ELAINE’S SOURDOUGH BOULE


The recipe for this bread, also known as 500 g overnight sourdough,  is beyond tried and true. My dear friend Elaine has been baking this very recipe for years, probably at least twice every week, if not more often. Her very detailed blog post about it can be found here. You can also marvel at her slashing skills, which inspired me to become more adventurous. Remember?

When you bake bread on a regular basis, it is nice to have a formula that is not overly complicated, one you can do it almost without effort. This is it. Of all sourdough breads I’ve baked, this is the one that I will go back to when I want a great loaf of bread, pure with regular bread flour, just that delicious sourdough tang, and a crumb that has the type of texture I enjoy. Some holes, but not a bread sieve. And add to that great crust too. All bases are covered.

Here is a simplified overview of the recipe. First, you need a bubbly sourdough starter, at 100% hydration, that is 50:50 flour to water ratio.

You’ll use 150 g of your bubbly sourdough and mix it with 285 g water, 500 g bread flour, and 9 g of salt. Incorporate it all with your hands, no need to work very hard.  Leave it for 30 minutes at room temperature, then knead it by folding a few times.  Let the dough proof at room temperature overnight. Mine was ready to walk outside and greet the world…

Pour the dough gently out on a floured surface, shape it.
Let it sit for 30 minutes, while you heat the oven to 450 F.
Slash it with enthusiasm…

Bake for 45 minutes, leaving the bread covered for the first 30 minutes, generating steam whichever way you like.
I use the moistened lid of a Dutch oven.

To view the detailed recipe, visit Elaine’s site.

I loved this recipe so much, that I baked it twice in the same week, so that we had enough bread for a bunch of golfing buddies that visited us.  On my second time around, I went for a wheat-stalk design, but the bread had a mind of its own…
Still, it’s fun to try different patterns.

The goal… a few wheat stalks decorating the bread….

The outcome…  not exactly a wheat stalk, but it’s always nice to see a strong oven spring in action!

I can hardly wait to bake again, and try new slashing patterns on the bread.  For the wheat stalk, I think the key is to either omit the central slash of the stalk, or make it very delicate and shallow. Must practice…

Elaine, thanks for bringing sourdough baking back to my routine,
you are a constant source of inspiration!

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SALZBURG SOURDOUGH

So many months without baking a single sourdough bread! The problem is we don’t eat a lot of bread. One bake lasts us for a long time, as after enjoying a couple of slices, the rest goes straight to the freezer. But I am still quite passionate about bread baking, and have a list of recipes I intend to try. They just sit and wait, poor things. Like this one, from Discovering Sourdough Part II, by Teresa Greenway. In theory, you need a specific sourdough strain from Austria, but I used my good American sourdough, born 9 years ago in Oklahoma, and headed to his teenage years in Kansas. I am sure Teresa will forgive me. But, did you know you can actually buy many sourdough starters from all over the world? Pretty amazing. Take a look at this site. Of course, over a long period of time a sourdough might change and incorporate yeast and bacteria from the new environment, but it’s fun to start from a pure culture born in some exotic, distant place. In the site, they actually dispute the claim that cultures change, but until I see solid scientific evidence it’s all a bit in the air (pun intended).

 

SALZBURG SOURDOUGH
(printed with permission from Teresa Greenway)
(I modified slightly to make a single loaf and use my preferred method of baking)

1 cup Austrian sourdough starter at 166% hydration  (9 oz)
3/4 cups water  (6 oz)
3 oz  evaporated milk
0.6 oz  rye flour
14 oz bread flour
2 teaspoons salt

Mix all ingredients, except salt, just until incorporated and then allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes (autolysis).

After autolysis, add salt and mix dough on low-speed for about 2 minutes. Then let the dough bulk ferment (first rise) for 6 hours or until doubled. Fold it once each hour during the six-hour bulk fermentation. After bulk fermentation, place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead enough to gather into a ball.  Shape it into the general shape you wish and then allow the dough to rest for 5 – 10 minutes (bench rest). After benching shape loaves into their final shapes and put them into the proofing baskets, pans, or couche. Cover the dough with plastic bag and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, allow the dough to final proof for 2 – 3 hours (whenever the dough looks about 1 ½ times its size and is spongy) then turn dough out on peel and slash, cover with roasting lid moistened with water, and bake in a 425F degree oven for 30 minutes. Alternatively, use your favorite method to generate initial steam. After 30 minutes, remove roasting lid, turn down the oven to 400F degrees and continue baking for about 10-15 more minutes, turning halfway for even browning. Bread is done when the internal temperature reaches 200-205F.

