And here we are. Oh my gosh, it has been SUCH a long week with such a good ending but still extremely long. Some of us just do not know how to bow out gracefully if ya know what I mean. Lol. I don’t expect to talk about politics on here very much if at all but when you have an election that the whole world is literally watching and discussing, I sure as hell am not going to NOT acknowledge it. I honestly think that more of us need to care about the political spectrum in this country because then we would see some actual change. How nice would that be? That being said, I am literally over the moon that Biden and Harris won!
Bread, who doesn’t like bread? Since the last time we talked I made a couple of loaves of bread because I was desperately trying to reduce the amount of sourdough starter that I had accumulated. The first time I made bread after the move it came out looking so flat. It literally rose like an inch. It still tasted great but it literally looked like a hockey puck. I still ate it though, to the disgust of my husband. I was damn proud of that bread. But it wasn’t worthy of a blog post.
I am happy to report that this loaf was worthy of a blog post and I decided to call it the sunflower cranberry boule. How lovely is that? I will definitely be making this recipe again in the future because it was actually quite delicious toasted with a pad of butter. We don’t have a toaster and I have refrained from buying one because I hate how dirty they get and crumbs go absolutely everywhere. It’s electric so you can’t clean it and then you just have this thing sitting in your perfectly clean kitchen that just ruins everything. Ya know what I am saying? So instead I place my slices of bread under the broiler in my tiny oven and they toast up beautifully.
I have been practicing at keeping my starter healthy and I feel that I finally got the hang of it. I had to throw out multiple batches of starters because where I live is super humid. I have never lived in such a humid place in my entire life so this threw me for a loup. The starters would go bad practically overnight. I would walk out into the kitchen to feed it in the morning and I would find a nice thick layer of mold growing on top. Absolutely disgusting. After that happened more than once I started watching the starter like a hawk. I swear, I checked on the starter more than I did on my mental health. Absolutely determined to be successful. I found that plastic seemed to affect the starter quite a lot and made it go bad faster which I found to be quite odd. It seemed to affect the pH which is the key component of keeping your starter happy and healthy. I keep it in a large glass mason jar now and it seems to do much better in that environment.
I have yeast on hand just in case I need it, but I honestly love the challenge of baking bread only using my starter. I also think it gives the bread so much more flavor that is noticeable. That chew and crumb of the dough are also significantly different. The entire method of this bread is designed around the use of the starter and it is very different than the method of using yeast as leavener.
This is one of the longest (in-depth) recipes I believe that I have posted on here but I swear it is so worth it! This sunflower cranberry boule is probably going to be my bread of choice for the next month or so until I decide to make something for the Christmas season.
Whenever I would visit family for Christmas we would always buy this bread that had cinnamon swirls in the dough. I always missed having this bread when I got home because that line of bread was not carried where I lived. It was such a bummer when I was 15. I have been thinking back to that loaf of bread and I thought that there might be a way that I could remake it! (You know that you are a baker when you think about bread that you ate over 10 years ago lol.) How fun would that be? I plan to test out a couple of ideas that I have in the next week or so…
Sunflower Cranberry Boule
- Food scale
- Large glass bowl
- Bench scraper
- Bowl scraper
- Knife to score bread
- Dutch oven or large oven safe pot with lid
- Round bread basket, lined
- 446 Grams All purpose flour King Arthur
- 100 Grams Sourdough Starter
- 9 Grams Sea salt
- 304 Grams Water Room temperature
- 100 Grams Cranberries dried, organic
- 80 Grams Sunflower seeds toasted and cooled. I bought pretoasted sunflower seeds at Whole Foods and they worked just fine.
- I begin the night before, as I do with all of my bread recipe. Mix together the water, flour, and salt the night before you intend to bake the dough and allow this mixture to sit at room temperature all night. I like to cover mine with a cloth. This is when alot of the gluten develops and it starts creating some nice distinct flavor. The salt keeps it from doing anthing too wonky.
- The next day the dough will look slightly discolored and it will have a thick consistency. Pour your starter right ontop of the dough and dimple into the dough with your fingers. I like to then fold the dough over the starter until I feel that it is sufficiently mixed in. Once you feel the dough is fighting you, or is becoming hard to work with you will want to stop. Allow the dough to sit on the counter for 10-15 minutes to allow the gluten to relax again and then start again. You will want to add in your sunflower seeds and cranberries at this stage as well. I usually do this throughout my day. I will try to come back to the dough about once an hour to do a couple more turns, continuously folding the dough over itself by grabbing the dough from each side and pulling it over the top. You really dont want the tear the gluten at this point so make sure to be gentle!
- I will continously turn the dough until the end of the day, I would say about 5 times. You should start seeing bubbles form on the dough at this stage. At this point, place your dough into a WELL floured bread basket that is lined. You want this thing to be coverd in flour because the dough will stick to the basket if it is not. I promise you you do not want this to happen. I speak from personal experience. Place the dough in the basket and do a couple more turns over a two to three hour period just to make sure it is uniformly shaped. If I start this process at 10 am, i will try to have the dough read to be placed in the bread basket around 5 pm.
- Preheat your oven to 450 F and place your dutch oven in the bottom half of your oven. Once you believe your dutch oven is hot, remove it and plop your bread right in. Score your bread and then quickly put the lid back on and then slide it into the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes. You will then want to remove the lid and then bake the bread for another 20 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool in your dutch oven with the lid off.
- Make sure to not cut into the bread before it is completely cool as this will distroy the crumb structure. Even if it is super tempting! I like to eat this bread toasted, with just a slice of butter. So delicious!
You will know if it is successful if it finds its way onto here. I hope it does. Because that bread was deliciously toasted.
A couple of things before I go… I chose to use toasted unsalted sunflower seeds that you can find at Whole Foods. You can toast your own but why should you when they do it for you? I also did not rehydrate the cranberries because where I am is like living in a cloud. If you live somewhere really dry you can choose to let them sit in some warm water for about 20 minutes just to loosen them up a bit. You don’t want them to break a tooth. Also, make sure to get just straight cranberries. Not salted, sugared, candied, or anything else. Natural is always best. If you don’t know how to make a starter feel free do some research on it as I don’t believe I have a recipe posted for that yet. I will make it a priority since I feel like a lot of people make it seem a lot harder than it actually is. It took years of trial and error for me to really understand how to maintain a starter.
Also, make sure to be gentle with this dough. I don’t use my Kitchenaid at all in this recipe which is actually really nice because there is so much less mess to deal with. I use a bowl scraper, a large glass bowl, and my scale. THAT’S IT. It’s allll in the technique of how you incorporate the dough. Anyway, I will let you read the recipe which is just above but let me know how your boules turn out. Make sure to subscribe to my newsletter because I will send out emails every time I have a new post among many other things. Have a great week and as always, happy baking!