Buttermilk and tahini sourdough loaf…

A loaf of bread in a bowl with a wooden spatula.

In my Facebook group, ‘sourdough with foodbod’, I recently launched a new challenge to feed a portion of our starters with something new, the aim being to have fun and to see what we might create, some ideas will work, and some won’t, and that’s the fun of it…

We always feed our starters the best possible flour and water, but what would happen if we fed them something totally different? A different liquid, or a different type of flour, or something instead of flour? Just to see what would happen, what the reaction would be, what the flavour outcome might be..? The possibilities are endless!

**For this challenge, I highly recommend using just a portion of your precious starter, and keeping the rest safe and sound. So for example, I fed my lovely Star and separated some portions of her into new bowls to have some to play with without affecting my standard cherished base amount. I always always make sure that I keep an unadulterated base amount of my precious, beautiful Star whatever sourdough experiments I do.

For this loaf I fed 50g of Star with my favourite buttermilk & tahini sauce; to make the sauce I blended 50g of tahini with a 284ml pot of buttermilk.

A person holding a bowl with white and blue paint on it.

And as you can see, Star liked it as much as I do! This photo above shows the mix after 8 hours.

A bowl of food with some kind of bread

A bowl of food that is sitting on the floor.

This photo above shows the mix the next morning.

This produced a firm spongy starter, very much like a low hydration starter or ‘pasta madre’, full of lovely texture.

To make the dough I added more tahini to some water (I blended 50g of tahini with 450ml of water) and used that in the dough to add even more flavour, and it worked perfectly. The resulting loaf had a nice crust, and a close crumb, due to the dairy element, and a lovely subtle flavour of sesame seeds. I will definitely do this again.

A loaf of bread with a cut in half design.A piece of bread on top of a wooden board.

To try the flavour, you could add the tahini to the dough whilst using your standard starter, or you could play with it like it did.

This is what I did..

Day 1

I fed 50g of Star with 30g of strong white bread flour + 30g of my buttermilk & tahini sauce (details above), covered and left on the counter

8 hours later I fed the whole mixture 50g of strong white bread flour + 50g of buttermilk & tahini sauce, covered and left on the counter overnight

A bowl of food that is sitting on the floor.

Day 2

I had a bowl of lovely textured thick happy starter, as seen above.

To mix up the dough I used:

100g of the buttermilk & tahini starter

500g of strong white bread flour

350g of a water and tahini mix

1tsp salt

I then followed my usual process to work with the dough and bake her the next day.

A ball of bread in the process of being baked.

A loaf of bread with a cut in the middle.

The dough was lovely and firm, a joy to score, and it baked beautifully from a cold start.

A piece of bread is cut in half.

The crumb was closer than other loaves might be, this is due to the dairy element. You could really smell the tahini in the bread and you could taste it in each bite without it being too strong.

Definitely a success in our house!

If you decide to experiment with your starter, do tag me and #starterfun wherever you share it, and enjoy the fun! I’ve already got more experiments to share, coming soon…

22 thoughts on “Buttermilk and tahini sourdough loaf…”

  1. This sounds AMAZING, Elaine!! I am so glad you tagged me on Instagram, knowing that I would love it. Once my visitors have left I will experiment with this lovely idea. I know you use a specific brand of tahini. Can you remind me what it is please? thanks! xx

  2. I’m so glad you like it, I know you’ll love the flavour 💖💖💖
    I am very lucky that I can buy Lebanese or Syrian tahini on my doorstep…I’ll send you a photo of what I’ve got in my cupboard xxx

  3. Such a great idea. I have used buttermilk often in my sourdough and sesame seeds but never thought of using tahini. Now on my bucket list. Thanks Elaine

  4. This is my experimental loaf this week Elaine & she’s coming up nicely, but I’m intrigued as to what else you use your tahini buttermilk sauce for?!

  5. I eat it with all sorts dishes, salads, grains, shashuka style dishes, anything really x

  6. Oh Elaine – this was my best yet – thank you so much for sharing the idea! I incorporated last week’s addition of some lovely Matthews spelt flour but almost lost it because of the spike in the weather on my day 2 of the schedule: then your expert advice on that situation saved the day – and our loaf! Wonderful ……… mmmmm!

  7. This recipe didnt work for me 🙁 was all ok up until it was in the banneton. Didnt rise at all on the cold prove and not in the oven. Will they again but any tips?

  8. Gotto try this soon. Just want to check – the 350g of water and tahini in the recipe, what is the ratio, it isn’t clear. (Think it might be from the 50g of tahini and 450g of water, but then why make too much)!

  9. I did as written, adding some to the starter and some to the water.
    And why make so much? Because it’s SOOOO good 😃😃😃
    Have fun!

  10. Hi Elaine, I wonder if I am doing the right thing. The dough seems firmer than the other sourdough recipes and it doesn’t spread much between S&F and hard to fold. Wonder if that is expected.

  11. Hi, this is very typical because of the buttermilk and tahini in the dough

  12. Could this amount of dough be cooked in a 20cm round casserole? Or does it need the larger one?

  13. Hi, ideally it needs to be larger, 20cm would be very tight and would stop the loaf from growing sufficiently as it bakes

  14. I’ve found that the 20cm enamel roaster does work for your Master dough amounts. I’ve got a picture but not sure if I can add it!

  15. I have had more success with your process than any other! Due to gluten & arthritis issues, I must ferment all flour I eat, so have figured out how to make biscuits, cakes, even pie crusts with starter.

    My main starter is organic whole wheat flour & water. I got tired of ww desserts, so a few years ago, I made a new starter using white flour & milk. I have since switched to raw milk & now the starter is white flour & raw milk. I keep it in my refrigerator, but it’s quite old and still doesn’t smell like sour milk! It is what I use for dessert recipes, or biscuits.

    I got the idea from Amish friendship bread.

    Tip – if you want to make bread that isn’t ‘sour’ add some baking soda to the batter. It doesn’t change anything except the taste. It still rises/bakes the same. Odd that it doesn’t seem to change anything. I get tired of the ‘sour’ taste since it’s all the breads/cakes I eat.

    Thanks for fantastic info, I plan to buy your book(s) when I stop traveling. Thank you so much! You really brought my bread making to a whole new level!

  16. Thank you so much, I’m so glad you’re happy ☺️☺️☺️☺️ thank you for finding me!

  17. Hi, I see that your recipe is written with the assumption that the audience already has basic knowledge and experience in baking bread. However, I am just starting my adventure in this field, so I would greatly appreciate it if you would write a classic recipe for this bread, step by step, i.e. please list the ingredients and preparation method. Please write a recipe for a bread starter and then a recipe for the bread. Reading your recipe, I’m not sure if you add buttermilk to part of the dough and water to the other part, or are these two different methods for two different breads? Please give me a classic recipe for a layman. Thank you very much in advance 😊

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