Overnight Olive Oil Sourdough Bread

At the start of this year, I checked off one of the things that been on my Baking Bucket List for years by deciding to practice/teach myself how to bake sourdough bread. It took some determination and more than a little trial/error, but I can report that it’s been going rather well.

I’ve found that the most important thing when baking sourdough is maintaining your sourdough starter. It’s often called a pet, and for good reason. You have to give it regular, measured ‘feedings’ and store it in specific way so as to keep it from going bad. The longer you can keep this up, the better quality of your starter, and thus, the better ‘sour’ flavor of your bread.

As the sourdough chronicles continue in my kitchen, my starter pet/baby Donatello (named after the turtle, not the sculptor) is now just about to turn nine months old. He’s full of pep, vigor, yeast and bacteria (the good kind). I’m a pretty proud and satisfied mama.

Ever since the first sourdough bread recipe I shared on the blog, I have been experimenting with others, to see what I like or don’t like and what works best for me and Donatello. The latest one has worked out so well that it’s become a regular staple in our house, to the point where I make it just about every other week.

There are two things about this bread that I think set it apart from some of the other sourdough recipes I’ve tried out over the past few months. First, the actual labor is spread out over two days so that it’s really easy and relatively quick to put together. Because the sponge (the flour, water and starter mixture that’s made on Day 1) is left to set overnight, I also think it improves the fermentation of the dough and overall flavor. Second, the addition of olive oil to the dough gives it AMAZING texture, and flavor. I went ahead and added a blend of my favorite dried herbs to the dough as well, which paired well with the oil.

There’s a reason why this is our new favorite bread. If you’re a sourdough lover/baker, I highly recommend giving this one a try.

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Overnight Olive Oil Sourdough Bread

Recipe Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (227g) sourdough starter, ripe (fed)
  • 1 2/3 cups (379g) warm water, plus 1/4 a cup, divided
  • 5 1/2 cups (660g) All-Purpose Flour, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (12g) salt
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of your favorite dried herbs (I usually do a mix of rosemary, thyme and basil)
  • Cornmeal, for sprinkling

Directions

On Day 1:

In a medium size bowl, combine the sourdough starter, the 1 2/3 cups of warm water and 3 cups (362 grams) of the all purpose flour. Use a fork or whisk to stir together briskly, until well combine.

Loosely cover the top with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, and allow to sit at room temperature for 2 hours (I usually let mine sit in the microwave).

After 2 hours have passed, place the bowl in the refrigerator and allow to rest overnight and/or up to 16 hours.

On Day 2:

Pour the 1/4 cup of warm water into a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top, then sprinkle the white sugar on top of that. Allow to sit for ten minutes until proofed and frothy.

Take the bowl out of the fridge and add the remaining flour, the salt, the olive oil, the proofed yeast and the dried herbs. Use the dough hooks on a handheld mixer (or a fork) to make a soft dough that cleans the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured or oiled work surface, and knead it, adding more flour as necessary, until it’s smooth and springs back when you poke it. If the dough feels too stiff, add a few more teaspoons of olive oil to soften it.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover it with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let it rise for 2 hours at moderate room temperature (below 80°F or so). The dough should become puffy.

Gently deflate the dough. Shape into a boule-like round. (somewhat like a tomato shape) Flour a banneton bowl (or a regular bowl) and place the dough inside, seam side up. Cover with the plastic wrap and kitchen towel and allow to proof for another 45 minutes-to an hour.

About halfway through the second rise, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and place a 6 quart Dutch oven with the lid on inside the oven. (BE SURE THE HANDLE ON THE LID IS METAL AND NOT PLASTIC)

Take the Dutch oven out of the oven and remove the lid. (It’s going to be very hot; Don’t burn yourself.)

Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan and sprinkle it with cornmeal. When the dough is finished rising, Turn the parchment line sheet pan upside down and place on top of it. In one swift motion, turn the dough bowl upside down onto the parchment paper, and lift away the bowl.

Grip two sides of the parchment paper and use them to swiftly lift the bread into the Dutch oven. Use a bread lame, or a very sharp knife to slash at least two gashes into the surface of the bread, about 1-1 1/2 inches deep each. You can make a cross, or any other pattern you desire) Place the lid on top of the Dutch oven and place the whole thing back inside the oven.

Allow to bake, undisturbed for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and check the color of the dough. The bread should be risen and slightly golden brown on top. If it’s still pale, place the lid back on and allow to bake for another 10 minutes, then check it again. If it’s golden brown, remove the lid and allow to bake for another 15-20 minutes.

Use an internal thermometer to check the inner temp of the bread. It should be at least 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

Carefully remove the bread from the Dutch Oven and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack for at least an hour.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #447.

Peach Frangipane Breakfast Bundt

Hey guys. After an unexpectedly extended hiatus, I’m finally back.

