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Flax and Caraway Seed Sourdough Bread

Flax and Caraway Seed Sourdough Bread

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Adjust Servings:
400 grams Bread Flour (organic, unbleached)
100 grams Rye Flour (organic)
10 grams Sea Salt
75 grams Flax Seeds (brown or golden)
75 grams Caraway Seeds
350 grams Filtered Water
130 grams Sourdough Starter

Flax and Caraway Seed Sourdough Bread

  • 2 days
  • Serves 12
  • Hard




Nutritious and beautifully crusty flax and caraway seed sourdough bread!

After starting my own sourdough starter January 1, 2020, I’ve been experimenting with different ratios, methods, flours and more.

I’ve come to the conclusion that sourdough isn’t just for fun, it’s a lifestyle and I am fully committed!

There are various methods out there that involve many steps including stretch and folds every 30 minutes for 3 hours, and so on.

Personally, I like a simple, 4-step, kneaded sourdough recipe.

I use this method for both the boule, which is the round dutch oven bread and the sourdough bread loaf made in my loaf pan!

So if you do not own a dutch oven, you can still follow this guide but simply place the bread dough into your loaf pan, proof and bake!

You can add any kind of seeds and nuts to this bread dough, even cooked quinoa!

I love the mix of these speckled seeds in this flax and caraway seed sourdough bread.

For flavor and color, I am adding rye flour but you can also do 100% white bread flour, whole wheat or spelt!

As long as the majority of the flour mix is bread flour, you can keep the measurements and method the same but customize to your liking.


What is sourdough?

Sourdough bread is made by the fermentation of dough using naturally occurring bacteria and yeast. It all starts with just two ingredients – flour and water!
Naturally fermented dough doesn’t only taste better but it is also better for you. Unlike yeasted breads, sourdough breads have naturally occurring good bacteria which is great for your digestive system.


If you are looking to start a sourdough starter, here are some great resources that I recommend:

Joshua Weissman’s Ultimate Sourdough Starter Guide 
Maurizio Leo’s 7 Easy Steps To Making An Incredible Sourdough Starter From Scratch


Looking for a Yeast Bread recipe? Try my Cranberry Walnut Loaf made with active dry yeast, bread and whole wheat flour.

Are you new to the sourdough lifestyle and have questions? Check out me guide on How to Maintain A Sourdough Starter!


Here’s the baker’s math of this sourdough loaf:

500g flour = 100%

350g water = 70% (water/flour)x100

130g sourdough starter (levain) = 26% (starter/flour)x100

10g salt – 2% (salt/flour)x100


The hydration of this loaf is 73%.


Here’s how to calculate the hydration properly:

(Total water/ total flour) x 100 = hydration

The sourdough starter is 100% hydration which means it’s equal parts flour to water. 130g sourdough starter is 65g water + 65g flour.

Total water is: 350g (water added to make the dough) +65g (water from the sourdough starter) = 415g water

Total flour is: 500g (flour added to make the dough) + 65g (flour from the sourdough starter) = 565g

(415g/565g) x100 = 73.45%


Why does this matter? The hydration % of  your bread will result in a different texture and crumb. If you live in a dry climate, you might want to increase hydration and if you live in a humid climate like me, keeping the hydration lower is ideal.



Let's Talk Ingredients

When making sourdough bread, since this is an active fermentation recipe, you will want to use the highest quality ingredients as possible.

I recommend organic, unbleached and stone-ground flours only.

Bread flour has a higher gluten content than all-purpose.

Rye flour is one of my personal favorites and pairs really well with the caraway seeds. You can also use whole wheat or spelt flour.

Use organic seeds. In this loaf I used gold flax seeds and caraway but you can also use brown flax seeds, sunflower, pumpkin, or sesame seeds!

Only use filtered water as tap water will not work well for the fermentation process.

Salt - also a very important ingredient. I recommend unrefined and unbleached sea salt or kosher salt. Use fine not coarse or flaky.


Let's Talk Tools

If you are just starting out and don't have all of the sourdough bread tools yet, don't worry there are alternatives.

