You can’t rush sourdough bread making. The physical time spent on making the bread is minimal however the proofing takes time; time to develop the wild yeast and those coveted bubbles, to develop the gluten strands and to develop that unique flavour. I like to think of it as nurturing. And it’s so inherently satisfying, almost on a primal level, to be able to produce the staff of life, using ancient methods – made with wild yeast, additive free ingredients and with a pedigree. My starter, Twinkle, comes from Celia’s starter, Priscilla, which is nearly 8 years old. Since I got my starter from Celia of the fabulous blog Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, last month, I have been baking bread – getting to know and learning how to handle Twinkle just like a would a baby! So it’s all about setting out a time plan starting with when you want to bake or eat the bread and working back from that. I tend to start on a Saturday afternoon, to bake a basic sourdough loaf on the Sunday morning but this Fruited Cinnamon Sourdough Loaf takes a little longer because it goes in the fridge for the yeast and flavours to develop slowly and more fully.
Over on Twitter, there is a small group of us who started baking our Pricilla originated sourdoughs at the same time. Led by Celia, we have the most hilarious, informative and inspiring conversations. This Fruited Cinnamon Sourdough Loaf was inspired by Annie’s efforts and has also led Celia to bake the most gorgeous looking fruit loaf too! Other people dip in and out of our conversations, commenting, offering advice or asking questions. Oh, and it’s mostly on Australian time so when I’m getting up, they may or may not have had a glass or two!!
Start the Fruited Cinnamon Sourdough Loaf a couple of days before you want to bake. I started the process on Friday afternoon and baked the loaf on Sunday morning. The full, printable recipe with some links is below but in a nutshell, this is what I do. I start by feeding Twinkle to make a poolish. Then I add the rest of the ingredients to make the dough and squelch the lot together for a minute. After half an hour, I stretch and fold the dough a few times. This goes into a lightly oiled bowl and sits out on the counter to bulk prove overnight. The next morning, I incorporate the dried fruit using the stretch and fold method, place the dough back in the cleaned and oiled bowl and leave it in the fridge until the next morning. The photo below is what I woke up to! At this point, I incorporate the cinnamon sugar and shape the loaf. This sits out on the counter to proof once more for 30-45 minutes, while the oven heats up and then goes into a lidded casserole dish, gets slashed and bakes for 20 minutes with the lid on. After another 30 minutes with the lid off, this is what it looks like…go on – you know you really want to give this a try! If you’ve had starter from Celia or from me, give this Fruited Cinnamon Sourdough Loaf a go once you are comfortable with baking Celia’s Overnight Sourdough.
Some resources – Emilie of the Clever Carrot, who got her starter from Celia a year ago, has this brilliant beginners guide to sourdough on her blog. She has been baking the most gorgeous looking breads – bakery worthy! The Weekend Bakery have a couple of great videos on how to fold and stretch dough and also how to shape the loaves. I have added the video links to the recipe below, in the appropriate places.
Fruited Cinnamon Sourdough Loaf
For the sourdough poolish
Day 1 – At 1 pm – Remove ¼ cup of starter from the fridge and feed her ¼ cup each of bread flour and filtered water, followed by ½ cup of each at about 4pm. By 8pm your poolish will bubbly and ready to incorporate into a dough.
For the fruit soak
Day 1 – At 8 pm – Soak 200 g dried fruit of your choice – my mix included cherries, cranberries, sultanas and raisins with 100 ml strong hot black tea and leave out overnight. Drain well before using.
For the Fruited Cinnamon Sourdough Loaf
- 200 g bubbly sourdough poolish
- 300 – 320g filtered water
- 250g organic white bread flour
- 250g organic wholemeal bread flour
- 9g fine sea salt
- fruit soak, well drained
- 1 tsp cinnamon mixed with 2 Tbsp sugar
- Day 1 – At about 8 pm – Pop a large mixing bowl on the scales and reset the scales to zero.
- Measure in 200g of the poolish and reset the scales to zero.
- Pour in 300g of filtered water and reset the scales to zero.
- Measure in the flours and the salt.
- With a clean hand, squelch everything together for about a minute or so. If it is really dry, add a little more water – wholemeal flour can be very thirsty. Scrape off all the bits on your fingers, into the bowl, cover the bowl with cling film and leave it to rest for ½ an hour. (The first time I made bread, I wanted to protect my manicure and popped on a disposable latex glove to squelch. Not much sticks to the latex so I have carried on using one every time I make a loaf.)
- If your bowl is large enough, you can “knead” in it. Otherwise, scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and spread it out a little. Start to stretch the dough (which will be sticky but just persist without adding any extra flour) by pulling it and folding it over on it self. Do this several times until the dough starts feeling a little more elastic. This is called the stretch and fold method.
- Clean your large bowl, and lightly oil it and place the dough inside. Cover it with cling film or a shower cap and leave it out overnight. This is called the bulk prove.
- Day 2 – The next morning, you will find the the bowl is pretty well full of bubbly dough. Scrape it out again on a lightly floured surface and gently pull and stretch it out into a rough rectangle. Spread with the well drained fruit soak. Fold the dough over it in thirds, (like an A4 letter), then do the same again. Gently stretch it out into a rectangle and repeat the folding once again, as best as possible.
- Lightly oil the bowl and place the dough inside. Cover with cling film and put the bowl in the fridge to prove. (Putting it in the fridge, slows down the rise you can leave it in the fridge for a couple of days if you need to.)
- Day 3 – The next morning, the dough will be doubled in size and full of bubbles; somewhat resembling an alien life form!
- Pre-heat your fan oven to as high as it will go.
- Gently scrape the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface, and gently pull into a rectangular shape. Scatter over the cinnamon sugar and fold in thirds, stretch and fold into thirds again.
- Shaping the dough – Seam side down, drag and pull the dough towards you, cupping it with your hands and keeping the seam on the bottom, Make a quarter turn and repeat until you have a nice tight gluten coat on the top. I pulled mine into an oval shape as I was doing this. Cover with some oiled cling film and leave out to warm up and rise for 30-45 minutes.
- Line a lidded casserole dish with parchment paper and flour the paper. Transfer the dough into the dish and slash the top as you wish – I made 3 diagonal cuts to the top.
- Cover the dish and place in the oven. Turn down the heat to 220C fan and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove the lid, turn down the heat to 190C and bake for 30 minutes. Check that the bread is cooked by tapping on the bottom to see if it sounds hollow. Otherwise, put it straight onto the oven rack and bake for 5 more minutes.
- I know it’s difficult, but let it cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing into it!
You can of course bake this on a pizza stone or on a baking sheet. If you do, put a few ice cubes or some water into a muffin tin or small tin and place on the floor of the oven to generate steam.