After considering all of my options (including, but not limited to, all fruits and vegetables currently in the house, not to mention the idea for a chocolate sourdough bread that just won't leave my mind...), I decided to go with a classic Fall flavor - apples and honey. And to liven it up a bit, I decided to infuse the bread with one extra flavor:
Green tea. Just to see what would happen.
I have made a couple of different sourdough loaves, using a couple different formulas/recipes. I referred back to my previous attempts and adapted them for this loaf.
I started by making the levain - using my 100% hydration liquid starter to create a firm starter, just by changing the usual ratio of flour and water used to feed the sourdough. And after an overnight rest, it was time to make the bread.
The next morning, I combined the stiff starter with additional flour, applesauce and green tea, to infuse a bit of extra freshness to the flavor of the loaf. Once the dough was all incorporated, it was time to add the flavor - a diced apple and a generous swirl of honey.
But after the first hour's rest, I saw that something wasn't quite right...
Umm.... it seemed to be leaking. Weird.
And that's when I realized what I'd done. I'd confused the two recipes that I'd been referring to. I used the firm starter measurements from one recipe and the loaf measurements from another, which may have something to do with the extra moisture that resulted here. Or it might have had something to do with the apples... I'm not sure.
Either way, when it came time for the next set of stretching and folding, I had to use some extra flour and a clean bowl, but it still came together pretty well.
And after its final, longest rest, it was ready for the oven.
Now, I know I always talk about how good things smell as they bake, but it really is true. Aside from the delicious bread scent, the apples added another delicious layer to the aroma. Seriously good.
And then came the hardest part of the process. The waiting.
But the reward of cutting into this bread is definitely worth the patience.
A nice, thick crumb, but a pretty open yet moist crumb - this bread is delicious, with the heartiness of the apple chunks, and the interplay of the tanginess of the sourdough with the subtle sweetness of the honey - a truly delicious combination.
So good that someone couldn't wait to get his piece...
Before I had the chance to write this up, I happened upon the announcement for this month's Bread Baking Day theme - overnight breads! While the announcement indicates that most overnight breads are rested overnight at the end, at the proofing stage, I thought that this one, with its overnight fermentation of the firm starter, fit the bill, so I am sharing this bread with this month's host over at Hefe und mehr.
(my own creation, based on previous attempts)
For the firm starter:
2/3 cup sourdough starter (100% hydration)
4.5 oz. bread flour
1/4 cup water
Mix these together and let ferment at room temperature for 4 hrs. Refrigerate overnight (or even up to a few days).
For the bread:
all of the levain
9.25 ounces flour
0.125 ounces salt
3.25 ounces brewed green tea (brewed strong)
4.75 ounces apple sauce
1/4 cup honey
1 apple, diced
Combine the levain, flour, tea, salt and applesauce, and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
On a lightly floured counter, stretch out the dough into a long rectangular shape.
Drizzle the honey and sprinkle the diced apple pieces as evenly as possible across the dough, theb fold/roll the dough over top (which ever method you want to do this is fine, you just need to get it in there).
Place the dough in a large oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rest for 1 hour.
Stretch and fold the dough, place back in the bowl and allow to rest for 1 hour.
Make another stretch and fold, place back in the bowl, cover, and let sit for at least four hours.
(If you would like, you can place the dough in the refrigerator at this point to rest overnight)
When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 500 degrees and cover a baking sheet with parchment. Flour the parchment and turn the dough out onto it. Score the top of the loaf.
Place the bread in the oven and turn the oven down to 450.
Bake the loaf for 25-35 minutes, until nicely golden brown.
Cool for at least 1-2 hour before slicing.