Buttermilk and tahini sourdough loaf…

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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…

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

My sourdough pitta breads…

Pita or pitta, which ever spelling you use, here’s my sourdough version…

As I have with other recipes, I’ve used my master recipe and process to make these. I’ve used 100% strong white bread flour in the dough, and on other occasions I’ve used a mix of strong white bread flour and spelt, and a version with kamut flour; basically, whatever dough you choose to put together (there’s more suggestions in this recipe collection), you can convert it to making rolls, focaccia, pizza dough, or now these pittas.

Follow my master recipe process up to and including the overnight prove, and then use that dough to create these bread pockets.

NOTE: if your dough has proved overnight and is reaching the top of the bowl or hitting the shower cap by the early morning but you’re not ready to use it yet, gently do one round of pulls and folds to calm it down a bit, then cover it again to allow it to grow and fill the bowl again over the next 2-3 hours for when you want to use it.

When you’re ready to use for the dough for your pittas…

Method

Preheat your oven to 250C and place a tray in the oven to heat up.

Take your overnight proved dough, gently pull it into a loose ball to enable you to turn it out onto a floured surface.

Using a dough knife, cut the dough into 8 pieces, as equal as you can by eye.

Very gently shape each piece into a ball.

Using a rolling pin, roll each ball into a larger flat circle or an oval 2-3mm thick.

When the oven is ready, quickly remove the tray from the oven (to maintain the heat in the oven as much as possible), quickly place (or throw!) the rolled pieces of dough onto the tray, place it back into the oven and bake for 5-6 mins maximum.

**Depending on how many you are baking and how big your tray is, you may need to bake these in a couple of batches. If that is the case, roll one set, bake them, then roll the next set and bake them, rather than rolling them all at once and have some of them sitting on the counter for too long.

You should see them puff up during the bake.

Remove from the tray from the oven and place the breads onto a rack to cool slightly before eating, or save for later.

Beware: they will be very hot.

Enjoy!

A review of my ‘perfecting your sourdough’ course…

I’ve been making Sourdough for several months now using Elaine’s starter Star, but I fancied treating myself to a New Year break, and the chance to perfect my sourdough skills, so I booked myself in (with a friend) to one of her courses.

It was lovely to finally meet Elaine after all our online conversations and her helpful tips helping me on my sourdough journey.

The course was wonderful, and I left full of inspiration and ideas to progress and improve with my sourdough baking.

We were met with a cuppa and then Elaine explained about the different flours we would be using, from strong white bread flour to spelt, kamut, einkorn, rye and emmer. We made different shapes and sizes of bread loaves and bread buns, as well as preparing and baking with spice mixes, seeds and grains.

Lunch is included in the course and Elaine treated us to some fabulous sourdough focaccia and an assortment of salads and dips.

We finished the day after shaping and baking our own sourdough loaf, which we took home in a fabulous cotton bag with a packet of Elaine’s sourdough starter, the star!

I learned so much and Elaine was informative without baffling us with science! It’s not just Perfecting your Sourdough Skills but it’s simplifying sourdough too, with lots of hands on activity and the chance to make invaluable notes.

Highly recommended and very reasonably priced.

Karen

https://www.lavenderandlovage.com