Sourdough Bread with tomatoes and thyme

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It is said, there comes a day in the life of every bread baker, when you make a successful sourdough. Finally that day is here for me and I have a beautiful bread for it. I tried making the sourdough starter thrice before and had to abandon it each time when the smell was too much to bear within a day. Disheartened I gave up till I met Gayathri who encouraged me and also answered my dozen silly questions and made me patient enough to wait to get a beautiful sourdough. And life looked up! I will write separately about actually making the starter. It has been amazing trying to bake with the starter and I am glad to get reasonably good results. 

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It is not exactly known how sourdough bread came about. One of the oldest sourdough bread was excavated in Switzerland dates back to 3700BC but the origin of sourdough bread is supposed to be thousand years earlier most likely in the Fertile Cresecent ( Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, Israel, Palestine, etc.). Sourdough was the leavening used for bread production for most of human history. Baker’s yeast is only 150 years old. Isn’t that absolutely fascinating?  Sourdough remained the usual form of leavening down into the European Middle Ages until being replaced by barm from the beer brewing process, and then later purpose-cultured yeast. Bread made from 100% rye flour, popular in northern Europe, is usually leavened with sourdough. Baker’s yeast is not useful as a leavening agent for rye bread, as rye does not contain enough gluten. French bakers brought sourdough techniques to Northern California during the California Gold Rush. For simplicity sake, I will assign Switzerland as the country of origin for this bread.

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Country – Switzerland

Makes one 8″ round loaf

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Cherry tomatoes                 12

Thyme sprigs                        2

Sourdough starter                100 gms

Whole wheat flour               100 gms

Water                                       60 ml

Salt                                            4 gms

Cayenne pepper                     1 tsp
WHAT TO DO

  • Mix the starter, flour and salt and set aside for 30 minutes
  • Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves and pluck the thyme leaves from the stem and dice them finely
  • Mix the cherry tomatoes, thyme leaves and cayenne pepper with the flour mixture 
  • Stretch and fold the dough every 15 minutes for an hour and a half
  • Cover it with cling wrap and set aside for 5 hours
  • Transfer the dough to a floured surface and shape it into a ball
  • Keep it covered with cling wrap in the refrigerator overnight
  • Preheat the oven to 250C
  • Transfer the dough to a baking tray
  • Slash the dough on top 3-4 times and bake for 15 minutes
  • Reduce the temperature to 230C and bake for 10 minutes
  • Remove the loaf and brush the top with clarified butter / ghee
  • Reduce the temperature to 210C and bake for 5-6 minutes or till the top is nicely brown
  • Cool completely before slicing
  • Enjoy!

NOTES

  1. If you don’t have fresh thyme, you can use 2 tsp of dried thyme
  2. Stretch and fold means lifting one side of the dough and folding it over the opposite side. Every 15 minutes, stretch and fold one of the four sides of the dough in rotation.

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 This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the letter S.

 

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 75

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Yummilicious Hasselback Potatoes

I am in forever need of items that lend themselves easily to cooking for one. Lunch is a solitary affair and if there is something more boring than eating alone it is cooking for one. My perfect lunch would be tasty, easy and quick to make. So when I came across this recipe for hasselback potatoes, I knew I had struck gold.

INGREDIENTS

Potatoes                     3

Butter                         2 tbsp

Rosemary                  1/2 tsp

Thyme                        1/2 tsp

Red chilly powder       1/4 tsp

1. Preheat your oven to 200C

2. Wash the potatoes thoroughly.

3. Make cuts to the potatoes but do not cut it through

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Melt the butter and coat the potatoes with half of the butter using a brush. If you choose, you can add the herbs and chilly powder right away else you can wait and add it at half time. If you are using salted butter, then you won’t need additional salt. Else, add salt as well to the melted butter before coating.

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Bake it at 200C for 30 minutes in a greased tray or pan.

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It should have attained some crispiness and the slices would have started to separate as you can observe in the picture above. It will be easier to apply the herbs and chilly powder at this stage. You can use the brush and coat the individual slices as well.

Apply the balance butter on the potatoes and bake for another 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove and add grated cheese to the potatoes and bake for 5-7 minutes

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Once the cheese is melted and appears brownish, remove from the oven and cool.

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If you are not adding cheese, then bake it for 30-35 minutes the second time instead of 25 minutes.

My potatoes were very crispy at the top end and soft at the bottom (uncut) end. I liked it that way. If you don’t, then turn the potatoes on its head and bake for the last 15 minutes.

If you want them to be crispier then bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. The thinner the potato slices are crispier it would be.

Easy and yummy! Can’t get better than this.

Happy Baking!