Take out loaf and cool on a rack.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

 

Comments: Inspired by my friend Elaine,  I decided to be a bit more daring and creative with the slashing. Elaine always comes up with amazing patterns on her bread. So I took a deep breath and went at it with a razor blade. I love the way the bread turned out, and intend to keep practicing, as the slashes on top were not exactly the way I wanted.

My sourdough ended up quite assertive this time – it was hibernating in the fridge for a very long time, so I refreshed it and fed it daily for a full week before making the bread. Not sure if that affected the level of acidity, but it was really good. Teresa’s recipes all call for 166% hydration, which is easily translated into equal volumes of flour and water. It is easy because you won’t even need a scale to keep the starter going, simply pick your desired volume, and mix half and half.  I refreshed it using 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup flour. It ends up close enough to 166% hydration. For the final starter, I just made a bit more than needed for the bread, so I could keep it for the next baking adventure.

And once again, we have great bread stored in our freezer, although some members of our home hoped that one or two slices would fall to the floor instead… Or at least a few crumbs…

Teresa, thanks for giving me permission to publish this great recipe!

 

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SESAME AND POPPY SEED SOURDOUGH

It’s been a while since I baked a loaf of sourdough bread, Dan, my poor starter was definitely feeling neglected. This time, I decided to make something heavily loaded with seeds, but not big ones like pumpkin or sunflower. More delicate, seeds that would disperse nicely in the crumb. My starting point was a recipe from Josey Baker’s book Bread, but I added a few twists and modified the method slightly. Very pleased with the way it turned out.

SESAME AND POPPY SEED SOURDOUGH
(adapted from Josey Baker’s Bread)

for seed mixture:
1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds (80 g)
1/4 cup poppy seeds (40 g)
1/2 cup hot water (120 g)

for dough:
240 g sourdough starter at 100% hydration
240 g water
300 g bread flour
75 g spelt flour
12 g salt (2 tsp)
all seed soaker

The day before, feed your starter and make sure it is all bubbly and ready to go. Prepare more than you need, so you can save some for future bread baking.

Prepare the seed soaker by mixing sesame and poppy seeds in a small bowl, adding the hot water on top. Mix and let it sit for one hour.

Prepare the dough by mixing all ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix until it’s a shaggy mass, leave it covered with plastic wrap for 30 minutes.

Knead or fold the dough (ten times or so).  Cover and let it ferment for 30 minutes.

Knead or fold the dough again. Cover and let it sit for 30 minutes. Perform two more cycles of kneading 30 minutes apart.  Knead again and let it sit for 1 hour.

Shape the dough. Place it inside a banneton or other appropriate container, seam side up. Let it ferment for 2 hours. Place it in the fridge overnight, or around 12 hours.

Remove from the fridge one hour before baking, as your oven heats to 450 F.  Invert the dough on parchment paper, slash the top and bake for 45 minutes with initial steam (use your favorite method for that). I bake inside a Dutch oven, covered, and uncover after 30 minutes to brown the crust.

Allow it to completely cool on a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  I’ve been trying to work on more “artistic” slashing, inspired by greater bakers such as Elaine from foodbod. Evidently, I need to bake more often and practice. The thing is, slashing is so…. final!  Once you do it, that is it, there’s no going back to fix it a little, and the finality of it makes me nervous and a bit paralyzed. Maybe that’s the same problem I have with golf. Once you take that golf club back, it’s over, my friend. Either you get it or it is a disaster of dire consequences. Usually option two happens for me, particularly with the 5-iron. But I digress…  Independent of my slashing skills, the bread tasted exactly how I hoped. Sesame is such a nice flavor, and the seeds gave a pleasant extra chew to the bread.

Most important step in the recipe: make sure the dough is proofed enough. It needs the seal of approval of experienced eyes.

Yes, Mom. It looks perfect. And smells great too… Now, if only you would leave the premises for a few minutes….

