In The Sourdough School: The Ground-Breaking Guide to Making Gut-Friendly Bread by Vanessa Kimble, readers will learn to master the art of sourdough from the expert herself. Kimble uses the teachings from her renowned Sourdough School in a brilliant compilation of easy-to-follow instructions and stunning photography. Readers of all experience levels can try their hand at the timeless craft of artisan baking with this indispensable guide. The following excerpt is from Chapter 8, "Formulas."
Chocolate and roast hazelnuts are a classic combination, but we also make a sweet version of this bread with plump, juicy, golden raisins.
Many people don't realize that flavor of chocolate is dictated, to a certain extent, by the fermentation process. There is a natural synergy between fermented foods, and I like to use a chocolate starter for this bread, which is likely to contain microbes that were involved in the breakdown of the cacao, as it adds complexity and bittersweet cacao notes. Studies show that a range of homofermentative lactic acid bacteria is involved in the breakdown of cacao, as the temperature of cacao fermentation is very warm. This starter should therefore give you a lovely milky-flavored bread.
The sourness is perhaps lost until the loaf is a few days old, but it rarely lasts that long! I sometimes grate in a little nutmeg on the last stretch and fold, largely because I associate chocolate with the Caribbean, and in particular with the island of Grenada, which is where we source the chocolate we use at the School. It's a good combination.
We serve this bread with sweet cultured butter whipped with confectioners' sugar and cacao (to taste).
A seasonal twist At Christmas, you could combine the grated zest of an orange, 2 tablespoons of whiskey, and a tablespoon of honey mixed with 2 tablespoons of water. Bring it to a boil, then strain and transfer to a spray bottle. About 2 minutes before the end of baking, use this to mist the loaf, then return to the oven. This gives the loaf a beautiful shine. It is not so much a flavor, as an aromatic suggestion on the outside of the crust.
Makes 2 large or 3 medium boules Hydration 83 percent (porridge consistency will impact overall hydration by approximately 10 percent either way) Lesson chocolate starter and sweetening sourdough with raisins
- 225g leaven
- 830g water for the dough
- 800g white bread flour
- 200g whole-wheat flour
- 80g cacao
- 15g roasted barley malt
- 20g fine sea salt
- 100g dark chocolate, 80 percent cocoa solids, melted
- 70g rolled oats
- 230g water (or more if needed)
- 200g chopped toasted hazelnuts OR
- 300g golden raisins, soaked in warm water overnight and drained well
- If you prefer a sweeter version of this loaf, substitute the hazelnuts with 200g of soaked and drained golden raisins.
- Adding golden raisins can increase the sugar in the chocolate porridge, which can significantly increase the rate of fermentation, even though it is added at the last moment, in the last stretch and fold. Keep an eye on the dough, as you may need to shorten the bulk fermentation to compensate.
More from The Sourdough School:
- Bread-Making Basics: Getting Started on Your Sourdough
- Why You Should Sprout Your Grains and Seeds
- Malting Grain to Boost Your Sourdough
- Russian Rye Bread Using Excess Sourdough Starter
- Herb Butter with Wild Garlic Recipe
Excerpted from The Sourdough School, by Vanessa Kimble © 2018. Published by Kyle Books, and photographs © Nassima Rothacker. No images may be used, in print or electronically, without written consent from the publisher.