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!
For other similar sourdough bread recipes, check out this Stiff Sourdough Loaf and Turmeric Sourdough Loaf.
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
Am yet to get start with Sourdough starter. Omg, how beautiful this bread looks, especially the colour; loving it.
What a beautiful bread , and a wonderful color , awesome flavors !
Gayathri is of course one talented lady and our Guru , learning from her and executing it so well is also a art , kudos Sowmya !
I’ve been intrigued by sour dough starter and it is intreresting to know it’s been part of the bread industry for eternity. Tomatoes & Thyme make a flavorful combination. Beautiful loaf!
I wanted to try a sourdough bread too but bit skeptical. Got to try it sooner the later. 🙂 Love the combination of tomatoes and thyme.
Way to go Sowmya, I am yet to get into the sourdough bandwagon. You have made a fantastic bread there!
Such a beautifully baked bread Sowmya, I am so glad that that D Day came in quite early in your baker’s life..:)..
Love the addition of tomatoes and thyme in the bread dough. I’m pinning this bread recipe to try soon.
One more amazing bread Sowmya and they have such a beautiful texture. Love the tomatoes and the thyme in the recipe. So flavorful!
I am too scared to start a sourdough starter. I guess I need to try at some point. This loaf with tomatoes looks amazing.
Tomato and thyme compliments each other really well.. What a lovely collection of breads you have!!
Thank you 😀
What a transformation Sowmya, your first bake and now. So so beautiful and love all the tips you have given. My sourdough starter is still resting in the fridge 🙂 Adding tomato and thyme must have taken the flavour of this sourdough bread to another level. Beautiful crust and crumb too.
Wow! Sowmya this is one amazing looking bread! From baby steps to this beautiful one you have definitely become a pro! The stretch and fold both Varada and you showed us in Hyderabad is what I want to try so will make this one. Hopefully soon.
you have indeed cracked the code, Sowmya ! this stunner of a bread with those tones of tomato and thyme is being savoured virtually till we meet next 🙂
Tomato and thyme flavored sourdough bread looks absolutely stunning ! I have yet to try my hands on sourdough. Bookmarking your recipe.