Branny Sunflower Bread

DSC_0032If you know me, you probably know that my favorite flower is the sunflower. It’s tall (like me), bright yellow and creates delicious seeds… and these are only a few of the many wonderful things about them.

I love to add the seeds to salads, granola and breads for a little texture and a whole lot of nutritional value. A handful of sunflower seeds in your cereal adds protein, fiber, vitamin E and multiple B vitamins. This bread is a great way to start your day because it also contains nutrient-rich wheat bran, you can see my rant about bran here.

These loaves are truly amazing, perfect for savory sandwiches or toast with sweet raspberry jam, the rich molasses flavor makes the bread super versatile. If you’d like to give your loaves a glossy finish you can add an egg wash before you pop them in the oven, you could even throw on some extra sunflower seeds – go ahead, get crazy.

This recipe came out of a wonderful book called The Bread Bible by Beth Hensperger. I rented it from the library, but might have to buy a copy for myself since I’ve marked just about every other recipe in the book… and there are 300 recipes. 

DSC_0016I also just wanted to take this opportunity to brag about the amazing farmer’s markets in Ann Arbor. Seriously, you should go.

DSC_0043Ok, lets make some molassesy, fibery, delicious bread.

Branny Sunflower Bread

  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 Tbsp yeast (a little less than 3 packets)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm milk
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 1/2 cup wheat bran
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 5 cups AP flour or bread flour, or a mix (I did half and half)

First combine the yeast, sugar and water in your mixing bowl, allow it to sit for 5 minutes. While you’re waiting, combine the wheat bran, salt, sunflower seeds and flour. Then add the milk, butter and molasses to the yeast mixture.

DSC_0001Slowly add in the dry mixture, a half cup at a time until the dough pulls away from the edges. Then kneed it by hand on your counter a few times to form a smooth ball. Coat a bowl in nonstick spray, put your ball of dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

DSC_0004Put the bowl in a warm place to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until double in size.

DSC_0011Then punch the dough down and split it into two equal pieces. Grease two 9×5 loaf pans and place the dough inside, seam side down, and cover with a dish towel.

DSC_0014Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for another 45 to 60 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees at this time.

DSC_0017Bake the loaves for 45 minutes until dark golden brown, they will sound hollow when tapped gently with your fingers. Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes, then move it to a cooling rack.

Slice, and try not to eat the whole loaf.

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“But I want to eat the whole loaf!”

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