When I was younger, I wanted nothing more than to have Wonder bread (or at least paper-white, sweet, practically crust-less bread) on which to make my PB&J sandwiches. Sorry, Dad. Now that I am older (and wiser?) I appreciate all the Sundays my dad spent making bread for the week. His bread, unlike the light loaf I desired and was occasionally served at the house of a neighborhood friend, was a much heartier whole-wheat loaf. The thought of the Wonder bread I lusted after as an elementary-schooler susceptible to advertising and the contents of my schoolmates’ lunchboxes now practically makes my stomach turn. White bread, unless it is in the form of a super-crusty baguette, ciabatta, or sourdough loaf, rarely passes through my lips.
As you may have seen, Reader, if you’ve perused some of my baking recipes, I now often bake with whole-wheat or white whole-wheat flour. It is a little more tricky to handle, as it can result in a tougher bake, but totally doable. This recipe uses a combination of whole-wheat and bread flours. The whole-wheat flour provides another level of complexity that is well-matched by the nutty, crunchy sunflower seeds. It rises overnight and requires little kneading, making it a super easy recipe for bread-baking newbies.
The resulting rolls remind me of life in Germany or Austria. Hard, crusty rolls like these are far more common there than here in the U.S., where rolls are typically a lighter than air side dish rather than a main component of a dish. A solid bakery section is a component of any German grocery store, no matter how small…not to mention the number of actual bakeries that dot the streets of German and Austrian cities. These rolls are great for snacking on, or as the base for a tartine or open-faced sandwich.
Whole-Wheat Sunflower Seed Rolls
From Angie’s Recipes
Makes 9 rolls
- 400 grams plain yogurt
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 150 grams whole-wheat flour
- 230 grams bread flour
- 8 grams sea salt
- sunflower seeds for sprinkling (or mixing in the dough, or both)
In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, stir together yogurt, yeast, flour, and salt to combine. With the dough hook (or by hand), begin stirring at a low speed and gradually increase to make a smooth dough. Optional: add in some sunflower seeds and knead briefly to incorporate.
Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature overnight or for 12 hours.
After the rise, turn dough onto a clean, floured surface and shape into a square approximately 8″x8″. Cut into 9 pieces. Place on a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet. Brush with water and sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Cover and allow to rise for about 60 minutes.
While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 500°F and begin boiling water. When the oven is hot and the dough has risen, place an oven-safe baking dish (I usually use a 9×13″ baking pan) on the lowest rack of the oven. Place the try of rolls on a rack in the middle of the oven, then pour boiling water into the dish on the lower rack and close the door. This will create extra steam, producing a crustier roll. Bake for about 20 minutes.