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 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 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 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.

White Sourdough Bread, page 274 May 17, 2015

I am making my first bread machine sourdough today.  In her book, Ms. Hensperger has included recipes for sourdough starters as well as sourdough breads, I am only using the bread recipe and have made another starter.  I purchased an organic “San Francisco Sourdough Starter” from seller SourdoughBreads on Amazon.  I began my starter 2 days ago.  At some point, I will go into more detail on starters, and try making my own from the recipes in the book, but for my first foray, I am going this way.  I was able to find a lot of information online regarding starters, what to expect and how to deal with it.  If you are interested in learning more about starters, I recommend www.culturesforhealth.com and www.sourdough.com.

I have always loved the taste of a good sourdough bread.  Unfortunately, it has been hard to find a loaf at the grocery store.  The sourdough loaves I have tried from the bread aisle have little to no sourdough flavor.  I can occasionally find a good sourdough in the bakery section, but not always, and if I can make one myself, that is so much better.

One thing I noted about the sourdough bread recipes in the cookbook are that, unlike most other recipes, they do not call for added gluten.  That is not to say that they are in any way gluten free or even low gluten, just that additional is not added.  Bread flour is already higher in gluten than All-Purpose flour.

Into the bread machine pan, I added 3/4 cup sourdough starter, 1/2 cup fat free milk, 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, 1 1/2 tablespoons honey, 3 cups bread flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons bread machine yeast.

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The author recommended using the basic, and dark settings for this recipe.  I am glad I took her advice, and didn’t balk at the use of the dark setting.  This was a stiff dough, but it rose well and baked up beautifully.  The tantalizing, and slightly tangy aroma of sourdough is still filling the house.

This loaf is lovely, tender and soft, while slightly chewy.  It has a nice crunch to the crust and a delightful flavor.  It is not terribly sour, though.  I imagine, as my sourdough starter ages, the tangy flavor in my baking will be more pronounced.

FullSizeRender  IMG_3993It developed very nice air pockets and a great rise as well. As a first foray into bread machine sourdough, I am pleased with the results.  I do wish I had held out for a more “sour” starter, but I was out of bread and beggars can’t be choosers.  This one is a keeper, though.  Tasty and great texture, I think this will be a good loaf for sandwiches.