A SOURDOUGH QUARTET

Today I share four different ways to play with sourdough… Different amounts of whole-wheat flour, different ways to slash and decorate it, and a version studded with a mixture of Kalamata and green olives that was probably the winner with the resident bread taster.

First, a loaf that pushes the level of whole-wheat a bit higher than I normally go for. I am calling it 50:50 sourdough, for obvious reasons

50:50 SOURDOUGH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

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

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 4 hours at room temperature, folding the dough every 40 minutes, and keeping it covered with plastic. You don’t have to be precise, but allow the full four hours fermentation to take place.  You can do foldings at 40 min, 1h 20 min, 2 hs, 2 hs 40 min, 3 hours 20 min. After that final kneading, leave the dough undisturbed for 40 minutes more, then proceed to shape as a round (or a batard, if you prefer).

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 lightly, very lightly coat it with flour, then rub all over the surface with the palm of your hand. Score the pattern of your choice.

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

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The amount of whole-wheat flour in this bread makes it hearty and quite filling. I kept the hydration level of the final dough at 78%, because it makes it easier to slash the surface. If the hydration is too high, it’s a lot harder to get a pattern going.  I started from the center and drew a little spiral, not too deep but deep enough to coach the bread into opening a bit. Then I use a brand new razor blade to form the design inside the spiral.  I really liked the way it turned out, and the crumb was more open than I expected.

Next, a very similar formula, but lowering the level of whole-wheat a little bit.

70:30 SOURDOUGH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

100 g active sourdough starter at 100% hydration
400g water
350g bread flour
150g whole-wheat flour
10g salt

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 4 hours at room temperature, folding the dough every 40 minutes, and keeping it covered with plastic. You don’t have to be precise, but allow the full four hours fermentation to take place.  You can do foldings at 40 min, 1h 20 min, 2 hs, 2 hs 40 min, 3 hours 20 min. After that final kneading, leave the dough undisturbed for 40 minutes more, then proceed to shape as a batard (or a round, if you prefer).

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 brush off all the flour stuck from the banetton to keep it as clean as possible. Place the stencil of your choice on top of the bread, shake some all-purpose flour, lift the stencil carefully. Slash the bread in a way that will be compatible with the design. You need to cut one or more reasonably deep slashes to coach the bread to open in those spots.

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

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The overall technique remained the same, but the reduction in the proportion of whole-wheat makes the bread considerably lighter not only in color but also in taste. Since the slashing was going to be a lot simpler and the main decoration would come from the stencil, I increased the hydration a little bit to 80%.

Next, comes a loaf with even less whole-wheat in the formula, but made more special thanks to the inclusion of a good amount of olives, both Kalamata and green. I had never mixed two kinds of olives in the same loaf, and I can tell you this will be happening again soon. Phil decided this might very well be his favorite bread of 2019. It turned out divine, even if I say so myself.

MIXED OLIVES SOURDOUGH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

50 g active starter
380 g  water
470 g  bread flour
30 g whole-wheat flour
9 g fine sea salt
150 g pitted green and kalamata olives, chopped
1 tsp Herbes de Provence

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 4 hours at room temperature, folding the dough every 40 minutes, and keeping it covered with plastic. On your first folding cycle, add the mixture of olives. You can do foldings at 40 min, 1h 20 min, 2 hs, 2 hs 40 min, 3 hours 20 min. After that final kneading, leave the dough undisturbed for 40 minutes more, then proceed to shape as a round (or a batard, if you prefer).

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 brush off all the flour stuck from the banetton to keep it as clean as possible. Place the stencil of your choice on top of the bread, shake some all-purpose flour, lift the stencil carefully. Slash the bread in a way that will be compatible with the design.

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

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: A light crumb due to the smallest proportion of whole-wheat (only 6%), and a hydration of 76% bumped a little bit due to the water content of the olives. The presence of the olives also made me reduce slightly the amount of salt.

Hard not to use superlatives to describe this bread. Green olives are definitely under-appreciated and I admit to this sin. Of course the Kalamatas bring a lot of flavor and moisture, but there is definitely a lot more happening through the slightly sharper nature of the humble green creatures. I did not pay close attention to the ratio of the olives in the mix, but I think it was pretty close to 50:50.  The crumb turned out pretty open and very moist, difficult to eat only one slice, and it went well with pretty much anything we paired it with, including a nice lentil soup made by the husband.