I close the post with the mandatory crumb shot. This bread was particularly awesome with Brie cheese.

 

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KAREN’S FOUR HOUR FRENCH BREAD

My mile-long list of breads “to make soon” was shaken up by a recent post published by my friend Karen. It passed in front of all others, elbowing a Rustic Sourdough here, a Danish Rye there, a couple of Pretzel Loaves, and a few Crumpets. I could not get it off my mind, because not only her bread looked amazing, but she developed the recipe to make it happen in four little hours! Four hours from the time you grab the flour to watching the bread cool down and sing back to you…  I simply had to try it. With just a little adaptation, using spelt flour instead of regular whole-wheat. Why? My whole-wheat was in the freezer and I had just a small amount of spelt left in the pantry, which turned out to be exactly the 50g needed for the recipe. It is called flour fate.

four-hour-bread2

KAREN’S FOUR HOUR FRENCH COUNTRY BREAD

overview of the recipe

450 grams bread flour
50 grams whole wheat flour (I used spelt flour)
380 grams 90 to 95 degrees F water
10.5 grams fine sea salt
4 grams instant yeast

Flours are combined with water and mixed. Autolyse 20 minutes. Salt and yeast sprinkled on top. Incorporated by folding

Rest the dough 20 minutes. Fold. Rest 20 minutes. Fold. Bulk proof 2 hours.
(I proofed for 3 hours due to unforeseen circumstances).

Shape. Final rise 1 hour. Heat oven to 450F.

Bake for 40 minutes at, 30 minutes covered, generating initial steam using your favorite method.

Cool completely before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the full, detailed recipe, visit Karen’s site

slash

Comments: As you can see, I went with a different pattern for slashing the dough, but when it opened, it had a mind of its own. I did not get a star-shaped pattern, but it’s ok. I definitely want to keep practicing.  The bread had excellent oven spring, and made all sorts of nice noises while cooling, something that never fails to make a baker happy.
.
The bread was out of the oven a little after 5:30pm on Saturday, and my original plan was to slice it next day. However, when Phil saw the bread he gave me two options: slice it right away and hand him a slice, or witness him going at it with his hands and teeth. I chose the first option, and contrary to all my principles, sliced the bread while it was still warm.  The crumb suffers a little, but truth be told, nothing beats the taste of bread fresh out of the oven!

crumb

This would be an ideal bread for those a bit afraid of all things yeast. No sourdough starter needed, pretty straightforward method, and wonderful results. Plus it all happens in a reasonably short time, as far as bread baking is concerned.

Karen, you outdid yourself with this one!
Thanks for another great recipe…

french-country-bread

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CURRY TURMERIC SOURDOUGH

Bewitching Kitchen is a food blog and I like to keep it focused on the subject with only small detours into two passions of mine: science and fitness. I must say, though that a couple of recent posts by bloggers I follow echoed deeply inside me, so I share them with you. First, I invite you to read A Texan New Yorker’s take on chili. I must make that recipe in honor of a family I admire and already miss immensely. Then, please stop by Cecilia’s site, who just published a post called “I am an immigrant.”  While you are reading it, keep in mind that I am one, one who got her green card and naturalization through long, complex processes several years ago. Her article is a very well-written piece describing the pleasure and pain associated with leaving your home country and starting all over somewhere else. I firmly believe that we are stronger when we are together. That prejudice and divisiveness should be fought against.

earth

When we have friends over, I love to welcome them with a loaf of homemade bread. I did that when our friends Denise and Helio stayed with us over a weekend (see my post here), and last month did it again when our friend Cindy stopped by briefly on her road trip from St Louis to Oklahoma. I made a batch of parsnip hummus and thought that a loaf of sourdough with a subtle hint of Middle Eastern spices could be a good option to enjoy it with it.  I did not want to add anything else to the bread, was hoping for a nice, golden crumb, with no nuts or goodies to distract from the spice components.  I know you cannot judge if I succeeded as far as taste is concerned, but what do you think of its looks?

curry-turmeric-sourdough-2

 

CURRY TURMERIC SOURDOUGH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

200g sourdough starter
325g cold water
450g white bread flour
50g spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon curry
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 ½ tsp fine sea salt

In a large bowl, whisk the sourdough starter with the water. Add the flours, spices and salt. Stir until you have a soft, sticky mass. Cover the bowl and leave it for 10 minutes. Perform a series of quick kneads, 10 seconds or so, making sure you incorporate as much of dried bits of flour as possible, but if something remains stuck to the bowl, don’t worry about it.  Leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes.

