I wanted to make something a little different from the two loaves I make all the time (crusty semolina and pain au levain with mixed sour dough starters) so I went looking in my cookbooks. This recipe fits the bill in that it includes butter and honey. It is amazing what a difference these small additions make – the crust and crumb are both soft. The end result is much like a sandwich loaf. This loaf also has sesame seeds mixed into the dough and sprinkled on top.
This recipe is from Teresa Hosier Greenway’s e-book, Discovering Sourdough. It has loads of great ideas and can be downloaded free so, if you are into sour dough bread, you should give it a look.
I haven’t used Teresa’s book much. I think it is because she feeds her starter one US cup of flour (140g) to one US cup of water (235g). This means her starter is a 166% hydration starter whereas my starters are 100% hydration, ie, I feed mine equal quantities by weight of water and flour. If it is this reason I haven’t used her book more, it is a pretty poor excuse because it is very easy to convert a recipe.
For those new to sour dough or not very good with numbers, this is all you have to do if you see a recipe you want to try but which uses a different hydration starter. This recipe calls for 510g of 166% hydration starter. A “166% hydration starter” means there will be 166g of water for every 100g of flour. To ascertain how much water will be in the 510g of starter, divide 166 by 266 and multiply the result by 510. Do the same to work out how much flour there is: ie, divide 100 by 266 then multiply the result be 510. That gives 318g of water and 192g of flour. A 100% hydration starter is, by definition, equal in weight of flour and water so our 100% hydration starter will have in it 255g of water and 255g of flour. That means I will need to add 63g of water to the recipe and reduce the flour by 63g. If this is not clear, check out the table below.
|166% hydration starter||166% hydration 510g||100% hydration Starter||Recipe Adjustment|
Now to the recipe…
- 510g active 100% hydration starter
- 403g water
- 56g honey
- 56g melted butter or oil
- 250g whole meal flour
- 500g bread flour
- 19g salt
- 56g toasted sesame seeds
- 1 egg
- 1 tbs* water
- extra sesame seeds (not toasted – they will get brown enough during the cooking) to sprinkle on top
* This is a 15 mil tablespoon.
It wasn’t until after I made the loaf that I realised the sesame seeds which are added to the dough should be toasted. I have seen another version of this recipe where Teresa stipulates sesame oil for the dough. I think both adjustments would really highlight the sesame taste.
I didn’t follow Teresa’s technique – I just did what I always do.
- Mix all the ingredients in your mixer bowl (except the salt and the sesame seeds) until just combined. Cover with plastic wrap and leave for 20 minutes.
- Add the salt and the sesame seeds and knead the dough in an electric mixer for five minutes or by hand until it is smooth (about 10 minutes).
The dough should clear the sides of the bowl of the mixer and, near the end of the five minutes, begin to clear the bottom of the bowl. If it clears the sides and the bottom early in the kneading process, add a bit more water. If you are kneading by hand, knead the dough until it no longer sticks to the bench. It will be very sticky at first – do not add any more flour.
- Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave for 50 minutes.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured bench and do a stretch and fold. Return the dough to the oiled bowl.
- After 50 more minutes, do another stretch and fold. Return the dough to the oiled bowl.
- After 50 more minutes, divide the dough into two and stretch and fold each half. This recipe required the dough to be plaited but, as you can see from the top photo, you can hardly tell that I plaited it. It is up to you. To plait the dough, divide each half into three then roll into lengths a bit longer than your tins. Plait the three lengths together, tucking the ends in. Place the dough right side up into two 24cm x 10.5cm bread tins.
- Cover and leave to rise again until almost doubled in bulk. In this weather, mine took between 4 – 5 hours. Alternatively, if it is late, place the loaves in the fridge overnight. Next morning, take them out and leave to rise until almost doubled in bulk.
- An hour before you are ready to bake, preheat your oven.
- Place a ceramic tile on a shelf in the bottom third of your oven, put a tray (a Swiss roll tray is ideal) on the bottom shelf and preheat your oven to its hottest temperature.
- When ready to bake, beat together the egg and water for the egg wash.
- Brush onto loaf and then generously sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Pour about 2 cups of boiling water into the tray and place the tins in the oven on the tile.
- Turn the oven to 235˚C and cook for 10 minutes. Spray the loaves 2 or 3 times with water in the first few minutes.
- Reduce temperature to 210˚C and cook another 25 minutes.
- Take the loaves out of the oven and release them from their tins. Cool on a cake rack.
Remember, if you live in Perth or thereabouts, you are more than welcome to my sourdough starters. I have a wheat starter and a rye starter.