To get the best effect of a stencil design made with white flour, start with the bread inverted from the banetton and delicately but thoroughly brush off any residual flour that might have stayed glued to the surface. Then sprinkle the white flour over the stencil of your choice. If the bread has any flour on the surface, the design won’t be as evident after baking. The other thing to keep in mind is that you need to try and avoid the bread from opening right in the middle of your design. The best way to avoid that is to make a deep slash coaching the dough to open where you want it to. You can never be 100% sure it will work, but that’s your best bet. You can see how I dealt with it on the composite picture above.

Finally, I share a bread that used the exact same formula of the previous one, but no olives. In this case, my main goal was to do a white-on-black stencil design. Some bakers use charcoal powder, I decided to go with black cocoa powder, the kind that is used to bake Oreo type cookies.

BLACK COCOA SOURDOUGH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

50 g active starter
380 g  water
470 g  bread flour
30 g whole-wheat flour
10 g fine sea salt

water and black cocoa powder to form a thin paste

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 4 hours at room temperature, folding the dough every 40 minutes, and keeping it covered with plastic. You can do foldings at 40 min, 1h 20 min, 2 hs, 2 hs 40 min, 3 hours 20 min. After that final kneading, leave the dough undisturbed for 40 minutes more, then proceed to shape as a round (or a batard, if you prefer).

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 brush off all the flour stuck from the banetton to keep it as clean as possible. Make a paste with cocoa powder (preferably dark) and water. Brush the surface of the bread with it, then immediately place the stencil of your choice on top of the bread, shake some all-purpose flour, lift the stencil carefully. Slash the bread in a way that will be compatible with the design.

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

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The goal for this bake was to play with a new stenciling technique. After the shaped dough is inverted out of the banetton, simply make a little paste of cocoa powder and water, liquid enough to brush with a silicone brush, but not too soupy.  Then, add the stencil on top and dust with all-purpose flour.  I imagine other colors could be used. Beet powder, sweet potato powder, butterfly pea powder…  I am not sure the red color of beet powder would be preserved during baking, I tried using it in the dough once, and the result was a brownish color with very little to do with my expectations. Worth giving it a try, I am sure. Even if it turns brown, could be still a nice contrast with the white pattern of the stencil. I should mention that there is absolutely no taste of cocoa in the baked bread.

The bread had absolutely amazing oven spring, which in a way messed up the design a little, but a baker should never complain of too much oven spring, since that can upset the Gods of the Sourdough and result in failure after failure for months to come. Yeah, I am a scientist. Very pragmatic. But I try to keep a sense of humor.

Final remarks: these loaves use a very simplified method.  I did not do autolyse, and did not bother adding the salt later, it all went into the dough at the same time. As you can see from the photos, I got enough oven spring and a nice crumb using these shortcuts. Also, I never bother waiting for the shaped bread to sit at room temperature before baking, or keeping the oven at 450F for an hour before baking. Some bakers insist those steps are important for a good bake. They are not. Once the oven reaches temperature, my cold, shaped bread goes in. It amazes me that people would waste so much energy heating up an oven to very high temperature for a long time before baking their loaves. Trust me, it is not at all necessary.

ONE YEAR AGO: When bad things happen to good people

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SIX YEARS AGO: Red Wine Sourdough Bread with Cranberries

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Award-Winning Sourdough Baguettes

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Country Rye (Tartine)

NINE YEARS AGO: Penne a la Vechia Bettola

 

 

 

 

A STAR FROM ENGLAND IN THE BEWITCHING KITCHEN

Kit Harington? You’d think? Well, that did not happen (Sally fans herself). But another superstar from England did arrive, albeit inside an envelope. Star, the sourdough starter produced by my dear friend Elaine, from foodbodsourdough.  I wasted no time. Opened the package, refreshed my new baby, made my first loaf a couple of days later. The starter is really powerful, I love it.  For my first adventure with Star, I chose a turmeric-scented loaf, full of black sesame seeds.

BLACK SESAME TURMERIC SOURDOUGH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

200 g sourdough starter (at 100% hydration)
325 g water at room temperature
450 g bread flour
50 g dark rye flour
9 g salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
30 g black sesame seeds

Dissolve the sourdough well in the 325 g water. Add the flours, salt and turmeric, mix until a shaggy dough forms. Leave 10 minutes undisturbed.  Add the sesame seeds and mix well by kneading/folding.

