Sourdough

Sundried Tomato, Cheddar + Chilli Sourdough


Prep Time : 30 Minutes | Cook Time : 30 Minutes | Total Time : 18 hours | Difficulty : Moderate

Hello my lovelies! Sometimes you just need a salty satisfying snack. And if we’re trying to be good for at least a little while then we probably don’t want to reach for the chips. So let’s make a gloriously savoury loaf of bread. Good for you and for your cravings. Umami rich sundried tomatoes. Sharp salty cheddar cheese. A lick of chilli for some warmth. Toasted with butter it’s better than any chip you think you want. This is a variation of my standard sourdough so if you’ve given that a go then this will be a breeze.

Use a good strong cheddar – in NZ Mainland tasty is the minimum level of flavour you need. The stronger your cheese the better. There aren’t ribbons of cheese in this loaf – the dough is infused with cheesy flavour. I used Hootsauce for my chilli kick. It’s one of my favourite things (read all about them in my latest newsletter). It’s a smoked chilli paste made right here in Wellington and it’s amazing. The recipe has 1 teaspoon of chilli paste and this gives a bit of flavour and warmth. If you like your heat then double up (or down?) on the good stuff.

First up is making the pre-ferment the night before. Just before bed mix the flour, water and starter for the preferment in a large bowl. Cover and leave to one side.

In the morning the preferment will have risen up and when you look underneath there will be bubbles all through it.

Add the bread flour, first measure of water and honey for the dough and mix until it comes together. Work the dough a little longer by folding the edges into the middle for about 5 minutes. Cover the bowl and leave the dough to rest (autolyse) for 30 to 60 minutes.

After the resting time is up mix the water and salt together in a small bowl and add it to the dough. Knead to distribute it thoroughly. This gives you a few more minutes of kneading to round out the process.

Now add the chopped sundried tomatoes, grated cheese and chilli paste.

Work the dough in the bowl until all the goodies are distributed.

Cover the bowl and leave it to ferment for 2 to 3 hours in a warm place. If you leave it for 3 because you got busy that’s fine. It will affect the final result a bit and you can experiment to see what you like over time. Err on the shorter side in warm weather.

After 2 hours is up you need to start stretching. This wakes the gluten back up and traps pockets of air in the dough so that when you bake the loaf. You need to do four sets of folds in all. Do them around 20 to 30 minutes apart. No one will die if you are distracted and one of them is a bit later. To do a set of folds moisten your hand and reach under the dough on the side of the bowl furthest from you. Pull a handful up and fold it down towards yourself onto the rest of the dough.

Rotate the bowl 90 degrees and repeat. Go all around the bowl doing four folds in all. Cover and leave for 20 minutes and then repeat until you’ve done four sets. Cover and leave the dough to rest for 30 minutes or so.

Put the oven on to 250C (485F). Put your clean cast iron casserole dish in the oven including the lid to heat up. If you have a cane or pressed conifer proving basket then dust this liberally with flour. Rub it it well so it coats the surface. If you don’t then dust a linen tea towel heavily with flour and lay it into a medium bowl.

To shape a loaf I like to dust the bench heavily with flour and then turn the dough out onto the flour. I then use my fingers to stretch the dough over the top and pinch it together. This will create a taught surface on the bottom of the dough which is also well floured. Shape the loaf to fit your basket or bowl. Don’t handle the dough more than you need to. We want to retain the air bubbles that are in there so they can expand into a lovely open crumb when we bake.

Lift it gently into the proving basket or bowl and lay it flour side down. You will be inverting this later so the smooth side that is on the bottom now will become the top later.

Cover and leave to rise for between 40 and 90 minutes. It shouldn’t fully double in size but will be about half as big again. You will get to know what this looks like with practice. I know that a loaf this size is ready to bake when it crests out of the basket I use by about 2 inches. How long this takes will depend on the weather.

Cut a piece of baking paper big enough that as several inches clearance in either side of your unbaked loaf. You need room for handles. Lay the paper over the top of your dough.

Support the dough with one hand and use the other to gently tip the basket/bowl over. Do this near the bench surface so the dough doesn’t fall.

You will feel the dough release from the surface of the basket/bowl. If it doesn’t just give it a few seconds to let go. Don’t pull on the basket or tea towel.

If you wish to slash your loaf you can. It helps control how the loaf will rise and adds some flair. We could all do with some flair. Use a lame, the very sharpest serrated knife you have or a razor blade with a sticking plaster on one side. I have tried all sorts of other craft knife and Stanley knife blades and they aren’t a patch on a razor blade. Please keep a dedicated container out of reach of small hands to store them in.

Put a wire rack on the bench next to the oven. Open the oven door and take out your pan and set it on the rack. Remove the lid and set that on the rack next to it. Quickly lift your loaf by the baking paper and lower it gently into the pan.

Put the lid back on and put it back in the oven and shut the door. Bake for 15 minutes with the lid on. Remove the lid and behold your beautiful well risen loaf.

Bake for a further 15 to 20 minutes with the lid off. I always go for the longer time to get a good dark crust. The malt syrup/honey we put in will help the crust develop as well.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. You should let the loaf cool completely before slicing. I know I know. Cooking is still happening in the middle of the hot loaf. Cutting it while it’s warm can squish the crumb and let excess moisture escape so the un-eaten part will be drier.

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Sundried Tomato, Cheddar + Chilli Sourdough


Prep Time : 30 mins | Cook Time : 30 mins | Total Time : 18 hours | Difficulty : Moderate

Makes : 1 medium loaf

Crusty sourdough studded with sundried tomato and sharp cheddar with a warming hint of chilli.

Ingredients:

For the preferment:

  • 150 grams wholemeal wheat or spelt flour
  • 150 grams water
  • 50 grams sourdough starter

For the dough:

  • 180 grams water
  • 20 grams honey or malt syrup
  • 350 grams strong bread flour
  • 10 grams fine salt
  • 10 grams water
  • 3 1/2 ounces (100 grams) very strong cheddar
  • 7 to 8 (75 grams) sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chilli paste (I used Hootsauce)

– If using metric cups, reduce volume measures by 1 tablespoon for every cup of dry or liquid ingredients – 

Equipment:

  • Bowls and spoons
  • Electronic scale
  • Proving basket or bowl lined with a linen tea towel
  • Large cast iron casserole dish with lid

Directions:

First up is making the pre-ferment the night before. Just before bed mix the flour, water and starter for the preferment in a large bowl. Cover and leave to one side.

In the morning the preferment will have risen up and when you look underneath there will be bubbles all through it.

Add the bread flour, first measure of water and honey for the dough and mix until it comes together. Work the dough a little longer by folding the edges into the middle for about 5 minutes. Cover the bowl and leave the dough to rest (autolyse) for 30 to 60 minutes.

After the resting time is up mix the water and salt together in a small bowl and add it to the dough. Knead to distribute it thoroughly. This gives you a few more minutes of kneading to round out the process.

Now add the chopped sundried tomatoes, grated cheese and chilli paste.

Work the dough in the bowl until all the goodies are distributed.

Cover the bowl and leave it to ferment for 2 to 3 hours in a warm place. If you leave it for 3 because you got busy that’s fine. It will affect the final result a bit and you can experiment to see what you like over time. Err on the shorter side in warm weather.

After 2 hours is up you need to start stretching. This wakes the gluten back up and traps pockets of air in the dough so that when you bake the loaf. You need to do four sets of folds in all. Do them around 20 to 30 minutes apart. No one will die if you are distracted and one of them is a bit later. To do a set of folds moisten your hand and reach under the dough on the side of the bowl furthest from you. Pull a handful up and fold it down towards yourself onto the rest of the dough.

Rotate the bowl 90 degrees and repeat. Go all around the bowl doing four folds in all. Cover and leave for 20 minutes and then repeat until you’ve done four sets. Cover and leave the dough to rest for 30 minutes or so.

Put the oven on to 250C (485F). Put your clean cast iron casserole dish in the oven including the lid to heat up. If you have a cane or pressed conifer proving basket then dust this liberally with flour. Rub it it well so it coats the surface. If you don’t then dust a linen tea towel heavily with flour and lay it into a medium bowl.

To shape a loaf I like to dust the bench heavily with flour and then turn the dough out onto the flour. I then use my fingers to stretch the dough over the top and pinch it together. This will create a taught surface on the bottom of the dough which is also well floured. Shape the loaf to fit your basket or bowl. Don’t handle the dough more than you need to. We want to retain the air bubbles that are in there so they can expand into a lovely open crumb when we bake.

Lift it gently into the proving basket or bowl and lay it flour side down. You will be inverting this later so the smooth side that is on the bottom now will become the top later.

Cover and leave to rise for between 40 and 90 minutes. It shouldn’t fully double in size but will be about half as big again. You will get to know what this looks like with practice. I know that a loaf this size is ready to bake when it crests out of the basket I use by about 2 inches. How long this takes will depend on the weather.

Cut a piece of baking paper big enough that as several inches clearance in either side of your unbaked loaf. You need room for handles. Lay the paper over the top of your dough.

Support the dough with one hand and use the other to gently tip the basket/bowl over. Do this near the bench surface so the dough doesn’t fall.

You will feel the dough release from the surface of the basket/bowl. If it doesn’t just give it a few seconds to let go. Don’t pull on the basket or tea towel.

If you wish to slash your loaf you can. It helps control how the loaf will rise and adds some flair. We could all do with some flair. Use a lame, the very sharpest serrated knife you have or a razor blade with a sticking plaster on one side. I have tried all sorts of other craft knife and Stanley knife blades and they aren’t a patch on a razor blade. Please keep a dedicated container out of reach of small hands to store them in.

Put a wire rack on the bench next to the oven. Open the oven door and take out your pan and set it on the rack. Remove the lid and set that on the rack next to it. Quickly lift your loaf by the baking paper and lower it gently into the pan.

Put the lid back on and put it back in the oven and shut the door. Bake for 15 minutes with the lid on. Remove the lid and behold your beautiful well risen loaf.

Bake for a further 15 to 20 minutes with the lid off. I always go for the longer time to get a good dark crust. The malt syrup/honey we put in will help the crust develop as well.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. You should let the loaf cool completely before slicing. I know I know. Cooking is still happening in the middle of the hot loaf. Cutting it while it’s warm can squish the crumb and let excess moisture escape so the un-eaten part will be drier.

Cook’s Notes:

  • Use the best quality and tastiest cheddar you can for the best flavour.
  • If you like chilli feel free to double down on the chilli paste!

 – Properly stored sourdough will keep for up to a week. Keep it in a bread bin that has a little airflow or in a fabric bread bag. If you need to use a plastic bag don’t seal it just fold the end over – 

© 2018 Wellington Bakehouse. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

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