Lately a dramatic, marbled sourdough keeps popping everywhere in the blogosphere and Instagram world. I find marbling pretty cool in cakes, cookies, icings. So, why not take it into bread territory? Most bakers opt for laminating the two doughs together. I have tried the lamination process and found it a bit too convoluted. To make matters worse, I never get as much structure and gluten development as I like, so I just took my normal default recipe and used it as a starting point. Read the comments after the recipe, if you are interested in the details. Without further ado, here is my first bi-color sourdough.
MARBLED CHARCOAL SOURDOUGH
(from The Bewitching Kitchen, inspired by many sources)
475g bread flour
25 g whole-wheat flour
100 g sourdough starter at 100%
10 g salt
2 g activated charcoal
375 g water
Mix everything (except the charcoal) with a KitchenAid in low speed with dough hook for about 3 minutes. Adjust consistency with additional bread flour if the mixture seems too loose. Divide the two in two parts, add the charcoal to half of it, knead until fully incorporated (you can do it by hand or place it back in the KitchenAid for a minute or so).
Transfer the two doughs to individual oiled bowls and bulk ferment for 4 to 4.5 hours at room temperature, folding the dough at every 45 minutes to 1 hour. On folding cycle number 3, incorporate the two doughs together, and continue with the bulk proofing. Fold one last time, shape the bread as a round ball, place in a banetton heavily floured, sticking it in the fridge overnight.
Next morning, heat the oven to 450F. Invert the bread straight from the fridge on parchment paper, dust the surface with a small amount of flour, and slash it with a brand new razor blade.
Bake inside a covered Dutch oven for 30 minutes, remove the lid, leave it in the oven for additional 15 to 20 minutes, if necessary lower the temp a bit in the final 5 minutes. Cool completely before slicing.
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: As I mentioned, bakers often use a lamination process to marble different colors of dough, or even to add components such as herbs or nuts. One of my issues with the lamination is that the process tends to be quite a bit longer. When I do my initial mixing in the KitchenAid for 3 to 4 minutes, the dough starts with a solid kneading that not only advances the process of gluten formation, but makes the whole thing quite a bit “cleaner.” The dough, once out of the KitchenAid, already handles quite smoothly for the subsequent folding by hand. And I can tell right away if I need any adjustment, just by the way it behaves during this initial step of mixing.
Most recipes that use lamination rely on a long (3 hours or more) autolyse step, in which you just mix water and flour, then another pretty long proofing after the starter is incorporated. The hydration level of the dough is often higher (you need to add more water to be able to stretch the dough nicely and laminate it), and that forces you to go through more cycles of folding. I sometimes had to do 5 cycles and still felt the dough a bit weak at the end, but by then it was getting so late I had to call it a day and shape it. If you like to try, search youtube, there are countless videos showing the process.
To achieve this level of mixing between the two types of dough, I joined them at cycle 3 out of 4 total foldings. If you prefer both colors to be more uniformly mixed, join them at folding cycle number 2 instead of 3, and be more aggressive with the way you handle it. I can see a Halloween version with pumpkin and charcoal on my horizon…
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