Sourdough Matcha Loaf with Buttermilk

Those of you who have seen my earlier Sourdough Matcha loaf will remember its gorgeous and colorful pattern, which made me do the happy dance. Somehow natural colors and me do not have a joyful history, with most of the colors fading on baking or application of heat.

The Assamese matcha tea powder that I had recently obtained from a friend, was likewise not a very deep green but did lend a grey green kind of hue to the bread, which was better than nothing of course. And coupled with the trustworthy and fail proof turmeric, it actually created a sufficiently eye catching pattern.

An excess of buttermilk from my weekly churning, made me want to repeat the experiment by replacing the water in the earlier recipe.

So this Sourdough (SD) Buttermilk braided bread loaf is the result of that trial. Hardly different from its ‘mother’ recipe, it nevertheless warrants a blog post of its own, so that I can keep the instructions exclusive to this bread and make it easier for those who want to try it out.

And more importantly, this time I have clicked step by step pictures of the process, since I failed to do so with the earlier bread.

Isn’t she pretty?

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 –

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.

I have been using my Kitchen Aid stand mixer to knead the dough for most of my loaves so far and I find it quite convenient. But I am sure that same can be achieved by hand too, for those who do not have the machine.

Since I am using natural colors, 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.

The process – 

The process is almost identical to my original recipe, with only a few changes. I used buttermilk instead of water and also increased the hydration a bit.

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, one can use even 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 2 – 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 Buttermilk loaf recipe –

Time –

Approximately 11 – 12 hours from start to finish.

Makes – One 8.5×4.5×2.5 inch loaf

INGREDIENTS –

For the dough –

1 – Levain – 160 gm – See Notes

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

3 –  Buttermilk at room temperature – 150 gm – See Notes

4 –   Salt – 6 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, 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 hour before the levain is ready, mix 220 gm of maida (APF) with 150 gm buttermilk 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. Divide it into 3 equal parts. Mine were approximately 200 gm each.

Take one part 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.

Lightly grind the black sesame seeds and make a paste with the oil. Divide this into 2 parts. Keep one part aside. Add the other part of the remaining dough and 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 (or depending on your variables). 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 turmeric dough as the bottom layer. On top of this, place the sesame dough and then the turmeric rectangle.

Smear the remaining sesame 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. Make the length equal to the length of the tin.

Place the braid in the loaf tin.

Cover the pan with cling wrap. At this point you can opt to chill it overnight in the fridge or set it aside right away till the dough  rises again to nearly double (approximately 1- 2 hours).

If you opt to refrigerate, then the next day when you take it out, allow it to come to room temperature and rise. It may take a bit longer than the fresh dough due to refrigeration.

Remember that Sourdough breads do not usually rise significantly like with regular commercial yeast breads.

Around 15 minutes before baking, 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.

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 liquid is 150 gm, which means a total of 230 gms if you include the 80 gm that is used in the levain.

The hydration (meaning how much liquid 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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Print Recipe
Sourdough Matcha Buttermilk loaf
A dramatic marbled matcha, turmeric and black sesame Sourdough marbled loaf made with buttermilk.
Instructions
  1. Refresh your starter a day or two before baking, depending on how neglected it has been.
  2. Prepare the Levain – About 3 hours before making the dough, 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.
  3. Depending on your ambient conditions, start your levain process according to the time that you want to begin your autolyse.
  4. 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.
  5. Autolyse the dough – Around 1 hour before the levain is ready, mix 220 gm of maida (APF) with 150 gm buttermilk and let it sit covered in a Kitchen Aid mixer bowl or regular bowl. The mix will not be too wet.
  6. 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.
  7. Perform hand kneading if you do not have a stand mixer. Knead till the dough comes together as a soft, cohesive mass.
  8. Weigh out the total dough. Divide it into 3 equal parts. Mine were approximately 200 gm each.
  9. Take one part 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Lightly grind the black sesame seeds and make a paste with the oil. Divide this into 2 parts. Keep one part aside. Add the other part of the remaining dough and 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.
  12. 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.
  13. All the balls should rise to 1.5 times in volume in 3 hours (or depending on your variables). You can also place them in tall see through containers so that the rise in volume is clearly visible.
  14. Grease the loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  15. Flour the worktop lightly and gently press the 3 doughs into rough rectangles whose length is equal to the length of the loaf pan.
  16. Place the turmeric dough as the bottom layer. On top of this, place the sesame dough and then the turmeric rectangle.
  17. Smear the remaining sesame paste on to the topmost rectangle. Now we have 4 colors in total.
  18. Grab the common edge of the dough layers along the width side from the left and fold over into thirds.
  19. Now grab the right side and fold over the entire dough.
  20. Pat or roll gently again into a rectangle of the earlier size.
  21. Cut 3 strips along the length.
  22. Braid the strips gently together, pinching the 2 ends securely.
  23. Place the braid in the loaf tin.
  24. Cover the pan with cling wrap. At this point you can opt to chill it overnight in the fridge or set it aside right away till the dough rises again to nearly double (approximately 1- 2 hours). If you opt to refrigerate, then the next day when you take it out, allow it to come to room temperature and rise. It may take a bit longer than the fresh dough due to refrigeration. Remember that Sourdough breads do not usually rise significantly like with regular commercial yeast breads.
  25. Around 15 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to maximum temperature.
  26. 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.
  27. Take out the loaf and invert it on a cooling rack. Slice ONLY when completely cool. Enjoy the random patterns that have been produced.
  28. You can eat it plain or have it with whatever your heart and palate desire.
Recipe 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 liquid is 150 gm, which means a total of 230 gms if you include the 80 gm that is used in the levain.

The hydration (meaning how much liquid 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.

 

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