Remove the dough to a slightly oiled surface. Wash and dry the bowl, Coat it very lightly with oil.  Knead the dough again for a quick 10 second period and put it back in the clean, oiled bowl.  Wait 30 minutes.  Perform another cycle of kneading, or if you prefer, use the folding method, in which you stretch one side of the dough way up in the air, bring it over the full extension of the dough, turn it, repeat it four or five times from all directions.  Wait 1 hour, with the dough covered lightly.  Perform another series of kneading or folding.  Wait one more hour, knead again.  Wait 2 hours, divide the dough in two, and shape each half in a round or oblong shape.

Place in an appropriate containers lightly coated with flour, seam side down. Leave them for a final proof for 4 hours.

Invert the dough on parchment paper, slash the surface, and bake at 435 F with initial steam for a total of 45 minutes. I like to use a Dutch oven covered for the first 25 minutes, then remove the lid and allow the bread to brown uncovered for the final 20 minutes.

Cool the bread on a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

compositecurry

 

Comments: Such a pleasure to work with this dough!  All soft and bubbly, with the delicate scent of curry… I actually made two loaves, and decided to shape one as a batard, a shape I find very tricky to achieve. You can see, there is room for improvement…

siblings

My batard formed a little bulge in one side, and I also would prefer a more pointed edge. Well, gotta keep trying. Still tasted pretty amazing, and as we all know, beauty is skin deep. HA!

 

crumb

The mandatory crumb shot!  What I love the most about this bread is the smell not only while it baked, but when a slice is gently warmed in the toaster oven next day. The hummus went perfectly well with it, but it was superb as a player in the ultra fashionable avocado toast.  I smashed a slice of ripe avocado over the bread, sprinkled drops of lime juice and a light dust with Tajin. Sorry, no pictures, I think the blogosphere is already crowded with avocado toast photos, no need for me to add yet another one.  But, do try it if you make this bread.

curry-turmeric-sourdough-from-bewitching-kitchen

I am submitting this post to Bread Box Round Up,
hosted by Karen, the Bread Baking Goddess.

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SPICY COTIJA & BLACK OLIVE SOURDOUGH

OCTOBER 16th IS WORLD BREAD DAY!

Sometimes I like a pure sourdough bread, one that allows just the flavor of the flour (a little rye is mandatory) to come through. Other times I get into a daring mode and try to come up with unusual or at least new to me combinations.  I’ve made a sourdough before with some Sriracha in the dough, and loved the outcome.  I decided to repeat it in this formula, but also included Mexican cheese (Cotija, a favorite of mine), and some special black olives that were on sale at our grocery store. To take the bread into a deeper Mexican path, I included some cornmeal in the formula too.  I love to see the olives peeking through the crust. Like Pavlov’s pup, I start to salivate…

cotija-sourdough
SPICY COTIJA AND BLACK OLIVE SOURDOUGH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, adapted from several sources)

for the levain:
15 g starter at 100% hydration
23 g water
23 g flour

for the soaker:
23g cornmeal (coarse)
75g boiling water
(mix and cool to room temperature before incorporating in the dough)

for the dough:
60 g levain
140 g water
1/4 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
all the soaker made as above
33 g spelt flour
208 g bread flour
6 g salt
80 g Cotija cheese in chunks
50 g black olives, pitted, diced fine.

Add starter to water and Sriracha, mix well. Add all flours, but leave salt behind. Incorporate the mixture into a shaggy mass, and allow it to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Add salt and mix well, it should get a little smoother.

