Orange Sourdough Bread with Cranberries, Pecans and Golden Raisins

Baking another sourdough loaf before I put my starter back into hibernation.  This is another one I can’t eat, so I will be gifting it to either Oceanside Animal Hospital or the staff at Bay Avenue Gallery in Ocean Park.

Last time I went to Trader Joe’s in Olympia, Washington, they had orange flavored dried cranberries, and I immediately thought of this recipe.  I really can’t wait to find out how this tastes.

I started putting 1/2 cup active sourdough starter into the bread machine pan.  I then added 3/4 cup orange juice, 2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces, 1 teaspoon salt, 3 1/4 cups bread flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 1 3/4 teaspoons SAF yeast.  I set the Basic and medium cycles for my machine.  After the machine beeped between kneads 1 and 2, I added 1/2 cup dried cranberries, 1/3 cup golden raisins and 1/3 cup chopped pecans.  The dough looked a little dry, so I added a few more drops of orange juice.

The author does note in this recipe that you can add the fruit and nuts at the beginning if you don’t wish to wait.

As this is another sourdough, I have set myself an alarm to check the rise before baking begins.This one required another 90 minutes of rise time before I was comfortable enough to start baking it.

The loaf baked up to a lovely golden brown, studded with fruit and nuts. It smells great too; the orange scent is quite strong.

I stopped by today to pick up my plate and the comment sheet, but they couldn’t find the sheet. Not a problem, of course, the receptionist told me everyone loved it, especially the cranberry/raisin combo. I’m going to call this one a win. After all, 100% of the polled respondents (all 1 of them) told me how great it was.


Sourdough Olive Bread, page 287, August 21, 2015

My olive-aficionado sister is coming for a visit and I have been planning to make this loaf for her.  This recipe is actually a variation of a sourdough raisin bread in the book.  The author writes that by reducing the salt and replacing the raisins with a mixture of black and green olives you can easily adjust this loaf.

Yesterday, I took 1/2 cup of my sourdough starter from the fridge.  To that, I added 3 cups each of water and flour in a ceramic bowl, mixing with my dough whisk.  I then covered the resultant sponge and waited until it was fully active again.  (This took about 15 hours.)  I also added another cup each of water and flour to my stored starter and put it back in the refrigerator.

When the sourdough sponge was ready, I first had to prepare the canned olives.  I halved 1 1/4 cups pitted black olives and 1/2 cup pitted, pimento-stuffed, green olives.  I then drained these for about 30 minutes on paper towels.

Into the pan on my bread machine, I placed 1/2 cup of my sourdough sponge, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup fat free milk, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons of butter (cut into pieces,) 3 cups of bread flour, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon SAF yeast.  I programmed the bread machine for a basic loaf with a dark crust and pressed start.  When knead 2 began, I gradually added in the pitted, halved and drained olives while the machine was kneading.  It was taking a while for the olives to be incorporated into the dough, so I used a rubber spatula to help it along. Due to residual moisture in the olives, the dough was looking sticky, so I added another 3 tablespoons of flour while everything was kneading together.

As I have learned, sourdough breads are sometimes slower to rise, so I checked the bread machine just before the bake cycle was to begin.  I decided the bread needed more rise time, so I unplugged the machine before it could start baking and allowed the rise to continue for another hour.  At that point, the dough ball was risen perfectly, so I plugged the machine back in and started the “bake only” cycle.


When the cycle completed, I transferred the loaf to a rack to cool completely before wrapping it up to send it home with Becky.

I will be sure to let you know what she thinks.

NOTE:  If you are interested in the original, Sourdough Raisin recipe, the following needs to be changed.  Increase the salt to 1 1/2 teaspoons and replace the olives with 1 1/2 cups raisins that have been soaked in hot water for 1 1/2 hours at room temperature and then drained well on paper towels.

I got word from Becky today on how the taste test went for this loaf.

” Awesome awesome texture, I love the little twangs of olives there. I think with warm olive oil and herbs would be delightful.”

