Quinoa and toasted sesame spelt semi sourdough

This sourdough has a wonderful toasted nut flavour, imparted from both the sesame seeds and the quinoa. I used a mix of organic red and white quinoa, simply because that is what I had – you could easily use white, red or black quinoa in this. Other grains that would work well are buckwheat or polenta. Likewise, instead of sesame seeds you could use sunflower, pumpkin, poppy or linseed (flaxseed).

I used potato flour for my kneeding and dusting, simply because I had run out of white flour, but I think it worked very well. You could also use white rice flour.


  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 1 cup of unhulled sesame seeds
  • 260g starter
  • 260g high grade white flour
  • 160g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 8g active yeast
  • 10g salt
  • 250ml water
  • Additional potato flour for kneeding
  • tsp olive oil for greasing


  1. Cook the cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water. I always use my rice cooker for this as it really plumps up the grain. Set aside to cool.
  2. Heat your oven to 200ºC, spread the sesame seeds on a tray and bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly coloured. Set aside to cool.
  3. Combine the rest of the ingredients (starter, flour, yeast, salt, and water) in a large bowl and mix together with a bowl scrapper or wooden spoon into a well formed dough. This should take around 10 minutes, any less and you have not mixed the dough enough.
  4. Spread some potato flour on the bench, scrape out the dough and kneed. I kneed by pushing away with the heel of my right hand then rolling back over constantly for 3 minutes, then breaking for 1. I repeat this for 3 sets – so 9 minutes of kneeding.
  5. Place the dough back into the bowl, add the quinoa, and mix in using the bowl scrapper. Then turn out onto the floured bench and give another set of kneeding.
  6. Place the dough back into the bowl, add the toasted sesame seeds and mix in using the bowl scrapper. Turn out onto the floured bench and give another set of kneeding.
  7. Give the bowl a quick clean, pour in a little olive oil, then add the dough. Turn the dough in the oil covering all the surface. Cover with clingfilm to bulk prove. I bulk prove in the fridge overnight for 12 hours, otherwise leave it in a warm place for 1 hour.
  8. The next day, take the dough out of the fridge and allow the dough to warm up for 30 minutes.
  9. Knock back the dough in the bowl by wetting your hand, then reaching around to the bottom of the dough, grabbing a bit and pulling over to the top. Turn the bowl three or four times and repeat.
  10. Cover the bowl with a teatowel and leave in a warm place like a hot water cupboard to prove for around one hour.
  11. Once the dough has doubled in size, tip out onto a floured bench, cut in half and shape each loaf. I shape the loaf by grabbing the third of dough away from me, pulling out and back tucking in two thirds of the way back to me. I do the same with the right, then the left, then the closest third. I finish by rolling the final third away so that the seam is on the bottom. I then cup the loaf and pull towards me slightly to help the round shape.
  12. Add some extra sesame seeds on top, and dust with flour, then cover with the teatowel and give a final rising of about an hour. The loaves are ready when about 1.5 times in size, and the dough springs back when lightly pressed.
  13. While waiting for the loaves to rise, heat the oven up to 250ºC with two dutch ovens inside (if you can fit them).
  14. When the dough is ready, pull out the dutch ovens and remove the lids. Gently lift each loaf and place inside the dutch oven (cast iron pot), cut the top to allow the final rise, place the lid back on and put back in the oven.
  15. Turn the temperature down to 230ºC and bake for 20 minutes with the lid on, then take the lid off and back for another 20 minutes. If you are using a fan bake oven, you should turn the loaves round so they cook evenly.

Visual recipe

Combine the ingredients in a large bowl

Here you can see the rough dough formed but not ready to start kneeding

Now the dough is ready to kneed

After 9 minutes of kneeding, place the dough back in the bowl and add the quinoa

Kneed again to integrate the quinoa

Place back in the bowl with the sesame seeds

After kneeding the sesame seeds in, wash and oil the bowl, put in the dough and cover with cling film. Bulk rise in the fridge overnight for 12 hours.

Bring out the dough and allow to warm

Knock back the dough

Prove the dough in a warm place for an hour

Tip the dough onto a floured bench, and divide into two

Shape each loaf

Top with additional sesame seeds and a patina of potato flour

Rise for an hour

Heat up a dutch oven at 250ºC, place in the bread and score, put on the lid and bake at 230ºC for 20 minutes, then take off the lid and bake for another 20 minutes.

Cool the loaves on wire racks

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