It is that time of the year, when leaves turn orange and red, pumpkins pop up in every recipe (including many where they don’t belong, but let’s not get into a sour mood).  I share with you today a sourdough bread to celebrate Fall. It does have a little canned pumpkin in the formula, but I promise you the taste is very mild, it just contributes moisture and it slightly changes the final texture of the crumb. We loved this bread and hope you’ll also like it if you make it.

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

475 g white bread flour
25 g whole wheat flour
120g starter at 100%
100 g canned pumpkin
340g water
10g salt

Add all ingredients to the bowl of a KitchenAid type mixer and using the dough hook, work the dough for 4 minutes at low speed. Adjust flour if necessary, it should still stick to the bottom of the bowl not cleaning it completely as the dough moves.

Remove from the bowl, knead briefly by hand and let it ferment for 3 and a half hours folding every 45 minutes. Shape as a round loaf, refrigerate overnight, seam side up.

Heat the oven to 450F, invert the dough on parchment paper, so that the smooth side is now up. Dust the surface with regular flour, lightly but uniformly. Score with a brand new razor blade, in concentric arcs from the center. Bake for 45 minutes in a Dutch oven, covered for 30 minutes, removing the lid for the final 15 min.  Let it cool completely before slicing.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I’ve been really in love with this method of starting the kneading in the KitchenAid and finishing with foldings. It gets a nice jump start on gluten formation, and it has the advantage of being very “clean”.  When you do the whole incorporation by hand, the two initial foldings can be pretty messy, the dough gets on the fingers, sticks to the sides of the bowl… it’s not too big a deal, but allowing the KitchenAid to do that initial work makes clean up so much easier. I know bread baking purists will turn their noses but… it works for me.

This bread was a loud, loud singer as it cooled down. And the crumb had the kind of structure we like. Not too open, not too tight.

As I mentioned, you cannot taste pumpkin, it is just a very mellow sourdough, with a creamy texture given by the pumpkin puree. If you like a more orange hint to the crumb, adding turmeric is a good option, but not too much, I’d say 1/2 tsp for this size loaf.

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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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Karen from Karen’s Kitchen Stories is a source of endless inspiration for me. Particularly on anything related to bread, she finds the most unusual, exotic, unique recipes, and then bakes them like it’s no big deal at all.  Just to give you a recent example, look at this incredible concoction for which she used 12-ounce empty soda cans wrapped with foil as a baking “pan.”  Amazing, isn’t it? Today I share with you my adventure with her Olive Oil Brioche. I made only half the recipe and still had a ton of dough to play with. Enough for a large loaf and 6 buns. For reasons that will be discussed in the comments, if you make it, be ready to have one loaf and 8 buns. The amount for the loaf pan was a tad too much.

(slightly modified from Karen’s Kitchen Stories)

for the poolish:
100 grams all purpose flour
100 grams water
1.5 grams instant yeast

Mix the ingredients, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator over night.

for the levain (Sourdough)
1 tablespoon starter
110 grams all purpose flour
110 grams water

Mix the ingredients, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit overnight at room temperature until bubbly.

for the final dough: 
200 grams poolish
150 grams levain
500 grams bread flour
12 grams salt
7.5 grams instant yeast
250 grams eggs
120 grams milk
80 grams honey
Zest of one Meyer lemon (optional)
25 grams water
220 grams extra virgin olive oil
For the egg wash: 1 egg plus one tablespoon milk

In a stand mixer, combine the flour, salt, yeast, eggs, milk, levain, poolish, honey, lemon zest, and water and mix on low for about 5 minutes. Cover and let rest for about 20 minutes.

Mix the dough with the spiral hook on medium to high speed for 8 minutes.
With the mixer running on medium,  add the oil slowly, pausing so that the oil is absorbed. I did it in three additions. Incorporation of the oil will take time, so exercise patience.  Add a sprinkle of bread flour to speed incorporation if you so desire, but do it only in the second and third addition. The dough should end up very smooth and not tear when  you stretch it.

Allow the dough to bulk ferment (in a large bowl covered in plastic wrap) for 2 hours at 70 degrees F. Do three stretch and folds during the first 90 minutes, one every thirty minutes.  When the dough is ready, remove three pieces of about 250g each and braid them. Place in a slightly oiled 9 x 5 loaf pan for final proofing. Divide the rest of the dough in 8 portions, shape as buns, and proof.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.  After the bread has been proofing for 1 and a half to 2 hours (until doubled), brush with egg wash and bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes, until internal temperature is 200 F. You can sprinkle sesame seeds on the buns if you so desire.

Un-mold the large loaf and cool on a wire rack together with the buns.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I will not lie to you, this is a project. The bread requires a sourdough starter, a poolish (fermented flour using small amount of commercial yeast and prepared the day before), and commercial yeast in the final dough. But it is a total pleasure to work with, rises like a rocket and the texture and taste? You will not miss the butter, that’s for sure. As Karen said, it keeps a lot better than the traditional version. And freezes beautifully too.

When you start adding the olive oil, you will be sure the whole thing is ruined, and might have a few rude thoughts directed at me. It seems impossible for the dough to come together. Have bread faith. And here is a little tip that might help: as you add the olive oil and the mixer is going and going, with a puddle of oil all around and looking hopeless, add just a sprinkle of bread flour on top. It will help things get in shape faster. But just a sprinkle, I say 1 tablespoon or so. If you add the olive oil in three additions, do that in the final two, when the dough will have more trouble incorporating it.

For a 9 x 5 loaf pan, I advise you to make three strands with about 250g of dough in each. Then divide the rest in 8 buns. When you do that, you will be able to let the shaped loaf proof for closer to 2 hours and it will not rip a bit like mine did. I had no choice but to bake after 1 hour and 10 minutes, the dough wanted to leave the pan and explore the kitchen. No bueno. That’s because I used 300g per strand, a bit too much. Don’t be put off by the complexity of this recipe, once you have the starter and the poolish prepared the day before, it is just a matter of weighing all other ingredients and having some fun.

Karen, thank you for the inspiration, I know I tell you this all the time but it’s so true… Your blog is a pleasure to follow!

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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.

(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.

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.

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.

And let me tell you, Red Beet Sourdough makes amazing croutons!





It is almost that time of the year, my friends! I firmly believe that Brazil might be the number 2 country in the world with the highest consumption of panettone in the month of December, losing to Italy, but barely so. They are obsessed over there. Odd bird that I was, I did not care for it until I was about 30 years old.  Now, not only I love it, but I am partial to the authentic version. No chocolate chips for me. Of course, I won’t be mad if you modify this version to include them. I  am open-minded, your chocolate chips will be fine with me!

Timing for the process:
Mix and ferment first dough: 12.5 hours
Mix final dough: 30 minutes or longer
First fermentation of final dough: 1 to 1.5 hours, with folds every 20 – 30 minutes
Divide, rest, and shape: 25 minutes
Proof: 4 – 6 hours at 80F, or about 12 hours at room temperature
Bake: about 40 minutes
Hang/cool: several hours

Time consuming? Yes. Very involved process? Yes.
Worth it? TOTALLY!

(very slightly modified from Wild Yeast)

yield: two large loaves, best if baked in paper molds
(available at

for starter:
20 g mature stiff (50%-hydration) sourdough starter
20 g flour
10 g water

Mix all ingredients and ferment at 85F for 4 hours. Repeat feedings at 4-hour intervals, each time discarding all but 20 grams of starter, and feeding it with 20 grams of flour and 10 grams of water.

To feed the starter for a whole night, use only 10 g starter with the flour and water, then leave until next morning. Make sure that the final feeding right before you make the dough happens 4 hours before, so that the starter is at its peak. When you are ready to make the final dough, prepare enough starter using these proportions to have enough to use (make a little over 100 g to allow for  eventual evaporation)

First Dough Ingredients:
346 grams flour
190 grams water
1 gram (1/3 teaspoon) osmotolerant yeast, or 1.3 grams (1/2 teaspoon) instant yeast
85 grams sugar
55 grams egg yolk
7 grams (1.5 teaspoons) diastatic malt powder
85 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
90 grams sweet starter

Final Dough Ingredients:
all of the first dough
82 grams flour
5 grams (7/8 teaspoon) salt
25 grams egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
zest of a medium orange
115 grams water, divided
82 grams sugar
126 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature (pliable)
20 grams honey
126 grams raisins
150 grams candied orange peel

Glaze Ingredients (optional)
42 grams granulated sugar
3 grams (2 teaspoons) ground almonds (or almond flour)
3 grams (3/4 tsp) vegetable oil
3 grams (1/2 tablespoon) cornstartch
3 grams cocoa powder
15 g egg whites
1/8 tsp vanilla paste

Topping (optional)
powdered sugar
Swedish pearl sugar
whole blanched almonds

Make the starter over a period of one to several days. Its final feeding should be given 4 hours before mixing the first dough.

