I am quite fond of adding Middle Eastern spices to sourdough bread, and this time I experimented with “baharat.” Interestingly, the word “baharat” means “spices” and a commercially available mixture might have different proportions of many kinds, depending on the origin. You can also make your own, using the formula suggested in this article. I went with a store-bought product, and chose this one. It has intense flavor, but it is not overly hot.

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

385g white bread flour
16g whole-wheat flour
1/2 tsp baharat mixture
8g salt
280g water
65g sourdough starter at 100% hydration

optional for decoration:
egg white + a little water (egg wash)
sesame seeds (I used a mixture of white and black)
luster powder + vodka

Make the levain mixture about 6 hours before you plan to mix the dough. It should be very bubbly and active.

When you are ready to make the final dough, place the water in the bowl of a KitchenAid type mixer and dissolve the starter in it, mixing with a spatula briefly, then add the two types of flour, the baharat and the salt. Turn the mixer on with the hook attachment and knead the dough for 4 minutes at low-speed all the time. If the dough is too sticky, add 1/4 cup flour, you want the dough to start clearing the sides of the bowl, but still be sticky at the bottom.

Remove from the machine, and transfer to a container lightly coated with oil, cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment for 4 hours, folding every 45 minutes or so. After four hours bulk fermentation, shape the dough as a ball, and place, seam side up, in a lightly floured banetton. Leave at room temperature one hour, and then place in the fridge overnight, from 8 to 12 hours.

Next morning, heat the oven to 450F. Invert the dough over parchment paper, rub gently white flour on the surface. Score with a flower pattern and paint the details with a bright color using luster powder diluted with vodka. You need it to be a bit on the thick side, and don’t worry about precision, it will more or less mix with any flour bits around it. Do not worry. Paint the center of the flower pattern with egg wash and gently press sesame seeds on it.

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


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you ask me which type of spice is my favorite for sourdough, I would have to politely decline to answer. I love them all. I tend to use curry more often than others but probably because I have two or three types of curry in the pantry and like to put them to use. The amount included gives just a hint of flavor and the bread is still good to enjoy with anything you want. Even plain with a little olive oil or butter.

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