Sourdough Banana & Zucchini Bread

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Another resolution I have is to improving my sourdough baking. I wanted to bake a sourdough bread loaf but the winter has been particularly cold this time and my starter is taking ages to show any signs of activity. So I ditched that idea and decided to bake a sourdough quick bread with bananas and zucchini. The oven spring in the loaf was awesome and we got a fabulously soft and delicious loaf. Do try it.

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Adapted from here

Makes one 9″ loaf

WHAT WE NEED

3 tbsp Unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup Sugar

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup Mashed bananas

1/2 cup Sourdough starter

1/2 tsp Vanilla

1 tsp Orange zest (Optional)

1 cup Whole wheat flour, sifted

1/2 tsp Baking powder

1/4 tsp Baking soda

1/4 tsp Ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup Tutti fruiti / nuts

1/2 cup Unpeeled, shredded zucchini

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Cream the butter and sugar till it is light and fluffy
  • Add the egg and beat into a smooth mixture
  • Stir in the mashed bananas, sourdough starter, orange zest and vanilla
  • Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt
  • Add the flour mixture to the sourdough mixture
  • Add the zucchini and tutti fruiti and mix together to form a batter
  • Grease a 9″ loaf pan and pour the batter into it
  • Set aside for 20 minutes
  • Preheat the oven at 175C
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes or till the toothpick comes out clean
  • Unmould the loaf and cool on a wire rack
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘New Year Challenges’.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM

Apple yeast water Bread

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I have been reading up on making yeast water with different fruits and seeds and it is such an exciting concept. During one such binge, I came across this beautiful recipe in Facebook of a bread with apple yeast water and bread flour. I simply had to try it. So I immediately cut up an apple and put it into a bottle with twice the volume of water and I was rewarded with some fizzy yeast water that I used to make this bread.

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I have ranted quite a bit about bread flour not being available in India and how much I would love to bake with it. During my visit to Mumbai, I caught up with one of our blogging group members, Kalyani who gave me the best gift ever – bread flour!! I was so thrilled and excited. One part of me wanted to bake with it immediately and the other part wanted to just preserve it till the end of time. Finally I baked this beautiful bread with it and it turned out quite good that even the husband eagerly ate it.

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I have blogged about making raisin yeast water previously. Apple yeast water can be made with the same procedure by just replacing apples for raisins.

Apple yeast water starter is made by feeding one part of the sourdough starter with flour and apple yeast water in equal weight and let it double in 4-6 hours.

Makes 1 loaf

WHAT WE NEED

218 gms Bread flour

50 gms Spelt flour

68 gms Semolina

200 gms Water

35 gms Apple yeast water

75 gms Apple yeast water starter (100% hydration)

15 gms Salt

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Mix the bread flour, spelt flour and semolina with apple yeast water and water and refrigerate for 8-10 hours
  • Add the apple yeast water starter and mix well
  • Set aside for 15 minutes
  • Add the salt and mix
  • Slap and fold the dough for around 10 minutes and set aside in a greased bowl
  • Stretch and fold the dough 3 times within 2 hours, cover and set aside to double in volume
  • Refrigerate for 16-18 hours
  • Take the dough from the refrigerator and shape it into a ball by stretching the dough on all four sides and pulling it under
  • Proof the dough for around 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator
  • Preheat the oven to 250C
  • Transfer the dough to an oven safe bowl with a lid
  • Before closing the bowl, slash the dough in 2-3 places on top
  • Bake at 250C for 20 minutes
  • Remove the lid of the bowl and reduce the temperature to 230C and bake for 15 minutes or till the top is a nicely brown
  • Take the loaf out of the bowl and cool on a wire rack
  • Let it cool completely before slicing
  • Enjoy!