Prepare the first dough the evening before baking: In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix all of the first dough ingredients just until combined. Cover the bowl and ferment for 12 hours at warm room temperature (about 72F), or longer for a cooler room. The dough should more than triple in volume.

Make the final dough: To the first dough in the mixer bowl, add the flour, salt, egg yolks, orange zest, vanilla seeds, and 40 grams of the water. Mix in low speed until the ingredients are just combined, about 3 minutes.

Turn the mixer to medium speed, mix for a minute or two, then continue to mix while slowly adding the sugar, in about 5 or 6 increments. Mix for one to two minutes between additions.

Continue to mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and the gluten is almost fully developed. Turn the mixer back to low speed and add the butter. Mix for a minute in low speed, then in medium speed until the butter is completely incorporated into the dough and the gluten has reached full development (forms a nice windowpane when gently stretched).

In low speed, add the honey, and about half of the remaining water. Mix until the water is fully incorporated. Add the remaining water and mix until it is fully incorporated. At first it will seem very soupy, do not worry about it, keep mixing and it will end up very smooth and nice.

In low speed, add the raisins and candied peels, mixing just until they are evenly distributed. Place the dough in a lightly oiled container (preferably a low, wide one, to facilitate folding). Ferment at warm room temperature for about one hour, folding the dough after the first 30 minutes. If the dough seems very loose, fold it at 20-minute intervals instead.

Turn the dough onto a buttered surface. Divide the dough into two pieces, and form each piece into a light ball.

Allow the balls to rest (may be left uncovered) for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, if baking in paper molds (recommended) skewer them in the lower third portion with  two wooden skewers inserted in parallel. They will hold the panettone after baking upside down to keep the shape. Shape the dough into tight balls and place into the skewered molds.

Proof at 80F for 4 – 6 hours (or about 12 hours at room temperature), until the tops of the dough domes are even with the top of the molds and the sides are an inch or so below the tops. When the dough is nearly fully proofed, preheat the oven to 350F, with the rack in the lower third of the oven.

To mix the glaze, whisk all ingredients together. Pour, brush, or pipe the glaze evenly onto the top of the loaves. Sift powdered sugar generously over the tops, then sprinkle with pearl sugar and garnish with whole blanched almonds.

Place the loaves directly on the oven rack and bake for about 35 – 40 minutes, until the tops are dark brown and the internal temperature is 185F. If the tops are already quite dark after 25 – 30 minutes, turn the heat down to 325F.

While the panettone is baking, set up your hanging apparatus (See above). When the bread is done, hang them as quickly as possible. Allow the panettone to hang for at least four hours, up to overnight.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I urge you to visit Susan’s site (Wild Yeast) for her original post on the subject, as she goes through many small details I omitted, just to make this post slightly shorter.  I actually made the panettone three times last year and had some issues when I baked using a regular metal tin (as shown in the composite picture above).  The issue was un-molding and having the baked product keep its shape. It simply did not happen. The crumb is very delicate as it comes out of the oven and in both situations I had the loaf forming a very unattractive fold, in which the crumb got compressed and deformed. Did it affect the taste? Not at all, but once that happened (twice), I decided that baking in paper molds is definitely better. It makes cooling – inverted in the mold – a lot easier.

Just make sure you have a large enough pan to hold it. I should also say that for this third bake I halved the full recipe and made one single large loaf. Panettone will always be bittersweet for me, as last year I baked one and shared with people from the lab, sent some to Aritri and she loved it so much I gave her a whole loaf later. At the time she was already quite sick and her parents were in the US to help take care of her. They all loved the panettone, I believe it was their first time trying it. If you’ve never baked one, don’t let the apparent complexity of the recipe scare you. Keep in mind it’s an enriched dough with a lot of goodies added to it, so the process must be taken slowly, if you try to speed it up, the final product won’t be as good. Patience is key.

Susan, I know you are not blogging anymore, and I really miss your bread-wisdom in the blogosphere, but maybe this post will give you a smile knowing that your recipe was baked several times in the Bewitching Kitchen! Thank you!

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