This is a very special and significant post for me. This easy sourdough bread with tomatoes and thyme was my first sourdough bake ever. I had struggled to make a starter and then when I did I immediately baked my first loaf. Today I can see how many mistakes I made with it but at that time it seemed like a huge achievement. I can also thankfully say I have learnt a lot in the four years between that loaf and this one today.
Tomatoes and thyme are a lovely addition to bread and they make for a flavourful loaf. You can replace these with any other additions of your choice.
Baking my first loaf
I thought I should dwell a bit on this topic today. So I have some pointers for baking an easy sourdough bread successfully on your first try. A shoutout here to two people who generously shared their knowledge with me and helped me grow – Gayathri and Varada. In fact this recipe comes from Varada’s blog. I have modified it a lot since on account of weather and flour differences.
Once you have struggled (or not struggled) to make your starter, you will be excited about the first bake. Obviously! With the amount of information and awesome looking loaves you see online you will be tempted to bake an exotic loaf with dreams of going viral for your effort. I don’t blame you but there is still sometime for that to happen. Start small, start safe.
This is a good time to show the difference between my first loaf and this one I baked now.
How to understand a sourdough bread recipe?
I know the heading sounds odd. But what i have understood over the years is that sourdough recipes are unlike other regular recipes. The number of variables in a sourdough recipe are more than other dishes. It cannot be copied easily from the internet. You need to understand the bigger picture before you read the recipe and you will need to modify most recipes to your environment.
Most sourdough bloggers and bakers live in Europe or USA. That was my biggest learning in the past few years. I realised over time that what works there will not work for me in India because the climate is different, the flour is different, the infrastructure is different. Once I figured that out, life was better and so were my loaves.
So a tip to everyone who has just started on this journey – Before trying out a recipe from any place online check out where they live. And you can crack the code! Happy Baking!
Finally here is my largely modified recipe of an easy sourdough bread with tomatoes and thyme.
Sourdough Bread with Tomatoes & Thyme
- Mixing bowls
- Dough Scraper
For the starter
- 10 gms Unfed starter
- 20 gms All-purpose flour
- 20 gms Water
For the dough
- 200 gms All-purpose flour
- 50 gms Wheat bran
- 190 gms Water
- 50 gms Sourdough Starter (from above)
- 8 gms Salt
- 10 Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half
- 2 sprigs Thyme / any herb
For the starter
- Mix the unfed starter, flour and water in a small jar or bowl. Cover and set it aside till it doubles in volume. It should take around 3-4 hours
For the dough
- Mix the flour, bran and water for the dough in a large bowl. Set it aside for 2-3 hours. It can be done at the same time as the starter is mixed to save time.
- Once the starter has doubled, add it along with salt to the dough and mix well. Ensure the starter and salt have been incroporated nicely into the dough. Cover and set aside.
- Stretch and fold the dough at 30 minute intervals for 3 times as shown in the video
- After 3 stretch and folds have been performed let the dough rest for 30 minutes. After that spread the dough on the counter top and spread it out as thin as possible. Lift one end of the dough and pull it as far as it will go and put it down. Spread it on all sides in the same way.
- Top the dough with cherry tomatoes and thyme spread across the dough. Fold the dough like an envelope ensuring the additions are covered inside the dough
- Shape the dough by rotating it on the counter top with the help of a dough scraper into a tight ball.
- Transfer the dough ball to a banetton or any cloth layered basket. Cover it and refrigerate for 8-10 hours
- Preheat the oven at 250C. Grease a dutch oven or baking tray well
- Transfer the dough from the banetton to the dutch oven / baking tray. Use a small blade and make incisions on the top of the dough in order to let the steam out
- Bake for 30 minutes covered and 20 minutes uncovered
- Transfer the loaf to a cooling tray and let it cool completely before slicing
- Keep the loaf in a cloth bag or ziploc completely covered for upto 2 days at room temperature
PIN IT FOR LATER
I am updating this post with new pictures and write up along with a group of like minded bloggers at Foodies Redoing OldPosts