CHARCOAL PAINTED SPELT SOURDOUGH

Something new that I’ve tried last week… Use any sourdough recipe you like, I am sharing my default version with a touch of spelt. Once the bread is ready to go into the oven, add some water to a little charcoal powder and brush the surface of the dough. While it’s still wet, place a stencil on top and shower it with white flour (all-purpose is fine). Rub it gently so that the design is as sharp as possible. Carefully lift the stencil, slash the bread and bake.

CHARCOAL PAINTED SPELT SOURDOUGH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

480g bread flour
20g spelt flour
10g salt
370g water
80g sourdough starter at 100% hydration
1 tablespoon activated charcoal powder
a little water
all-purpose flour for stencil detail

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 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, make a paste with the charcoal powder and water, and paint over the surface. Immediately place a stencil on top, and shower white flour over it, rubbing it gently to get the design to stick well. Next, use a brand new razor blade to score around the design, to coach the bread into opening without ruining the pattern.

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: I know that one should never complain about excessive oven-spring when bread baking, but for some designs it would be better to have a less “explosive” loaf… I intend to play with formulas with higher whole-wheat content to try and tame the loaves with patterns and more elaborate scoring. Still I like the way this turned out, and it is much better than rubbing the powder over the loaf.

You can brush the excess flour once the bread is cold. I need to play a bit with the placement of the stencil and the amount of flour to add to it, but overall I am quite pleased with the overall look.

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SOURDOUGH FUN, THREE WAYS

Today I share three recipes to put your sourdough starter to use. Opening with hamburger buns, moving on to a no-knead, no-fuss sandwich type bread (courtesy of Karen, from Karen’s Kitchen Stories), and wrapping the post with my favorite type, a rustic, spicy loaf.

SOURDOUGH HAMBURGER BUNS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

80 grams bubbly, active sourdough starter at 100% hydration
240 grams whole milk, warm
1 egg
6g salt
20g sugar
430g all-purpose flour, divided
45g butter, softened
egg wash (1 egg beaten with a little water)
sesame seeds, black and white


In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, mix sourdough starter, milk, 1 egg, yeast, salt, sugar and 300 grams of flour on medium speed until a loose, shaggy dough is formed. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let rest in the bowl for 30 minutes.


Change to the dough hook, knead the dough for 7-8 minutes, gradually adding an additional 130 grams flour and the butter in small amounts. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky, but pulling away from the edges of the bowl as it kneads. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and keep at room temperature for the bulk proof for 4 to 5 hours. It will not double in size, but it should expand and feel “lighter.

Divide the dough into six portions (about 120 g each). Form into tight little balls and allow to proof at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours. Heat the oven to 375F, brush the surface of the rolls with egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds. Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown and internal temperature of 190F. Cool completely on a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: My only issue with the recipe is that the dough took a very long time to proof and did not seem to expand that much. The enrichment of the dough with added fat slowed things down a bit. However, they had excellent oven spring. I still want to do the tangzhong method with sourdough, so stay tuned for that. I see recipes that add a touch of instant yeast to speed things up, but I decided to go through a pure sourdough method this time.

Moving on, a recipe from my friend Karen, which I made right after she blogged about it, but as usual, it takes me a little time to make things show up in the blog. If you are in the initial steps of your sourdough journey, this is a very relaxing bake, I urge you to give it a try.

SOURDOUGH NO-KNEAD SANDWICH BREAD

for recipe, visit Karen’s site

Sometimes it is nice to have a bread in the traditional loaf format, perfect for sandwiches and also to make croutons, if you so desire. I want to bake another loaf again very soon. Thank you, Karen!

Finally, a sourdough with a lot of flavor, thanks to Penzey’s, my favorite online source for all things spice…

SOUTHWEST SPICE SOURDOUGH LOAF
(from The Bewitching Kitchen

385g white bread flour
16g whole-wheat flour
1 + 1/2 to 2 tsp Southwest Seasoning Mix (Penzey’s)
8g salt
280g water
65g sourdough starter at 100% hydration

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 spice mix 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 the pattern of your choice using a brand new razor blade.

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: I often run into the “problem” of excessive oven spring ruining my scoring. But I admit, it is not a bad problem to deal with, it just means your starter is doing its job. This was such a great bread, you can use other mixes if you like, or make your own, paprika, cumin, oregano, garlic, onion, are some of the components of Penzey’s mix.

I hope you like this trio of sourdough options. Now that the weather is turning cooler, it’s definitely time to bring the starter to play more often.

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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.

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MINI-PULLMAN SOURDOUGH BREAD

First things first. Full credit to my dear friend Elaine, for inspiring me to use a pan I had bought a few months ago and was sitting in the basement, feeling neglected (the pan, not the baker). The gadget is a mini-loaf, Pullman style, that makes a cute cube-shaped bread. You can use any type of dough you like, but I went with a simple sourdough.

MINI-PULLMAN SOURDOUGH BREAD
(adapted from Elaine’s master recipe)

225g white flour
25g whole-wheat flour
40g sourdough starter at 100% hydration
175g water
5g salt

Lay a piece of parchment paper in the mini-loaf pan with a little overhang to make it easier to pull the baked bread later. Reserve.

Mix all ingredients for the dough in a medium-size bowl. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

Do a series of foldings every 45 minutes or so until you reach 5 hours bulk fermentation (so do folds for 4 more hours, don’t worry about timing, try to make 4 more cycles of folding. Shape it loosely as a ball, and place in the mini-loaf pan. Cover loosely with plastic and place in the refrigerator overnight. It should fill a little more than half the volume of the pan.

Next morning, heat the oven to 425F. When it reaches that temperature, remove the plastic cover, shut the pan with the metal lid, and bake for 30 minutes. Open the lid, and leave in the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes.

Cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes, and invert to remove the bread. Cool completely on a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: For this size of pan, you need to have enough dough so that during baking it will reach the top. However, if you add too much it will end up badly compressed at the top, and the texture of the crumb won’t be homogeneous. The picture above shows the dough before it went into its final fermentation in the fridge. It is perhaps 70% full.


I don’t think you need to add the parchment paper, but it was my first time using this method and I was afraid of the dough sticking to the pan. Not at all the case. I did not grease the pan, and the dough stayed inside overnight in the fridge without any issues.

This recipe makes a small loaf perfect for a family of two or three. Another great advantage is that leftovers will be perfect for cutting as croutons, something we do often. I know I will be using my pan all the time now, not only with sourdough but other types of bread too. I am thinking a marbled charcoal and white in the near future..

Elaine, thank you for that much needed push to put my baking toy to good use!

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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.

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