Slices of poppy and sunflower seed sourdough bread showing the seeds in the bread

Poppy & Sunflower Seed Sourdough

This multigrain loaf has a layered, complex flavor that comes from a blend of three flours and two types of seeds. Combining bread, whole wheat, and rye flour creates a delicious earthy taste, and the nutty crunch of poppy and sunflower seeds perfectly complements it.

Before being added to the dough, the sunflower seeds are toasted. It’s worth noting that the level of toasting can change their flavor. For a milder taste, you can skip toasting them altogether. Once toasted, the seeds are soaked before being added to the dough.

This recipe calls for a ripe starter, so make sure to plan ahead and have yours ready. Your starter should be bubbly and have at least doubled, if not tripled, in size from your last feeding before incorporating it into the dough. We use a 100% hydration starter, meaning fed with equal parts flour and water, made with all-purpose flour.

Poppy & Sunflower Seed Sourdough Recipe

To allow time for fermentation, proofing, and baking, start this recipe the day before you want to finish baking your sourdough.


1 loaf


Prep time: 5 hours; Bake time: 40 minutes; Total: 18 hours


For the Autolyse:

IngredientGramsU.S. Volume
Bread flour 3002 ½ C
Whole wheat flour86¾ C
Rye flour36⅓ C
Water300About 1 ⅓ C

For the Seeds:

IngredientGramsU.S. Volume
Sunflower seeds43⅓ C
Poppy seeds151 TBSP + 2 tsp
Boiling water50¼ C

For the Final Dough:

IngredientGramsU.S. Volume
Ripe sourdough starter, 100% hydration75½ C
Water141 TBSP
Salt                           91 ½ tsp

*We highly recommend weighing ingredients as that will result in the most accurate measurements.


  • Mixing bowls
  • Dough whisk or spatula
  • Dough lame or razor blade to score with
  • Dutch oven


Getting ready.
Set the Proofer to 78°F (25°C) and put the water tray in the middle of the warming plate. Pour ¼ cup (60 ml) of water into the tray and place the rack on top of the tray.

Mix the autolyse.
Add 300g of warm water (about 85°F / 30°C) to a mixing bowl, and then add all the flour. Use a dough whisk or your hand to mix until all the flour is incorporated. Cover your dough and allow it to rest for 45 minutes in the Folding Proofer.

Prepare the seeds.
While the autolyse is resting, prepare the seeds. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Spread the sunflower seeds out onto a small pan and place in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes until lightly toasted. When they are done toasting, add the sunflower and poppy seeds to a small heat-proof bowl. Pour 50g of boiling water over the seeds and stir to moisten all the seeds. Set aside until later.

Mix the dough.
Remove the dough from the Proofer. Add the salt, the starter, and the 15g of reserved water. Using your hand, mix the dough until the ingredients are fully incorporated. Then fold the dough by picking up one side of it, stretching it, and bringing it toward the center. Rotate the bowl and repeat this folding motion about 20 more times until the dough begins to strengthen and show some resistance. (The seeds will be added after the first fold during bulk fermentation.)

Stretch and fold

Bulk Ferment.
Place the dough into the Folding Proofer. Bulk fermentation will take 4 ½ to 5 hours in total. During the first 2 hours of bulk fermentation, folds will be performed, and the seeds will be added.

After the first 30 minutes of proofing, remove the bowl from the proofer and perform the first set of stretch and folds.

To perform a set of stretch and folds: With the dough still inside the bowl, pick up one edge of the dough, stretch it as far as it will go, and then fold it into the center. Turn the bowl 90 degrees and repeat the stretch and fold motion. Repeat this motion until you have gone around the circumference of the bow two times and the dough begins to feel less slack and resist stretching. Place the dough back into the Proofer and set a timer for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the bowl from the proofer and the seeds.

Spread ½ of the seeds over the top of the dough. Perform a set of stretch and folds around the circumference of the bowl to incorporate the seeds. Spread the remaining seeds on top and give the dough a few more stretch and folds to further incorporate the seeds. Place the dough back into the Proofer and set a timer for 30 minutes.

Adding seeds

After 30 minutes, Perform two more sets of folds at 30-minute intervals. Allow the dough to rest in the proofer for the remainder of the bulk fermentation time. (4 ½ to 5 hours from the original start time of bulk fermentation)

Remove the dough from the Proofer. Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and gently shape it into a rectangle, working carefully so that you don’t pop the bubbles in the dough. With the long side of the rectangle facing you, grab the right side of the dough and stretch it over the center of the dough. Repeat with the left side of the dough, folding it over the right side you just folded. Grab the bottom edge of the dough and gently roll it away from you, gently pulling it toward you as you roll to build some outer tension. When you have reached the top edge, pinch the seam of the cylinder together and place the dough seam side up in a 10" or 11" oval banneton that has been dusted with flour.


Overnight proof.
Cover the banneton and place it in the refrigerator until the next day (or up to 24 hours later). If desired, you can bake the loaves on the same day. Instead of refrigerating, place the bannetons in the Folding Proofer set to 79°F (26°C), proof for 2 to 3 hours, and then follow the instructions as written for baking.

The next day, place a Dutch oven inside the oven and preheat to 450°F (232°C) for about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the loaf from the refrigerator. Turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper and score the dough. Remove the Dutch oven from the oven, use the parchment paper to transfer the dough into the baking vessel, cover with the lid, and place back into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the lid, lower the temperature to 425°F (218°C), and continue baking for another 18 to 20 minutes with the lid off. Remove from the oven and the loaf on a rack to cool.