Toasted Sesame & Honey Polenta Sourdough

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Using toasted sesame seeds, polenta & Einkorn flour produces a loaf that is packed full of flavour with a soft, tender crumb. Adding a porridge such as polenta is a great way of increasing the hydration level in sourdough whilst still making a dough that is easy to handle.

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This recipe is based on my step by step sourdough recipe. All of the techniques are explained in detail here.

Toasted Sesame & Honey Polenta

Using toasted sesame seeds & sesame oil in the dough gives this bread a deep, roasted sesame flavour.
We bake these in the oven until they are a deep, golden brown for the best possible flavour profile.

The polenta on the other hand, increases the total hydration in the dough, which in turn softens the crumb & gives it a more open texture. It’s very important to allow both the sesame seeds & polenta enough time to cool down completely. Add them to the dough whilst they are hot & the dough will ferment too quickly.

Like the porridge in my porridge sourdough recipe, it’s important not to over or under cook the polenta. We’re using instant polenta so 5-10 minutes of cooking over a low heat will do the trick. Make sure to break it up into small pieces when adding it to the dough.

Equipment Used

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More Sourdough Recipes

Toasted Sesame & Honey Polenta Sourdough

Using roasted sesame seeds, polenta & Einkorn flour produces a loaf that is packed full of flavour with a soft, tender crumb. Adding a porridge such as polenta is a great way of increasing the hydration level in sourdough whilst still making a dough that is easy to handle.
Prep Time12 hours
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time12 hours 45 minutes
Course: Lunch
Cuisine: English
Servings: 1 Loaf
Author: Ben Racey


  • Glass Mixing Bowl
  • Digital Food Probe
  • Digital Scales
  • Laser Temperature Gun
  • Plastic Dough Scraper
  • Metal Dough Knife
  • Oval Banneton
  • Baker's Lame
  • Dutch Oven/Oval Casserole Dish (With Lid)
  • Spray Bottle
  • Wire Cooling Rack


To Feed Starter

  • 50 g Strong White Flour
  • 50 g Strong Wholemeal Flour
  • 100 g Water – 78°f/26°c
  • 100 g Ripe Sourdough Starter


  • 350 g Strong White Flour 70%
  • 75 g Strong Wholemeal Flour 15%
  • 75 g Einkorn Wholemeal Flour 15%
  • 1 tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 330 g Water – 78°f/26°c 66%
  • 75 g Mature Sourdough Starter 15%
  • 11 g Maldon Salt 2%
  • 25 g Sesame Seeds 5%


  • 50 g Instant Polenta 10%
  • 200 g Water 40%
  • 20 g Unsalted Butter 4%
  • 20 g Honey 4%