Long story short, July was extremely busy for me. It was a month of a lot of travel, a lot of work, a lot of studying and very little time, and as such, I found myself having to prioritize where I directed my attention. Unfortunately, blogging kept getting pushed further down the list.

I’m pushing it back up to the top for today, though. Not just because food blogging is a stress-reliever for me, and I could always use some of that, but also because I was really pleased with how today’s recipe turned out when I originally made it and I feel pretty strongly that any of you who decide to try it out will be too.

Peaches are the summer fruit, so far as I’m concerned. And while the go-to desserts are cobblers or pies, I like to try to find as many other ways to bake with them as I can besides just dessert, if for no other reason than to give myself excuses to eat them at all hours.

Frangipane is a smooth rich almond cream that gets made from a mixture of eggs, butter, sugar and almond flour/meal. I’d never made it before now, but I’d always heard that it pairs wonderfully with peaches, so I figure now was as good as ever a time to test that theory out for myself.

What I did for this was put together a standard sweet bread dough, and then an almond frangipane cream that I smeared onto the rolled out dough. Fresh peaches were sprinkled on top, and then the whole thing was rolled into a thick log. I cut the log into slices, then arranged the slices into a tube bundt pan. After a second rise, I baked it off in the oven, then drizzled a thin icing on top.

You can’t really tell from the pictures, but I’ll tell you myself that the frangipane is the real star of this bake. When it’s finished baking, it formed a streusel-like texture inside the dough that gave it a richness that isn’t overpowering or too sweet, and pairs so well with the freshness of the peaches.

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Peach Frangipane Breakfast Bundt

Recipe Adapted from NordicWare and King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

For Bread

  • 3¼ to 3½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon, divided
  • 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2⅛ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 cup whole milk, warmed
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg , room temperature and lightly beaten
  • ⅔ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon LorAnn Sweet Dough Bakery Emulsion* optional

For Peach-Frangipane Filling

  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups almond Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large, ripe peaches, peeled and cut into 1/2 cubes.
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, to brush on dough

For Icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk

Directions

Grease and flour a 16-cup bunt pan and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, cook milk and softened butter over medium heat until butter is melted and an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C). Sprinkle the active yeast on top of the milk, then add the 1 tablespoon of white sugar. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, until yeast is activated and frothy.

Meanwhile, In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl) use a fork or a wire whisk to mix 1¼ cups flour, the cinnamon, the nutmeg the rest of the granulated sugar, and 2 teaspoons salt at low speed until combined.

(If using a standing mixer, use the dough hook attachment or if using a handheld mixer, use the dough hook attachments.) Add warm milk-yeast mixture to flour mixture; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add egg; beat at medium-high speed for 2 minutes. With mixer on low speed, gradually add 2 cups (250 grams) flour, beating until combined.

Beat at medium-low speed, adding remaining ¼ cup flour, 1 tablespoon (8 grams) at a time as needed, until a soft, somewhat tacky dough forms, 6 to 8 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl and dough hook. (Depending on the time of year and the temperature of your kitchen, you may or may not need to use it all.)

Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 40 to 50 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and lightened in color, about 3 to 4 minutes at high speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl midway through to incorporate any residue.

Add the almond flour and cinnamon, stirring to incorporate.

Add the 3 eggs and beat until smooth, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary. Refrigerate the filling until you’re ready to use it.

Once the dough has finished rising, Lightly punch down dough. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Turn out dough onto a clean surface, and roll into a 26×7-inch rectangle.  Spread the filling evenly over the surface of the dough, leaving about 1 inch border uncovered. Spread the chopped peaches on top of the filling.

Starting with long side opposite border, roll up dough, jelly roll style; pinch seam to seal. Place seam side down, and gently shape to 26 inches long and even thickness, if necessary. (If you have time, I would recommend placing the log in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes. This will make the next step a lot less messy; but it’s okay if you’re short on time)

Using a serrated knife, cut log into 26 slices (about 1 inch thick each); dip knife in flour as needed.

Arrange slices evenly in prepared pan as desired, placing some slices with cut sides facing out around edges of pan and recoiling any slices tighter as necessary; press slices firmly into each other and grooves of pan. (It’s okay if almond filling spills out, just tuck/smear it back in between the slices once you place them in the pan.)

Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until puffed and dough holds an indentation when pressed, 25 to 35 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

Bake until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted near center registers at least 190°F (88°C), 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10-15 minutes. Invert loaf onto a serving plate.

Stir together icing ingredients to desire consistency. Use the tines of a fork to drizzle icing on top of bundt. Allow to harden about 10-15 minutes.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #444.

Cornmeal Angel Biscuits

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m always testing out new biscuit recipes, to the point where there’s a pretty good collection of them to be found in the Index. You’ll also know that I have a huge appreciation for cornmeal as a baking ingredient, and as such, there’s a pretty sizable collection of cornmeal recipes to be found here too.

