Out in the Wild for Sunshine Bread (BBB August 2019)

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BBB: Let's Keep Baking summary: recipe for Wild Sunshine Bread, baked on the barbecue; sigh – late, again…; unhelpful weather office; information about Bread Baking Babes;

Bread Baking Babes (BBB): Sourdough Sunshine Bread

Let the sun shine in!

When Cathy told us that this month’s BBBabe bread would be, I immediately knew we would be baking it in the barbecue. The shape is perfect.

And excuse me, but I WAS going to be only one day late with this bread. Really, I was.

We arrived home from camping early Friday afternoon; I was all set to build up our starter to bake the bread in time for lunch on Saturday. But it was not to be:

Rain, rain, go away, come again another day!

That’s right. It poured on Friday (but I shouldn’t complain; at least the torrential rains held off until after we had taken down our tent and arrived home!)

But here I am, three days late – better late than never though!

BBB August 2019

Here’s how things went with making sunshine bread on the barbecue:

BBB Sunshine bread diary:

1 July 2019, 18:01 I really like the shape! What an excellent choice.

12 August 2019, 13:40 We were just given the opportunity to go camping this week and couldn’t say no. We will be arriving home on 16th…. Naturally, in my usual “there’s plenty of time at noon” fashion, I haven’t made the sunshine bread yet. Which means I’ll be a little late.

16 August 2019, 15:21 Home at last. This morning, we had a fantastic breakfast – slices of Tartine loaf brought from home toasted on a fire that we rejuvenated from the embers of the previous night’s fire. We followed the best buttered toast ever with yoghurt and perfectly ripe blood peaches bought from an “honour system” road-side stand not far from the Provincial Park we camped at.

I’m curious; do you think that the farmers have extra money in their little box, or not quite enough? The peaches we bought were listed at $3.75 for a box. We had the exact change; if we hadn’t, we would have put in $4.00. (If we hadn’t had the change, we would have had to go away peachless. I’m not sure that we would have been prepared to put in a $5 bill. But would some people pay the extra? They WERE stunningly beautiful and aromatic peaches.)

We just looked at the weather forecast and see that a.) it is going to be raining all day tomorrow, and b.) the rain is bringing in a warm front. We can’t bear the idea of turning the oven on when it’s already 30C in the kitchen.

17 August 2019, 18:21 Of course it isn’t raining now! And it looks like the rain is done for the evening. Isn’t that always the way? …we could have been baking Sunshine Bread tonight after all!

21:47 I just built up the starter (it still isn’t raining…) and it is now in the oven without even the light on. It’s plenty warm enough in the kitchen for the starter to go nuts over-night.

Naturally, I have already transgressed with the recipe. Instead of using all-purpose flour, milk, and water, I used whole wheat flour and water only. I’ll add the milk in tomorrow in the actual dough.

18 August 2019, 12:43 I mixed the dough at around 11:00 this morning, and have already added the salt.

We had just enough rye flour in the freezer! Well, I’ll tell the truth; that should be “almost enough”; in fact, we were 2 grams short. But, considering that I’ve already transgressed by being late, adding whole wheat flour to the leavener, as well as planning to transgress further by sprinkling with fennel seeds rather than caraway seeds, those 2 grams probably won’t make much of a difference, will they? :-)

13:01 First turn after adding the salt: The dough is pretty sticky! But maybe it will settle itself down as it develops more.

15:39 We couldn’t resist going for a bike ride on the completely closed to vehicular traffic on Bloor and Yonge for “Open Streets TO” this afternoon. It was wonderful to ride freely, beside happy pedestrians. At one point we stopped to watch a demonstration of Azerbaijan dancing. Very cool!

When we got home (just a few minutes ago) the dough had pretty much doubled. I folded it down and – yay!! – there is zero sign of stickiness. It feels wonderful.

16:54 Time to shape! Fingers crossed that I get it right!

17:03 Look at me, reading the notes BEFORE I go into the kitchen!

Place the ropes in a circle on a large baking sheet (See notes on using a greased baking sheet), spaced evenly apart. They should look like rays of sun. Curl the ends around, leaving a slight gap in the middle for the center spiral. – BBB August 2019 recipe

17:47 Hmmm. That’s a pretty rustic looking sun I’ve created; it’s looking a little like a child’s depiction of the sun. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Sunshine Bread

And oops!! Look at me, not paying any attention to the notes until after the fact.

I tried shaping the larger loaf on parchment paper, but the dough stuck to it, and the rectangular shape of the parchment didn’t lend itself to the shape of the loaf. It wasn’t wide enough for the rays to fit on. I used a greased baking sheet instead and it worked much better. For the smaller loaf, the parchment worked fine. – Cathy, notes on BBB August 2019 recipe

Maybe everything will be okay. I put the parchment paper on a pizza pan before doing any shaping at all.

Wish me luck!

17:58 Really?? Are those rain clouds I see rolling in? :stomp: :stomp:

HOurly Forecast Toronto 18 August 2019

18:26 They were rain clouds! It’s pouring. I sure hope it’s short-lived. I hate the idea of turning on the oven today. It’s starting to be poisonously hot right now!