You will need:
1. Kitchen Scale
2. Bowl (for mixing and proofing)
3. Kitchen Towel (lint free)

Nice to Haves:
1. Dutch Oven
2. Bench Scraper
3. Proofing Basket (Banneton)
4. Lame (scoring tool)


(The Day Before) 9pm - Make The Levain

To make the levain, get a glass jar or bowl with a loose lid and add:
24 grams mature starter, 48 grams organic bread flour, 48 grams organic whole wheat flour, and 96 grams of filtered water.

Note that all of your ingredients should be about the same temperature. If you are keeping your flours at 73°F then the filtered water should be about the same temperature.

Mix thoroughly with a rubber spatula until no more dry flour bits are visible.

Loosely cover the jar and place it in a cool, dark and draft free zone overnight.


(The Next Day) 9am - Levain Float Test

Your levain should have grown overnight and show signs of strength and activity.

To test to see if the levain is ready, get a medium size bowl and fill it up with water. Take a teaspoon amount of the levain and gently place it into the bowl.

If the levain is floating it is ready for use, if it drops to the bottom of the bowl, give the levain more time.


9am - Mix The Dough

Assuming that the levain is ready for use, it is time to make the dough.

Place a large mixing bowl on your kitchen scale and add 400 grams bread flour, 100 grams rye, 75 grams flax seeds and 75 grams caraway seeds.

Using your hand, mix until the seeds are well distributed throughout the flour.

Next, add 350 grams of filtered water (same temperature as the flour), 130 grams of the levain and 10 grams sea salt.

Using your hand, mix slowly until all of the dry bit have been absorbed.


9:10am - Knead The Dough

Dump the dough onto a clean work surface and knead the dough for 8-10 minutes.

To knead, use your dominant hand to push the dough with your palm away from you, then grab the dough with your fingers to pull it back.

In the beginning, it will be messy but continue with the kneading process until the dough comes together and creates a smoother dough ball.

Do not add any additional flour during this kneading process. Use your hand or bench scraper to bring the dough back together every minute or so.

To test to see if the dough has enough gluten development and strength, lightly oil your hands, grab a small handful amount of the dough then use your fingers to carefully stretch the dough from the center out.

If the dough tears easily it is not ready, if you can see through the thin layer of dough (window pane test), it is ready for bulk fermentation.


9:20am - Bulk Fermentation

Shape the dough into a ball then place it back into your bowl and cover it with a kitchen towel, cling film and a large plastic bag.

Place the bowl into a dark, cool, draft-free zone for 3-5 hours. The colder the temperature, the longer it will take to ferment.

During this time, the dough will continue to gain strength and trap carbon dioxide gasses which gives the dough volume and lightness. This fermentation is the same as the one that occurs in sauerkraut or kimchi!


1:30pm - Pre-Shape

If the dough has grown, slightly domed and may even have some visible gas bubbles, it is ready for the next step.

Lightly flour your work surface and carefully dump the dough out. Use your lightly flour hands or a bench scraper to loose the sides of the dough so it releases from the bowl.

Stretch and fold all sides of the dough into the center until you have a tight ball, then turn the dough ball over until you have a tight ball. Allow the dough ball to rest while you prep your proofing basket.

If you have a banneton proofing basket, liberally dust the inside with flour (I use rice flour but any flour will do).

If you are using a rounded mixing bowl (glass, wood or ceramic), drape a lint-free kitchen towel into the inside of the bowl then liberally dust the inside with flour.


1:45pm - Final Shape & Final Rise

By now, the dough has relaxed a bit and has spread out on your work surface.

Once more, stretch and fold all sides of the dough into the center until you have a tight ball, then turn the dough ball over.

Place your hands in front of the dough ball with the palms facing towards you and your pinkies touching the work surface. Now, slowly drag the dough ball towards you. Turn and drag and few times.

This will tighten the dough ball and seal the bottom.

Carefully flip the dough ball upside down into your palms and place it into the prepared proofing basket/bowl. The dough ball should be bottom side up so that when you turn out the dough onto parchment paper later, the seal of the dough ball will on the bottom.

