Sunflower seeds, flax seeds and poppy seeds I had on hand, along with a cup of old-fashioned rolled oats, rendered the grainy crumb of the multigrain bread pictured in this post. Other seeds to choose from for this multigrain bread recipe include sesame seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, caraway seeds or flax seeds. Because those last two impart stronger flavors, you need only small amounts of them—a few tablespoons of either one will do.
While this recipe helps clear out a few random seeds from the pantry, it also puts a 1½ cup-size dent in your sourdough discard jar. I almost always have a full jar of sourdough discard on hand—I get a bit nervous when it runs low as I can revive a spoonful back to a bubbly state should anything happen to my starter, Eleanor. But I don’t want to accumulate an unmanageable amount of discard. Recipes like this help. (Go here for 12 more discard recipes.)
By eating all of the food we have on hand—in this case, random seeds and sourdough discard—we help keep food out of landfill where, upon decomposing, it emits methane, a greenhouse gas much more potent than carbon dioxide. Baking bread also eliminates the plastic bread bags of store-bought loaves, which like all plastic, are made of fossil fuels. (Some bakeries will allow you to buy fresh bread using your own cloth bag. Go here for 49 more easy ways to kick plastic.)
Regardless of any environmental benefits, you’ll want to bake this bread simply for the taste.
Add discard for flavor, not leavening
Inactive sourdough discard adds a hint of tang to this multigrain bread but cannot make the dough rise. So, this recipe calls for dry active yeast. Think of the commercial yeast as Viagra for your old starter that still wants some action.
Boil some water, soak the seeds in it, make yourself a cup of tea and go relax while the scalding water cools to an active dry yeast-friendly 105°F to 110°F, which can take about 15 minutes. Soaking plumps up the seeds, which add a wonderful texture to your loaves. Be sure to sip your cup of tea. If you rush it and add the active dry yeast to the bowl before the water cools, you’ll kill your yeast.
Multigrain Sourdough Discard Bread
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 cup old fashioned oats quick oats will also work
- ½ cup raw sunflower seeds see Note
- ¼ cup flax seeds see Note
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds see Note
- ¼ cup light or dark brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1½ tablespoons active dry yeast
- 1½ cups sourdough starter discard, room temperature see Note
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ to 2 cups whole wheat flour
- Place the oats, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, poppy seeds and brown sugar in a large bowl. Pour in the boiling water and stir to combine. Allow the bowl to sit for 15 to 20 minutes, until the temperature of the water has dropped to between 105° and 110°F. As the seeds absorb the water, they will plump up.
- Stir in the yeast, sourdough discard, salt and olive oil. Add the all-purpose flour and combine well. Add 1½ cups of the whole wheat flour, ½ cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Form the dough into a ball and turn out onto a floured surface. If the dough is too sticky to work with, add 1 to 2 tablespoons more of the whole wheat flour or as needed. Knead for about 7 minutes, until smooth and elastic, adding more flour to the work surface as needed. Place in a greased bowl, turn the dough over to lightly grease the entire surface, and cover with a plate. Let rest for 1½ hours in a warm spot, until doubled in size.
- Grease two 8- by 4-inch metal loaf pans. Punch down the dough. Turn it out onto a floured surface and cut the dough into two halves. Flatten the first half into an 8-inch square. Roll up the dough and push in the sides gently, until you have formed an even log. Repeat with the second half of the dough, place the formed loaves in the pans, seams down, and tuck the ends under the loaves.
- Cover the loaves with a dishtowel. Let rest in a warm spot for about 1 hour, until they puff up to near the top edge of the pan.
- About 15 minutes before the bread is ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425°F. Bake the loaves for 25 to 30 minutes or until browned on top and the bottom of the loaves sound hollow when you tap them. Remove the loaves from the pans and cool on a wire rack before slicing.
- Store the loaves in clean cloth produce bags at room temperature for 2 days, or store, unsliced, in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.