Bulk rise the dough for a total of 5 hours, with folds every 45 minutes (4 times). Shape, retard in the fridge overnight. Bake at 450 F with initial steam. I removed shaped loaf from the fridge one hour before baking time.  Cool completely on a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

composite

Comments: I kept the cheese and the olives in reasonably large pieces. When you do that, the crumb structure won’t be particularly open, but I like the way the cheese gets very assertive in flavor once you bite into a piece. If you are a beginner at bread baking, cut into smaller pieces to make it easier to handle the dough. As you become more comfortable with the folding method, you can be more daring.  Particularly when adding nuts, it can be a bit of a challenge to fold the dough. But, once you shape and allow it to go for te final proof, all the goodies inside will find their perfect spot to be.

crumb

Phil made a full meal for himself the following evening resting a very tasty pan-fried red snapper on it, then crowning the whole thing with avocado slices. A sprinkle of black pepper and a squirt of lime juice on top, he was a very happy camper. I even got to try a bite…

meal

I am submitting this post to Bread Box Round Up,
hosted by Karen, the Bread Baking Goddess.

spicy-cotija-sourdough-from-bewitching-kitchen

 

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HAZELNUT BLUE CHEESE SOURDOUGH

I am very excited about this bread, because I came up with the formula myself. Well, that is not completely true, as we all follow the footsteps of more experienced folks. Sometimes a dear Grandma, a favorite cookbook author or celebrity chef (excuse me while I try to control my eye roll, the word celebrity does that to me. Every. Single. Time). Back to the bread in question. I had hazelnuts in my mind and thought they would be wonderful added to a rustic sourdough bread. I also had a small amount of blue cheese in the fridge (Bleu d’Auvergne, to be precise), and decided that they could interact nicely with the hazelnuts in the bread environment.  I used a very basic recipe that did not need any special type of starter.  A little spelt flour for added pizzazz. And there you have it, a sourdough bread to call my own. But I would be thrilled if you make it in your kitchen too…

Hazelnut Blue Cheese Sourdough
HAZELNUT BLUE CHEESE SOURDOUGH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

125 g  sourdough starter (at 100% hydration)
250 g water, warm to the touch
300 g bread flour
75 g spelt flour
7 g salt
60 g roasted hazelnuts, chopped in large pieces
50 g blue cheese (I used Bleu d’Auvergne)

Add the active starter to a large bowl, mix it with the water until it dissolves more or less smoothly. Add the flours and briefly do a few kneading moves to form a shaggy mess.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle the salt over the dough and incorporate by kneading lightly and folding the dough on itself.  You can keep the dough in the bowl, or transfer to a surface.  After 20-30 seconds of kneading/folding, cover the dough again and let it sit for 40 minutes.

Add the hazelnuts and blue cheese to the dough and repeat cycles of quick kneading/folding two more times, spacing them by 45 minutes.   If the dough doesn’t seem to have enough strength, incorporate one more cycle of folding. After the final kneading cycle, let the dough sit for 20 to 30 minutes, shape it as a round or oval loaf, place it in a banneton with the seam side up and leave it at room temperature  30 minutes longer. Place it in the fridge overnight, lightly covered with a plastic wrap (oil the surface that will be in contact with the dough).

Remove the dough from the fridge 1 hour before baking, while the oven heats to 450 F. If using a Dutch oven, place it in the cold oven as you turn it on. Invert the bread out of the banneton (the easiest way to do it is over a parchment paper on a flat baking sheet), quickly slash it and place it in the Dutch oven. To generate steam, cover the pan with the lid that you rinsed under the sink, allowing some water to be retained on the surface. Bake the bread covered for 30 minutes, remove cover, and allow it to fully bake (reducing the temperature to 425F if the bread seems to be browning too fast) for about 15 minutes longer.  Remove to a rack to cool completely before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

compositehazelnut
Comments:  The blue cheese I used was quite strong, and until I tasted a slice of this bread I was quite worried. The smell as it baked was so intense, I thought that adding the cheese was overkill. Well, I was wrong. No need to worry at all. The cheese pretty much melted throughout the crumb, and gave it sort of background of flavor, almost smoky, although it could be the roasted hazelnuts speaking. Hard to tell. I love the way the crumb delicately involved each piece of nut, like little eggs in a nest.  And the taste? Incredible. I had to pat myself in the back for this bread, even if my parents insisted that modesty is one of the most important qualities of a human being. A pat in the back is not that bad, right? It’s  not as if I’m bragging to the world about it… what? Is that what blogging is about?  But, but, but… will you look at this crumb?

CrumbShot2

If that’s not a pat-in-the-back crumb, I don’t know what is… 

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