Monday, 16 February 2015

Sesame Sourdough

I need to get on with researching my February project for my Bread-o-lution, but that would require a bit of digging for the right kind of a recipe. Meanwhile I was running out of bread and stumbled upon a box of sesame seeds in my kitchen – literally, it fell out of a cupboard on top of me :) I am a bit fan of sesame seeds – who can resist a golden bun with tiny amber sesame drops on top? I always imagine sesame breads to be soft and fluffy, with slightly sweet taste. I was imagining it so much, I started drooling – before long I decided to create a recipe that combines all of my memories of a perfect sesame loaf. 

Sesame Sourdough Loaf 
200g 100% white sourdough starter 
 400g white bread flour 
100g wholemeal flour 
290g mineral water 
20g honey 
20g sesame seeds 
1 heaped tsp salt 
20g unsalted butter, room temperature 
Sesame seeds for sprinkling (optional) 

 My wonderful shiny Kitchen Aid has had a bit of an accident this morning – I measured out all the ingredients into a bowl, turned the mixer on and … nothing happened. I hear the motor running but the dough hook is not rotating and its making some strange noised, creaking and moaning (pain-like!) which didn’t sound too good. 
So, instead of a quick machine kneading recipe I have ended up with a hand mixed one – never mind, it will take longer but will be just as tasty. 
Measure out flours and sesame seeds into a bowl. Add water, starter and honey. Either hand or spoon mix until you get a very shaggy looking mess, turn it out on a counter (slightly oil it first) and knead it very quickly for about 10 seconds, yes – 10 seconds! The dough will be quite wet – it is nearly 70% hydration* after all, so don’t worry if you can’t do much mixing – it WILL try to stick to your hands, just try to pat it down as much as you can. 
Sprinkle salt over it, cover with an upside-down turned bowl and leave for 10 minutes to rest. When you come back the dough should look more “shaggy”, but still resemble a flat messy ball. 
Now its time to show the dough who is the boss – this is a well known and incredibly popular method of mixing dough – Richard Bertinet high hydration mixing method. I am sure you will find a lot of videos if you google “”, but here is one that demonstrates it really well. In my household its generally known as “slapping technique” – and I can only say one thing about it – it really does WORK! I remember trying it for the first time and thinking what the hell?! Its all over my hands, no way this will come together without adding extra flour, this is just one big mess. Buuutttt ….. 5 minutes later and I had a very shiny, very flexible dough in my hands as if by magic. Seriously – Richard is a genius, you MUST try his method, you will never be the same again. 

So, back to the recipe, after 5 minutes of slapping (and calming down all the neighbours – the whole slapping makes an awful lot of noise), I was rewarded with a very smooth, very soft piece of dough. But I wasn’t done yet – I popped little dots of butter all over the dough and began mixing again – in the usual push and pull way this time. Because the slapping method makes such a good dough, mixing in of butter only took 3-4 minutes of hand kneading. 
Once all the butter is incorporated and the dough is looking and feeling elastic-y, place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm. Stretch and fold the dough 3 times over the next hour and a half, then leave to rest for 3-4 hours. 
Take the dough out of the bowl, deflate and shape. I went for a tin loaf, sandwich shape again, its such a soft and wet dough that I didn’t think it would hold together as a free-form loaf. Line a tin with baking parchment, place the shaped dough in the tin, sprinkle with some more sesame seeds and cover with clingfilm to prevent it from drying out. I placed the dough, tin and all, inside and old shopping bag to ensure complete cover. 
Place the loaf in the fridge overnight, or anywhere 10 to 18 hours, take it our and leave at room temperature (still covered) for 4to 5 hours. 

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200C for 30 minutes. Once baked, take it out of the tin, remove baking parchment and leave to cool on a cooling rack for 2 to 3 hours or best overnight. 

I must say that I was surprised how such a small amount of sesame seeds give such a strong flavour – its has a nutty, sweet taste and toasts extremely well. 

* Hydration is calculated as weight of all liquid ingredients over all dry ingredients : 
100g water (from starter) + 290g mineral water + 20g liquid honey + 20g butter (using soft butter, but it will melt when cook, so counting it as part of liquids) = 430g 
100g water (from starter) + 400g whole + 100g wholemeal flours + 30g sesame seeds = 630g 
430/620 = 69.3% 

Baking schedule : 
5:00 pm – 5:30 pm = mix the dough 
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm = stretch & fold 
7:00 pm – 11:00 pm = 1st prove 
 10:30 pm = shape 
10:30 pm – 11L30pm = 2nd prove 
11:30 pm – fridge overnight 
Next day 
3:00 pm – take out of fridge 
7:00 pm bake

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