Naturally, there was nothing at all like this in the forecast yesterday….

Radar Toronto Weather 18 August 2019
Radar Screenshot for Toronto 18 August 2019 at 18:20
Toronto Weather Forecast 18 August 2019
Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Toronto, 18 August 2019

19:10 The rain seems to be stopping. Yay! We can bake in the barbecue after all. …good thing this bread dough is nicely slow to rise.

19:59 The bread looks great. Even though it’s a little charred in places because we baked it in the barbecue.

charred BBB August 2019

And sure, it’s not exactly sun-shaped. It looks more like a child’s depiction of an octopus. But that’s perfect really.

We’re serving the bread tonight with a Catalan dish made from a long bookmarked recipe in SAVEUR no.106 (November 2007): Mandonguilles amb Sipia i Gambes (Meatballs with Squid and Shrimp). Except we didn’t add any squid – mostly because we didn’t have any. The not-quite-sun shaped bread can be the substitute for the squid.

(Remind me to rave about this fantastic stew made with Picada!)

Happily, we already know that our box grater can rescue charred bottoms on bread. :-)

use a box grater to remove charred bottom on bread

Dinner was fabulous. The shrimp and meatball stew was even better than we thought it was going to be – and we thought it was going to be spectacular. Granted, it may not have looked quite as wonderful as hoped (we were very hungry by the time we served it, so the bowls were not at all camera-worthy) but the flavour was stunning.

It was even more stunning when mopped up with the BBB bread. Fennel seeds were the perfect substitute for the caraway. Although, I’m guessing that caraway might go well with this Catalan stew too.

Many thanks for choosing this Sunshine Bread, Cathy. With fennel OR caraway seeds, it’s a keeper!

Here is the BBB recipe for Sourdough Sunshine Bread that we were given. And here is what I did to it:

Wild Sunshine Bread
adapted from a recipe in “BREAD: the breads of the world and how to bake them at home” by Christine Ingram and Jennie Shapter

This splendid table centerpiece is made with a blend of rye and white flours, the latter helping to lighten the bread.
– Christine Ingram and Jennie Shapter, BREAD: the breads of the world and how to bake them at home

makes 1 sunshine (octopus??) shaped loaf


  • dessert spoonful of Jane Mason 100% hydration whole wheat starter from fridge [The BBB recipe calls for “15 grams sourdough”.]
  • 60g 100% whole wheat flour [The BBB recipe calls for “62.5 grams (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour”.]
  • 60g water [The BBB recipe calls for using half water and half milk.]


  • flour [The BBB recipe calls for “235 grams all-purpose flour” and “110 grams whole grain rye flour”.]
       » 225g unbleached all-purpose flour
  •    » 110g dark rye flour
       » 10g wheat germ

  • 30g 2% milk [The BBB recipe calls for using this amount of milk in the leavener.]
  • 210g water, divided (hold back 10g for when adding the salt)
  • all of the leavener from above
  • 8g seasalt


  • fennel seeds [The BBB recipe calls for caraway seeds]
  1. leavener In the evening of the day before making the bread: Put the starter, flour and water into a smallish bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until the flour is stirred in well. Cover the bowl with a plate and set aside overnight in the oven with only the light turned on (or if it is summer and staying quite warm at night, don’t even bother turning on the light).
  2. mix the dough In the morning of the day you will be making the bread: When a small forkful of the leavener floats in a small bowl of room temperature water, you can go ahead and mix the dough. If the leavener does not float, stir in a small amount more whole wheat flour and water – even amounts by weight – cover with a plate and leave for about 30 minutes more. Chances are that it will now float. Put flours, wheat germ, milk, all but 10 grams water, and all of the leavener into a large mixing bowl. Use a wooden spoon or dough whisk to mix these ingredients to make a rough dough. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave on the counter for about 40 minutes.
  3. adding the salt: In a small bowl, whisk the salt into the final 10 grams water. Pour the salt mixture over the dough.
  4. kneading: Use one of your hands to squoosh the salt and water into the dough; use the other hand to steady the bowl – this way you always have a clean hand. At first the dough might be a bit messy and seem like it’s coming apart. Persevere. Suddenly, it will seem more like dough than a horrible separated glop. Keep folding it over onto itself until it is relatively smooth. Cover with a plate and leave to rest for about 30 minutes.
  5. stretching and folding the dough: Turn the bowl as you fold and re-fold the dough into the center. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave on the counter (or if the kitchen is cool like ours in winter and early spring, into the oven with only the light turned on). Repeat the folding step about 3 times in all at 30 minute intervals. You’ll notice that after each time, the dough will feel significantly smoother. After the final time of folding, the dough is ready to shape.
  6. pre-shaping:
    1. Line a pizza pan with parchment paper and set aside.
    2. Scatter a dusting of all-purpose flour on the board and gently place the dough on the flour. Using a dough scraper, divide the dough into five even pieces. Roll each piece into a rope shape that is roughly the diameter of your pizza pan, gently patting off any extra flour that might be there.
  7. shaping and add the topping: Place one of the ropes through the center of the pizza pan. Cut it evenly in half and, pulling it apart to leave a gap in the center of the pizza pan curl the outer ends. Place the second rope in the center of the pan, at right angles to the first and repeat the cutting and curling. Place the third rope in the center of the pan at 45° to the first rope, and the fourth rope at 45° to the second rope. Repeat the cutting and curling. On the board, coil the fifth rope into a round. Set aside for a moment.

