Whole Wheat Sourdough with Fresh Thyme and Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Since last year I went a little overboard with making everything pumpkin, I've decided that this year I am going to use the rest of the vegetables in my fall baking recipes.
For the Fall Sourdough Bread, I've settled on sweet potatoes, one of my favorite new vegetables that I was introduced to in the United States. I love that I can use them in meat dishes, vegetable dishes, desserts, or just baked with some sour cream and chives. And, did you know that sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A?
My favorite way to make them is using my Instant Pot. After thoroughly cleaning the potatoes, I put them on a wire steam rack inside the Instant Pot, add a cup of water, and set the timer for 30 minutes. They come out great every time - all cooked through and easy to peel! For this recipe, I pureed the potatoes in a blender to break down the fibers; a potato masher or a food processor can be used as well.
To complement the taste, I chose to add fresh thyme - my second favorite herb after basil, which I recently used in this delicious Italian Sourdough Bread recipe. Thyme smells AMAZING! I've just found out that it has anxiety-reducing effects - maybe that's why I love to smell it so much. Also, I've noticed that it doesn't go bad - it just dries out in the fridge if I leave it there too long. Then I would just strip the leaves and use it dried.
I continue to experiment with White Whole Wheat flour, and so far, I really like it! I used it for the first time in this sourdough bread recipe with Asiago, Cheese, Basil, and Pine Nuts. Both times the bread turned out delicious.
While making this bread, I also experimented with a scalpel blade #24 to score the design, and the verdict is: it is not better than a razor blade - it was pulling on the dough and just wasn't as sharp. If you know of anything better than a razor blade for scoring please let me know; I am constantly searching for the perfect tools for intricate scoring designs.
Mash the potatoes thoroughly to break down all the fibers
Use fresh thyme instead of dried for a more intense flavor and smell
As usual, I simplify my recipes so they are easy to follow for beginners. I avoid using complex numbers and ingredients, so the recipe is more clear and less intimidating for new bakers. I list ingredients for 2 loaves so you can bake 2 and share 1 as a gift. To make a single loaf, simply divide each ingredient by 2.
Ingredients for 2 loaves:
Levain 1:2:2 Ratio
70 g Sourdough Starter
70 g Bread flour
70 g White Whole Wheat Flour
140 g Water (bottled or filtered)
300 g Levain
600 g Water (bottled or filtered)
700 g Bread flour
300 g White Whole Wheat Flour
300 g Mashed Sweet Potatoes
20 g Salt
50 g Fresh Thyme
Rice Flour for dusting
Prepare the Starter (morning 10 am)
Feed 70g of starter with 70g bread flour, 70 g whole wheat flour, and 140g water, cover, and leave it on the counter to ferment for 6 hours. With room temperature at 76°F, it should at least double in size by then.
Make the Dough (afternoon 4 pm)
Combine 300g of starter with 600g of water at 85-90°F in a large mixing bowl and mix until the starter is dissolved.
Add 300g of mashed sweet potatoes, 50 g of fresh thyme, and mix.
Then add 700g of bread flour, 300g of white whole wheat flour, and 20g of salt to the mixture and mix the dough with fingers until all of the ingredients are well incorporated with no dry bits left.
Cover and leave it on the counter for 1 hour.
Stretch and Fold
For the next hour and a half, perform stretching and folding technique every 30 min: take one side of the dough, stretch it as far as you can, and fold it on top of the dough. Turn the bowl counter-clockwise and do it 7 more times, stretching and folding each side.
Cover and leave the dough on the counter for 2-3 hours to rise at about 76°F room temperature.
Shape and Proof (evening 8 pm)
Mist the bannetons with water and sprinkle with Rice flour.
Gently take the dough out of the bowl, place it onto an unfloured surface, and divide it into 2 equal parts.
Shape the dough into the final round shape using the same stretch and fold technique as above, stretching and folding 4 sides until you see a smooth side of the dough (about 8 times).
Gently turn the dough with your hands round and round to create the surface tension and make it into a tight ball. Do not over-shape.
Flour the top with bread flour, put each piece in the banneton seam side up, and dust the top of the dough with rice flour.
Place the bannetons in plastic bags and let the dough rest overnight in the fridge.
Bake (next day)
Test the dough if it's ready to bake by gently pressing it with your finger. If it springs back up slowly - it's ready.
Preheat the oven to maximum temperature (550°F in our case).
Carefully flip the dough out of the banneton into the dutch oven or a cast iron combo cooker (no need to preheat it.)
Dust off the rice flour with a brush, mist the top of the dough with a little bit of water and cover it in all-purpose flour, spreading it evenly.
Score the dough with a razor blade and put the lid on.
Reduce the temperature to 475°F and bake for 30 min.
Remove the lid, reduce the temperature to 450°F and bake for another 20 min uncovered.
Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool completely before cutting.
Tools I used: