BAHARAT FLOWER SOURDOUGH

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.

BAHARAT FLOWER SOURDOUGH
(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.

ENJOY!

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.

ONE YEAR AGO: Biscoitinhos de Canela

TWO YEARS AGO: Salmon Tacos

THREE YEARS AGO: The Chignon

FOUR YEARS AGO: Rack of Lamb Sous-Vide with Couscous Salad

FIVE YEARS AGO: Focaccia with Grapes, Roquefort and Truffled Honey

SIX YEARS AGO: Moroccan Carrot Dip over Cucumber Slices

SEVEN YEARS AGO: White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Cilantro-Jalapeno “Hummus”

NINE YEARS AGO:A Moving Odyssey

TEN YEARS AGO:Hoegaarden Beer Bread

ELEVEN YEARS AGO:
 
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TWELVE YEARS AGO:
 
Shrimp Moqueca

CURRY SOURDOUGH WITH SESAME SEEDS

Vadouvan Curry once again joined our sourdough bread. This time I went a little crazy and tried two new things in the same loaf. Inspired by amazing stuff I see on Instagram, I decided to use a stencil, some luster powder, a razor blade, and a little edge decoration with sesame seeds.

PAINTED CURRY SOURDOUGH WITH SESAME SEEDS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

385g white bread flour
16g spelt flour
1/2 tsp Vadouvan curry (or any curry you like)
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 curry 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, place your chosen stencil over it, and rub gently white flour on the design. 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 a band around the perimeter of the bread with egg wash and gently press sesame seeds all over it. Slash quickly with a razor blade according to the design of your stencil, so that when it expands in the oven it won’t affect too much 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 trick about painting the surface of the bread is keeping in mind the color will considerably change during baking. If you start with a brown, soft red, or golden, chances are they will almost disappear once the bread bakes. So if you like some contrast, pick something that will be super bright to start with. I used a luster powder called Mexican Rose, and it is wild. But it did bake to a shade I liked and very visible in the bread. Water alone won’ t be enough to stick the sesame seeds in a defined pattern, so use egg white instead.

Next I want to try a simple design made with a razor blade and couple it with the luster powder. It was a little tricky to join the stencil (with the required extra amount of flour on the surface) with the paint. But I am still pretty happy with the way it turned out for a first time.

ONE YEAR AGO: Chocolate-Crusted Passion Fruit Tart

TWO YEARS AGO: Lemony Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Almonds

THREE YEAR AGO: Savory Oatmeal with Bacon and Cheddar

FOUR YEARS AGO: Air-Fried Carrots, Two Ways (most popular post on my blog!)

FIVE YEARS AGO: Five Minutes in L.I.T (a tour of our laboratory!)

SIX YEARS AGO: Chicken Thighs with Artichokes and Capers

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Pea Pancakes with Herbed Yogurt

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Mushroom Stroganoff

NINE YEARS AGO: Tomato Sourdough

TEN YEARS AGO: Gamberetti con rucola e pomodori

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Flirting with Orzo

BE MY VALENTINE SOURDOUGH BREAD

I had different plans for this post. It was going to be Kung Pao Chicken. Then it hit me. This is the last week before Valentine’s Day, so Kung Pao can wait. I shall dance to the romance. I have a special bread for you, decorated with a trio of hearts. Share it with someone who lives in your heart. If you are all alone in these crazy times, bake it for you. You deserve it.

BE MY VALENTINE SOURDOUGH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

450g bread flour
50g spelt flour
370g water
75g sourdough starter at 100% hydration
10g salt

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, and salt. Turn the mixer on with the hook attachment and knead the dough for 4 minutes at low-speed all the time. You will notice the dough will gain quite a bit of structure even with just 4 minutes in the mixer. 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. Because the dough is already a bit developed from the initial time in the mixer, you should get very good structure after 3 and a half hours, or even sooner than that.

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.

Place three strings over the dough nicely spaced, and touch the strings to glue them lightly to the bottom of the bread. Place a parchment paper on top, a flat baking sheet, and invert the dough, flipping it out of the banneton. Flour the surface of the dough, and tie the strings on top as shown in the composite picture. Score as desired, forming a heart pattern.

Bake at 450F for 45 minutes, preferably covered for the first 30 minutes to retain steam. I cut the strings quickly after 30 minutes when I open the pan, and moved them gently out of the bread. Don’t worry if some parts of the string stay glued to the bread, you can remove later. Cool completely over a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The other day I was chatting with my friend Dorothy from Shockingly Delicious and she suggested that I make a Valentine-inspired sourdough. I jumped on the idea right away. However, I cannot take credit for the look of this bread, I had seen the scoring months ago on youtube and simply followed more or less her method with a few minor differences because I found myself with less space for additional details around the hearts. I wanted to use beets and make a vibrant red concoction, but there was no way I would go to the store under the dreadful weather conditions of this past weekend. If you don’t know what Polar Vortex is, count yourself lucky. Enough said.

I’ve been a bit puzzled by the way my designs sometimes tend to disappear during baking, and just the other day saw a tip about it. Apparently if you bake it in a Dutch oven (as I do), cracking the lid open allows some of the moisture to escape and the flour rubbed on the surface of the dough is not incorporated into it, so the design will be more evident and crisp. Obviously I forgot all about it when I baked this loaf. I will try it next time for sure.

ONE YEAR AGO: Orange Streusel Cake

TWO YEARS AGO: Pink Praline Brioche

THREE YEARS AGO: A Spinach Salad to Write Home About

FOUR YEARS AGO: Karen’s Four Hour French Country Bread

FIVE YEARS AGO: The Siren’s Song of the Royal Icing

SIX YEARS AGO: Blog-worthy Roasted Butternut Squash

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Chocolate Currant Sourdough Loaf & Roasted Beet Hummus

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Sesame and Flax Seed Sourdough

NINE YEARS AGO: Spanakopita Meatballs

TEN YEARS AGO: Saturday Morning Scones

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Pain de Mie au Levain

CHEESE AND PESTO EMMER ROLL-UPS, AND A SPECIAL COOKBOOK REVIEW

I don’t think I stopped smiling from the moment I started writing this post, to the time I hit publish… The cookbook I am reviewing today was written by a dear friend of mine, Elaine, who bakes and blogs from the UK. I had the pleasure of meeting her in person last year when the biggest adventure of my life took me to a certain tent. At that time, right in her kitchen, she broke the news that she was going to write a cookbook, the final negotiations were just taking place. And now, a little over one year later, it is out there for the world: Whole-Grain Sourdough at Home, by Elaine Boddy!  She gave me permission to share one recipe here in my little virtual spot, so without further ado, let’s get to it…

CHEESE AND PESTO EMMER ROLL-UPS
(published with permission from Elaine Boddy)

makes 8 rolls

for the dough:
50g active starter (at 100% hydration)
300g water
400g bread flour
100g emmer flour
7g salt (I used 10g)

for the filling:
100g pesto of your choice
200g grated cheese of your choice
(my addition: black kalamata olives in pieces)

In the early evening, in a large mixing bowl, roughly mix together all the dough ingredients, leaving the dough shaggy. Cover the bowl and leave it on the counter for 1 hour.

After an hour or so, perform a set of pulls and folds on the dough, inside the bowl. It will be sticky, but stretchy. Cover the bowl and leave it on the counter.

Over the next few hours (3 hours or so), complete 3 more sets of pulls and folds on the dough, covering the bowl after each set. The dough will be nicely stretchy and will easily come together into a firm ball each time. Complete the final set before going to bed.

Leave the covered bowl on the counter overnight, typically 8 to 10 hours, at 64 to 68F.  The next morning, the dough is ready to be used to make the rolls. Use immediately or refrigerate to use later.

When ready to bake, heat the oven to 400F (convection) or 425F (regular oven). Sprinkle water over your countertop, using a bowl scraper of your hands, gently ease the bubbly risen dough from the bowl onto the counter. Use your fingertips to start stretching and pushing out the dough, until it becomes a rectangle that measures about 16 x 20 inches, and has even thickness all over.

Dot teaspoons of pesto over the dough, spread the cheese and kalamata olives (if using). Roll up the dough from one of the longer edges toward the other to make an even roll of dough. Using a sharp knife cut the dough into 8 pieces. Place them gently, cut side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until nicely browned. Remove from the oven, and enjoy while still warm.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: When it comes to sourdough, I am for the most part pretty conservative. With this recipe, I realized I’ve been missing a whole universe of goodies that sourdough can bring to the table. Elaine shares several options of fillings for these fun coiled creatures, but of course the possibilities are endless. Spices, nuts, meats, roasted veggies, anything you fancy, just spread, roll, bake and enjoy! Pay attention to the level of liquid included, refrain from adding too much oil or stuff that might get a bit watery, because that might interfere with the bake. But using her basic recipes as starting points, you will have no issues.

The roll-ups were delicious, they smell absolutely amazing during baking, and the texture is quite a bit softer than a regular sourdough bread (which turns someone who wears braces into a very happy camper!).  Elaine says they are best enjoyed fresh on the day they are baked, but I can tell you that they freeze very well and if you warm them in a low oven, they come back to life in excellent shape…

I made two additional recipes from her book, which I will share as “teasers”.  Just the pictures and a brief overview.

THE WHOLE-WHEAT AND EINKORN MASTER

I am always weary of recipes that use a high proportion of whole-wheat flour, because it is so easy to get hockey-pucks and heavy loaves. But I decided to give this one a try, even though it has almost 56% whole-wheat in its formula.

In this composite picture you can see the beginning of the dough (cute scraper available on her site), with the typical, coarse texture given by the whole-wheat. It mellows with the foldings, and next morning it will be all bubbly and ready to be shaped and baked.  The bread is AMAZING (yes, all caps), particularly with smoked salmon. In fact, there is something about the combination of whole-wheat with einkorn flour that reminded both Phil and I of a nice rye bread. Excellent! It definitely exorcized my fear of hockey-pucks… Thank you, Elaine!

And now, for the third recipe I made from her book…

SPEEDY SEED AND OAT CRACKERS

Aren’t they the cutest things? Super simple recipe, your starter does not even have to be at its peak, you can use it and have these crackers ready in no time!  Plus, you can change the seeds according to your taste. Apart from oats, I used pumpkin seeds, black and white sesame seeds.

I baked them slightly less than I normally would, so that they ended up softer. Because… braces… (sigh). Definitely a great recipe to have in my repertoire.

Overview of Elaine Boddy’s book

Elaine breaks all the rigid rules you might have heard before on sourdough baking. First, if you use her method, you will not discard any starter ever. I know, who could imagine that?  Second, she shows you can bake excellent bread without pre-heating the Dutch oven (which I also never do), and without pre-heating the oven!  She bakes most of her loaves (the oval and round ones, not the crackers and coils) starting from a COLD oven. As she says, it takes a bit of a leap of faith, but try it and see how you like it.  My oven heats extremely slowly, so what I did with that Einkorn loaf was to turn it on, and just finish preparing the bread to bake. By the time I stuck it in the oven, I think it was around 175F inside, not fully cold, but definitely not blazing hot.  It is a great energy-saving method, no doubt.

The book starts with a description of the flours and how to make a sourdough starter, both using regular white flour and all sorts of whole-grain variations. That is followed by a series of questions and answers that cover pretty much all those nagging doubts that might scare a beginner sourdough baker.  Great introductory chapter!

Welcome to my Master Recipe… In this chapter she covers her basic, uncomplicated, unfussy method, with plenty of pictures so you can have a clear understanding of how to succeed in your own kitchen. She offers two basic approaches, a “Same-Day-Sourdough” and a “Super Lazy” version. The chapter ends with a troubleshooting section, that will be very useful if you are a beginner, but also might give some pointers to those who bake sourdough regularly but might run into ‘issues.”

The Master at Work… In this chapter Elaine offers many variations of her basic recipe, by adding seeds, nuts, cooked grains, and playing with different combinations of flours. From this chapter I baked the Whole-Wheat and Einkorn loaf, which she made in oval shape, I went with round. I might even consider going for her 100% Whole Wheat (I need a bit of psychological preparation to try that one, though). From this chapter, my eyes are set on the White Spelt Poppy Seed Master and the  Oat-Crusted Einkorn Master. They are two beautiful examples of sourdough baking…

Baby Master Sourdough Boules… In this chapter she offers recipes to make smaller breads, they all contain 300g flour and are proofed in a small banneton, but any round container will do. They are all adorable and perfect for a household with two people.  My favorites in this chapter are: Khorasan and Golden Flaxseeds, Roasted Cashew (looks amazing), and Einkorn Chia Seed Baby Master.

Master Sourdough Focaccia… All recipes in this chapter should ideally begin the day before you intend to enjoy your gorgeous focaccia. Spelt and Cheese is calling my name, although Whole-Wheat, Tomato and Garlic Focaccia is also tempting.  I would use kalamata olives in place of the garlic, but I bet she would not be mad at me… She ends the chapter with an alternative time-table in case you really want to make the whole thing in the same day. By following that method, you can have your focaccia at the table around 6pm. Perfect!

