It is wonderful to bake breads. Decorative breads are so much more fun. I bake this pretty looking sunflower bread every now and then. The daughter loves it and everyone who looks at it thinks it is some kind of marvel. Trust me, it is so easy and simple. I would recommend this even for a beginner. I have been making this bread since my beginner days and it has worked every single time.
Why I love this Sunflower bread
This sunflower bread is pretty to look at. It makes for a wonderful centre piece. Get a sour cream or cheesy dip and it makes for a fabulous starter or tea time snack.
You can increase the size or decrease it easily. It can have as many rings as you want.I have made three rings here. You can make them bigger or smaller depending on the size of the bread you need.
Add any flavour or colour to it and make the bread look prettier. Just divide the dough into 2 or three parts and mix each part with a separate food colour or flavoured puree of your choice. You can make it healthier by adding spinach or pumpkin puree.
It is a delight for kids. You can make small sunflower breads for each kid too. They will gobble it up in a jiffy.
Substitutions and Variations
The most obvious question for substitution is about replacing all purpose flour with whole wheat flour. The answer is the same I give for all my breads. All purpose flour makes the bread light and tastier than whole wheat flour. So my suggestion is to try with all purpose flour first and then substitute it with whole wheat flour. My ideal recipe would be half each of all purpose flour and whole wheat flour. I think it has a good balance between taste and ‘health’. If you are using whole wheat flour you need to add around 20% more water to the dough.
I have used half milk and half water. You can replace it with entirely milk or entirely water. Milk makes the bread softer. If you don’t have milk, then add water and replace 25gms of the flour with milk powder.
As I said before, you can vary the colour and taste of the bread by adding purees of your favourite vegetable. You can also add some herbs to the dough to give it some punch. I love adding around 1/2 tbsp of dried rosemary to the dough. Mint, thyme, basil are all good options.
I have used instant yeast which is what I will recommend. But if you are using active dry yeast then you need to mix the yeast, sugar and water and set it aside for 5 minutes. It should froth up nicely. Add the mixture to the rest of the dough and proceed with the recipe. Also, increase the yeast by 1/4 tsp if you are using active dry yeast instead of instant yeast.
- OTG or MIcrowave Oven to bake
- 200 gms All purpose flour / Bread flour
- 110 gms Milk / water
- 3-4 gms Salt
- 15 gms Sugar
- 1 tsp Instant yeast
- 25 gms Unsalted butter
- Take a large bowl and add the flour, milk/water, salt, sugar, instant yeast and butter
- Mix the ingredients together and knead well to form a smooth dough. It should take around 10 minutes
- Cover and set aside for an hour or till the dough doubles in volume
- Line a baking tray with parchment and set aside
- Once the dough has doubled, divide it into 10 equal parts by weight
- Make four groups of the dough with one group having 4 parts, next having 3 parts, next group having 2 parts and the last having 1 part of the dough. This will give you four balls of dough of decreasing sizes.
- Take the largest dough ball on the parchment paper.Roll it into a circle of approximately 9" diameter. Cut the dough from inside out but not till the edges. Cut into 8 parts. Open out each part like a petal. See the video for details
- Take the second largest dough ball and place it inside the first one. Expand it till it touches the edges of the first dough circle. Again cut the dough from inside not till the edges into 8 parts. Open out the petals. Repeat the same with the third dough ball
- Finally take the fourth and smallest dough ball and place it in the centre. Expand it till it touches the edges of the previous dough circle
- Cover and let it rise for 20-30 minutes
- Preheat the oven at 200C
- Brush the dough with a milk wash or egg wash thoroughly. Add sunflower seeds or any seed of your choice to the dough centre.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes till the top is golden brown
- Brush with some butter and cool for 30 minutes
- Serve warm with any dip of your choice
I am sending this to Bake-a-thon by Srivalli.