I love combining my favorite ingredients together in baking and seeing what happens, and that’s pretty much what today’s recipe is doing. This isn’t the first time I’ve made cornmeal biscuits on the blog, but it is the first time I applied the angel yeast roll technique to my go-to biscuit making process.

Angel yeast rolls are very akin to parker house butter rolls that are extremely rich, and yet extremely light in texture. The only possible way to improve them is to make them in biscuit form, something I’ve been aware of for a long time thanks to my grandmother. Combining the angel roll with the biscuit really comes down to incorporating yeast into the recipe. I don’t know who thought of it originally, but it was a really good idea.

My favorite thing about this recipe are all the different textures it has. My biscuit-making techniques do their job in make it flaky, but the yeast also comes in to give it a light, inner fluffy texture that normal biscuits typically don’t have. But then the cornmeal also comes through to give it a sturdy and robustness and flavor that’s just enough to give it a really pleasant chew.

These made amazing breakfast sandwiches, they also make for really good accompaniments to hearty stews or braises, and they’re yet another winning biscuit recipe to add to the arsenal.

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Cornmeal Angel Biscuits

Recipe Adapted from Southern Living

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water (about 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 1/2 cup white sugar, divided
  • 8 cups all purpose flour, (plus more if needed)
  • 2 cups plain yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, frozen
  • 1 cup cold vegetable shortening, frozen
  • 2 cups whole buttermilk (plus more if needed)

Directions

Pour warm water in to a medium bowl. Sprinkle the active dry yeast over the water, then sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the white sugar on top. Allow to proof for about 10 minutes, until frothy.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, corn meal, salt, baking soda, remaining sugar, and black pepper and stir with a fork.

Using the large holes on a box grater, grate the frozen butter and frozen shortening directly into the dry ingredients. Stir together until evenly combined.

Make a well in the center of the bowl. Pour in the buttermilk and stir together with the fork first, then use a large rubber spatula to stir the mixture together. If it seems a little dry you may add additional buttermilk until it forms a shaggy dough.

Sprinkle a pastry mat, wooden cutting board or wax paper with flour. Turn the dough out onto the surface and pat a few times with your hands until it loosely holds together. (Don’t knead it too much or the warmth in your palms will melt the butter and cause the biscuits to be tough.)

Use a bench scraper or a large knife to divide dough in half. Stack one half on top of each other, then roll into another rectangle, sprinkling the surface with flour if it gets too sticky. Repeat the process two to three more times before patting it into one final rectangle. (This is a process of layering so that the biscuits will bake flaky).

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a shallow pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven.

Sprinkle a pastry mat, wooden cutting board or wax paper with flour. Turn the dough out onto the surface.

Use a bench scraper or very sharp knife to trim the edges of the rectangle. Use a square cookie cutter, or a knife to cut the remaining dough into squares, about 2″ each.

Remove the cut biscuits to the baking sheet you’ve lined with parchment paper, placing them rather close to each other (it will help them rise higher). Freeze until cold, about 15 minutes.

Spray the tops of the biscuits with cooking spray, or brush with melted butter and place in oven.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. (You may need to cover them with foil to keep from browning too fast. When you pull one away from the others, it should look baked all the way through; the edge shouldn’t look wet or unbaked.)

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #437.

Strawberry-Lemon ‘Biscrolls’

It’s just about summer time, and for me, that means I’m trying to bake with as much fruit as I possibly can. The stone fruit isn’t quite ready yet where I am, but the berries and the citrus fruits are–which, is what we’re doing here for today’s recipe.

Aren’t these just beautiful? The lovely swirl probably makes you think they’re breakfast rolls, right?

Well you’d be half-right, and half-wrong.

They’re a roll; and, a biscuit.

I call them, ‘biscrolls’. In a nutshell, they’re the perfect marriage between a breakfast roll, and a biscuit. I’ve been wanting to test this out for a while now, but I wasn’t sure how/if it would even work. Biscuit dough isn’t difficult to put together, but the handling is something to be mindful of. You can’t overwork it, or the biscuits will be tough. Yet the majority of breakfast rolls are made from yeast doughs that have to be kneaded quite a bit so that the gluten will develop properly.

The issue I was uncertain about going into this was whether the biscuit dough could hold up to being ‘rolled’ into a spiral without being overworked. I found a way to mitigate this issue with a little thing called patience.

I started out with my go-to biscuit recipe, adding lemon zest and lemon/vanilla extract to that dough. I kept the method exactly the same in putting it together, especially the overnight rest in the fridge. This will allow the gluten in the dough to relax, and will also thoroughly chill the dough enough to where it’s sturdy enough to be rolled the following day.

On Day 2, I gently rolled out the chilled and rested biscuit dough, spread it with chopped strawberries, butter, sugar, then rolled it up cylinder style (much like you would with regular breakfast rolls). After this, I let the dough rest again in the freezer to allow it to firm up long enough to where the spiral shape would hold up after slicing.