Leave to ferment for 4 hours with folding at 40 minutes, 1 hour and 20 minutes, 2 hours, and 3 hours. At the end of four hours, shape as a round loaf, and place in a banetton, seam side up. Transfer to the fridge and leave it overnight (about 12 hours).

Remove the shaped dough from the fridge as you heat the oven to 450 F.

Invert the dough on parchment paper, slash and bake with initial steam (I use a covered Dutch oven for 30 minutes, then remove the lid).  Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, reducing the heat if necessary to 425 F.

Cool completely on a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  Elaine’s Star Sourdough starter comes in a very nice package containing the dried up sourdough in small pieces, and a beautiful card explaining how to deal with it. A little water, a little flour, and you are done for that day.  The composition photo above shows in the bottom right the starter just a few hours after the first refreshment, and on the bottom left what I found on the morning of the day I made the bread. Star maybe missed his Mom and wanted to leave me?  It definitely seemed like it!

I used my regular method of folding the dough. As for slashing, the sesame seeds definitely prevent too much artistic input, as they make slashing a bit trickier, so I opted for a more random approach. The bread had tremendous oven spring, and when it was cooling, it sang “The Song of My People”, as great bread always do. I love it when it happens.

Phil went crazy for this bread, thought that the crust in particular was perfect. It turned out thinner than most sourdoughs I usually bake (no idea why), and the taste was spectacular. The turmeric flavor is quite subtle. Saffron would be equally nice too, I just did not think about it in advance to soak a little water with saffron threads and have it ready.  I prepared the dough on a Friday, end of the day, and the bread was in the oven by 6am next day. Nothing beats the smell of fresh bread to start a weekend.

Elaine, I wish you all the luck with your new adventure! For those who live in the UK, Elaine is offering sourdough baking classes in her home in Milton Keynes, north of London. She offers basic and advanced classes, so anyone will find a reason to join. She is a natural teacher, and passionate about sourdough baking. If I lived closer I would take her advanced class for sure.

Here is the address of her new website and Facebook group (closed group, she loves to get new members). In her site you can find all the information for her classes and how to order Star (she ships worldwide).

ONE YEAR AGO: Hommage to the Sun

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!

 

ONE YEAR AGO: If I had One Hour

TWO YEARS AGO: Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cake

THREE YEARS AGO: Sourdough Rye Bread with Flaxseeds and Oats

FOUR YEARS AGO: Apricot-Raspberry Sorbet: A farewell to Summer

FIVE YEARS AGO: Marcela’s Salpicon

SIX YEARS AGO: Pork Kebabs

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Fondant au Chocolat

EIGHT YEARS AGOGot Spinach? Have a salad!

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DANISH RYE BREAD

Back in November we were in New York City and took stepson Dr.A and his beautiful partner to a special dinner at Aquavit. Funny story here. I admit to having a virtual crush on Marcus Samuelsson the chef behind it. So when Phil surprised me with the news of our upcoming dining adventure, I almost passed out. Would Mr. Samuelsson come to our table to say hello? Would I be able to survive that without making a complete fool of myself? Then, the shock. Marcus has left the restaurant many years ago. I must be living in a cave or something. Well, it’s quite clear that I don’t follow the restaurant scene that closely.  The current chef is Emma Bengtsson, a beautiful 33 year-old Swedish chef who is one of only three women to run a restaurant with 2 Michelin stars. Isn’t that super cool? No wonder our meal was memorable! Seriously, the food was spectacular. Absolutely top-notch, one of those evenings to be remembered forever. I include at the end of this post a little slide show. One item I fell in love at first bite was their Danish Rye bread. They brought it in a small basket, three types of bread, the Danish Rye definitely not a heavy contestant for its looks. With no high expectations,  I tried a bite. Then I saw Phil’s expression when he took a bite of his little roll. Our eyes locked, and a symphony started to play in our minds… It was moist, it was dense, but not heavy. It had this incredibly sweet/savory  complex taste, like nothing I ever had before. I  simply had to try and make it at home. Once we flew back, I started obsessively searching for recipes, even wrote the restaurant (no reply, unfortunately), and finally settled on a recipe by Planet Earth’s Baking Goddess Extraordinaire, Karen.

