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 (8oz.) leaven
- 830g (3-1/2 cup) water for the dough
- 800g (3-1/2 cup) white bread flour
- 200g (7oz.) whole-wheat flour
- 80g (3oz.) cacao
- 15g (1 Tbsp) roasted barley malt
- 20g (1-1/2) fine sea salt
- 100g (1/2 cup) dark chocolate, 80 percent cocoa solids, melted
- 70g (1/3 cup) rolled oats
- 230g (1 cup) water (or more if needed)
- 200g (7oz.) chopped toasted hazelnuts OR
- 300g (1-1/4 cup) golden raisins, soaked in warm water overnight and drained well
- Yield: 2 large or 3 medium boules
- Hydration: 83 percent (porridge consistency will impact overall hydration by approximately 10 percent either way)
- Suggested starter: Chocolate or white (French)
- Suggested method: Any, though the ambient method encourages a more lactic, sweeter-flavored loaf.
- If you prefer a sweeter version of this loaf, substitute the hazelnuts with 200g (7oz.) 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.
- 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.
- About 45 minutes before your bread is ready to bake, preheat your oven to 450 degrees and place a Dutch oven in it to get hot.
- Once your oven has reached 450 degrees carefully remove your Dutch oven generously dust the inside base with polenta or semolina.
- Once your bread is in the oven, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees.
- Bake your bread for 1 hour, and then remove the lid and continue baking for an additional 5 minutes or so until the crust is a deep golden brown.
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.