“Very good! Would be excellent with pasta dish. Or served with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Or with cream cheese, endless possibilities.”

“Would be a yummy addition to spaghetti! I like it a lot, very good.”

“So yummy, my favorite so far; I’ll take a whole loaf.”

Sounds like this is another keeper.

Sourdough Banana Nut Bread, page 288, August 13, 2015

I will be seeing my cousin, Mandy in a few days, so I gave her the choice of two different sourdough breads; whole wheat sourdough or orange sourdough with cranberries, pecans and golden raisins.  She said they both sounded good, but I later realized I was out of some ingredients for each of those. This one will come as a complete surprise.  (Well, unless she reads this post.)

Ms. Hensperger describes this as a “nice sweet and sour bread with lots of goodies in it.”  She also writes that it is good for PB&J, smoked turkey or black forest ham sandwiches, or just as toast.  I was also thinking this could make a good French toast.

I have been continually feeding my sourdough starter since the loaf I baked the other day, so it was ready to go.

Into the bread machine pan went: 1/2 cup sourdough starter, 1/4 cup water, 1/2 cups sliced ripe bananas, 1 large egg, 2 tablespoons of hazelnut oil, 1 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 1/2 cups bread flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1 tablespoon dry buttermilk powder, 1/2 cup hazelnuts, 3 tablespoons chopped dried figs, 2 tablespoons light brown sugar and 1 3/4 teaspoons SAF yeast.  The machine was set for the 3 hour Basic Bread, Medium Crust cycle.

I know that sometimes sourdoughs take longer to rise, often requiring more time than standard yeast breads.  Because of this, I checked my bread machine manual and discovered that if I check the machine after 2 hours, I have the option of stopping the process to allow for additional rise time.  I can then use the bake only cycle to finish the bread when it has risen enough.  I set an alarm for 1 hour and 50 minutes and will check the bread at that point to see if more rise time is required.

I decided to let it rise a while longer, I gave it another hour and by that time it had risen sufficiently.  I then set the machine to the bake only cycle, which automatically times for 1 hour which is the same as the baking time for the basic bread cycle.

As this is baking, the banana scent is really coming through.  Along with the sourdough aroma, this is really nice.  Through the window on the top of the machine, the crust is smooth, light brown and speckled.

The bread is done.  The crust is a little dark, not burned black or anything, but darker than I am used to for one of my sourdough breads.  This could be from the ingredients, or from the baking.  Either way, it still looks and smells delicious.  I will try and post photos before I wrap it for delivery.  I will also ask Mandy and her husband, Rick to let me know what they think of it.

I just heard back from Mandy:

“The bread is amazing I just had some toasted with butter. I loved it.”

Sourdough Tomato Bread with Feta, page 295, August 10, 2015

After all the loaves I baked over the past couple of weeks, I decided another sourdough was in order.  I am imagining this bread served warm with melted garlic butter, or dipped in olive oil.

I took my sourdough starter out of the fridge last night to wake it up.  I made my sponge and let it rest, covered, at room temperature until this evening when it was bubbly and active.

This recipe calls for “3/4 cup chopped canned tomatoes with ‘some’ liquid.”  I really hate when something is vague like that.  I know the ratio of liquid to dry ingredients in bread is so important, so I will try to keep an eye on the dough, adding more liquid or flour if necessary.

Into the bread machine pan, I placed 3/4 cup sourdough starter, the (partially) drained tomatoes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3 cups bread flour, 2/3 cup crumbled feta and 1 1/4 teaspoon SAF yeast.  This bread uses the basic cycle and dark crust settings on my bread machine.

The author mentions that you can substitute crumbled fresh goat cheese for the feta, if you prefer.  Feta is too strong for some people so that can be a deciding factor.  As far as health benefits, feta has slightly less saturated fat than soft goat cheese but twice the sodium.