    Run your hands under the cold water tap and gently rub the top of each curled rope to wet it thoroughly. Now place the coiled rope in the center of the pan. Wet the top of the coil. Sprinkle the “sun” shape with seeds.

    Confused now?! I know I am. :lalala:

    Cathy’s images explain the method much more succinctly:
    bread experience.com - shaping Sourdough Sunshine Bread (offsite link)
    Cover with a clean tea towel and let sit for an hour or two to allow the dough to double.

  8. baking: To know when it’s time to bake, flour your index finger and gently but firmly press it on the side of the bread. If the dough springs back immediately, re-cover the bread with the tea towl and leave it in the oven with only the light turned on. If the dough gradually returns back after being pressed, leave the tray on the counter.
    1. barbecue: Put a baking stone into the barbecue and turn it to high to preheat it. When the barbecue is ready, spray the bread liberally with water and put the pizza pan onto the hot stone (don’t worry about the parchment paper) and bake for about 30 minutes, until the bread is golden brown.
    2. oven: Put a bread stone on the middle shelf of the oven and preheat to 400F. When the oven is preheated about fifteen minutes later, spray the bread liberally with water and put the pizza pan onto the hot stone. Bake about 30 minutes until it is nicely golden brown.

    The bread is done when it sounds hollow when knuckle-rapped on the bottom. If the bread is slightly charred on the bottom, do not despair. The charred sections can be grated off with a box grater after the bread is cool enough to hold.

  9. cooling: When the bread has finished baking, allow it to cool on a footed rack before breaking apart and eating; the bread is still cooking internally when first removed from the oven! If you wish to serve warm bread (of course you do), reheat it after it has cooled completely: To reheat any uncut bread, turn the oven to 400F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread into the hot oven for about ten minutes. This will rejuvenate the crust and warm the crumb perfectly.

Serve the bread warm or room temperature with soup or stew. And butter. Or olive oil. If you like. :-)


Leavener: The leavener was made with a 100% hydration whole wheat starter. It takes about 5 days to create. It resides in the fridge after that – our starter has been happily bubbling away and raising fabulous bread since July 2017. (Please see our take on Jane Mason’s Natural Starter made with Wheat Flour.)

Fennel Seeds: The reason we chose fennel seeds over the caraway seeds called for in the BBB recipe was because we were going to serve the bread with a Catalan-style stew. After searching the internet and our cookbooks for typical Catalan spicing, we decided that fennel seed would work best.


We LOVE this bread! We were expecting it to be a little bit dense because of the rye flour. But it was beautifully soft, with the flavour of the rye flour still coming through nicely.

Yes, indeed. It’s great bread!

BBB August 2019

Now that we’ve torn away some of the sun beams (tentacles??), the bread looks like a court jester! Sorry, no photographic evidence though. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

Bread Baking Babes BBB: Let's Keep BakingSourdough Sunshine Bread

Cathy is hosting August 2019’s Bread Baking Babes’ project. She wrote:

This bread is from the book BREAD: the breads of the world and how to bake them at home by Christine Ingram and Jennie Shapter. This was one of my first bread books. […]
The description for this bread reads, “Scandinavia, Land of the Midnight Sun, has numerous breads based on rye. This splendid table centerpiece is made with a blend of rye and white flours, the latter helping to lighten the bread.” I know it will be hot in August, but I hope you’ll enjoy baking this loaf nonetheless. […] The flavor is wonderful! […] We’ll be using a slightly different formula than what’s in the book. I converted it to sourdough instead of fresh yeast.
– Cathy, in message to BBBabes

We know you’ll want to make a Sourdough Sunshine Loaf too! To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make the bread in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 29 August 2019. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to email the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.

Please note that it’s not enough to post about your bread in the Facebook group. Because of the ephemeral nature of Facebook’s posts, your FB post may be lost in the shuffle. Please make sure to directly contact the kitchen of the month if you want to be included in the BBBuddy roundup.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ August 2019 Sunshine Bread.



This entry was posted in baking, BBBabes, bread - yeasted & unyeasted, bread recipe, food & drink, posts with recipes, whine, wild yeast (sourdough) on by .

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2 responses to “Out in the Wild for Sunshine Bread (BBB August 2019)

  1. Kelly

    I love how the little legs/rays of our octopus/sunshine break off for perfectly generous servings. Love how it turned out in the BBQ!

    Me too, Kelly! I especially like the way the shape morphed from octopus/sunshine into court-jester’s head then snail. – Elizabeth

  2. Cathy (breadexperience)

    Elizabeth, I’m so glad you got the chance to make this bread. I bet it was good with the fennel seeds. And baking it on the BBQ – excellent!

    It’s fabulous with fennel seeds, Cathy. In fact, it’s so good with fennel seeds, I almost think that’s the only kind of seeds we’ll use for this bread. – Elizabeth


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