For those of you who follow me on my instagram page or on my facebook page, you know that I make a loaf of sourdough every week. It’s been a mix of some great successes and some pretty epic failures. I decided to chronicle all of these loaves because making sourdough is a tricky thing. You’re working with a live culture that varies greatly based on weather, hydration, and I’m pretty convinced some sort of supernatural power. Because of that, I never put any of the recipes up on this blog as I really do strive to only post semi straightforward and reliably reproducible recipes that I can explain clearly. That is, until now….
I’ve gotten a number of requests to start posting the recipes for the sourdough, so I decided to follow through and put them up on the blog. Here are a couple things to know:
- I’m going assume that you have a mature starter and you know some basic sourdough terminology. Honestly, it seems like a small miracle that I was able to get mine going and I’m not sure that I could explain it well enough to teach it. If you don’t have one going, you can make your own by going to Maurizio’s amazing blog or take a shortcut and purchase some that is ready to go.
- Timing is really variable with sourdough, so I’ll give you more visual cues as to when to move onto the next step.
- I’ll be posting the recipe only in grams and baker’s percentages. What that means is that you’ll definitely need a kitchen scale that measures in grams. Baker’s percentages are a bit more complex, but the basic concept is that everything is measured relative to the total amount of dry flour in the loaf. This Wikipedia article does a great job explaining it! The beautiful thing about baker’s percentages is that you can adapt it to any recipe, whether you are making one tiny 200g loaf to making over a hundred 500g loaves! For those of you using volume based measurements, I’m so sorry I can’t include you, but maybe this will be some motivation to get a kitchen scale as it is totally worth it!
- I bake in a normal oven on standard bake settings. I bake all my bread in a heavy enameled cast iron dutch oven and I highly recommend one both for bread baking and life in general. I had to replace the plastic knob of the dutch oven with this stainless steel one because the plastic will melt at high temperatures.
- I start most of my levain building on Friday night, then bake the final loaf on Sunday. Hope that clarifies the time frame!
- As I gain more confidence in bread baking, who knows, maybe I’ll tackle some of the teaching and the science, but for now, I’m still learning!
Onto this week’s bread: this loaf is an utterly delicious wild rice, almond, sage, and thyme loaf from Sarah Owen’s amazing book, Sourdough. I chose it due to fond memories of living in Minnesota, where the wild rice is still often harvested by hand in wood canoes and roasted over an open flame. It bloomed beautifully in the oven with just the right amount of open crumb. It’s tart, nutty, and slightly grassy from the wild rice. The flavor of the herbs really permeates through as well, but not in an overpowering fashion. All in all, it was a success!
Wild Rice, Almond, Sage, and Thyme Sourdough
|Yield: 1 loaf of bread|
A sourdough loaf studded with grassy wild rice, nutty almonds, and richness of sage and thyme.
- For the dough:
- 25% levain (110g)
- 75% water at about 80F (320g)
- 75% all purpose flour (320g)
- 20% whole wheat flour (85g)
- 5% dark rye flour (20g)
- 2% salt (9 g)
- 20% cooked wild rice (85g)
- 10% almonds (45g)
- 4 sage leaves
- 3 sprigs thyme
- For the levain amount used in the recipe:
- 10 g 100% hydration starter
- 25 g whole wheat flour
- 25 g all purpose flour
- 50 g water at about 80F
- First make the levain:
- The night before you are going to mix the dough, combine all of your ingredients for the levain in a large mason jar. Set into a warmish place (about 70-75F) to rise for about 8-10 hours. I put mine in the oven with the oven light on.
- Then make the bread dough:
- The levain should be just under doubled in size and very bubbly. Place the water into the bowl of a stand mixer and add in your levain. Using the paddle mixer, stir until fully incorporated.
- Add in the flours and mix until all the flour is hydrated. Cover with a plate and allow to autolyse for about 40-60 minutes.
- After the autolyse is complete, add the salt, wild rice, almonds, and herbs and stir with the dough hook for about 3 minutes on medium speed. You can also slap and fold on the counter top. The dough should start to look more cohesive and smooth.
- Transfer the dough to a dough bucket and place in a warmish place to rise. Every 30-45 minutes, stretch and fold the dough to aerate, a total of 4 times.
- Once the dough is almost doubled in size, transfer onto a floured counter top and shape into a boule. Dust with flour and cover with a dishcloth and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
- Shape into a boule or a batard and transfer to a cloth lined banneton. Cover with a dishtowel and place in the fridge to retard overnight.
- Make the bread:
- The next morning, about 1.5 hours before you want to bake, place a dutch oven into the oven and preheat at 500F. Once the oven hits 500F, allow to continue to heat for about 30 to 45 minutes.
- Remove the bread from the fridge, and flip onto a piece of parchment paper cut to just larger than the banneton. Dust with flour and score the loaf with a lame.
- Very carefully, remove the dutch oven from the oven. Using the parchment paper as a sling, carefully transfer the loaf to the dutch oven. Cover, and place in oven. Turn the heat down to 475F.
- Bake covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 5-15 minutes or until deeply brown.
- Carefully flip out of the dutch oven, and remove the parchment paper, and place on a wire rack to cool.
- Slice and serve!
Adapted from Sarah Owen's amazing book, Sourdough