My husband loves sandwiches made on sunflower bread at a local diner. When we discovered the owner ships the bread all the way from New York to North Carolina (therefore justifying the extra charge for the sunflower sandwiches), I thought, “Couldn’t they just make their own, save shipping and serve fresher slices?” With only a little time online, I found a delicious recipe that might not be exactly like its New York counterpart, but this bread receives rave reviews at our house.
Here’s the recipe:
SUNFLOWER OATMEAL BREAD
1 1/4 C warm water
1 package dry yeast
1 1/4 C warm buttermilk
1/4 Cup honey
2 T molasses
2 T melted butter
1 1/3 C whole-wheat flour
1 C regular rolled oats
3/4 C sunflower seeds
1 egg, beaten (and divided)
2 t salt
5 cups plain flour (approximately)
In a medium, non-metal mixing bowl, combine the water, yeast, and sugar. Let mixture stand for five to ten minutes while you mix together the buttermilk, honey, molasses, and butter. (When I warm the buttermilk in a two-cup measuring cup in the microwave, I add the butter to save a step. Then I add the honey and molasses.)
In another bowl,combine the whole-wheat flour, oats, seeds, and salt. Pour in about half of the egg. You’ll use the rest of the egg later.) Combine the buttermilk, yeast, and flour mixtures. Mix with an electric mixer at medium for three minutes.
Add several cups of the plain flour, and then move dough onto a floured work surface. Knead the remaining flour until the dough is smooth and elastic–about five minutes.
Cover the dough with a lint-free towel, and let it rise for about 1 1/2 hours. Its size should have almost doubled.
Punch down the dough, shape into three equal, round loaves. Place loaves onto greased baking sheets. (I use baking stones.) Cover and let rise again for about thirty minutes. Brush the tops with the remaining egg.
Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for thirty to thirty-five minutes. Cool on cooling racks before serving.
The whole process takes around three hours and uses several kitchen tools, but the bread is wonderful and worth all the bother. It’s not too sweet even with the honey and molasses, so it’s perfect for savory sandwiches. I like it toasted with peanut butter and blueberries for breakfast or with a smear of lemon ginger jam.
If you can’t use all the bread at once, freeze one or two loaves.
Try this bread. You’ll be happy you did!