Well, it looked fine while it was mixing, kneading and rising, so I didn’t add anything else to the dough.  It rose beautifully and now I am just waiting for it to finish baking and hoping it won’t crater on me again.  It smells lovely, I have always been a fan of tomatoes and feta, can’t wait to try this bread.

IMG_4591This is such a pretty loaf of bread.  It is a lovely pale orange color and has small bits of tomato throughout.  The smell is significantly more tomato than feta, but both flavors come through very well.  Tender and slightly chewy with a crispy crust, this bread reminds me a bit of tomato soup in aroma and flavor.  As such, I am guessing it would make an excellent toasted cheese sandwich.  The only downside is that there isn’t much “sour” flavor from the sourdough.  That is just a matter of personal taste, though.  I suppose if I used an older starter, that had more time to ferment, I would have found a more powerful sour flavor.

Sourdough French Bread, page 278, June 21-23, 2015

It is time to bake myself another loaf of sourdough.  This sourdough french will start out in the bread machine, but finish in the oven.  This is a time-consuming loaf, so I actually started late last night, by taking 1/2 cup of my sourdough started out of the fridge. In a glass bowl, I added 3 cups of flour and 3 cups of water to the starter, I mixed everything together with my dough whisk and covered it with a cheesecloth to reactivate. IMG_423112 hours later, my starter has woken up and I have a nice active sponge.  I need 2 cups of the sponge for this loaf, so after I measure that out, I add another  cup each of flour and water to the remaining sponge to keep it active.  (I plan on baking another sourdough loaf when I am finished with this one, otherwise I would let it sleep again.) Into the pan on my bread machine, I put 1/2 cup water, 2 cups of my sourdough sponge, 2 teaspoons salt and 3 cups bread flour.  After making a well in the flour, I added 2 1/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast.  I set the machine on its dough cycle, and let it start.  The recipe recommends a 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups bread flour, total, but that the baker should start out with 3 cups and add more as needed.  The total amount used will vary depending on the consistency of your starter.  The author also states that at this point the dough will be firm, then get shiny and soften.  I slowly added more flour, until I was comfortable with the consistency of the dough. When the cycle ended, the dough had risen nicely.  The next step, according to the book, is to “Gently deflate the dough with your finger.”  Then I need to let the dough rest for another 3 hours in the machine.  The author then states, “If it is rising slowly, I have left it in there for up to 8 hours.”  Yikes, again, I will play it by ear.  I set myself a timer for 3 hour and will check it at that time. IMG_4234 I am glad I didn’t plan on the 8 hour rise.  The dough was already touching the top of my bread machine at 3 hours. Next, I turned the dough onto my floured board.  Here, the cookbook says to use a dough card to fold the edges to the center and create a round loaf.  There must be a method to this that I have yet to learn, I ended up using my hands to shape the loaf. I added about a tablespoon of flour, during this process, to keep it from sticking.  Then I spread a thick layer of flour on the work surface and turned the loaf to keep the smooth side face down in the flour.  I covered that with a clean tea towel and headed to the grocery store.  (At this point, the dough needs to rest for about an hour at room temperature, so this is the perfect time to run this errand.) Back from the grocery store, it is time to knead the dough into a tight round, deflating it again.  Next, I got out my handy banneton basket again. After heavily flouring it, I placed the dough, smooth side down, in the basket. (Oh dear, I just heard that spoken by the actor in Silence of the Lambs, “It puts the dough in the basket or it gets the hose again!”)  Oh well, at least I amuse myself. I tightly wrapped the entire banneton with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge.  It is supposed to rise slowly, in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.  I will check it tomorrow morning and throughout the day as necessary. I let the dough rise in the refrigerator for about 15 hours.  Twenty minutes before baking, I began preheating the oven to 450 degrees.  While that was warming up, I lined a clean baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkled that with a little bit of cornmeal. Once the oven was heated, I gently moved the dough from the banneton to the prepared baking sheet.  Then, using a sharp knife, I cut a cross hatch design in the top of the loaf, about 1/4 inch deep.  I sprayed the outside of the loaf with a small amount of water and immediately put the loaf into the hot oven for 12 minutes. After the first 12 minutes were complete; I lowered the oven temperature to 375 degrees and allowed the bread to bake for another 25 minutes.  The cookbook says to give it 25-30 minutes or until the crust is brown and the loaf sounds hollow when you tap on it. Last step, before eating of course, is to cool the bread on to room temperature on a rack. IMG_4247