Place the proofing basket/bowl into a large plastic bag or cover with cling film or a kitchen towel, make sure that it does not touch the dough ball as it rises up.

You can now place the proofing basket/bowl back into a dark, cool, draft-free zone for 3-4 hours or into the refrigerator for 12-16 hours.


4:30pm - Preheat The Oven For 1 Hour

One hour before the dough is done proofing, preheat your oven to 500°F.

If you are going to bake the bread in a dutch oven, add the dutch oven with the lid inside the oven while it is preheating. Both the oven and dutch oven need to be screaming hot.

If you do not have a dutch oven, preheat the oven for 1 hour then add a rimmed baking sheet or a cast iron skillet on the bottom rack and fill it up with boiling hot water about half way. This will create steam during baking which results in a crusty crust!


5:30pm - Bake With Steam for 20 Minutes

Get a large piece of parchment paper ready on your clean work surface.

Carefully, invert the dough ball onto the parchment paper.

You can now score the dough with a bread lame or a very sharp knife. This is optional, however, giving the dough at least one long and deep slash will allow the bread to expand during baking. The purpose is primarily to control the direction in which the bread will expand during “oven spring.”

Dutch Oven Instructions:
Put on oven mitts then remove the dutch oven from the oven and carefully place the parchment paper with the dough ball inside the dutch oven, cover with a lid and place into the oven and bake for 20 minutes at 500°F.

Baking Sheet Instructions:
Carefully place the parchment paper with the dough ball on a baking sheet then place it on the middle rack in the oven with the steam bath on the bottom. Bake with steam for 20 minutes at 450°F.


5:50pm - Bake Without Steam for 25-30 Minutes

Dutch Oven Instructions:
Remove the lid from the dutch oven and lower the heat to 425°F. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Baking Sheet Instructions:
Remove the rimmed baking sheet or a cast iron skillet with the water from the oven and bake without steam at 425°F for 25-30 minutes. If the bread is getting too dark, lower the heat to 400°F.


6:20pm - Allow To Cool for At Least 2 Hours

Once the bread is fully baked, you can leave it inside your oven with the oven OFF and the oven door ajar for 20-30 minutes them move it to a wire rack to cool for at least 2 hours, ideally 5-8 hours before cutting in.

If you cut into the bread while it is still warm the crumb will turn out gummy and the bread will go stale faster.


Hi guys, so glad you are here! My food blog is about easy, colorful and mostly healthy recipes. I grew up in Germany and have been in the states since 2002. Currently, I am living in sunny Miami, FL! Please leave me a comment if you have questions or recipe requests and also follow me on social media via @foodbyjonister. Happy cooking and eating!

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12 Comments Hide Comments

I was drawn to German breads because of their distinct whole grain composition and complex fermenting processes — specifically associated with sourdough (Sauerteig). I’m a big fan of caraway and your beautifully crusty sourdough bread with specs of flax and caraway seed looks just delicious!

I love using caraway seeds in baking! It’s fun to recognize that “rye” flavor– they even work for gluten free breads!

Good recipe . I couldnt find caraway seeds and i added sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. All came very well.

Many ways to skin a cat and you have proven just that with this amazing recipe. I followed your directions and the bread turned out just perfect. It had great taste, rise, crumb (some large and small holes), crispy crust. Only change I made for my taste was 20g caraway seed. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe! Best regards

Hi Lyle, I think it’s the perfect amount. Seeds are small but weigh quite a bit but keep in mind that the loaf is more than just 500 grams (500g flour + 350g water + 130g starter). You can always start with less seeds and add more as you are mixing, if you like.

I love this recipe but I can’t seem to get the nice smooth sought after kneading. I’ve kneaded it for close to 15 mins. What am I doing wrong? It’s twice now with the same ultra-sticky dough.

It’s ok if it’s not completely smooth but if you have a standing mixer with a dough hook, try that and let it knead for 8-10 minutes. Sticky is normal!

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