Cheese and ketchup sourdough babka loaf…

One of the things I love is that I can use my master recipe dough in so many ways, whatever I fancy making, I can use the same dough as a base. Including lots of the creations in my recipe index, and this latest creation from my kitchen: a cheese and ketchup sourdough babka loaf.

I chose to use cheese and ketchup in this loaf because I knew my son would love it, but you could choose any fillings of your choice: cheese and marmite, cheese and pesto, cheese and chilli sauce, cheese and whatever takes your fancy basically! Or, use the same basis for a sweet loaf..the possibilities are endless!

In this loaf, the cheese melted and the tomato sauce caramelised across the surface to produce something magical!

I was so pleased with how this came out, it made such a soft tasty loaf. To see exactly how I made it, check out my video here.

Whatever you choose to fill it with, I hope you love it!

Spiced spinach sesame seed sourdough flatbreads…

My flatbreads served with a plate full of leftover roast vegetables, ajvar, zaatar and tahini

I do like a ‘chuck it all in a bowl and see what happens’ kind of creation, which is what these were…I’ve made many spinach flatbreads in the past, but this was the first time adding some starter. It adds an extra flavour and of course, all that sourdough goodness we love!

These are also packed with great healthy ingredients and are a great way to get kids eating spinach! You can use them as flatbreads or make bigger rounds and use them as a pizza base.

Equally great the next day, the flavours continued to develop

This recipe can serve as a basis for something you might fancy making, you can swap out the ingredients for things of your choice or just follow it as it is. I’ve included the spices I used, feel free to swap these for your favourites, an Indian inspired spice mix works well too.

Ingredients

200g starter (this can be discarded starter, unfed, or fed for the purpose)

250g baby spinach leaves

150g flour of your choice, I used buckwheat flour

50g toasted sesame seeds

3 tablespoons tahini or olive oil

3 garlic cloves, peeled

2 teaspoons tabil spice mix (toasted even amounts of coriander, cumin and carraway seeds, ground)

2 teaspoons pul biber chilli flakes

2 teaspoons paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

All in the bowl

Method

In a blender whizz up the everything expect the sesame seeds, starter and flour. Run it until the spinach and garlic are finally chopped.

Scoop it all into a mixing bowl, stir in the seeds, then fold in the starter and flour.

Cover the bowl and leave the dough to settle and develop.

Now you can leave the dough for an hour, or several or overnight. The longer you leave it the more the flavour will develop, it may even prove and little and puff up.

When you want to cook your flatbreads, heat your oven to 180C fan/200C non fan.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and break off portions. Shape them into round then flatten them out to 1/2cm thick.

Place them onto a oven tray. Either bake immediately or cover and allow them to prove again for an hour before baking.

The uncooked dough is such a great colour and smells amazing

Bake for 10-15 minutes until slightly puffed and darker in colour.

Eat warm or store for later, they’re even better after 2-3 days, and can easily be reheated in a toaster.

Enjoy!

I hope you like them!

More top tips…

Some more top tips for you and answers to the questions I am most often asked…
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Give your starter time, it may look like it’s doing nothing, but it’s building strength, stick with it
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If your starter is thin with tiny bubbles, add extra flour to thicken it up, it needs the extra food
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If your starter has a layer of murky liquid in the top, it’s not ruined, it’s just hungry. Feed it! And make sure you are not keeping it anywhere too warm, the heat will make it constantly thin and weak
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Don’t keep your starter in the oven with the light on, it’s too hot, it will work too fast and always be too thin and weak
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The flour you have made your starter from does not need to match the flour in your dough
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Follow the process steps and allow your dough time to do its work
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Don’t leave dough on the oven overnight with the light on, it will over prove and be spoiled
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Check out all of the info on my site about flour, weather, scoring, storing, the FAQs, baking times takes, there’s lots of free info there for you
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Check out the equipment list, and….
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If you don’t have a banneton, line a similar sized bowl with a clean tea towel and sprinkle it with rice flour
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If you don’t have rice flour, grind some uncooked rice, it’s the same thing
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You can use any covered oven proof pan just make sure it’s big enough
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Sourdough is a wonderfully slow process, let it happen and enjoy it, it will be worth it
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Watch your dough and not the clock
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Give your dough time to double overnight; depending on the temperature overnight this may take shorter or longer than my usual times stated in my master recipe
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If your dough is soft and spreads, use 25g less water in your dough next time
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If you dough spreads when you turn it out in the pan, but bakes up to a lovely loaf, don’t worry about the spreading, enjoy your loaf
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Always my biggest and most important tip:
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If it tastes good IT IS GOOD!
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Don’t focus on looks and holes and scoring, they don’t make it taste any better, enjoy what you’ve created, it’s amazing x x
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Bee pollen sourdough…