This loaf is not going to last long; it is delicious.  The crust is crisp and crunchy while the interior is sour and chewy.  It tastes wonderful; I had a large hunk with butter for lunch and will now have to plan a dinner that will go well with this tasty, tasty bread.

Sourdough Sunflower Seed Honey Bread, page 286, June 22, 2015

This is another loaf for my sister.  I am making myself a loaf of sourdough French and decided to keep the starter active and bake a loaf for Becky as  well.

First thing I have to mention is that the title is misleading here.  I am sure it must be an editing error; but there is no honey in this bread.  The sweetener called for here is dark brown sugar.  I considered substituting honey, but decided to follow the recipe as printed.

Into the pan on my bread machine, I added 1/2 cup fat free milk, 1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces, 1 cup sourdough starter, 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 cup bread flour, 2 cups whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, 1/3 cup sunflower seeds and 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts.  After making a small well in the top of the dry ingredients, I added 1 1/2 teaspoons SAF yeast.

The loaf requires a dark crust setting and the use of the Whole Wheat cycle on my machine.  

IMG_4246I didn’t hover  much on this one.  Once or twice I checked on it and scraped down the edge of the pan with my rubber spatula, but I didn’t stress myself out adding sprinkles of flour and water, trying to “perfect” the dough.  This was probably a wise decision on my part as the loaf is lovely.
It rose nice and high, with tasty sunflower seeds dotting the exterior, I am sure the inside is just as lovely.  I will ask Becky to take a picture of the loaf for me after it is sliced.

Well, I forgot to ask for pictures of the sliced loaf.  Here are the opinions, though:

“Good, needed butter, though.”

On a side note, Becky had provided butter, this person just didn’t know.

“Really awesome flavor!! Soft texture.”
“Awesome for rustic French Toast.”
“Love this!”
“Soooo yummy!”
“Would be good for anything.”
“Very moist”

Sourdough Pesto Bread, page 296, June 4, 2015

Time for another loaf I can eat to have around the house.  I haven’t used my sourdough starter in a couple weeks, so I thought it was time to bring it back out of the fridge.  Last last night, I stirred my starter before removing 1/2 cup of it to a glass bowl.  I added 3 cups each of flour and water before covering it loosely with plastic wrap and leaving it in the kitchen to warm up and reactivate.

12 hours later, the starter had woken up, was bubbly and frothy.

Of the newly activated starter, I only need 1 cup for my loaf, so I will put the remaining starter in another container in the fridge.  I will label my starters and do some experimenting later to see how they each affect the bread I bake with them.

Into the bread machine pan, I placed 1 cup of my sourdough starter, 1/3 cup fat free milk, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons pesto, 3 cups bread flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 teaspoon dried marjoram, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons SAF yeast. This recipe doesn’t FullSizeRenderrequire the addition of vital wheat gluten.

I can tell already that today is going to be tough.  The smell of the pesto is incredible right away.  As this loaf takes the time to mix, knead, rise and bake, I expect it will just get better and better.

As you can see from this photo taken during the first rise, the bits of herbs are scattered throughout the dough ball.

Something came up and I had to leave the house during the bread making, so I wasn’t teased by the lovely aroma too much.

This loaf baked to tall and lovely golden brown perfection.  Unfortunately, I sort of squashed it down while putting it in my bread box before taking a picture of the finished product.  I also haven’t tried it yet, I have company coming later this evening and will get opinions then.

It was delicious.  The flavor of the basil pesto really came through well.  I made myself a toasted cheese sandwich with it and served that with some tomato soup. Heaven.