And, voila. I was really pleased with how these turned out, especially the texture. They’re lightly and fluffy on the inside, almost like a yeast roll, but not quite because of the biscuit technique in making the dough. The strawberries and lemons really gave them a fresh and light flavor that was exactly what I was going for. I kept these first biscrolls plain, but I do think if you have sweet tooth, they’d taste even better drizzled with a thin lemon glaze on top, like true breakfast rolls.

Best of all, the flavor possibilities are endless and adaptable for just about any fruit or time of year.

Strawberry-Lemon Biscrolls

Recipe Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

For Biscuits

  • 6 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
  • 2 cups buttermilk, plus more if necessary
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 large lemon

For Filling

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons of white sugar
  • 1 large lemon, zested

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar with a fork.

Using the large holes on a box grater, grate the butter into the dry ingredients and stir a few times to combine. Zest 1 full lemon into the dry ingredients and stir again. Make a well in the center of the bowl.

In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, and the extracts. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the well and use a large rubber spatula to stir the mixture together. If it seems a little dry you may add additional buttermilk until it forms a shaggy dough.

Sprinkle a pastry mat, wooden cutting board or wax paper with flour. Turn the dough out onto the surface and pat a few times with your hands until it loosely holds together. (Don’t knead it too much or the warmth in your palms will melt the butter and cause the biscuits to be tough.)

Pat and roll the dough into a rectangle. Take the two opposite ends and fold them together like a business letter into thirds. Flip it upside down and pat & roll it into another rectangle, sprinkling the surface with flour if it gets too sticky. Repeat the folding process two to three more times before patting it into one final rectangle.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

Spread diced strawberries on a plate lined with parchment paper. Place in the freezer for about 30-45 minutes, until they are firm to the touch.

Preheat oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a shallow pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven.

Sprinkle a pastry mat, wooden cutting board or wax paper with flour. Turn the dough out onto the surface, and gently roll out to a 15 x 9 rectangle. Brush the melted butter over the dough. Sprinkle the white sugar, the lemon zest and the diced strawberries on top of the dough, leaving about a 1 inch border around the rectangle clear.

Roll the dough up the same way you would cinnamon rolls, from the long side, as tightly as you can.

Keep the dough in a cylinder shape, and gently transport to parchment lined baking sheet. Place the sheet pan in the freezer for twenty minutes.

Using a sharp knife or a bench scraper, cut the dough into 10 slices. Place the ‘biscrolls’ back on sheet pan, arranging them close together so that they are barely touching.

Bake for 20-25 minutes on the middle rack of the oven, until golden brown.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #434.

Sweet Potato Dutch Oven Bread

I consider it a real shame that I’ve had and treasured my Dutch oven for literal years and never realized that there were more things I could do with it than just make stews and braises.

It wasn’t until a few months ago when I started baking sourdough bread that I first tried out baking in my Dutch oven. To be frank, I was blown away by the results, and shocked that I had gone this long without having Dutch oven-style bread in my life.

So what’s the big deal with the Dutch Oven? In the first place, a big one (Mine is 6 quarts) is perfect for baking up huge loaves of bread at a time, which is great if you’re like us and you love the carbs.

Second, the heat distribution of a Dutch Oven is where it’s at because it allows you to get that thick, crackly artisan style crust that you normally only see in bread coming out of professional bakeries.

Third (my personal favorite), the Dutch Oven will keep the loaf from spreading out too wide and flat while baking so that you can get and keep that rounded height shape even after baking.

Mashed potato is really a magic ingredient for bread dough. It keeps it soft and moist for days, and if you use sweet potato, you get added flavor and color. This isn’t a sourdough bread, but I still used the same technique for mixing, rising and baking as I did with my go-to sourdough recipe, and got really great results out of it.

One last thing: I really don’t recommend baking this bread without having a thermometer on hand to doublecheck the inner temp. The sweet potato makes it very moist, and the golden outer crust can be misleading as to whether or not it’s actually cooked through. Better to be safe than sorry. Remember, baking is science: the numbers won’t lie or steer you wrong.

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Sweet Potato Dutch Oven Bread

Recipe Adapted from Bake from Scratch

Ingredients

  • 8 cups (1016 grams) bread flour
  • 3 cups (760 grams) lightly mashed baked sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons (18 grams) kosher salt
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons (14 grams) active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups (568 grams) warm water (105°F/41°C to 110°F/43°C)

Directions

In a medium bowl, sprinkle the active dry yeast on top of the warm water. Sprinkle the tablespoon of sugar on top of the yeast and allow to sit for 10 minutes, until proofed and frothy.

In a large bowl, combine the flour with the herbs and kosher salt and stir together with a fork.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the yeast-water and the sweet potato.

