I was super excited about this recipe. I mean sunflower seeds in yummy roll format, but things weren’t exactly as I’d hoped. I mean, they were tasty and all, just different than what I was expecting.

The recipe called for wheat bran. I had such trouble finding what I needed online so I ventured to the neighborhood Sprouts to see if they had it. Surely they had to have it. They did but it took some work. I couldn’t find it in the aisles or bins. Finally I asked someone and by that point I couldn’t remember if I needed wheat germ or wheat bran. Turns out they had both but the wheat germ was in back. The very helpful young man went to the storeroom and carried out this ginormous bin full of wheat bran. I scooped what I needed and he said it was on the house. Totally unexpected. Completely grateful. That made my day.

The recipe instructed me to soak the wheat bran in milk overnight. I suppose that was to fluff up the bran. Oh. Before I continue I should probably discuss the difference between wheat germ and wheat bran because they are not the same thing. Think of it this way. Wheat is a seed. There’s an outer part and inner part of the seed. The outer part of the seed or kernel is the bran and the inner part is the germ. The outer part is harder so I’m guessing it has more fiber. Don’t quote me on that. If you really want to learn more, type “wheat bran vs wheat germ” into your favorite search engine. If you are having trouble sleeping, I suggest you read that before bed. You’re welcome.

So to the bran/milk mixture, I added instant yeast, wheat flour, bread flour, honey, sunflower oil, salt and finally the sunflower seeds. PSA – make sure when ordering sunflower seeds online you don’t choose the mega bag of sesame seeds by mistake. (If you need some, let me know. I think I have 500 pounds of them.)

After mixing and the first proof, the dough bulked up quite nicely. See for yourself.

You can see the bran bits in there. The dough was pretty great to work with. The roll size was smaller than previous recipes – 30g to the 50g I’d used for the soft dough recipes. My measurement were fine as far as the dough, but I should have reduced it further so I didn’t have a gazillion rolls. Ok I had like 50 rolls by the time I was done. The last dozen or so I weighed out to 50g and just adapted the baking time for the larger rolls. Egg wash, final proof, more egg wash and extra seeds on top then in the oven they went. Here’s my assistant posing for the camera. (Speaking of my Little, she wanted ginger bread cookies so we were doing two projects at once. I won’t do that again. Too much.)

Sunflower seed rolls before going into the oven

Here’s the final product.

After the bake

The flavor was just ok. Not awesome like the other recipes so far. I didn’t love them. I think they needed more sweetness. I took them to work and walked around my colleagues desks offering rolls with butter and asking for honest critique. The general consensus was good and some even seemed impressed that I made them myself. There was some constructive feedback, too. Maybe the sunflower oil was too much or off even though I bought the bottle the day before. Maybe it needed more sweetness to offset the nutty flavor which is what I think. Whatever the case, I’m chalking this one up to done and done. I froze half the baked batch. I think I’ll thaw them out soon and serve them with a honey butter – I think that would be delicious.

Oh and about those gingerbread cookies… they turned out great. The kid refused to eat them but I promise you they were good. I ate more than my fair share. We decided to make a gingerbread house this coming weekend. I’ve never done one before but there’s a first time for everything. And the recipe we tried was a winner. Didn’t need to chill the dough and the cookie was crunchy but the inside was softer. Delicious. Image below is before baking. I never did take pictures of the finished product after icing but they looked great. (Link to recipe if you click the image below.)

Gingerbread cut outs before baking