Buttermilk Sourdough Biscuits… In this fun chapter, all recipes can use highly bubbly starter, or even a dormant version that has been sitting in the fridge for a while, up to 7 days. Since the recipes contain baking soda, they rise faster and the sourdough starter will have less impact on the rise, but of course it will add a nice flavor and texture. I absolutely MUST make the Emmer and Za’atar Buttermilk Biscuits. Because… za’atar… But Einkorn, Cinnamon and Cranberry sounds like a perfect Christmas brunch addition…

Sandwich Loaf Sourdough Masters… All recipes in this chapter can be baked in a loaf pan, and end up with that perfect shape to slice and make sandwiches. My favorites are: Oat Milk and Whole Wheat, Coconut Milk and Rye (!!!!), and Almond Milk and Khorasan Sandwich Loaf.

The Simplest Sourdough Rolls… Brilliant, just brilliant!  She uses her basic master recipe all the way through shaping and placing in the banneton, but right before baking she inverts the loaf and cuts into wedges, which makes the cutest little rolls ever!  I intend to bake the Sesame Seed Emmer version in the near future. The chapter ends with an alternative version for “Same-Day Sourdough Wedge Rolls.”

Coiled Filled Sourdough Rolls… From this chapter I picked the recipe featured in this post. I remember when Elaine was developing recipes for the book, she raved about Almond Butter and Banana Khorasan Coils, and now I see the picture and the description in the book… seems like another great one to try this fun preparation.

Swap the Water…  Very interesting chapter, in which she plays with different liquids replacing water. It starts with a Buttermilk White Spelt Master Loaf that might very well be one of the most beautiful breads ever! The picture took my breath away… Note to self: make it. Potato cooking water and beer are other examples found in this section.

Crackers…  Love them all!  What can I say? I was very tempted to use the crackers as featured recipe, but in the end decided to leave them as little teasers. They look adorable and taste great. But I also want to try her Whole Wheat Sesame and Oat Crackers.

Elaine, thank you so much for allowing me to publish a recipe from your first cookbook, hopefully not the last!  Your book is beautiful, the pictures are amazing, and I can sense passion and love for all things sourdough in every sentence of every chapter. I know fully well the amount of work, the commitment and energy you put into it. I can say it totally paid off, and I know everyone who gets your book will lear a lot and have a blast baking from it.

For those who want to order the book, click here.

ONE YEAR AGO: Mango-Hazelnut Entremet Cake

TWO YEAR AGO: Lebanese Lentil Salad and a Cookbook Review

THREE YEARS AGO: Cottage Loaf

FOUR YEARS AGO: Sourdough Loaf with Cranberries and Walnuts

FIVE YEAR AGO: Sichuan Pork Stir-Fry in Garlic Sauce

SIX YEARS AGO: Our Green Trip to Colorado

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Ditalini Pasta Salad

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Celebrate Wednesday with a Thai Seafood Curry

NINE YEARS AGO:  Post-workout Breakfast

TEN YEARS AGO: Semolina Barbecue Buns

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Lavash Crackers

 

 

THE POWER OF CHEMISTRY: RED BEET SOURDOUGH

I will start by blowing your mind. Below, same exact recipe for sourdough bread, with or without vitamin C added to the formula.

For the past year I’ve been playing with adding beets to bread, both using beet powder and roasted beets, but my experiments failed in the color department. Everything tasted pretty good, but the beautiful red color of beets was consistently lost during baking. I had resigned myself to brownish breads until I remembered using vitamin C to preserve the color of basil for freezing. Works like magic. Sorry, it is actually pure science. Vitamin C is a powerful anti-oxidant, and the browning reaction is simply oxidation of compounds during storage or cooking.  I searched Google University and found out that others had already figured it all out and many bakers use vitamin C in their beet-containing breads.

RED BEET SOURDOUGH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

Comments: I was absolutely shocked by the results! You might think that the same outcome could be achieved by using some lemon or orange juice, as those fruits are loaded with vitamin C. It turns out that a whole lemon has about 20mg of vitamin C, so clearly not enough to do the job. I used purified ascorbic acid, borrowed from our lab, but I know home bakers use vitamin C tablets, usually each one contains 500 mg, so one or two tablets will be what you need. I intend to use that in the future and report back.
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Same bread without vitamin C, nothing wrong with it, except that the beautiful red color is lost during baking. Even though, as you see in the composite below, until you put the bread in the oven, all seems totally fine.
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I hope you consider playing with vitamin C if you had issues with your bakes using beets.  It would be interesting to add it to other things that involve color, be it spinach or butterfly pea flower.
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And let me tell you, Red Beet Sourdough makes amazing croutons!
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