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This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2017

Sourdough Brown Bread

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One thing I learned is that the temperature and weather of a place has such a huge effect on the type of bread produced, especially in a sourdough loaf. The sourdough starter has to be able to double in size at a good speed for the loaf to rise and proof well. The same starter which doubled in less than 3 hours just a couple of months ago now takes nearly 6 hours and more if it is left to double at night. What bread baking has taught me more than anything else is patience. When you realize that there is nothing you can do to make the dough rise to double its size except wait and watch, you also realise that there are so many things not in your control and sometimes all you can do is wait. When I started baking, I would rush to the kitchen every now and then to check on the dough. Now that anxiety and palpitation has transformed to amazement and wonder when I see how 3-4 simple ingredients when put together can result in a beautiful loaf. I still go to the kitchen every now and then to check but it is more to observe how nature works in wonderful ways and stare at the bowl in amazement every single time.

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Recipe adapted from Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast by Ken Forkish

Makes 1 loaf

WHAT WE NEED

151 gms All purpose flour

74 gms Whole wheat flour

174 gms Water

6 gms Salt

57 gms Sourdough starter / Levain at 100% hydration

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Mix the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour and water. Kneading is not essential. We just need to ensure that there is no dry flour left.
  • Cover and set aside for 30 mins
  • Add the salt and levain and mix well to integrate them into the flour mixture
  • The dough temperature needs to be around 25C. If it is lower then the dough will take longer to double
  • We need to stretch and fold the dough four times of which atleast 2 should be in the first hour and the rest in the next 2 hours
  • Set aside for bulk fermentation for 14-16 hours or till it doubles in size
  • Gently take out the dough and transfer it to a lightly floured surface
  • Shape it into a tight ball by stretching it on each of the four sides and pulling back the dough
  • Place the dough seam side down and let it proof for 3-4 hours
  • Preheat the oven at 250C
  • Check if the dough is proofed optimally by the finger dent test.
  • Transfer the dough to an oven safe bowl with a lid and bake it covered for 20 minutes
  • Take the lid off and bake it for 20 minutes
  • Take the loaf from the bowl and let it cool completely
  • Slice it only after it has cooled fully
  • Enjoy!

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This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2017

Raisin Yeast Water Bread

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It is December which means it is time for Bake-a-thon when I am part of the enthusiastic food bloggers group who blog about baked dishes three times a week for this whole month. As usual I had big time plans of having a specific theme for this month and being prepared in advance. Though I did not manage to get the theme working, I did manage to be quite well prepared for once. My theme was to be sourdough baking but I had quite a few failures in my experiments and so I have decided to put that aside for now and get back to it once I have figured it out.

One of the experiments I did was baking with sourdough and yeast water. I discovered yeast water by chance and have been fascinated by it ever since. There are not too many blogs and websites focused on yeast water and so most of my information and knowledge is based on what I get from other people on FB groups. I had blogged about making yeast water and this is the bread I baked from that yeast water. The results are not perfect but quite nice for a first time effort. Raisin is the easiest to start with for yeast water but it can be made with other fruits like apple, peach, cherry, etc.

If you do not have yeast water, you can bake with regular water to get a beautiful loaf.

