Clementine Sultana Earl Grey Tea Sourdough
Back in the first few days of last December I was craving for some sweet-but-not-too-rich bread so I searched around the Internet and found several sweet ideas with citrus & Earl Grey twist.
This bread is based principally on this recipe and inspired by citrus idea of this. I skipped the spice all together because I don’t like cinnamon but would make the exception for freshly ground nutmeg in some baked goods. However, no spice needs to be here for I want to see how the Bergamot fragrance of this King of Earl Grey perform even among more citrus juice, pulp and zest of Clementine.
For that time of the year I had a choice between glowing-hue Tangelo or Clementine and I chose the latter simply because it has less pith; but still thought about how that deep reddish orange-y color of Tangelo would look in the bread. I would try other citrus such as orange or blood orange when they are in season.
One more thing, I had a large bag of golden raisins with Stollen in mind but was glad to use it here first in rehearsing for more sweets in the coming holidays and to fulfill my yearning for sweet bread. Not to limit myself there I also had Manuka honey to spread on the slices even before the bread was created. Talk about intense desire or had I waited a bit too long? I had all these flavors dancing in my head for a some time while mixing the dough and waiting for its two fermentations.
I was aiming for a fairly wet dough so increased the water a little to get the 72% hydration for the overall dough –that accounted for just the flours, water and starter–. All other liquid such as agave nectar and citrus juice were to moisten the raisins which no doubt would have absorbed some liquid in the dough to stay moist after being baked. If you were to make this bread in your kitchen, you’ll need to adjust the liquid and be able to read, touch and feel the dough to get it to the desired state of medium gluten development.
The starter was vigorously strong because I had been religiously feeding it twice a day during the 8 weeks back then since its birth (not a small task because it was dully tedious after a while so it went into cold storage ever since), the hydration seemed okay, the dough was kneaded long enough to reach the required gluten development, the shaping went well, the steam & temperature were properly applied because the crust’s color proudly proved it so… and yet this bread did not have an open crumb, so read further to find out why.
Let’s make this bread and see how it turns out.
Clementine Sultana Earl Grey Tea Sourdough
- 200 g vigorous 100%- hydration white starter, refreshed at least 2 times.
- 500 g unbleached wheat flour (50% bread flour, 50% all-purpose flour)
- 330 g water
- 20 g agave nectar
- 9 g sea salt
- 150 g Clementine, blitzed up, skin and all, in a food processor
- 1 Tablespoon Earl Grey Tea (loose leaves)
- 200 g sultana (40%) ; I used golden Thompson Seedless raisin
Over all dough hydration is, give or take, about 72%,
How I do it
1. Boil 125 g water, pour over the tea and leave it to infuse. Reserve the moistened tea leaves and cool off the [liquid] tea .
2. In a large mixing bowl mix the flours; then add the starter. Loosen the clinging starter with the rest of the water.
3. Pour this water, the [cool] tea, and the moistened tea leaves into the mixing bowl. Mix until hydrated. Let autolyse for 30 minutes.
4. Add the salt and agave nectar into the dough and knead well in a mixer, about 5 minutes. Your mixer mileage might vary.
5. Add in the blitzed-up Clementine and continue mixing until the dough reaches medium-gluten development, another 3-5 minutes.
6. First fermentation – Cover the dough with saran wrap and let it proof at room temperature 72° - 75° F, about 3 hours.
7. At the end of the first proofing period, knead the fruit into the dough.
8. Shape dough into a batard and place it, seam side up, on a floured linen-lined basket or banneton and sprinkle some flour on it.
9. Cover it well with saran wrap, put the whole thing in a large plastic bag (white-colored trash bag works really well here) and place it in the fridge overnight.
Note: I wanted to bake the loaf on the same day so left it proof in the oven crack open with the appliance light turn on to get close to room temperature, about 4 hours.
10. The next morning, preheat oven and baking tiles to 475° F for at least 30 minutes. Prepare steam.
11. Take the loaf straight out of the fridge, turn it out on an inverted baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Alternatively, turn it out on a lightly floured peel if you have one.
12. Slash a single cut from one end to the other, holding the blade at about 30 degrees to create a flap over the dough. This will result in a beautifully open ‘grigne’ and nice ear.
13. Load the loaf on parchment onto baking tiles; turn the oven down to 450° F, bake with steam for the first 15-18 minutes.
14. Turn down the oven to 360 ° F, remove the parchment and bake, without steam, for a further 30 minutes. Halfway through, turn the loaf 180 degrees.
15. Turn off the oven, crack the door open and leave the loaf in for a further 5 minutes.
16. Cool off completely on rack. Slice it. Enjoy.
This post is featured in this week’s Yeast Spotting.
Lesson Learned & Notes to Self:
I could not wait to bake it the next day so skipped the delayed fermentation in the fridge, and prepared the loaf to bake that evening even when it was still quite doughy –not quite expanded & filled with bubbles nor passed the finger test– [first] sigh!
To make the matter worse, when it came to slashing the dough my mind went totally blank as I recalled (that’s what happened when one did not practice bread making for a period of 365 days or more) and so the utility blade not only went directly straight a perfect 90 degrees onto the dough’s surface but also with quite a deep, about a half-inch, cut –see picture below– [second] sigh!
What to do at this “point of no return” nor avail redemption but to quickly put the loaf in the oven, loaded the steam, shut the oven door closed and hoped for the best.
The loaf did turn out okay appearance-wise. I am thankful that the hot steam definitely brought about some sort of oven spring to create that beautiful “grigne” and deep mahogany color for the crust.
Things to remember for the next loaf. Yes, I’ll make this bread again:
1. This is sourdough then allow the loaf to rise to its fullness no matter how long it would take, well, within reason. You can wait to bake the next day if need be. Light & filled with bubbles not doughy loaf before it goes into the oven.
2. Take the time to mentally go over how you’re going to slash the loaf.
3. Hold the blade at an angle 20-25 degrees & give a determined cut to create a flap-over-the-dough slash; and don’t be too emotional since it’s only bread!
The bread tastes awesome by the way with a dash of Manuka Honey. Enjoy!