This festive loaf is perfect for sharing with not-quite-convinced-about-sourdough friends. Its colour, texture, and bitter-sweet flavours make it a real delight for the senses. And despite it’s 6 hour + fermentation time, it doesn’t carry a noticeable tang. Enjoy!
You will need
- 150g bubbly sourdough starter
- 500g water
- 750g white spelt flour*
- 60g cocoa powder
- 150g dried cranberries
- 100g roasted pistachio nuts
- 100g dark chocolate, chopped
- 10g sea salt
Makes 2 loaves
* Wheat flour can also be used, just increase the amount of water that you use slightly.
Combine sourdough starter, water, flour and cocoa in a bowl and mix until it comes together into a shaggy dough. Rest for 15 minutes, then add salt and kneading for a few minutes until the ingredients are all worked in and dough becomes smooth and elastic. If it is too wet or dry at this point (the dough should feel tacky but be more interested in sticking to itself than to your hand) add more flour or water gradually, rest and knead again. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and let rise for 4-6 hours.
Tip dough onto a lightly floured work surface, divide into two, and stretch the dough gently into a rectangle (you don’t want to flatten out all the lovely air bubbles). Sprinkle the pistachios, cranberries and chocolate over the top, and press them into the dough lightly. Fold the dough long-ways into thirds, then draw the two ends together, rolling the dough to seal the folds. Place in a banneton or loaf tin, mist with water or cover with a damp tea towel, and let rise for another 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees. Score the loaf and place into hot oven. After 10 minutes turn the heat down to 180 degrees, then bake for a further 20-25 minutes. Test to see if the loaf is done by tapping on its underside. If it doesn’t sound hollow, return to the oven for a further 10 minutes. Allow to cool before slicing.
Adapted from a recipe by Yoke Mardewi.
Folks generally don’t need much encouragement to dig into this loaf(!), and I often find little hands stealing slices as fast as I cut them. However, if you’d like it dress it up a bit, I can tell you that cream cheese or a nice brie really sets this bread off. My family also enjoys it toasted with butter melting into it, sometimes accompanied by a dollop of berry jam.