Use the dough hook to stir until a smooth dough comes together. (I’ve had days where I needed to add more flour, I’ve had days where I needed to add more water. This is probably just going to depend upon the weather, the time of year, and the temperature of your kitchen.)

Grease the bowl, place the dough back inside and cover with plastic wrap, and a damp kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise until it’s covered in size, about 90 minutes.

Gently deflate the dough. Shape into a boule-like round. (It’s somewhat like a tomato) Flour a banneton bowl (or a regular bowl) and place the dough inside, seam side up. Cover with the plastic wrap and kitchen towel and allow to proof for another 45 minutes-to an hour.

About halfway through the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit and place a 6 quart Dutch oven with the lid on inside the oven. (BE SURE THE HANDLE IS METAL AND NOT PLASTIC)

Take the Dutch oven out of the oven and remove the lid. (It’s going to be very hot; Don’t burn yourself.)

Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan. When the dough is finished rising, Turn the parchment line sheet pan upside down and place on top of it. In one swift motion, turn the dough bowl upside down onto the parchment paper, and lift away the bowl.

Grip two sides of the parchment paper and use them to swiftly lift the bread into the Dutch oven. Use a bread lame, or a very sharp knife to slash at least two gashes into the surface of the bread, about 1-1 1/2 inches deep each. You can make a cross, or any other pattern you desire) Place the lid on top of the Dutch oven and place the whole thing back inside the oven.

Immediately reduce the oven temperature to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow to bake, undisturbed for 40 minutes. Remove the lid and check the color of the dough. The bread should be risen and slightly golden brown on top. If it’s still pale, place the lid back on and allow to bake for another 10 minutes, then check it again. If it’s golden brown, remove the lid and allow to bake for another 20-30 minutes.

Use an internal thermometer to check the inner temp of the bread. It should be at least 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

Carefully remove the bread from the Dutch Oven and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack for at least an hour.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #430.

Rustic Sourdough Bread

When was the last time you accomplished something you’d really wanted to accomplish for a really long time?

I’m at a point in my life when I’m learning a lot about accomplishment. I’m doing, which is what I think most people associate accomplishment-but a huge chunk of it is also in what I learn. They’re both just as important, with the learning aspect sometimes edging out the doing.

One of the things I set out to accomplish at the start of this year was a task that had been on my Baking Bucket List for a while; upwards of a few years. I kept putting it off and putting it off. But because I’m in an Accomplishment Mode, I made up my mind a couple of months ago that I was finally going to learn how to bake sourdough bread for myself.

After two months of practice, determination, and errors, I’m pleased and proud to say, that I have.

The essential ingredient in sourdough bread is something called a sourdough starter. A starter is comprised of nothing but water and flour that’s allowed to ferment until it forms acids and gases that give the sourdough bread it’s signature tangy flavor.

When I was doing my research into sourdough baking, I heard starters being called “pets” a lot, and now that I have one of my own, I definitely understand why. They’re just as touchy and finicky as a pet, especially in the beginning when you’re trying to get it started (no pun intended). You have to ‘feed’ a starter daily, up to twice a day in the beginning. The types of flour you use matter to how strong/well it ferments. You also have to weigh out the ingredients to get the best results. It really is a science.

Because bakers get so involved with their starter in the preparation and maintenance, many give their starters names, just like you would give one to a pet. (Apparently it’s considered good luck, or something like that) I have to admit, I too joined in on this trend. My starter baby/pet/co-pilot is a He, and his name is Donatello.

No, not after the sculptor. After the turtle. (Those who know, know).

It took Donatello and I a while to get the hang of this starter/sourdough thing, but we finally have and what we made together was truly glorious.

If you take a look at the ingredients list, you’ll see that this recipe is definitely for beginners. In the first place, it uses a combination of sourdough starter and active dry yeast, which helps to ensure that the dough will still rise without needing the starter to be absolutely perfect. In the second place, there aren’t any other flavorings for the dough besides salt. Now it tastes delicious exactly as written, but in subsequent bakings I have also incorporated dry herbs and pepper into the dough, which just upped the taste factor even more.

Lastly, My recipe makes a LOT of bread. A LOT. This was on purpose, as I wanted a loaf that would pretty much fill my six quart Dutch Oven, and that’s exactly what this did. But If you prefer, you can definitely halve the recipe and still come out with a smaller, but just as delicious loaf of sourdough bread.

Here’s to the doing and the learning of Accomplishment….

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Rustic Sourdough Bread

Recipe Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (454 grams) ripe sourdough starter, stirred down (I used King Arthur’s recipe for sourdough starter, which can be found here.)
  • 1 1/2 cups (680 grams) lukewarm water
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 5 teaspoons salt
  • 10 cups (1204 grams) all purpose flour

Directions

Sprinkle the active dry yeast on top of the warm water, then sprinkle the sugar on top. Allow to sit about 10 minutes, until proofed and frothy.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining dry ingredients together in the bowl of a large standing mixer and stir together with a large fork.

