Oh man. There’s something so unbelievably satisfying about baking your own bread.
Growing up baking, I didn’t venture too much in the bread world (apart from making Challah) because yeast and natural leaveners kinda scared me.
Cookies, pie, cake, brownies…easy peasy. But with breads, I duno. There was some definite fear there. (Maybe it was the 500 degree oven temps and scary cast iron bakeware?)
I’m almost totally over that bread fear now though… mostly because I’ve fallen in love with that amazing feeling you get when you slice into a loaf and see that delicious crumb!
I had a sourdough starter when I was up doing my undergrad at Humboldt State…his name was Sid, and he was like my little house pet. I unfortunately let him pass away after a year or so because I just wasn’t doing any bread baking, and I really didn’t know enough about it all at the time.
My current sourdough starter, Kip, has been with me since our Chef in my introduction baking class offered us students all a bit of hers a couple months ago. She’s had her levain for THIRTY years! (Can you believe that?!)
She’s taken it around the world and to so many places! It’s got some French flair in it (some of the old country as we classic pastry students say hehe), since she’s taken it with her on trips to visit a chef friend! And Africa too! I was in awe to discover how long a starter can stick around if you take care of it. 🙂 Very inspiring.
This bread had this great perfect flavor. Letting the dough ferment overnight in the refrigerator before baking really let the leaven develop wonderfully (especially with such a high hydration dough). The addition of whole wheat flour gave it a little bit of a nutty taste, and the red quinoa dotted throughout (for the December BreadBakers event) made just the right texture!
I’m still working on my bread finesse. That slashing and shaping takes tons of practice to get it right! But I’m so happy to be learning new techniques and exploring different areas of baking on a regular basis (with home baking and culinary school). It’s a wonderful feeling!
Leaven: (Night before mixing dough)
50 grams active starter
200 grams whole wheat flour
200 grams water (at 80 degrees)
Mix together the above ingredients in a medium mixing bowl the night before you are going to mix your bread dough. Cover, and leave out in a warm area overnight. Also, soak your quinoa at this time! Take the 1 1/2 cups quinoa listed in the bread dough ingredients, put it in a small mixing bowl and add water until covered. Let sit overnight and drain in the morning.
Bread Dough: (Day before baking)
250 grams leaven from above
800 grams bread flour
200 grams whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups red quinoa, soaked overnight
20 grams salt
750 grams water (at 85 degrees), plus another 50 grams for after autolyse
Rice flour (or bread flour) for dusting
First: Add the leaven to a large mixing bowl, and then add the 750 grams of water. Use your hand to dissolve the leaven. Then add the bread flour and whole wheat flour. Mix until the dry flour is incorporated. Leave covered for 50 minutes for autolyse.
Next: After 50 minutes, add the salt, quinoa and the remaining 50 grams of water. Squeeze the dough to incorporate everything together. Then start a series of folds by picking up one side of the dough and folding it over to the opposite side. Do a couple times until the dough starts to get tacky.
Bulk Fermentation: During this step you want to do 6 turns (like described above with the folding motion), about 30 minutes apart. The last two turns should be more gentle than the first four. After the 6th turn, let the dough rest for an hour and a half (covered).
Preshape: Turn dough out onto your floured work surface. Sprinkle the dough with some flour, and then cut in half with a board scraper. Flip each half over so the floured side is down on the work surface. Allow to sit for 30 minutes (covered). Prepare your bannetons (or bowls with kitchen towels in them) by dusting them with plenty of rice flour. Bread flour works too.
Shaping: Dust the tops of the two halves with flour again, and flip over. Then fold 1/3 of the dough over itself, and continue this motion until all the sides are folded into the middle. Flip over and use your hands to pull the dough towards you creating surface tension and making a nice smooth crust. (look up shaping on youtube, it really helps! this wet dough is difficult to work with). Turn into your bannetons, seam side up. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Baking: The next morning, preheat your oven to 500 degrees with your dutch oven or pizza stone inside. Once preheated and the dutch oven has heated for at least twenty minutes, pull out one of your loaves. Very carefully, remove your dutch oven and flip the loaf out into it. Using a razor or knife, score the bread. Bake covered for 20 minutes, and then uncovered until the crust is to your liking (at least another 20 minutes, but more likely half an hour-40 minutes). Repeat process with your second loaf (but reheat the dutch oven inbetween). Allow to cool on a wire rack before slicing.
There you have it. Yes, sourdough bread can be a little time consuming. But it’s sooo worth the effort. These higher hydration doughs are a little tricky, but the crumb they yield is way too delicious to pass up.
I think that next time I will try to let the dough rest another whole day before shaping to see if it is easier to work with, because I’d love for my loaves to be prettier. I think I’m getting the taste that I like down though. 🙂 And that quinoa was a wonderful addition! My next sourdough will involve some experimenting with specialty flours!
- Eggnog Cranberry and White Chocolate Quick Bread by Laura at Baking in Pyjamas
- Garlic Multigrain Bread by Kelly at Passion Kneaded
- Maple Walnut Quinoa Quick Bread by Renee at Magnolia Days
- Mocha Porter Quinoa Loaf by Stacy at Food Lust People Love
- No Knead Quinoa Bread by Karen at Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Pan de Quinoa y Miel by Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Quinoa and Millet Bread by Anshie at Spiceroots
- Quinoa Apple Muffins by Robin at A Shaggy Dough Story
- Quinoa Poolish Baguettes by Adam at Bakers and Best
- Quinoa Oatmeal Bread by Cindy at Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Quinoa Pumpkin Muffins by Kathya at Basic N Delicious
What is Bread Bakers? It’s a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Bread Bakers Pinterest Board. Links are also updated after each event on the Bread Bakers home page.
How is the monthly theme determined? We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. December was QUINOA! 😀
Would you like to join in the fun? If you are a food blogger, send an email with your blog name and url to Stacy at firstname.lastname@example.org.