cooling

RUGBRØD – DANISH RYE
(from Karen’s Kitchen Stories)

for the Rye Sour – (prepare 12 to 15 hours prior to the final dough)
300 g whole rye flour
245 g water
55 g sourdough starter at 100% hydration

Combine the ingredients in a medium bowl with a dough whisk or large spoon until you have a fully incorporated dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 12 to 15 hours.

for the Levain
103 g bread flour
103 g water
14 g sourdough starter

Combine the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let ferment for 8 to 10 hours.

for the soaker
75 g rye chops 
150 g water

Mix the ingredients in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit overnight at room temperature.

for the Final Dough
130 g bread flour
200 g whole rye flour
180 g water
2.5 g instant yeast
16 g salt
All of the soaker
All of the rye sour
All of the levain
15 g black strap molasses
4.5 g whole fennel seeds, coarsely ground

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix all of the ingredients with the dough hook on slow for about 4 minutes, then increase the speed to medium, and mix for an additional 3 to 4 minutes. The dough will be very sticky.

Heat the oven to 475 F.

Spray a 13 inch Pullman pan with spray oil, and sprinkle it with rye flour. Scrape the dough into the pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the top with whole rye flour. Cover the dough with the lid of the pan, and let rise for 45 to 60 minutes, until the dough reaches about 1 inch below the top of the pan.

Bake the loaf at 475 F with the lid on for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 F and continue baking for 15 more minutes with the lid on.

Remove the lid and reduce the oven temperature to 325 F. Bake for an additional 45 minutes, until the bread reaches about 205 F internally (check with an instant thermometer).

Remove the bread from the pan and cool on a wire rack. Let the bread sit for 24 to 48 hours to cure before slicing (this is important to avoid a gummy crumb)

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

danishcomp

Comments: Danish Rye is the most beloved bread in Denmark, consumed by everyone particularly at breakfast, but pretty much whenever the mood strikes. I suspect if I lived in Denmark I could survive on it alone. Ok, maybe some butter. A little cheese. Some smoked salmon, but the pièce de resistance would be the bread. I realize that it doesn’t look like much. A brownish, tight crumbed, dense-looking loaf of bread. Looks can be so deceiving! This is the kind of bread that speaks to your soul, each bite a little different, it plays with your taste buds in magical ways. Trust me, you need to bring it to your life if you’ve never tried it.  Plus, it’s pretty straightforward to make. You do not need the special pan with the lid, actually. Many recipes will bake it in a regular loaf type pan, and the bread will end up with a little crack on top. Nothing wrong with that.  Make sure to plan ahead, Danish Rye must sit for at least 24 hours before slicing. Rye is a temperamental flour, with a tendency to develop a gummy texture.

The important question is – did it match the Aquavit concoction? Let’s say it’s pretty close, close enough to make me thrilled about this baking project. I still would love to have their recipe, but so far, no cigar. So my plan is to continue assembling examples in books and blogs, and try a few more. The bread freezes beautifully in thin slices, by the way.  Removing from the freezer, in a few minutes it can go into a low oven to bring it back to life. It is quite simply put, a fantastic loaf of bread. Phil went nuts for it, in fact he now insists that at any given time we must have at least 4 slices in the freezer. Just in case. And of course, I am more than happy to make sure he is happy!

danish-rye

One very tasty lunch!

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

danish-rye-bread-from-bewitching-kitchen

For those interested, a little slide show of the great evening we spent at Aquavit, NYC

November 2016

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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ONE YEAR AGO: The Best Sourdough Recipe

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THREE YEARS AGO: Quinoa and Sweet Potato Cakes

FOUR YEARS AGO: Pumpkin Bolo de Fuba’ Cremoso

FIVE YEARS AGO: Citrus-crusted Tilapia Filets

SIX YEARS AGO: Bran Muffins, not just for Hippies

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Flourless Chocolate Cake

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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ONE YEAR AGO: Brigadeiros de Morango

TWO YEARS AGO: Feta-Stuffed Turkey Meatloaf

THREE YEARS AGO: Artichoke-Saffron Souffle

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SOURDOUGH BLUES

For the past few months the Bewitching Kitchen witnessed my silent struggles with bread baking.  Re-phrasing that, for the past few months the Bewitching Kitchen witnessed a full-fledged bread baking debacle!   Yes,  a few floured banettons flew across the Bewitching Kitchen.   Yes, the lives of several loaves quickly came to a violent end as crouton-material on the chopping board.  Yes, Phil received text messages stating that I would never ever EVER bake sourdough again, and I needed him back home so I could cry on his shoulder.  I was miserable, confused and frustrated, feelings  I normally associate with golf, not bread baking.  Life can be cruel.