Make a well in the center of the ingredients and pour in the sourdough starter and yeast-water mixture.

Use the dough hook to stir until a smooth dough comes together. (I’ve had days where I needed to add more flour, I’ve had days where I needed to add more water. This is probably just going to depend upon the weather, the time of year, and the temperature of your kitchen.)

Grease the bowl, place the dough back inside and cover with plastic wrap, and a damp kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise until it’s covered in size, about 90 minutes.

Gently deflate the dough. Shape into a boule-like round. (It’s somewhat like a tomato) Flour a banneton bowl (or a regular bowl) and place the dough inside, seam side up. Cover with the plastic wrap and kitchen towel and allow to proof for another 45 minutes-to an hour.

About halfway through the second rise, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and place a 6 quart Dutch oven with the lid on inside the oven. (BE SURE THE HANDLE IS METAL AND NOT PLASTIC)

Take the Dutch oven out of the oven and remove the lid. (It’s going to be very hot; Don’t burn yourself.)

Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan. When the dough is finished rising, Turn the parchment line sheet pan upside down and place on top of it. In one swift motion, turn the dough bowl upside down onto the parchment paper, and lift away the bowl.

Grip two sides of the parchment paper and use them to swiftly lift the bread into the Dutch oven. Use a bread lame, or a very sharp knife to slash at least two gashes into the surface of the bread, about 1-1 1/2 inches deep each. You can make a cross, or any other pattern you desire) Place the lid on top of the Dutch oven and place the whole thing back inside the oven.

Allow to bake, undisturbed for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and check the color of the dough. The bread should be risen and slightly golden brown on top. If it’s still pale, place the lid back on and allow to bake for another 10 minutes, then check it again. If it’s golden brown, remove the lid and allow to bake for another 20-30 minutes.

Use an internal thermometer to check the inner temp of the bread. It should be at least 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

Carefully remove the bread from the Dutch Oven and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack for at least an hour.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #421.

Cinnamon Sugar Croutons

Consider today’s recipe as a Part II from last week, where I shared a simple, but really special way to make your own croutons from scratch. This week, I’m back with a sweet option.

I’d actually never tried or even heard of sweet croutons before a few weeks ago. Croutons are typically envisioned for savory salads, and as such are flavored savor-ily (if that’s even a word).

But sweet croutons do in fact have their place and purpose. They can go in sweet fruit salads as a crunchy element. They’re good for sweet trail mixes with nuts and candy.

They are also absolutely fantastic for eating all by themselves as a sweet and crunchy snack. Ask my niece; that’s what she’s been doing with them quite contentedly.

Like last week’s Rosemary and Browned Butter croutons, these are a cinch to put together, and they yield such tasty results.

It’s actual cinnamon toast crunch, you guys. How awesome is that?

Cinnamon Sugar Croutons

Recipe by Jess @CookingisMySport

Ingredients

  • 1 (1 lb) loaf of sourdough bread, outer crusts sawed off, and cubed into 1-1/2 inch cubes
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon sugar (1/2 cup white granulated sugar mixed with 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon)

Directions


Preheat stove to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two sheet pans with aluminum foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, mix together one tablespoon of the cinnamon sugar with the melted butter and whisk with a fork until dissolved, then set aside.

Pour the rest of the cinnamon sugar into a shallow container/bowl and set aside.

Place bread cubes into a gallon size resealable plastic bag. Drizzle the cooled cinnamon sugar butter over the cubes and toss with a spoon. Once you’ve used all the butter, reseal the bag and shake it around, until there is an even coating of butter on all the bread cubes.

Spread cubes into a single, even layer on each of the sheet pans.

Toast croutons one pan at a time on the middle rack of the oven, for about 15-20 minutes. Flip the croutons once halfway, to ensure they are evenly toasted. They’re finished when they’re crisp, golden brown and firm on the outside to the touch.

While croutons are still warm, toss them in the dry cinnamon sugar until evenly coated, Set on a piece of wax paper or aluminum foil to cool completely.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #417.

Browned Butter Rosemary Croutons

Are you all ready for one of the simplest, but tastiest recipes ever?

That’s not hyperbole. I mean every word.

I think Croutons are one of those things that you buy in the grocery store, anf never really thought about making them for yourself. Because, for what? It’s essentially a condiment for salad or soup, and who honestly wants to set aside the time to make their own condiments?

I used to feel that way the exact same way.

Then I made my own croutons, and let me tell you: I take it back. All of it.

Croutons from scratch are worth it, guys. So worth it.

In the first place, they’re cheap to make. All you need to make a crouton is bread, butter, and in this case, an herb sprig. If you go to the bakery section of any grocery store, you can pick out a loaf of bread for $1-5 that will work perfectly for croutons. Aim for a sturdy loaf with big airy pockets on the inside that you can easily cut into cubes and trim the crusts from; I used a sourdough boule.