I was very lucky recently to be sent some bee pollen by one of my very kind Instagram followers. I’ve had bee pollen before, but not like this, this one is a vibrant yellow with lovely fat granules. Sourdough loves bee pollen, it loves the natural wild yeast and sugars that it brings to the party.

For this loaf I played with a new starter adding bee pollen to it from the beginning, and you’ll see from the photos in the grid below that it went a bit wild! It was very exciting to wake up to. Once I’d stirred it down and fed it again the next morning, it was still active and bubbly and ready to use within an hour.

This is what I used to make this loaf, however, you do NOT need to make a new starter yourself. If you would like to see how much starters like bee pollen, feed up your starter, split some out into a new bowl and feed it for a couple of days with your usual flour and water and a good amount of bee pollen before giving it a go. Or if you fancy making a new starter with some, then go for it! I didn’t measure out the bee pollen, I used a dessert sized spoon amount each time I added some.

Top left: the bee pollen;
top right and bottom left: my happy starter after an overnight bee pollen feed; bottom right: an hour after a feed of flour and water that morning

To make my loaf, I used my master recipe, exactly as it is (link on the left of your screen) with this bee pollen boosted starter. You can also add the bee pollen to your dough instead.

For this loaf I used my 28cm long oval banneton and baked in my 30cm long oval pan from a cold start for 55 minutes. It’s all in my recipe 👍🏻

And this was inside the cut loaf. You can see the yellow tint from the bee pollen. Although bee pollen is sweet it does not make your loaf sweet using this small amount, but it does make the sourness more mild, and really produces a great texture, really fabulously chewy! It was a lovely loaf to eat.

If you do try it, I hope you like it!

My hazelnut cacao chocolate chip sourdough muffins..

Introducing my hazelnut cacao choc chip sourdough muffins!

I recently whizzed up some hazelnut cacao butter by blending roasted peeled chopped hazelnuts with cacao powder, a squeeze of honey and a little rapeseed oil.

I only added a small amount of honey to take the edge off the bitter cacao powder as I don’t like overly sweet things, but it can easily be made sweeter for other tastes. You can also use cocoa powder instead of cacao.

I ended up with quite a lot of it so I thought I’d play with some. Consequently these muffins are packed with it!!

Healthy, protein packed, sourdough beauties!

This is what I mixed up:

50g active starter

300g hazelnut cacao butter

200g oat milk

200g plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs

I added a handful of chocolate chips to half of them.

I made half of them without the choc chips or added sugar, for me to test some, but you might prefer things sweeter than I do so feel free to add sugar or honey to the mixture.

I mixed the ingredients all together well but careful to not over mix it.

Spooned the mixture into 12 muffins liners.

Baked at 200C fan/220C non fan for around 18 mins until a sharp knife came out clean.

They came out with lovely crunchy tops and soft interiors. For me, they tasted better later and the next day once cooled and the flavours had developed. The sponge stayed soft and lovely even the day after that. I was definitely happy with these.

Look at that light fluffy sponge! So lovely!

Feel free to substitute the oat milk for milk of your choice, plain flour for white spelt flour or all purpose flour, and my hazelnut cacao butter with hazelnut cocoa butter or hazelnut for a really sweet hit! You could also increase the amount of starter for more of a sourdough flavour, and reduce the amount of flour and milk. Have a play!

Happy Baking!!!

My sourdough cheese soufflés….