The deterioration in my baking happened slowly.  A slightly less plump loaf here, a tighter-than-expected crumb there.   Then, suddenly, no matter what I did my boules became pancakes.   Flat, … they were flat!.  No oven spring to speak of, and scoring the surface was like make-up at the undertaker’s,  … it made no difference in the loaf.  The crumb below was actually one of my better “pancake-loaves.”  Most had a much tighter crumb, leaving me too upset and disgusted to even bother taking a picture.

here

At a  loss,  I posted a message to Dan Lepard’s Appreciation Facebook page, and David W. came to the rescue.  Much like a therapist holding the hand of a patient, he listened to my saga and concluded that the problem related to storing my starter in the fridge.  Slowly, the complex microbial population in the starter had changed, leaving me with a less than ideal mixture to start bread with.  Several people advised me to discard the sourdough and start all over again, but I didn’t want to consider that route.  I’m too attached to Dan, the starter I captured and kept for four  and a half beautiful years.  That explains why I threw a massive fit at Phil when he insisted that a starter “is just flour and water“.  Can you imagine hearing THAT?  I know, it goes beyond insensitive.   But David provided the light at the end of the tunnel, with a  “revival protocol” for my starter.  Guess what happened on my first loaf?

boule1White Levain Sourdough Bread, a classic recipe from Dan Lepard’s Handmade Loaf


SOURDOUGH STARTER RECOVERY

(from David, at Dan Lepard’s Appreciation Facebook page)

For 7-10 days, discard all but a small spoonful of the starter, and feed the starter by adding 70g organic rye flour + 100 g water.  Keep it out in the kitchen, not in the fridge.

After the 7-10 days, reverse the refreshment proportions to form a dough:  175g organic rye flour + 125 g water.   After 12 hours, bake with as much as you need, by either adjusting your bread recipe to compensate for the thicker starter, or refreshing it again at the hydration level called for in the recipe.  Freeze small portions of the thick starter for future use.

You can keep your dough-consistency starter at room temperature, refreshing it weekly, or thaw one of those small portions a couple of days before baking, refreshing it daily (always at room temperature).

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I was so excited about getting back my “sourdough mojo”, that the following day I baked another loaf, a recipe adapted from Tartine.

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blacksesamecrumbCan you look at this crumb and not shed a tear or two of pure joy?


BLACK SESAME SOURDOUGH

(adapted from Chad Robertson Tartine)

For the starter:
50g  spelt flour
50g white flour
100g/ml water at 78-80F
1 Tbs active sourdough starter

For the dough:
375g/ml water at approximately 80F (divided in 350g + 25g)
100 g starter (you won’t use the full amount made)
440g white flour (good quality all-purpose is fine)
60g spelt flour
10g salt
1/3 cup black sesame seeds

In a large bowl, mix 350g of warm water with the starter (100g of it), and mix to dissolve. Add both types of flour, mix until all flour is mixed with water, without large dry bits present.  Let the dough rest for 25 to 40 minutes.

Add the salt and the rest of the water (25g), and incorporate by pressing the dough with your fingers. Fold the dough a few times, until if forms a homogeneous mass, but don’t try to knead it.  Leave it in the bowl, folding it again a few times – no need to remove it from the bowl – every 30 minutes, for the first two hours (you will be making 4 series of folds during this period).  Add the sesame seeds to the dough on your first folding, after all the water and salt has been incorporated.  After the last folding cycle, let the dough rest undisturbed for another full hour, for a total of 3 hours of “bulk fermentation.”

Remove the dough from the bowl and shape it gently as a ball, trying to create some surface tension (for a tutorial, click here).  Let it rest for 20 minutes, then do a final shaping, by folding the dough on itself and rotating it.  If you have a banneton, rub it with rice flour, line it with a soft cloth sprinkled with rice flour, and place the dough inside it with the seam-side up. If you don’t have a banneton, any round container – like a colander – will do. Let it rise for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature.  Twenty minutes before baking time, heat the oven to 450F.