In the second place, homemade croutons are easy. After cubing the bread, all you have to do is coat the cubes in butter and any other desired seasoning, then let them toast away in the stove until they’re crisp all over.

I could’ve just went plain for my first time making them, but I’m extra, so I decided to brown my butter first, then add a sprig of rosemary to it, just to up the flavor of my croutons past regular old toasted bread cubes.

I was honestly surprised by how much I loved the taste of these. In the first place, because the bread is freshly made, they have a fresh, heartiness to them that you just can’t get in a prepackaged crouton. Then, add that browned butter rosemary flavor to the texture, and what you’ve got is not just a delicious condiment, but a pretty delicious snack that’s tasty enough to stand over the stove and eat one after another, all on its own.

Not that I would know anything about that; just saying.

Browned Butter Rosemary Croutons

Recipe by Jess @CookingisMySport

Ingredients

  • 1 (1 lb) loaf of sourdough bread, outer crusts sawed off, and cubed into 1-1/2 inch cubes
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary

Directions


Preheat stove to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two sheet pans with aluminum foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, gently swirling pan constantly, until particles begin to turn golden brown and butter smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and continue swirling the pan until the butter is a rich brown, about 15 seconds longer. Place the sprig of rosemary in the hot butter and allow to sit for about 5 minutes, until it’s no longer sizzling/crackling.

Transfer to a medium bowl, whisk in ice cube, transfer to refrigerator, and allow to cool completely, about 20 minutes, whisking occasionally.)

Place bread cubes into a gallon size resealable plastic bag. Drizzle the cooled browned butter over the cubes and toss with a spoon. Once you’ve used all the butter, reseal the bag and shake it around, until there is an even coating of butter on all the bread cubes.

Spread cubes into a single, even layer on each of the sheet pans.

Toast croutons one pan at a time on the middle rack of the oven, for about 15-20 minutes. Flip the croutons once halfway, to ensure they are evenly toasted. They’re finished when they’re crisp, golden brown and firm on the outside to the touch.

Allow to cool completely, and store in a resealble plastic container or bag.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #416, cohosted this week by Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

Herbed Sour Cream Pull Apart Loaf

By itself, I think that sour cream tastes awful.

I mean, it is really, really bad. It’s both a texture and a flavor thing for me. I know a lot of people like adding it to tacos and goulash and whatnot, but the mere thought of eating sour cream raw triggers my gag reflex every time.

However.

As terrible as I think it is as condiment by itself, in my experience, I have found that it is a stellar ingredient to bake with.

What it lacks in texture or taste by itself, it more than makes up for when it’s time to improve the texture of baked goods; practically any baked goods, really. For instance, I never go without sour cream when making biscuits if I can help it. It’s become one of my secret baking weapons.

I use it with biscuits and scones all the time and now, it turns out that I can now add it to the yeast bread repertoire.

I’ve made bubble bread a couple times before on the blog. It makes for an eye-catching presentation, it’s pretty simple to shape/assemble, and it’s a good tear-and-share loaf– if you’re inclined to share, anyway.

There are very few things that garlic, herbs and butter can’t make taste good, and bread is certainly no exception. I don’t know which I was a bigger fan of; the texture of the bread itself thanks to the sour cream and the bread flour, or the buttery herby garlicky flavor that’s in every bite.

Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to pick and neither do you should you decide to give this a try.

Just enjoy it.

Herbed Sour Cream Pull Apart Loaf

Recipe Adapted from Bake from Scratch

Ingredients

  • 3¼ cups bread flour, divided
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ teaspoon flaked sea salt

Directions

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk together 1½ cups of the flour, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, and 1½ teaspoons kosher salt by hand.

In a medium saucepan, heat sour cream, butter, and ¼ cup (60 grams) water over medium heat until an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C). Sprinkle the active yeast on top, then sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the sugar on top of that.

Allow to sit for 10 minutes, until yeast is proofed and frothy.

With mixer on medium speed, pour warm sour cream mixture into flour mixture, beating until combined and cooled slightly, about 1 minute. Add egg, and beat at medium speed until combined. With mixer on low speed, gradually add remaining 1¾ cups flour, beating until well combined and stopping to scrape sides of bowl, about 1 minute.


Lightly spray a large bowl. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
In a small bowl, stir together melted butter, garlic, rosemary, thyme, parsley, and remaining ½ teaspoon kosher salt.


Divide dough into 36 pieces. With lightly floured hands, working with 1 piece at a time (keep remaining dough covered to prevent it from drying out), roll each piece into a smooth ball. Dip each ball into melted butter mixture, and place in a greased 9×5-inch loaf pan. Pour any remaining melted butter mixture over dough in pan. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 35 to 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Sprinkle risen dough with flaked salt.


