Lately a dramatic, marbled sourdough keeps popping everywhere in the blogosphere and Instagram world. I find marbling pretty cool in cakes, cookies, icings. So, why not take it into bread territory?  Most bakers opt for laminating the two doughs together. I have tried the lamination process and found it a bit too convoluted. To make matters worse,  I never get as much structure and gluten development as I like, so I just took my normal default recipe and used it as a starting point. Read the comments after the recipe, if you are interested in the details. Without further ado, here is my first bi-color sourdough.

(from The Bewitching Kitchen, inspired by many sources)

475g bread flour
25 g whole-wheat flour
100 g sourdough starter at 100%
10 g salt
2 g activated charcoal
375 g water

Mix everything (except the charcoal)  with a KitchenAid in low speed with dough hook for about 3 minutes. Adjust consistency with additional bread flour if the mixture seems too loose. Divide the two in two parts, add the charcoal to half of it, knead until fully incorporated (you can do it by hand or place it back in the KitchenAid for a minute or so).

Transfer the two doughs to individual oiled bowls and bulk ferment for 4 to 4.5 hours at room temperature, folding the dough at every 45 minutes to 1 hour. On folding cycle number 3, incorporate the two doughs together, and continue with the bulk proofing. Fold one last time, shape the bread as a round ball, place in a banetton heavily floured, sticking it in the fridge overnight.

Next morning, heat the oven to 450F. Invert the bread straight from the fridge on parchment paper, dust the surface with a small amount of flour, and slash it with a brand new razor  blade.

Bake inside a covered Dutch oven for 30 minutes, remove the lid, leave it in the oven for additional 15 to 20 minutes, if necessary lower the temp a bit in the final 5 minutes. Cool completely before slicing.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: As I mentioned, bakers often use a lamination process to marble different colors of dough, or even to add components such as herbs or nuts. One of my issues with the lamination is that the process tends to be quite a bit longer. When I do my initial mixing in the KitchenAid for 3 to 4 minutes, the dough starts with a solid kneading that not only advances the process of gluten formation, but makes the whole thing quite a bit “cleaner.” The dough, once out of the KitchenAid, already handles quite smoothly for the subsequent folding by hand. And I can tell right away if I need any adjustment, just by the way it behaves during this initial step of mixing.

Most recipes that use lamination rely on a long (3 hours or more) autolyse step,  in which you just mix water and flour, then another pretty long proofing after the starter is incorporated. The hydration level of the dough is often higher (you need to add more water to be able to stretch the dough nicely and laminate it), and that forces you to go through more cycles of folding. I sometimes had to do 5 cycles and still felt the dough a bit weak at the end, but by then it was getting so late I had to call it a day and shape it. If you like to try, search youtube, there are countless videos showing the process.

To achieve this level of mixing between the two types of dough, I joined them at cycle 3 out of 4 total foldings. If you prefer both colors to be more uniformly mixed, join them at folding cycle number 2 instead of 3, and be more aggressive with the way you handle it. I can see a Halloween version with pumpkin and charcoal on my horizon…

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Staying safe in Corona virus time: read the guest blog post by Phillip Klebba here

During difficult times we often see the best coming out of people. Acts of kindness, generosity, and love try to counteract the fear and uncertainties that surround us. This bread, with its dual nature of darkness and lightness brings this image to my mind. I enjoyed the process of making it, and hope you consider baking a batch in your kitchen, trying to focus on all the positive things we do have.


(slightly modified from Bake-Street)

300 g bread flour
200 g all purpose flour
3 g osmo-tolerant yeast (or regular instant dry)
255 g milk
40 g egg (whisk one egg and weigh the amount needed)
50 g granulated sugar
75 g butter, at room temperature
10 g salt
20 g cocoa powder + 15 g brown sugar
1 egg, beaten + pinch of salt

Add the flours, yeast, egg, salt, and 3/4 of the milk to a KitchenAid type bowl.  Using the dough hook, mix until the ingredients are incorporated, then decide if you need to add the rest of the milk. Once the milk is added, with the machine still running, add the sugar in two additions. Knead for about 4 minutes at low-speed, then add the butter, one tablespoon or so at a time.  Wait until each  piece disappears into the dough before adding more butter. Knead until you get good gluten development, probably 4 to 5 minutes longer. The dough should stretch smoothly without tearing.

Divide the dough in two portions, one weighing 40 g less than the other. To the smaller batch, add the cocoa powder and brown sugar and knead by hand or in the machine until the cocoa is fully distributed. It will take a little time and effort. Place both balls of dough in separate oiled bowls, and allow them to proof at room temperature for 2 and a half hours.

Divide each dough in five portions, each between 90 and 95g. Form each as a little ball and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each as a long oblong shape about 4mm thick. Place different colors of dough on top and bottom, form as little loaves, seam at the bottom.  Use a very sharp blade to make slashes on the surface, being very determinate. Any hesitation and the cut won’t be sharp enough. You need to see the different color of dough showing underneath. Place the shaped and cut loaves over parchment paper and let them proof at room temperature for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Heat the oven to 400F.  Paint each loaf with an egg wash, and bake for about 16 minutes. Cool completely on a rack before slicing.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The most interesting aspect of this bread is how the cocoa powder affects texture and resulting oven spring. The white dough is very smooth, stretches easily, and wraps around the dark dough like a soft blanket. The cocoa-containing dough resists rolling a lot more and has a dry feel to it. When it is inside, it will have less oven spring, so the outer dough is not going to open as dramatically as when the dough placement is reversed. As far as taste goes, it will depend on your goal for the bread. If you will enjoy it plain or with a little butter, the light dough inside is the way to go. But if you toast it and enjoy it with jam (orange jam would be awesome according to Eva from Bake-Street), the cocoa kind will be hard to beat.


Yin and Yang. Focus on the positive. We know how to deal with this pandemic. Imagine what it was like on the times of the Black Death, when not only people were dying left and right, but nobody knew why. Nobody knew what to do. Focus on the positive. Do everything you can to maintain social distance and to keep your personal environment clean.

The bread is soft, the cocoa crust slightly harder than the lighter version, but not much. These little loaves would be perfect for a brunch on a Sunday morning, or with a nice cup of tea as the sun sets. Focus on the positive, we will beat this.

I am very fond of Eva’s blog Bake-Street, having made quite a few of her recipe over the past few years, they are very detailed and always work as expected. Make sure to stop by and subscribe, you will be glad you did!

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