This idea has been floating round my brain for a while now and this week I finally tested it out and this was the outcome….beautiful airy cheese soufflés, rich from the eggs and with the flavour of cheese, but with the added tang of sourdough. SOOOOOO a good! Tasty, light, textured, perfect morsels. For me, a total winner!

As this was pure experiment – let me clarify, I have never ever made any form of soufflé, sourdough or otherwise before this – I only made a small amount of batter so feel free to increase it. This made 4 small soufflés, in 8cm (internal) diameter pots.

The idea came from thinking about the light bubbly airy nature of sourdough starter mixed with the light airy nature of a soufflé. In my mind it made perfect sense! And luckily the result was fabulous, even if I say so myself! I immediately ate 3 just to be totally sure 😆😆😆😆

Small but perfectly formed and so very tasty!!!!!

It was so exciting to watch them cook as they grew very quickly, and very well! I was dancing round my kitchen in excitement.

I am so happy with the outcome, I hope you love them too if you try them. I know they could have risen more evenly, I know they’re not ‘perfect’ in the world of soufflés, but I don’t care! It worked and they taste so good, to me they’re perfectly beautiful sourdough cheese soufflé babies!

Here’s what I did…

Ingredients

100g bubbly active starter

100g whole/full fat milk

100g grated medium/mature cheddar (depending just how much you love cheese!)

2 eggs, separated into yolks and whites

Butter to grease the pots

Ground almonds, 4 tablespoons (use finely grated Parmesan or breadcrumbs for a different finish)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C/360F fan assisted/convection or 200C/390F non fan/non convection, and place an oven tray inside to preheat.

Grease your ramekins, or small ceramic pots, with butter, then sprinkle ground almonds/almond flour into each pot and tap it around to create a layer inside each pot, covering the base and up the sides.

In a medium bowl, make the batter by adding the starter, milk, egg yolks and cheese. Stir it all together well.

In another clean bowl, whisk the eggs whites until they just hold their peaks.

Gently scrape the whisked egg whites into the batter.

Using a metal spoon, gently fold the eggs whites into the batter, using a figure 8 action, or cutting and stirring round the bowl. Do this carefully to mix them in whilst protecting the air that you’ve whisked into the whites. Do not over mix. This is crucial.

Gently spoon the batter into the prepared bowls filling them evenly and to the top of the pots if possible.

‘Top hat’ each one by running a cutlery knife, or clean finger nail, around the edge of each pot, just the very tip of the knife, so that the mixture doesn’t stick. (I didn’t do this very well hence the uneven growths!)

Place the pots onto the preheated tray in the oven.

After 15 minutes turn the oven down to 160C/320F fan assisted/convection or 180C/360F non fan/non convection, and bake for another 15 minutes.

DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN UNTIL FULLY BAKED. If you do they will collapse.

Serve immediately.

They may start to collapse quickly but it’s all part of the fun!

Voila! My new creation! Welcome to the world sourdough cheese soufflés!

Sourdough Uzbek flatbreads…

I’ve been wanting to try making ‘Lepyoshka’ Uzbek flatbreads ever since I saw my friend Sally make them and, of course, I wanted to convert them to sourdough. So this week I did!

I purchased the stamp from this Etsy seller a few weeks ago especially; they’re so lovely, it would be easy to fill your cupboard with them!!

I was very happy with my first attempt, you can just about see the pattern created by the special stamp, but moreover, with the addition of yoghurt in the dough they tasted great. They were lovely immediately from the oven, still good a few hours later, and then again just as tasty the next day when heated up again in the toaster.

To make them I made a stiffer dough than usual by using a mix of wholemeal and white flour, plus the yoghurt in place of water. I used a 0% fat Greek yoghurt (just because that’s what I had available, I’d use full fat next time) so it added a real tang to the flavour, and an almost cheesy taste once baked.

To use the stamp and stop it from sticking to the dough I dunked it in water for each use, then firmly pressed it into the dough and pulled directly back up and out again.

For these I used up lots of young starter, from the starters I’ve been playing with in my kitchen recently, and less yoghurt, but you don’t need to. You could use less of your established starter and more yoghurt to create the same consistency in the dough.