Bake until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 190°F (88°C), 35 to 40 minutes, covering with foil halfway through baking to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and garnish with rosemary, thyme, and parsley, if desired.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #414.

Sourdough Discard Biscuits

Happy New Year, everyone. We made it to 2022.

Whereas 2020 seemed to drag on forever, I feel like 2021 flew by. I have no idea where all that time went to, but here we are. I hope that all of you had a great finish to the holiday season and are having a great start to the new year.

Last year, I kicked off 2021 on the blog with a biscuits recipe, and as it would turn out, that’s how we’re bringing in 2022 as well. That’s pretty on brand for me.

Maybe I’ll even just go ahead and make it a running tradition from here on out.

Recently, I’ve been trying to teach myself how to bake with sourdough. It’s been on my baking Bucket List for I don’t know how long, and I’m somewhat ashamed of myself that I’m just now getting around to it, as sourdough is one of my favorite ways to enjoy carbs.

It’s definitely something that takes time and practice. I’d heard before going into this that a sourdough starter is somewhat like a baker’s ‘pet,’ and I’m finding out that that’s true.

You have to keep it stored in a specific container, at a specific temperature and give it specific amounts of ‘food’ at specific times in order to help it grow healthy. It’s a very involved process. This is my first pet ever, so I’m choosing to take all this very seriously, to the point where I even named my starter. It’s a He and his name is Donatello (No, not after the sculptor. After the turtle.)

Me and Donatello are still figuring out this whole sourdough business, but until we do, in the meanwhile, I’ve had quite a lot of discard on my hands at the end of every day. See, a starter is just composed of flour and water and ferment that gets produced from that flour and water paste. Every time you ‘feed’ a starter, you have to take out the majority of the starter and, well…’discard’ of it. But if you’re like me and throwing away food or even baking ingredients is difficult for you, then today’s recipe is a really perfect one.

Rather than just pouring off the discard into a trash can, you can actually store leftover discard in the refrigerator for a select period of time for occasions such as these and add it to Blank Canvas recipes to give them added ‘sourdough’ flavor. As my favorite Blank Canvas recipe is the Biscuit, I knew I had to try this.

The process for sourdough discard biscuits really isn’t that different from my process of making any other. The only difference here is that rather than sour cream or buttermilk, you rely entirely on the sourdough discard for the ‘wet’ ingredient that holds the dough together.

We really liked these. The sourdough flavor itself will probably depend upon on how long you’ve been keeping the discard in the fridge, but paired with the dried herbs, it’s a really great biscuit.

Wish me and Donatello luck on our sourdough adventures!

Sourdough Discard Biscuits

Recipe Adapted from Taste of Artisan

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon of your choice of dried herbs (like rosemary, thyme, basil or a combination of these)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, frozen
  • 3-4 cups sourdough starter*

Directions

In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and dried herbs. Stir together with a fork.

Use the large holes on a box grater to grate the butter directly into the dry ingredients. Stir together with a fork to coat with flour after each addition of about 1/3 to 1/2 stick. This will prevent butter from clumping. Mixture should look like floury pieces of butter.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the sourdough starter. (Note: The amount you add here is going to vary according to the time of year and your location. You may need to use all of it, you may not. Start with 1/2 cup and stir the dough together with the fork, just until it begins to come together in large clumps. Add more flour if you need to, just enough to make it hold together.)

Sprinkle a pastry mat, wooden cutting board or a clean smooth countertop with flour. Turn the dough out onto the surface and pat a few times with your hands until it loosely holds together. (Don’t knead it too much or the warmth in your palms will melt the butter and cause the biscuits to be tough.)

Use a bench scraper or a large sharp knife to divide the dough in half. Roughly shape each half into a square. Stack one of the halves on top of the other and use a rolling pin to roll it together into one mass. Repeat this process two to three more times before patting it into one final rectangle. (This is a process of layering so that the biscuits will bake flaky).

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

Preheat oven to 475°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a shallow pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven.

Sprinkle your work surface with flour and unwrap the biscuit dough out onto it. Use a bench scraper or very sharp knife to trim the edges of the rectangle. Use a square cookie cutter, or a knife to cut the remaining dough into squares, about 2″ each.

Remove the cut biscuits to the baking sheet you’ve lined with parchment paper, placing them rather close to each other (it will help them rise higher). Freeze until cold, about 15 minutes.

Spray the tops of the biscuits with cooking spray, or brush with melted butter and place in oven.

Once you’ve placed the biscuits into the oven, lower the temperature to 425F and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the sheet pan and bake for additional 8-10 minutes, or until the tops and the bottoms of the biscuits are golden brown. (You may need to cover them with foil to keep from browning too fast. When you pull one away from the others, it should look baked all the way through; the edge shouldn’t look wet or unbaked.)

Allow to cool on pan for about 5 minutes before serving.

Linking to Fiesta Friday #413