Easter Bunny Sourdough Bread with Whole Wheat Flour and Turmeric
Although Easter was definitely the inspiration behind the design of this bright yellow sourdough bread, turmeric health benefits were the inspiration behind the recipe. In this case, it complemented the design as well and gave the loaf a gorgeous golden color. I'm not a big fan of food coloring, so I try to use natural coloring when I can.
Turmeric is one of my favorite spices - I add it to protein shakes, smoothies, rice, and curry dishes. It contains the main active ingredient curcumin, which is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. So, what does it do? It protects the body from free radicals that cause oxidative stress along with many diseases and aging. This alone makes me want to use it everywhere - what's better than being healthy while looking younger? According to Healthline, turmeric's anti-inflammatory properties may also help treat and prevent such diseases as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. But most surprising for me was to find out that it can help with depression by increasing brain levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), improve memory and prevent Alzheimer's disease. Sounds amazing! Plus, it makes the food look beautiful and taste delicious!
Besides turmeric, I used whole wheat and bread flour for the dough. And, this time, I decided to use a Rye starter as an experiment (even though it's not a rye bread) because I noticed that it is much more active than my whole wheat starter - it easily triples in size in 5-6 hours while the whole wheat starter only doubles.
Check out this post for Dark Rye Fruit and Nut Sourdough "Breakfast Bread"!
To make the taste less sour for this recipe, I fed the starter at a 1:2:2 ratio. The result - an extremely soft bread with a thin crispy crust and a very mild taste. Mission accomplished!
To score the dough, I used a DIY stencil and my DIY precision scoring tool, which I am working on adding to our Endless Loaf bread baking tools in the future.
Use a sharp wooden stick like a cuticle pusher's pointy end to trace inside the stencil.
To make the flour stick better, slightly mist the dough with water, so there is a bigger visual contrast with the design when baked.
Use a linen liner with your banneton to create a smooth surface while proofing the dough or brush off the ring lines with any brush.
Rice flour is the best for dusting the banneton and avoiding the sticking of the dough.
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:
Starter feeding 1:2:2 Ratio
70g Bread flour
70g Whole Wheat Flour
140g Water (bottled or filtered)
800g Bread flour
200g Whole Wheat Flour
700g Water (bottled or filtered)
300g Starter @ 100% Hydration
1.5 tsp Turmeric powder
Rice Flour for dusting
Prepare the Levain (morning 10 am)
Feed 70g of starter with 70g bread flour, 70 g whole wheat flour, and 140g water at 85-90°F, cover, and leave it on the counter to ferment for 6 hours. It should at least double in size by then.
Make the Dough (afternoon 4 pm)
Combine 300g of starter with 700g of water at 85-90°F in a large mixing bowl and mix until the starter is dissolved.
Then add 1,5 tsp of turmeric, 800g of bread flour, 200g of 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 the dough 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 and 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 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: