CHARCOAL PEANUT SOURDOUGH

I’ve been struggling with bread stencils lately. My designs end up not as sharp as I hoped them to be, lack of contrast after baking, all sorts of annoying little disappointments. I finally figured out what I was doing wrong, after watching videos from bread guru Morgi. I will share a couple of tips today, in case you’d like to use this method to decorate your bread.

CHARCOAL PEANUT SOURDOUGH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

470g bread flour
20g spelt flour
10g peanut flour
7g charcoal powder
10g salt
370g water
100g 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 three types of flour, charcoal 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. If the dough seems too soft, add a bit more bread flour. 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. Invert the dough over parchment paper, if the surface seems moist you can place the stencil right away on top of it. If it seems dry, spray lightly with water and position the stencil. Shower some white rice flour on the stencil and rub gently with the fingers of your right hand as you steady the stencil with your left hand (do the opposite if you are left-handed). The idea is to rub the flour on the surface through the openings of the stencil, so that you get a good pattern formed. Carefully lift the stencil and slash the bread around it, so that the bread will not open and compromise the image.

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 use a banneton for the final rise of your shaped loaf and it glues to it when you try to invert it to bake, you know that can be VERY frustrating. Sometimes it even distorts the beautiful shape achieved slowly overnight in the fridge. I normally add quite a bit of flour to the banneton before the dough goes in, but when I want to do the stencil decoration, I prefer not to have too much flour on the surface to start with. My tip is simple: place a plastic wrap (like Saran-wrap or other brands) inside the banneton and THEN add your bread – it does not prevent the ridges from making that cute impression on the surface (although it will be slightly less evident) and you will have NO issues inverting the dough to bake.

For the image to be sharp and evident, the trick is to have a little moisture on the dough, and rub the flour, gently but firmly. Hold the stencil in place with one hand, and rub the flour with the other. Lift the stencil as delicately as humanly possible. Finally, whatever design you choose, slash the bread in ways that coach the opening away from the design. You can cut four deep slashes in a square shape with the design in the center, or do what I did, a circular series of small, deep cuts all around.

Peanut flour has no fat, but transfers the taste of peanuts quite well to the bread. It has a softer crumb than a straight sourdough with just bread and whole-wheat flours. And the charcoal contributes no taste. When we freeze slices after a couple of days, we like to cut one or two into croutons, because they look pretty amazing in that shocking black color.

ONE YEAR AGO: Chocolate Cake with Coconut Buttercream

TWO YEARS AGO: Berry Rebellion Tarts 

THREE YEARS AGO: Bergamot-Cherry Macarons

FOUR YEAR AGO: Roasted Veggies with Queso Cotija Dressing

FIVE YEARS AGO: Creamy Broccoli and Mushroom Casserole

SIX YEARS AGO: Maple Walnut Biscotti

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Barley Risotto with Peas

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Oatmeal Fudge Bars

NINE YEARS AGO: Cauliflower Steaks

TEN YEARS AGO: Soft Spot for Chevre

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Quick sun-dried Tomato Crostini

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

SMOKED PAPRIKA SOURDOUGH

My sister Norma back in Brazil jokes that she would add smoked paprika to her toothpaste if at all possible… If you are in her team, this bread is for you. I did not add a lot, and feel that the bread could stand even more, as you will see in the comments. The scoring style, “Multiple Leaves”, was inspired by the one and only Morgi, from Israel. Check his quick video tutorial here.

SMOKED PAPRIKA SOURDOUGH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

370g water
110g sourdough starter at 100% hydration
470g white bread flour
30g spelt flour
2 tsp smoked paprika
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, paprika, 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.

Invert the dough on a piece of parchment paper and score with a new razor blade, if so desired, or simply make a cut on the surface in the shape of a cross with a very sharp knife. 

Bake at 450F for 45 minutes, preferably covered for the first 30 minutes to retain steam. You can generate additional steam by spraying the inside of the lid with water before closing the pan.  Cool completely over a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you are into sourdough baking, I urge you to follow Morgi’s instagram page. His talent with artistic scoring is something! For many of his styles, he includes not only a photo of the finished bread, but a short video of the slashing, start to finish. It goes a little fast, but you can pause and even draw a sketch on paper as he goes, if necessary. For the multiple leaves, you can pretty much do whatever you like as far as spacing the leaves or keeping them close. I liked this scoring a lot because since the edges of the leaves are cut more deeply, and the veins very lightly, the bread will not ruin the design as it bakes: it will naturally open around the edges of the leaves. Very clever.

The smoked paprika gave a delicate pink hue to the crumb and crust, next time I might add three teaspoons instead of two, to intensify the flavor.

This bread was once again made with my basic method, which starts with a 4 minute kneading in the KitchenAid. The only modification I’ve incorporated was leaving it at room temperature for one hour before placing it in the fridge overnight. I notice a slightly more open crumb and more oven spring when I do that.

ONE YEAR AGO: A Cake to say I Love You, from Kim-Joy’s cookbook

TWO YEARS AGO: Lemon-Almond Cake with Cranberry Glaze

THREE YEARS AGO: The Iron (Uptake) Chef Challenge

FOUR YEARS AGO: Thank you!

FIVE YEARS AGO: Salmon Rillettes, a Classy Appetizer

SIX YEARS AGO: Linzer Cookies

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Baked Ricotta, Take Two

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Pumpkin Uncanned

NINE YEARS AGO: Pork Ragu

TEN YEARS AGO: Friendly Kuri Squash

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Celery and Apple Salad

FOR THE LOVE OF SOURDOUGH

It is amazing how a bread formula can be tweaked slightly and result in totally different outcomes. I share today nine versions of sourdough. They all start with the same composition (90% white bread flour; 10% whole-wheat, salt and sourdough starter). From this starting point, some get added flavor components, and the final outcome depends on how they were handled for scoring.

BASIC SOURDOUGH FORMULA
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

470g white bread flour
30g whole-wheat flour (regular whole-wheat, spelt or rye)
10g salt
75g sourdough starter at 100% hydration
375g water

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 all flours 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. Place 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 score with a new razor blade, if so desired, or simply make a cut on the surface in the shape of a cross with a very sharp knife.

Bake at 450F for 45 minutes, preferably covered for the first 30 minutes to retain steam. You can generate additional steam by spraying the inside of the lid with water before closing the pan.  Cool completely over a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

PANCH PHORON SOURDOUGH

To the basic recipe above, add 1 to 2 tsp Panch Phoron, a five spice mixture from Eastern India, often used in Bengali cuisine. It is a mixture of equal parts of seeds of fenugreek, nigella, cumin, black mustard and fennel. I shaped this bread as an oblong loaf, and scored a pattern of leaves.

We loved this bread, in fact it was the first loaf that got us into a path of sourdough flavored with Middle Eastern spices.

VADOUVAN CURRY SOURDOUGH

In these three loaves, 1 + 1/2 tsp of Vadouvan curry mix was added together with the flour and incorporated in the dough. The bread in the center had spelt as the minor flour component, the other two regular whole-wheat.

For the final decoration, I covered the first loaf with red beet powder, marked with a string a symmetry of 8 guide lines and then scored as shown. The beet color faded a bit during baking but still gave it a little hint of purple. The second loaf got a dusting with charcoal powder, the string marked 6 guide lines to create a slightly different type of design. Finally, the third loaf was dusted with flour, marked with 8 lines and scored as a flower. A little center of pearl dust was added but the color faded during baking (is that a recurring pattern for this baker?).

I love the charcoal and the beet powder effects, but be warned: they stain your fingers as you handle the bread, so when you cut a slice, make sure you don’t touch your face right after. No further questions on this subject. Please and thank you.

RAS-EL-HANOUT SOURDOUGH

Exact same recipe using rye as the minor flour component, and 1+1/2 tsp Ras-El-Hanout in the formula. One of our favorite breads in this series. I should give credit to a baker from Israel who is a true magician with scoring. I follow him on Instagram (check him out here) and often try to make one of his cool designs. This is one example, that starts with a little square as shown below.

