Cranberry Bread with Sunflower Seeds and Rosemary

I made this bread a week ago. It’s delicious; I love the flavor of the rosemary mixed with the sweet cranberries and the nuttiness from the sunflower seeds. However, it was a real pain in the butt to make. Then again, my family was here all last week visiting, which meant a lot of running back and forth between hotel, home and work for me, and which didn’t leave me with much time or energy for my baking.

In any case, I found a fairly straightforward recipe on Wild Yeast, which I was able to adapt quite easily. It requires a little prep beforehand, i.e. developing a poolish, and is actually a big, wet beast of a dough to work with. But it comes together in the end, I promise. I replaced the instant yeast with fresh compressed yeast. (I’ve looked for instant, but haven’t seen it anywhere). I also got rid of the soaker for no other reason than the fact that I don’t have whole flaxseeds.

I’m still on the look-out for a good go-to bread recipe that has that slow-rise flavor that good breads all seem to have, but that does not require me to breed and feed bacteria in my fridge for a week–not yet anyhow. I want something that will work every time, one that I can adapt for both salty and sweet, and one that I will eventually know by heart and hand, eliminating the need for a recipe. Alas, this is not it.

Still—it’s a tasty, little loaf: sweet, crunchy, and light—much like ciabatta but one loaded with good-for-you ingredients like whole wheat, cranberries, sunflower seeds and ground flaxseed.


Sunflower Cranberry Orange Bread (recipe adapted from Wild Yeast)


2.3 g (6 – 8 small loaves). The recipe can easily be halved.


  • Mix and ferment poolish: 12 hours
  • Mix final dough: 10 – 15 minutes
  • First fermentation: 2.5 hours, with folding after 1.5 hours
  • Divide: 5 minutes
  • Proof: 45 – 60 minutes at room temperature, or 1.5 hours in the refrigerator plus 45 minutes at room temp
  • Bake: 40 minutes

Desired dough temperature: 76F



215 g white flour

215 g water at about 70F

0.2 g instant yeast (or 0.5 g fresh compressed)

Final Dough

729 g white flour

43 g fine whole wheat flour

43 g flaxseed meal

43 g fine whole rye flour

755 g cool water (about 50 F)

All of the poolish

21 g salt

4 g instant yeast (or 10 fresh compressed)

129 g dried orange-flavored cranberries

103 g sunflower seeds (can be toasted for better flavor)

NOTE: If using fresh compressed yeast, dissolve in water first before adding to dry ingredients)


  1. In a large bowl, mix the poolish ingredients until just combined. Cover the bowl and let the poolish ferment at room temperature for about 12 hours. It is ready to use when the surface is creased, and pebbled with bubbles.
  2. Place the final dough flours, flaxseed meal, yeast, salt, poolish, and all but about 20% of the water, into the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed until the ingredients are incorporated, about 4 or 5 minutes. The dough should have a medium consistency at this point (similar to a basic French or sourdough bread).
  3. Continue mixing on low or medium speed until the dough reaches a medium level of gluten development. This might take about 5 minutes, but will depend on your mixer.
  4. Add the remaining water (and even more, if needed) and continue mixing until it is all incorporated and you have a dough that feels very soft and stretchy, yet strong and springy.
  5. Add the sunflower seeds and cranberries and mix on low speed until they are evenly distributed through the dough.
  6. Transfer the dough to a well-oiled container.
  7. Ferment at room temperature for about 2.5 hours, folding the dough after 1.5 hours. Make sure the container is well oiled before returning the dough to it.
  8. Turn the dough out onto a very well floured counter.
  9. Working from the center towards the edges, very gently stretch the dough into a rectangle about 2 cm in height. Try to deflate the dough as little as possible.
  10. With a dough scraper, cut the dough into diamond-shaped or rectangular pieces. Gently lift these pieces to a floured couche, supporting the entire piece from underneath and keeping the floured side of the dough down. Again, be careful to deflate as little as possible.
  11. Cover the couche with plastic or slip it, on a board or sheet pan, into a large food-grade plastic bag.
  12. Proof for 45 – 60 minutes at room temperature, until the dough is very light and full of gas. Or place the loaves in the refrigerator for 1.5 hours, then at room temperature for another 45 minutes.
  13. Meanwhile, preheat the oven, with baking stone, to 440 F. You will also need steam during the initial phase of baking, so prepare for this now.
  14. Prepare a piece of parchment paper the size of your baking stone, and put it on a board or sheet pan.
  15. Sprinkle the loaves lightly with flour and flip them gently onto the parchment-covered pan, so the heavily floured side is now up. Do not score the loaves.
  16. To bake, slide the loaves, parchment and all, onto the baking stone.
  17. Bake for 8 minutes with steam, and another 27 minutes or so without steam. Crack the oven door open during the last 5 minutes of this time. The crust should be a golden brown. Then turn off the oven and leave the loaves in for another 5 minutes, still with the door ajar.
  18. Cool on a wire rack. Wait until completely cool to cut and eat.

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: