Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sourdough Variations: Chocolate and All-White


Sourdough, with variations
Chocolate and All-White
Adapted from: ABi5, Alton Brown, Chocolate and Zucchini
Refer to original recipe for more details.
Time: 4 hours - 2 days Yield: 1 - 2 loaves

Ingredients:
3/4 cup sourdough starter, at least 2 weeks old, and activated
2 cups lukewarm water
4 cups all purpose flour, I use King Arthur brand
3/4 tbsp salt

Variations:
cornmeal for dusting
-
1/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
2 tbsp unrefined sugar

How To:
1) Pour sourdough starter into a large bowl. Add water and flour to bowl. Stir to combine. Let rest for 20 minutes.

2) Add salt and incorporate into dough. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 - 2 hours. At this point you could form a loaf and skip to step 3, or as I prefer, store dough in fridge overnight up to 3 days. The coldness of the fridge allows the dough to sour further, a delightful and easy-enough benefit.
For All-White Sourdough Loaf: 1) On baking day, flour your hands well and pull half of the dough up with one hand, and pinch off where you desire. Try not to apply too much pressure, the goal is to let as many air bubbles remain in the dough so that you have a puffier, more airy loaf.
2) Coat a clean surface with a little flour and a little cornmeal, place piece of dough upon surface.
For Chocolate Sourdough Loaf:1) Sprinkle 1 pound of dough with cocoa powder and sugar. Knead the cocoa powder into dough until mostly incorporated. When kneading, don't poke dough, or press your fingers into dough. Instead use flat hands, using a rocking smooth motion when kneading. The dough is finished when it is mostly brown with slight marbling. You may add more cocoa powder if it doesn't seem to be mostly brown.
Continue process for both variations:
3) Flour hands very well. Lightly flour surface. Gently tuck in ends of dough underneath creating a ball, so that the top begins to dome, and the loose ends are tucked underneath. (Form the ball quickly, the less you play with it the more airy interior you will achieve.) Place roughly shaped ball at opposite edge of board. With hands cupped around ball of dough, with the sides of your hands resting on the board, pull ball of dough to yourself. By doing so, the edges are sucked in under the ball you formed and the top is "stretched" to create a tight exterior surface. You don't want your hands to stick to the loaf, so keep them floured well, but you do want the loaf to have friction with the board, so go light on the flour on the board. {View Pictorial}

4) For all white loaf, sprinkle the top of the loaf with a little more cornmeal. Let rise 45 min- 1 hr in a couche (towel lined bowl) and turn out gently before baking. 

5) For chocolate loaf, omit cornmeal, and let it rise 1 - 2 hours before baking.

6) Place a dutch oven inside the oven and preheat oven to 450ºF allowing the dutch oven to heat gradually.

7) Gently pick up the ball of dough and place it inside of the dutch oven. Cover with the oven-proof lid. Bake with the lid on for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, drop temperature to 400ºF, and bake for another 10 - 15 minutes. The internal temperature should reach at least 200ºF - 210ºF. Remove loaf from oven and let rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour, preferably until it feels cool to the touch, before slicing into.

Serving Options:
The All-White Sourdough is a fantastic bread to go with dinner, use for sandwiches, or just plain with butter or jam. I love making this variation once in awhile because I get cravings for that traditional sourdough taste. (My original recipe is a little healthier in that it incorporates whole wheat.)

The Chocolate Sourdough was a random creation I came up with (after seeing this baguette). It is unusual in that it could be served in place of your morning croissant, but it really stands alone in that it isn't sweet, it actually has a lot of roasted flavors to it. It tastes great with your morning coffee with plain butter, but can also be dressed up with jam or cream cheese.

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