Cut a piece of parchment paper that will completely cover a pie baking dish and place it on top of the banneton containing the bread dough.   Carefully invert the banneton  over the parchment paper, using the pie plate to support the dough.  The cloth will probably be sticking to the dough, so carefully peel it off.  Score the bread, and place the pie pan over baking tiles in the pre-heated oven.

Bake for about 45 minutes, covered during the first 20 minutes, remove the cover for the final 25 minutes.

Let the loaf cool completely on a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I’ve been working with bacteria for 30 years, and one of the things we know too well is not to store it in the fridge.  Some strains of E.coli develop a capsule, a heavy coating of polysaccharides once exposed to cold temperatures, and they become pretty tricky to work with, particularly if you study what we do: their outer membrane proteins.  We tell the students all the time to avoid keeping their plates in the fridge, if a strain is worth preserving it should be immediately frozen at – 70 C.  So, it was ironic that I never thought twice about keeping my sourdough starter in the fridge for years and years, without making a “backup” stock in the freezer.  Never again.

I hope that if you bake with sourdough, this post will help you out in case of problems.  Make a few balls of very thick sourdough starter and store it in the freezer. Label that bag, by the way… you don’t want to look at it months from now and decide it’s some unknown creature that got into your freezer when no one was paying attention.  And then proceed to toss it in the garbage!   😉

I am submitting this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting

ONE  YEAR AGO: Headed to Hawaii

TWO YEARS AGO: A yummy Brazilian cake: Bolo de Fuba’

THREE YEARS AGO:  Hidden Treasure

FOUR YEARS AGO: Avocado Three Ways

SOURDOUGH BREAD WITH WALNUTS AND DATES

Another example of inspiration coming from The Fresh Loaf.  David is a regular contributor to the forum, and every bread he makes is a work of art. He is the type of baker comfortable enough around sourdough starter to  devise his own recipes, having recently come up with a fig and walnut concoction.   David had access to fantastic figs, but when I went to the store I was not particularly impressed with what was available.  Since I am no longer afraid to improvise ;-), I used dates instead.   This bread is perfect to practice mindful eating. Don’t devour it. Instead, savor each bite as slowly as you can. Awesome bread, very complex taste.

crumbSAN FRANCISCO-STYLE SOURDOUGH WITH WALNUTS AND DATES
(adapted from David, at The Fresh Loaf forum)

for the stiff levain
41 g water
66 g sourdough starter
78 g all-purpose flour
4 g rye flour

for the final dough
337 g water
416 g all-purpose flour
46 g whole wheat flour
11 g salt
189 g levain
98 g dates, diced fine
98 g walnuts, diced and lightly toasted

Dissolve the starter in the water. Add the flour and mix thoroughly until the flour has been completely incorporated and moistened. Ferment at room temperature for 16 hours.

In a stand mixer, mix the flour and water at low-speed until it forms a shaggy mass. Cover and autolyse for 30 minutes. Coarsely chop or break apart the walnut pieces and toast them for 8 minutes in a 300ºF oven. Allow to cool. Coarsely chop the dates, rinse in cool water, drain and set aside.

Add the salt and levain to the autolyse, and mix at low-speed for 1-2 minutes, then increase the speed to medium (Speed 2 on a KitchenAid) and mix for 5 minutes. Add flour and water as needed. The dough should clean the sides of the bowl but not the bottom. Add the walnuts and the figs to the dough and mix at low-speed until well-distributed in the dough. (About 2 minutes).

Transfer to a lightly floured board, do a stretch and fold, and form a ball. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly. Ferment at 76º F for 2 1/2 to 3 hours with a stretch and fold at 50 and 100 minutes.  Shape as a large ball (or divide the dough in two and shape as two smaller loaves)  and place in banneton. Proof at room temperature (68-70º F) for 1-2 hours. Cold retard the shaped dough overnight.

The next morning, proof the dough at 85º F for 2-3 hours. Heat the oven to 480º F. Score the bread as desired, and bake with initial steam, reducing the oven to 460 F when the bread goes in. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, and cool completely on a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

boule1

I am still having issues with our oven, the temperature shoots up and down, making it hard to control proper baking.  At some point in the future we’ll change our kitchen appliances, but for the time being we dance according to the music. That’s the proper Zen attitude. Or so I am told…  😉

I am submitting this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting.

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