Ingredients

300g young starter

100g thick Greek yoghurt

200g strong white bread flour

50g strong wholemeal flour

20g olive oil

1tsp salt

Method

I used my usual master recipe process to create and build up the dough, then placed the bowl in the fridge overnight for it to develop, as well as to protect it from the warm night.

The next day I let the dough come back up to room temp, sprinkled the counter with water then turned the dough out onto the counter and cut it into equal(ish) portions.

I rolled these into balls, flattened them out with my fingers and pressed them into rounds.

I placed each round onto a tray lined with parchment paper and I then used a spoon to flatten out a circle in the middle into which I pressed the stamp.

I then placed them in a cold oven, turned it up to 220C fan and baked them for 17-18 minutes.

The result is a lovely soft edge with a crunchy thinner stamped middle.

I will definitely be making these again, and adding them to my courses 🙂

Leftovers loaves…

You know how it is, you open your baking cupboard and you’ve got various bags of flour, with various amounts left, but not enough for an entire dough…

So the only thing to do is to throw them all together and hope for the best?! That’s what I did this week. And these loaves were the outcome..

These include portions of strong white bread flour, malted multigrain flour, khorasan flour and a seeded flour mix, all thrown together in various quantities to make up my normal 500g amount of flour for my master recipe.

As you can imagine, I was happy with the outcome!

I love seeing how the activity in Star and then the dough after it’s overnight prove translates into the dough…it never ever gets boring!

Happy Baking!

My braided loaf…

This was something I created recently and I literally loved it! I was so pleased with how it turned out.

I managed to take a few shots as I made it to be able to show how I did it. I apologise now for all of the shots of the final loaf, I got carried away in my excitement!

I made this with dough I made using my standard master recipe using Shipton Mill Canadian bread flour. It had proved overnight on the counter for 10 hours; I put it into the banneton and into the fridge, where it sat for 24 hours.

You do not need to leave your dough for that long, it’s just how it went on this occasion…leaving it a minimum 6 hours would be fine.

To create the final loaf, I sprinkled water onto the kitchen counter, and gently turned the dough out from the banneton onto the counter.

I then used a rolling pin to press into the dough and roll out a portion..

I then used my dough knife to cut this flattened piece into three..

I plaited/braided this piece and folded it over the remaining dough..

I then repeated the processed 3 more times to create a parcel..

You can see the dough is still active during this handling.

I then used 2 dough knives to lift the dough into my prepared tin, lined with parchment paper..

And baked in a cold pan, in a preheated oven at 220C fan/240C non fan/460F wihtbthe lid on for 50 mins.

And it baked to a beauty!

When I sliced into the loaf, this was the inside…

I hope you like my braided loaf, if you decide to have a go, have fun, and send me a photo!

The story of this week’s course…

This week I had a lovely lady in my kitchen who had travelled especially from Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. It’s such a compliment that she wanted to come and share my kitchen, and that she follows my baking from so far away.

It was also very close to my heart to welcome her to my home; I lived in Dubai as a child and I have a long connection with the UAE having had parents living Dubai and then Abu Dhabi across 30 years, as well as living there myself full time for 5 years prior to that. It is a place that holds a special piece of my heart and formed many of my food tastes as well as creative influences.

It was a joy to talk to someone who remembers the Dubai that I remember from the 1980’s and to listen to her speak Arabic is a sound I always love!

During the course we focussed on the basics of my master recipe and process, as well as working with wholemeal flour and using doughs for making rolls and other lovely sourdough goodies.

I always make sure that there is lots of dough to play with on my courses to get the feel of how different flours affect the dough but also to be able to turn dough out to make rolls in various guises, including the ones in the photos in this post.

There were all made with my master recipe dough, one portion of which included 150g of khorasan/kamut flour (hence the yellow tint), and another made up of 250g Mrs Middletons plain natural flour + 250g Mathews Cotswolds white spelt flour.

We chopped up the dough and roll some portions in toasted seeds (above), and some in some Middle Eastern zaatar spice mix (below), and left some naked.

You will find the details for making my various rolls recipes in my recipe index and all of the doughs were made using my master recipe.

I do love running my courses, I meet such lovely people, and it’s always an honour to welcome sourdough bakers from around the country and the world to my kitchen xx