Recipes, Sourdough bread-making methods, The Sourdough Journals, Whole wheat bread recipes
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Whole wheat onion seed bread made with wild yeast sourdough starter

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All weekend long, as we nibbled away at the Walnut Pumpkin-Seed bread the two-year-old and I made last Friday–which by the way, is mighty tasty in itself–visions of an onion seed bread surfaced so clearly I could have sworn I smelled it baking. Could I make one using this King Arthur recipe1? Why not give it a go?

Yesterday morning, having refreshed my stiff levain twice the day before, I started a new loaf. Here’s what I did. Doesn’t it look good?

Whole wheat sourdough onion seed bread recipe

  • Servings: 12-16
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

Bursting with flavor, this piquant loaf is going fast. We want to eat it in chunks, breaking them off and dipping them into my creamy yogurt-cheese sauce, which we always have on hand. It’s good so many ways. Better than an onion bagel for breakfast, and so much more nutritious–with the pumpkin and flax seeds, which are full of goodies our bodies crave. And did I mention the flavor? Yum! Fun to make too, filling the house with yeasty-oniony fragrance while it proofed.

Fresh baked whole wheat onion seed bread cooling on wire rack

Fresh baked whole wheat onion seed bread cooling on wire rack

Oven temperature: 450º Fahrenheit (F) first 15 minutes, then 400º F for 30 minutes


  • 6 oz whole wheat wild yeast sourdough stiff levain
  • 8 oz filtered water
  • 10 oz organic whole wheat flour
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 1/4 t organic freshly cracked pepper
  • 1/2 C organic pumpkin seeds
  • 1/8 C organic flax seeds
  • 1 C organic yellow onion, chopped


The flour, spices, seeds and chopped onion, ready to toss and mix

The flour, spices, seeds and chopped onion, ready to toss and mix

  1. Break levain into pieces, add the water and soak for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a dry cast iron skillet, toast the pumpkin and flax seeds over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. As the flax seeds heat, some may pop and snap a little like popcorn. If they do, turn the heat down a notch. When most of the seeds are toasty and golden, remove to a cold steel pan, such as a small cookie sheet and spread out to cool.
  3. Combine the flour, salt, pepper, cooled pumpkin seeds and onion.
  4. Add flour mixture into levain and water until thoroughly moistened. You could use a machine, but it takes only a few minutes by hand and is wonderfully satisfying. Form into a rough ball and let rest 20 minutes.
  5. Knead dough by hand 10 minutes or by machine 8 minutes. Form into rough ball and place in ungreased bowl, loosely covered, to rise for 3 hours in a cool place, preferably at 60º F.
  6. Carefully remove dough from bowl, disturbing as little as possible and quickly shape into a rough ball. Cover loosely and set to rest 20 minutes. According to King Arthur, these rests help prepare the dough for handling.
  7. While the dough rests, lightly flour a banneton (if you don’t have one, try the bowl and towel method in  common kitchen tool alternatives for sourdough bread making). Place a pizza stone in the oven on the middle shelf and a cast iron pan on the bottom shelf, to receive the hot water, which steams the bread and makes that wonderful crunchy crust.
  8. Following the method shown in the King Arthur video on shaping the bread, gently stretch and shape the dough into a ball.
  9. Place the dough upside down in the banneton or toweled bowl, cover all with a larger, inverted bowl, and let rise in a warm place for 90 minutes (I use my oven with the light turned on.)
  10. Remove from the oven before setting it to pre-heat at 450º F. Preheat for 30 minutes to give the pizza stone plenty of time to reach sizzling temperatures. Meanwhile, heat a cup of water on the stove top. Dust your pizza peel (or a small bread board) lightly with fine corn meal or flour.
  11. After 30 minutes, gently turn the boule right side up onto the pizza peel. With a pastry brush, dust excess flour from the loaf. then slash the top of the loaf with a lame, razor blade or sharp knife.
  12. Carefully pour the heated water into the cast iron pan, slip the boule from the peel onto the pizza stone and quickly shut the oven door to keep in the steam.
  13. Bake 15 minutes at 450º F, then reduce heat to 400º and bake 30 minutes more.
  14. Using pizza peel or a large metal spatula, remove boule to cooling rack. Bottom should give a nice “thock” sound when rapped with knuckles.

Let cool completely before slicing, or at a bare minimum, cool 30 minutes.

A YayYay's Kitchen Recipe

This is a YayYay’s Kitchen original recipe. Please link back to this page if you base a recipe of your own on this one.

How to decorate the top with seeds

After flouring the banneton, I sprinkled a few raw pumpkin and flax seeds into the bowl before dropping in the loaf. Don’t they look pretty?

Sprinkle a few pumpkin and flax seeds in the bottom of the floured banneton

Sprinkle a few pumpkin and flax seeds in the bottom of the floured banneton

Sure, I lost some when the bread came out, but most stuck. While they baked, they toasted up beautifully. Not only do they look good, they lend extra crunch and flavor to this rockin’ loaf.


Smear a slice with egg salad, hummus, bean dip or my easy creamy cheese dip and spread. If you have them on hand, add baby greens or sprouts, cucumbers, tomato slices, or fresh bell peppers, as I did for breakfast this morning.

Whole wheat sourdough onion seed with creamy cheese spread and crisp bell peppers

Whole wheat sourdough onion seed bread with creamy cheese spread and crisp bell peppers

Mmmmmm. This loaf is a fabulous foundation for all kinds of toppings, spreads and veggies–meats too, if you’re so inclined.

— ♥ —

1“Sourdough: 100 Percent Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread,” in King Arthur Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains (Woodstock, VT. The Countryman Press, The King Arthur Flour Company, Inc., 2006), 290-291.

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