest for about half an hour (not less than 20 minutes).

Add the yeast and the ferment and mix well.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 15 minutes. The mixture is quite sticky, and the best way to work it is to use Richard Bertinet technique (he stretches the dough and slaps it down very energetically, incorporating a lot of air inside). I recently came across this video that shows this technique The video explains how to knead sweet dough, but the procedure is just the same.

Add the salt and work for further 2-3 minutes.

Form the dough into a ball, transfer to your mixing ball, cover with cling film and leave it to rest for an hour.

Turn out the dough onto your lightly floured work surface, fold again, bringing the outside edges to the center a few times, rotating the dough and forming a ball.

Put back into your ball and leave it to rest for 30 minutes.

Turn out the dough onto your lightly floured work surface and cut into 6 pieces (to make 2 braided loaves).

Cover and leave to rest for 15 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 250°C.

Roll the sections (3 at a time) into approx. 12-inch long ropes. Brush the ropes top surface with the egg white, and sprinkle one with poppy seeds, one with pumpkin seeds and the third one with sunflower seeds.

Braid the three sections as you would if you were braiding hair. Hold the outer sections. Pull the left section over to the center. Then hold the old center section with your left hand and pull it to the side. Finally, bring the right section over the center. Repeat the process, alternating sides, until the entire length of bread is braided.

Press each end of the braid together and secure under the loaf. Follow the same process for the second braided loaf.

Place the loaves on a backing sheet (sprinkled with semolina flower) to rise for about one hour and a half or until doubled in size.

Quickly open the oven door and mist with water spray. Slide the loaves inside and quickly mist again (mist the oven, not the bread).

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. 

Pane a treccia con pasta madre e semi di papavero, zucca e girasole

Ingredienti (per due trecce di media grandezza) 

  • Farina bianca forte, 475g
  • Farina di segale integrale, 25g
  • Acqua, 360g
  • Lievito madre, 150g
  • Lievito fresco, 5g
  • Sale, 10g
  • Un po’ di farina di semola
  • Semi di papavero, zucca e girasole
  • Albume di un uovo per spennellare

In un recipiente capiente mescolare le farine con l’aqua. Coprire con della pellicola da cucina e lasciare riposare per almeno 20 minuti (massimo un’ora). Aggiungere il lievito e la pasta madre e mescolare. Rovesciare su un piano da lavoro leggermente infarinato e lavorare per 15 minuti. Il composto risultera’ piuttosto appiccicoso ed il miglior metodo (secondo me) per lavorarlo, e’ proprio quello di Richard Bertinet: Questo video riguarda una pasta dolce, tipo brioche, ma il procedimento e’ lo stesso. Aggiungere il sale e lavorare per ulteriori 2-3 minuti. Chiudere a palla e riporre nella ciotola leggermente infarinata. Coprire e lasciar riposare per un’ora. Rovesciare il composto sulla superficie leggermente infarinata e piegare stendendo i lembi verso l’esterno, ripiegando verso l’interno e premendo al centro, fino a formare di nuovo una palla. Riporre nel recipiente, coprire e lasciar riposare per 30 minuti. Rovesciare la pasta sulla superficie leggermente infarinata e dividere in 6 parti (per formare due trecce da tre). Coprire e lasciar riposare i pezzi per 15 minuti. Pre-riscaldare il forno a 250°C. Allungate i 6 pezzi di pasta (circa 30 cm. di lunghezza). Spennellare la superficie con l’albume, e cospargete con i semi. Formare le due trecce (come se fossero trecce di capelli). A questo punto adagiate le due trecce su una teglia senza bordo, cosparsa di semolino (oppure coperta da carta da forno). Coprire con un panno da cucina e lasciar lievitare per un’ora e mezza o fino a quando il volume sara’ duplicato. Aprire velocemente il forno e spruzzare dell’acqua all’interno (una quindicina di spruzzi). Infornare le trecce e prima di chiudere la porta del forno spruzzare ancora un po’ di acqua (l’interno del forno, non le trecce). Cuocere per 30/35 minuti, o fino a che la superficie non diventa ben dorata. Io ho cotto a 250°C per i primi 5 minuti, e ho continuato a 230°C fino a cottura ultimata.

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  1. Complimenti ti รจ venuto benissimo.

    segno la ricetta.


  2. So glad to see you back :)
    The loaves look delicious :)

  3. Bentornata!
    e con quale splendida ricetta, poi!

  4. E' bellissimo, complimenti ciao

  5. Thank you Lisa, nice to speak to you again :-)

  6. Welcome back, Laura! And what a wonderful return - this sourdough bread looks fantastic! I will try it! BTW will you be teasing us with some holiday snaps? I would love to see!

  7. I'm not much of a baker but seeing this recipe makes me want to rush to buy ingredients and spend a happy few hours in the kitchen making it.

  8. Hi Marcellina, thanks, nice to speak to you again! Will post some pics soon :-). I can see that you have ventured into homemade ricotta cheese, brilliant, will have to try it! Keep in touch x

  9. Hi laura,
    this is an old post so i dunno if you'll see or reply to this. I have visited your blog but never commented before. I like it very much because i like Italian cuisine and baking - simple, homey, rustic stuff that is the opposite of complicated, multi-step french pastry. I love both, but at the end of the day, what i'll settle for is 'grandma's tart'. I have bookmarked quite a number of your recipes but have not found the time!!

    I would like to ask your help. What sort of bread flour can you find in Italy? what are they called and where should you look for them? Supermarkets? Markets? I'm esp interested in durum wheat flour for making semolina breads, and the famous 00 flour for pizzas. I understand italian flours can vary widely so any suggestions on your part will be most welcome. I thought of you because i remembered your blog and you are bilingual. Thanks in advance!

  10. Hi there, thanks for passing by my blog - unfortunately I haven't been very 'active' lately..
    Do you live in Italy? I started baking here in the UK, so I am not sure what is the best strong Italian flour to use when making bread.
    What I know is that in Italy you can find Manitoba flour - which is strong Canadian flour. I can suggest you to use Manitoba (or any other flour with a high gluten content) mixed with some 00 flour. I cannot suggest any brand in particular, as I never bake when I am in Italy :-(.
    For pizza, I have often used Caputo Flour for Pizza. It's a great mix, which offers great results. Any questions, just let me know.

  11. Wow! Nice & beautiful Trio. I just love the last picture - the Love triangle,Lolss. Awesome.Cheers !!