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Makes one 8″ bread

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

For the preferment

32 gms    All purpose flour

32 gms    Raisin yeast water

8 gms    Sourdough starter

For the dough

Preferment from above

115 gms Whole wheat flour

40 gms All purpose flour

60 gms Raisin yeast water

60 gms Warm water

4 gms Salt

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Mix the flour, raisin yeast water and salt for the preferment, cover with cling film and set aside for 12 hours
  • The preferment should have increased in volume and feel alive
  • In a large bowl, take the flours, raisin yeast water, warm water and salt
  • Add the preferment and mix well to ensure no dry flour is left
  • Knead the dough for 5 minutes till it becomes soft wet dough
  • Cover it with cling film and set aside for an hour
  • Dab some flour on your hand and lift a part of the dough gently from below without tearing it apart, stretch till you feel the resistance from the dough and fold it on top of the rest of the dough. It is similar to folding the dough into half
  • Turn the bowl 90 degrees and repeat the procedure till you have folded in the dough on all four sides.
  • Set aside covered for 45 minutes
  • Repeat the stretch and fold another time on all four sides and set aside for an hour
  • With each stretch and fold the dough will be more firm and less wet
  • The dough needs to be shaped. It can be any shape of your choice – like a boule, loaf, etc.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly flour-ed surface and shape it as per your choice
  • Set aside and let it proof for around 2 hours
  • Press the dough with a flour-ed finger. This is the finger dent test. If the dough springs back immediately then it needs to proof for longer. If it does not spring back then it is overproofed. If it springs back slowly but not completely then the dough is proofed right
  • Try the finger dent test at around 1 and half hours and then again around 2 hours
  • Preheat the oven to 230C for 20-30 minutes
  • Transfer the dough carefully to a baking tray
  • Slash the top so as to allow the steam to escape without spoiling the shape of the bread
  • Bake for 40 minutes
  • Take off the loaf from the oven and let it cool completely before cutting it into slices
  • Enjoy!

 

This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2017

Sourdough Bread with tomatoes and thyme

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It is said, there comes a day in the life of every bread baker, when you make a successful sourdough. Finally that day is here for me and I have a beautiful bread for it. I tried making the sourdough starter thrice before and had to abandon it each time when the smell was too much to bear within a day. Disheartened I gave up till I met Gayathri who encouraged me and also answered my dozen silly questions and made me patient enough to wait to get a beautiful sourdough. And life looked up! I will write separately about actually making the starter. It has been amazing trying to bake with the starter and I am glad to get reasonably good results. 

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It is not exactly known how sourdough bread came about. One of the oldest sourdough bread was excavated in Switzerland dates back to 3700BC but the origin of sourdough bread is supposed to be thousand years earlier most likely in the Fertile Cresecent ( Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, Israel, Palestine, etc.). Sourdough was the leavening used for bread production for most of human history. Baker’s yeast is only 150 years old. Isn’t that absolutely fascinating?  Sourdough remained the usual form of leavening down into the European Middle Ages until being replaced by barm from the beer brewing process, and then later purpose-cultured yeast. Bread made from 100% rye flour, popular in northern Europe, is usually leavened with sourdough. Baker’s yeast is not useful as a leavening agent for rye bread, as rye does not contain enough gluten. French bakers brought sourdough techniques to Northern California during the California Gold Rush. For simplicity sake, I will assign Switzerland as the country of origin for this bread.

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Country – Switzerland

Makes one 8″ round loaf

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Cherry tomatoes                 12

Thyme sprigs                        2

Sourdough starter                100 gms

Whole wheat flour               100 gms

Water                                       60 ml

Salt                                            4 gms

Cayenne pepper                     1 tsp
WHAT TO DO

  • Mix the starter, flour and salt and set aside for 30 minutes
  • Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves and pluck the thyme leaves from the stem and dice them finely
  • Mix the cherry tomatoes, thyme leaves and cayenne pepper with the flour mixture 
  • Stretch and fold the dough every 15 minutes for an hour and a half
  • Cover it with cling wrap and set aside for 5 hours
  • Transfer the dough to a floured surface and shape it into a ball
  • Keep it covered with cling wrap in the refrigerator overnight
  • Preheat the oven to 250C
  • Transfer the dough to a baking tray
  • Slash the dough on top 3-4 times and bake for 15 minutes
  • Reduce the temperature to 230C and bake for 10 minutes
  • Remove the loaf and brush the top with clarified butter / ghee
  • Reduce the temperature to 210C and bake for 5-6 minutes or till the top is nicely brown
  • Cool completely before slicing
  • Enjoy!

NOTES

  1. If you don’t have fresh thyme, you can use 2 tsp of dried thyme
  2. Stretch and fold means lifting one side of the dough and folding it over the opposite side. Every 15 minutes, stretch and fold one of the four sides of the dough in rotation.

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 This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the letter S.

 

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 75