Matcha Sourdough Loaf


Does one have a separate blog post for the same recipe that has merely been jazzed up by the addition natural colors? Yes indeed, if it is the dramatic marbled matcha, turmeric and black sesame stunner which demands and commands its own exclusive space.

Created by playing with the dough from the earlier Simple Sourdough Loaf 3 recipe, this  Sourdough (SD) loaf will have a special place in my heart and blog, for being the first bread that I have successfully managed to color using natural ingredients.

The excitement of presenting this recipe, is going to make me shorten my usual blabbering, which of course is lucky for you 😀 and we are going to get to the details as soon as we can.

But take a moment to gaze at her will you and tell me if she takes your breath away, just as she did mine.

Sourdough bread – 

I have explained what SD is about in the earlier posts on SD starter 1  and SD Starter 2 and before you can attempt any bake with SD, you will need to have a nice, enthusiastic starter ready. I would recommend that you read those posts first, in case you are a beginner.

Sourdough loaf –

I have been using my Kitchen Aid stand mixer to knead the dough for all my loaves so far and I have quite got used to it. But I am sure that same can be achieved by hand too, for those who are also comfortable working with wetter dough.

SD sandwich bread is a softer bread than the usual crusty SD boule. It is baked in a loaf tin which makes it easier to shape than a free form bread.

Since I am trying out coloring the loaf for the first time, I have opted to  use 100% maida aka All Purpose Flour (APF) and am hoping that once I master that, I will also get a similar effect with combinations of other flours. This also happens to be eggless and vegan but one can also use dairy if one wishes.

I have used matcha powder that was not too green, so the color was not exactly as bright as I had hoped. But the layers of turmeric and black sesame did make up for the dullness and the end result was quite pleasing to me.

My bread also developed ‘Lips’ as opposed to the ‘ear’ that is sought by most SD bakers. This serendipity also served to add to the entertainment and made this loaf Doubly special (no pun intended :-D) Look at that pout and scroll to the end for more 


The process – 

The process is almost identical to my original recipe, with only a few changes to incorporate the color.

The steps – 

The steps are similar to the  Simple Sourdough Loaf 3 recipe but I will repeat here again for easy reference.

The process is quite similar to making bread with commercial yeast, the difference being that the SD dough takes much longer to rise.

1. Make or have your SD starter ready –

Refresh your starter a day or two before baking, depending on how neglected it has been.

2. Prepare the Levain –

About 5 – 6 hours before making the dough, take a portion of the starter and feed it with equal weights of flour and water in a 1:4:4 ratio.

For example, If I need 90 gm of levain in the recipe, I will take 10 gm starter and feed with 40 gm water and 40 gm flour at least 6 hours before beginning to make my dough. If my starter is known to double in less than that time, I will create my levain accordingly.

Usually the quantity of levain used is 20% by weight, of the total flour in the recipe. For a quicker sandwich loaf, I have used 40% of the total flour (exact figures in the recipe below).

The float test is a good method to see if the levain is ready. Drop a teaspoon of levain gently into a glass container of water. If the blob floats for a while and does not sink right away, the levain is ready to be used.

3. Autolyse the dough –

Around 1 -2 hours before the levain is ready, mix the rest of the flour and water from the recipe and let it sit covered in a bowl. Autolyse has many benefits and loosely speaking they include helping the dough to fully hydrate, giving a better flavor and texture to the finished product and also readying the food which  the yeast will feed on, thus optimizing the fermentation process etc. Of course there is much chemistry behind this but I will not get into that here.

4. Kneading –

One can perform hand kneading or machine kneading with a stand mixer. This is done till the dough comes together as a soft, cohesive mass.

5. Bulk Ferment –

The kneaded dough is rolled into a ball and smeared with a bit of oil and left to ferment and rise in a covered container (sometimes if the hydration is high, I also prefer to do around 3 Stretch and Folds aka SnF at intervals of 30 min – 1 hr).

6. Shape the dough and place in loaf pan –

When the dough has increased to around 1.5 times its original volume (around 3 hours in my warm Indian kitchen), it is then shaped and placed in the greased/lined loaf tin. Timings will vary according to several factors like ambient temperature, quality of flour, etc.

In case of this bread, the shaping to incorporate the different colored doughs, is given in the actual recipe.

7. Final rise –

The tin is covered in plastic wrap and set aside till the dough  rises again to nearly double (around 2 hours in my kitchen)

Timings will vary according to several factors like ambient temperature, quality of flour, etc.

8. Preheating oven –

Around 15 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to maximum temperature.

9. Scoring and baking –

Slash or score the dough and bake it in the oven. Timing will depend on individual ovens.

This loaf was not slashed because it had natural vents due to the braiding.

SD Matcha loaf recipe –

Time –

Approximately 11 – 12 hours from start to finish.

Makes – One 8.5×4.5×2.5 inch loaf


For the dough –

1 – Levain – 160 gm – See Notes

2 – All-purpose flour (maida) – 320 gm – See Notes

3 –  Water at room temperature – 130 gm – See Notes

4 –   Salt – 8 gm/1 teaspoon

5 –  Oil/ghee/butter  – 40 gm (I used oil)

6 –  Raw sugar (or any sugar) – 20 gm

7 – Oil for coating the dough – 2 teaspoons

For the color –

Dough 1 – Green matcha powder – 2 teaspoon or as required to give substantial color

Dough 2 – Turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon or as required to give substantial color.

Black sesame seeds – 2 tablespoon

Oil – 1 teaspoon (any neutral oil)

Ingredients for greasing the pan and dusting –

Oil (any neutral type. I used Sunflower oil) – 2 teaspoon

Equipment that I used – 

Kitchen Aid Bowl Lift Stand Mixer

Loaf Pan 8.5×4.5×2.5 inches

You can hand knead it if you are comfortable with wetter dough. You can also use any shape of pan or even bake a free form bread, if you are accustomed to doing so.