  • Start by feeding your starter then leave at room temperature until it is at its’ peak, just before it starts to fall. This should take around 5 hours.
  • In a frying pan over a medium heat, toast the sesame seeds until a deep golden brown. Making sure to stir/shake the pan regularly so that they don’t burn. Once toasted, transfer to a dish & leave to cool.
  • To make the polenta, place the water in a medium sized saucepan & bring to a boil over a medium heat. Next, slowly add the polenta to the water, whisking continuously.
    Cook the polenta over a low heat until the polenta is thick & creamy – this will take between 5-10 minutes. Once the polenta is cooked, whisk in the butter & honey. Transfer the polenta to a tray & leave to cool completely.
  • An hour before your starter is ready, in a bowl, mix together both the flours, 300g water & the sesame oil. Cover & leave for 1 hour.
  • Next, add the starter to the autolysed dough. Using your hand, squeeze the starter into the dough then transfer to a work surface & “slap & fold” until combined. Roughy 2-3 minutes.
    Return dough to bowl, cover & leave for 1 hour.
  • Tip the salt & remaining 30g of water over the dough & squeeze the salt into the dough until combined.
    Break the polenta up into the dough, add the sesame seeds & use your hands to mix into the dough.
    Transfer the dough to a clean work surface & “slap & fold” for roughly 10 minutes or until the dough comes together & is less sticky
  • Coil fold the dough every 30 minutes until the dough passes the windowpane test. (I find that 4-6 coil folds tends to do the trick).
    Leave undisturbed for the remainder of the bulk ferment (2-4 hours).
    The bulk ferment starts as soon as the starter is added to the dough & will take anywhere from 4-10 hours (depending on room temperature, dough hydration & flour used).
    When the dough has finished fermenting, it will have increased in volume by roughly 20-30%, the top will be domed & you will see lots of tiny bubbles in the dough.
  • Once the bulk ferment has finished, gently tip the dough out onto a clean work surface, with the help of a dough scraper.
  • Using a metal bench knife & a hand dipped in water, gently work the dough into a round shape. (Don’t shape it too tightly as this could damage the gluten in the dough.) Dust the top of the dough with rice flour & leave to rest for 20 minutes.
  • Lightly dust a banneton with rice flour.
    Using a bench knife, gently loosen the dough from the work surface then carefully flip the dough over.
    Pull the bottom side of the dough up & fold it into the middle. Press down lightly to make sure the dough has stuck (press down lightly with every fold).
    Now take the left side, stretch it slightly & fold it roughly ¾ to the right.
    Next, stretch the right side slightly & fold over the left side.
    Take the top side, stretch it away from you then fold it into the centre of the dough.
    Now “stitch” the sourdough. Starting at the top, pinch a small amount of dough from both the left & right sides. Fold the dough from the right side over the centre, followed by the left side. Repeat this process in the middle section of dough then the bottom section. (Imagine the pattern of a laced up shoe).
    Finally, starting from the bottom to the top, carefully roll the dough over itself. Use a bench knife to gently pull the shaped dough towards you, dragging the bottom of the dough on the work surface. This seals the underneath & helps create tension.
    Dust the surface of the dough with rice flour, turn the dough upside down (so that the dough is seam side up) & place into the banneton.
  • Cover the top of the banneton with clingfilm & place into a fridge for 12-15 hours.
    The longer the dough is left in the fridge, the more sour the final loaf will be.
  • Place your casserole dish or Dutch oven into your oven & preheat to 230°c for 1 hour.
    The casserole dish I use can be used upside down so that the dough sits on the lid & the casserole dish itself acts as a lid. This means there’s plenty of room for oven spring.
    Whilst your oven is preheating, place the banneton with the dough in into a freezer.
  • Remove the banneton from the freezer. Place your prepared piece of parchment over the top of the banneton then a chopping board/flat tray. Flip the banneton/chopping board over so that the dough is now sat seam side down on the parchment.
    To score the dough, hold the lame so that the razor is at an angle to the dough. Between 30° & 45°. Starting at the top end of the dough, slash the dough all the way to the bottom end. The score should be off centre to the right & at least 1cm deep. For best results, try to score in one cut. Dipping the razor in water before scoring helps produce a clean cut.
    Using the parchment, slide the dough into the preheated casserole dish. Spray generously with cold water & place the lid on the dish.
  • Bake in the preheated oven, covered for 25 minutes then remove the lid & bake for a further 20-25 minutes, until the loaf is a deep, brown colour. For the best flavour, the dough should be fairly dark but not burnt.
  • Transfer the dough to a wire rack & leave to cool completely before slicing. This will take a couple of hours.


Cooking In An Aga.

Place your Dutch oven/ casserole dish onto the grid shelf which is on the floor of the roasting oven. Cook as above.
Left in an airtight container, sourdough bread will last for several days.
The full details for each step can be found in the post above.
The flours that I use are Canadian flours from Shipton Mill. Most strong bread flours will work though.
It is important that both the sesame seeds & polenta have completely cooled to room temperature before being added to the dough.
For the best flavour, make sure that the sesame seeds have been roasted enough. They should be a dark golden brown.
The polenta I use is a instant polenta. This means that the cornmeal is ground finer, allowing the polenta to cook quicker.

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