SOURDOUGH FOUR-PLAY

October 16th is World Bread Day!

Sourdough four-play… I should stop giggling now.  A sombrero, a butterfly, a flower and a flaming red loaf were recent playful adventures in our kitchen. The butterfly is still a work in progress, haven’t managed to do it like I imagined, but I have fun trying and a few less than ideal bakes here and there won’t stop me.  All breads were made with the same general technique, but slightly different flour composition.

BASIC SOURDOUGH LOAF METHOD
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

Dissolve the starter in the water in a large bowl, mixing well until it is well-dispersed. Add the flours and salt, mix with your hands or with a wooden spoon until it forms a shaggy mass.

After 20 minutes, do a minimal kneading, about 10 times or so until the dough becomes smooth. You will now allow the dough to ferment for 3.5 to 4 hours at room temperature, folding the dough every 40 minutes or so. Ideally try to have 4 cycles of folding, if the dough seems a bit too “weak”, incorporate one more cycle of folding.

Let the dough relax for about 30 minutes, and proceed to shaping as a round loaf.

Place inside a banetton well dusted with flour and keep it in the fridge overnight, from 8 to 12 hours.

Next morning, heat the oven to 450F.  Invert the dough on a piece of parchment paper and slash it or use a stencil.

Bake at 450F for 45 minutes, preferably covered for the first 30 minutes to retain steam.  Cool completely over a rack before slicing.

Below I give you the composition of each of the loaves.

SOMBRERO BREAD

This is a loaf that goes in the direction of a hearty Poilane type bread, but considerably simplified.

100 g active sourdough starter at 100% hydration
390g water
250g whole-wheat flour
200g bread flour
50g rye flour
10g salt

After overnight in the fridge, the dough was slashed in a simple pattern.

 

BUTTERFLY BREAD

 

100 g active sourdough starter at 100% hydration
390g water
250g whole-wheat flour
250g bread flour
10g salt

After overnight in the fridge, dough was slashed to form a butterfly design. Apologies to all beautiful Lepidoptera.

 

HIBISCUS FLOWER BREAD

150 g active sourdough starter at 100% hydration
585g water
675g bread flour
75g spelt flour
15g salt
cocoa powder and water to form a paste

After overnight in the fridge, loaf was brushed with cocoa paste, then a flower stencil placed on top, and a light dusting of white flour made the design.

FLAMING RED SOURDOUGH

150 g active sourdough starter at 100% hydration
390g water
475 g bread flour
25g rye flour
10g salt
powder red food dye + all-purpose flour

After overnight in the fridge, the top of the loaf was dusted with a mixture of flour and red food dye.  A simple scoring (similar to sombrero bread) was applied before baking.  The dough had a very impressive oven spring, probably because I fed the starter with rye flour a couple of times and also increased the amount of starter in the dough.

I loved all these loaves, but I guess my favorite is the Flaming Red Sourdough because it looked so impressive as the bread exploded through the scoring. The small amount of rye gave the bread enough complexity without making it heavy. The only issue is the food dye rubbing off in the fingers a bit.  I might consider other ways to dye the surface, but it’s hard to beat the intense red tone given by the powder.

This method of preparing the dough the day before is hard to beat. If you are spending your Saturday afternoon at home, it’s really no big deal to make it. No need to be precise with the timing for folding the dough, just make sure you give it a minimum of 3 and a half hours of bulk fermentation. Next morning, turn the oven on, plan your design, and don’t forget, no need to heat the pan you’ll use to bake the bread in.  Free yourself from those nasty oven burns… Into a cold pot the dough goes, and I promise you it will all be fine!

ONE YEAR AGO: World Bread Day 2018

TWO YEARS AGO: Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

THREE YEARS AGO: Spicy Cotija and Black Olive Sourdough

FOUR YEARS AGO: Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cake

FIVE YEARS AGO: Sourdough Rye Bread with Flaxseeds and Oats

SIX YEARS AGO: PCR and a Dance in the Mind Field

SEVEN YEARS AGO: October 16: World Bread Day

EIGHT YEARS AGO: The US Listeria Outbreak 2011

NINE YEARS AGO: 36 Hour Sourdough Baguettes

TEN YEARS AGO: October 16 is World Bread Day

 

25 thoughts on “SOURDOUGH FOUR-PLAY

  1. I wish I’d known about the no need to heat the dutch oven before. I got a very nasty burn when rushing about to bake bread for the MIL one time she stayed with us and took the lid off without a pot holder! Very bad idea. Glad you are having fun in your kitchen with the bread, they look amazing. I might have my house back in a week or so then maybe I’ll start cooking more again.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Elaine not heat the oven too? I can’t imagine baking my bread if the oven is cold. Wow. I lost my sourdough I had alive for years in our flood back in February this year that the lovely Celia sent me. Since then I have more but not home yet so it’s dried and in the freezer ready to go soon. So really no hot oven? I’m confused. I am subscribed to you too of course. Tell me where to look lol.

        Re the four-play.. I’m off to the island off the coast here in North Qld. No bread will be made. I might be too busy lol.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hi, it’s a bit mind blowing isn’t it? It goes against everything we’ve ever done or believed, but it works, it’s all I do now. No more heating empty ovens!
          You won’t find details on my foodbod blog it’s all on my foodbodsourdough.com site.
          But basically, place your cold dough, in a cold pan, into the cold oven, then turn the oven on and the temp up to 220C fan/240C non fan and leave it in there for 55 minutes. That’s what I do with my typical size dough 🙏🏻🙏🏻

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    • You should definitely try the cold oven method – my oven is very very slow to heat so I prefer to heat it a bit before sticking the bread in. But Elaine has been using the cold oven method for a long time!

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  2. Now you have me laughing, well giggling . . . . uhuh, this kind of fore-play looks great fun and very satisfying also . . . Having lived in the tropics so much, I guess I am looking at the hibiscus load, but would not have the heart to cut into it . . . no end to your artistic imagination, Sally . . .

    Liked by 1 person

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