Method – 

Refresh your starter a day or two before baking, depending on how neglected it has been.

Prepare the Levain – About 3 hours before making the dough (say 11 am), take 20 gm of the starter and feed it in a 1:4:4 ratio with 80 gm flour + 80 gm water. My starter doubles in 3 hours.

Depending on your ambient conditions, start your levain process according to the time that you want to begin your autolyse.

Perform the float test if you need to confirm if the levain is ready. Drop a teaspoon of levain gently into a glass container of water. If the blob floats for a while and does not sink right away, the levain is ready to be used.

Autolyse the dough – Around 1 – 2 hours (say 12 pm) before the levain is ready, mix 220 gm of maida (APF) with 130 gm water and let it sit covered in a Kitchen Aid mixer bowl or regular bowl. The mix will not be too wet.

Kneading – At around 2 pm, add 160 gm of levain, sugar and 100 gm maida (APF) to the autolyse. Knead for 5 minutes in the Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Add the salt and oil and knead for another 5 minutes till the dough comes together.

Perform hand kneading if you do not have a stand mixer. Knead till the dough comes together as a soft, cohesive mass.

Weigh out the total dough. Mine was around 700 gm. Divide it into 3 parts of 300 gm, 200 gm, 200 gm.

Set aside the 300 gm.

(I have no pictures currently of the coloring and shaping process but I will click and update when I bake this again but you can see a similar process on this post until then – Sourdough Buttermilk Matcha Loaf ).

Take 200 gm and add 2 teaspoon of matcha powder. Mix well by hand or use the stand mixer again for a few minutes till the color is absorbed by the dough. Set this aside.

Take the other 200 gm and add the turmeric powder. Mix well by hand or use the stand mixer again for a few minutes till the color is absorbed by the dough. Set this aside.

Bulk Ferment – Roll the 3 kneaded doughs into balls and smear  with a bit of oil and leave it covered in 3 separate greased bowls.

All the balls should rise to 1.5 times in volume in 3 hours (say 5.30 pm). You can also place them in tall see through containers so that the rise in volume is clearly visible.

Grease the loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Flour the worktop lightly and gently press the 3 doughs into rough rectangles whose length is equal to the length of the loaf pan.

Place the plain dough as the bottom layer. On top of this, place the matcha and then the turmeric rectangle.

Lightly grind the sesame seeds and make a paste with the oil.

Smear the paste on to the topmost rectangle. Now we have 4 colors in total.

Grab the common edge of the dough layers along the width side from the left and fold over into thirds.

Now grab the right side and fold over the entire dough.

Pat or roll gently again into a rectangle of the earlier size.

Cut 3 strips along the length.

Braid the strips gently together, pinching the 2 ends securely.

Place the braid in the loaf tin.

Cover the pan with cling wrap and set it aside till the dough  rises again to nearly double (say 7.30 pm)

Remember it will not rise significantly like with regular commercial yeast.

Around 15 minutes before baking (7.15 pm), preheat the oven to maximum temperature.

Baking time will depend on individual ovens. In my oven I left it at maximum 250 deg c for the first 15 minutes until I saw the top browning. Then I reduced to 200 deg c for another 25 minutes.

Take out the loaf and invert it on a cooling rack. Slice ONLY when completely cool. Enjoy the random patterns that have been produced.

You can eat it plain or have it with whatever your heart and palate desire.

Most SD bread bakers aim to get what is called the ‘ear’ on the boule. My braid serendipitously gave rise to a pair of lips, sexily encrusted with black sesame. Of course I could not resist sticking a cherry into them.

What say? With or without the cherry? 😀

Notes –

The levain quantity I have used, is around 40% of the total flour. The total flour is 400 gm hence the levain is 160 gm.

The maida is 320 gm and is derived from subtracting 80 gm which the levain has, from the total 400 gm in the recipe.

The water is 130 gm, which means a total of 210 gms if you include the 80 gm that is used in the levain.

The hydration (meaning how much water you wish to use) is up to you. But you will have to learn the skill of working with higher hydration dough before increasing the wetness.

I hope you will successfully try this recipe and I would really appreciate if you leave your feedback in the Blog comments.

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About Currylines

A food and travel enthusiast who plays with words
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6 Responses to Matcha Sourdough Loaf

  1. Mona says:

    After bulk ferment And shaping in braid n pitting in bread tin, can i cover n refrigerate overnight for cold ferment? If yes, do i remove from fridge and immediately bake or let it come to room temp before baking?

    • Caroline Radhakrishnan says:

      Hey thanks.
      So i am a Sourdough beginner myself and not an expert but i feel that you can refrigerate the braid and cling wrap the pan.
      The next day i would recommend removing from the fridge and allowing for the final rise, before baking. The rise may take longer than the usual 1 hr because the dough is chilled. But if u do not allow for the rise, then the bread may end up dense. This is what i feel.

  2. Brittany A Gorba says:

    This bread is absolutely STUNNING! Thanks to your fantastic explanation this loaf turned out better than I could have hoped! Such a creative and fun bake. Thanks for posting!

    • Caroline Radhakrishnan says:

      Thank you so much for your feedback. So very glad to hear that your loaf turned out fantastic 🙂

  3. Minal Holkar says:

    Totally smitten and love the colours !!

    I have tried my version called the Southern Sunshine

    Its a Turmeric and white bread and layered with molgapudi, ghee and curry leaves. I used the Tangzhong method for bread though. It smells heavenly. Thanks for putting amazing posts and inspiring everyone.

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