I am very fond of geometric-type scoring. I find it easier to do if I make a drawing on a piece of paper with the different steps because once that razor blade hits the surface of the bread… is game over! There is no “erasing” possible. Of course, during baking the design will be affected in unpredictable ways. I am still trying to figure out ways to minimize explosions.

ZA’ATAR SOURDOUGH

Basic recipe using spelt flour as the minor component and 1 + 1/2 tsp za’atar. The bread was coated with charcoal and I followed one of Mogi’s Dough Engineering scoring designs which he calls “reverse spiral”. Mine did not turn out as beautiful as his, but I still like it a lot. Here is what it looks like before baking.

He uploaded a video showing how to do it. It goes very fast, but after watching it (in awe) a few times, I felt ready to do it.

TAHINI SOURDOUGH

To the basic formula (with whole-wheat flour as minor component), I added 25g tahini, and adjusted the consistency with a little more flour after the initial mixing with the Kitchen Aid, as the tahini I used was reasonably fluid. The tahini gives a wonderful flavor. The scoring made the round loaf end up with a square shape after baking, pretty interesting.

You can see it starts pretty round, but the way the slashing opens up during baking substantially affects the final shape. I love using nut butters in sourdough, they bring a bit of fat to the composition and the crumb feels moist and tender. Along those lines I share another favorite version….

PEANUT BUTTER SOURDOUGH

Basic formula with spelt flour and 25g creamy peanut butter. This was one delicious bread, the smell during baking is something! The scoring was once again inspired by Mogi’s Instagram feed, and this time I used a powder red food dye that is fat-soluble (appropriate for chocolate work). That seemed to stand better during baking.

Very simple scoring, I used 8 guide lines made with a string, but you could definitely just improvise.

CELEBRATION OF LOVE SOURDOUGH

My final adventure following the footsteps of Mogi. This is a bread called Tu B’av (ט״ו באב), the Jewish holiday of love, similar to our Valentine’s Day. I made a simple sourdough with full white flour, and 1 tsp turmeric in the dough. The surface was dusted with white flour, a shower of turmeric, and the center was dyed with pitaya powder, which next time will be replaced by red dye powder. A round cookie cutter comes in very handy to contain the red dot. I am still struggling with how heavy a hand to use when adding colors, particularly the subtle ones as turmeric that might end up too similar to the crust. Once again my results are not as gorgeous as Mogi’s, but there is always next time!

So that’s all for now, my friends… This post, entitled For the Love of Sourdough, had to end with a bread to celebrate love, that feeling that keeps us together, staring at the future without fear.

ONE YEAR AGO: Brazilian Pao de Mel

TWO YEARS AGO: Stir-Fried Chicken in Sesame Orange Sauce

THREE YEARS AGO: Monday Blues

FOUR YEARS AGO: A New Way to Roast Veggies

FIVE YEARS AGO: Two Takes on Raspberries

SIX YEARS AGO: Spice Cake with Blackberry Puree

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Own Your Kitchen with Cappuccino Panna Cotta

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Chicken Parmigiana, the Thriller

NINE YEARS AGO: Wild Mushroom Risotto

TEN YEARS AGO: Tartine Bread:  Basic Country Loaf 

ELEVEN YEARS AGO:  Pugliese Bread


SUNBURST PUMPKIN SOURDOUGH

OCTOBER 16th: WORLD BREAD DAY!

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.

SUNBURST PUMPKIN SOURDOUGH
(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.

ENJOY!

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.

ONE YEAR AGO: Sourdough Four-Play

TWO YEARS AGO: World Bread Day 2018

THREE YEARS AGO: Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

FOUR YEARS AGO: Spicy Cotija and Black Olive Sourdough

FIVE YEARS AGO: Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cake

SIX YEARS AGO: Sourdough Rye Bread with Flaxseeds and Oats

SEVEN YEARS AGO: PCR and a Dance in the Mind Field

EIGHT YEARS AGO: October 16: World Bread Day

NINE YEARS AGO: The US Listeria Outbreak 2011

TEN YEARS AGO: 36 Hour Sourdough Baguettes

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: October 16 is World Bread Day