Garden Herb Sourdough
Gardens are burgeoning with greenery so it is a good time for a straightforward sourdough loaf using garden herbs. This loaf is fairly light containing mostly white flour with some rye and spelt flour for more complex flavours. I used a selection of herbs currently in our garden: parsley, coriander, sorrel, chives, rosemary and a good helping of nasturtium leaves which have a mild peppery flavour. You can any herbs that you have, just make sure that you take out any woody bits before finely chopping them all up.
You need 150g of white sourdough starter which you should make before starting this recipe (read this article to see how to look after your starter). To your stored starter, add 80g flour and 70g water, stir and leave at room temperature for at least 24 and not more than 48 hours. You can now return all but the 150g to your storage pot.
I've baked this one in a La Cloche Baking Dome, just arrived at BakeryBits. The La Cloche baking dome is made from stoneware and designed to fit inside a standard domestic oven to mimic a wood-fired oven: the oven dome traps the steam and maintains an even baking temperature to give you moist bread with a golden, even and crackly crust.
- 150g white sourdough starter
- 400g strong white flour
- 100g spelt flour
- 100g rye flour
- 360g luke-warm water
- 10g fine sea salt
- 30g poppy seeds
- 75g finely chopped mixed herbs
- grated cheese for topping (e.g. cheddar or red leicester)
In a bowl, use a dough whisk to mix the warm water and sourdough starter to make a lump-free liquid. To this, add all of the remaining ingredients (except the cheese), and mix together until roughly combined then leave for about 10 minutes to allow the flour to take up some of the liquid. Following Dan Lepard's low-knead method, scrape all of the bowl contents out onto a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for 10 seconds and then put back into the bowl for another 10 minutes, knead for 10 seconds and repeat. Leave for 30 minutes and then knead for 10 seconds again. The dough should be becoming easier to handle now with most of the liquid absorbed. Repeat after another 30 minutes and then after 1 hour.
Tip the dough from the bowl, knead and shape to form a cob, with the top-most part of the dough stretched smooth and the seam tucked underneath. Dust a 1kg proving basket with rye (or rice or potato) flour and leave for about two hours, or until doubled in volume.
If you are using a La Cloche for the first time, the base should be lightly oiled. Heat your oven to 220°C. I like to place the empty La Cloche into the oven so that it is hot when the dough is inserted to give better oven spring. When the oven is up to temperature, remove the La Cloche, gently tip your proved dough onto the centre of the base of the dome's base and score a cross using a grignette. Into the gaps cut by the grignette, sprinkle a generous amount of grated cheese. Replace the La Cloche dome and return to the oven. Bake for 40-50 minutes after which remove the dome and bake for a further 10 minutes by which time the loaf should be evenly golden brown with a blistered crust. Put the loaf onto a cooling rack to cool.