This recipe for Sunflower Seed Bread is egg-free and easy to make even though it requires two rises. Sunflower seeds and pumpkins seeds, and their oils are very popular in Eastern Europe and find their way into savory and dessert recipes.
According to the National Sunflower Association, "The wild sunflower is native to North America but commercialization of the plant took place in Russia."
And in the cold climates of Slavic regions where olive trees didn't grow well, sunflower oil took precedence over more costly imported olive oil.
Additionally, according to the association, "The Russian Orthodox Church increased [sunflower oil's] popularity by forbidding most oil foods from being consumed during Lent. However, sunflower was not on the prohibited list and therefore gained in immediate popularity as a food."
Here is a Rye Sunflower Seed Bread Recipe that also is egg-free and is also is easy to make because no sourdough starter is required as is typical for rye bread. But it does take three rises, so plan accordingly.
Here's a larger photo of Eastern European sunflower seed bread.
- 1 cup water (warm)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons/1 package yeast (active dry)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup sunflower oil (or vegetable oil)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/4 cups flour (all-purpose, or as needed)
- 3/4 cup sunflower seeds (roasted, unsalted)
- Garnish: 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds (roasted, unsalted)
- 1 large egg white (beaten)
In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine 1 cup warm water, 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar. Set aside until foamy.
Add 1/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup sunflower oil or vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, mixing until well combined. Knead by hand or in a stand mixer with the dough hook about 8 minutes, adding additional flour if necessary, or until a smooth, elastic dough is formed. Add 3/4 cup unsalted roasted sunflower seeds and mix until thoroughly incorporated.
Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat both sides, and cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours.
Coat a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Punch dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured board. Knead 1 minute to release any trapped air and shape into a loaf. Place in prepared pan, cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Brush top of bread with 1 large beaten egg white and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon unsalted roasted sunflower seeds. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 190 degrees when inserted just off center in the loaf. Remove from the oven and immediately turn out of the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.