Pumpkin Sourdough (No Recipe)

Pumpkin Sourdough // Mono + Co Pumpkin Sourdough // Mono + Co Pumpkin Sourdough // Mono + CoPumpkin Sourdough // Mono + CoPumpkin Sourdough // Mono + Co

No recipe because while mixing the dough, I got lost halfway jotting down how much flour I have topped up.  Did I stop after 2 tablespoons? Or was it 3?  But I remember starting the mixture with 270g of flour.  Without adding water, the dough was already wet with liquid from the starter, pumpkin, and honey.  I enjoyed the bread: sweetness from the pumpkin that ends with tangy flavor. Crumb is moist and slightly burnt crust was thin and flavorful.  Definitely worth trying again to find out the amount of flour I added.

Ingredients + steps for my future reference:
+ plain flour, unknown amount
+ 150g fed starter
+ 120g mashed steamed pumpkin
+ 2 tablespoons raw honey
Mix and left to autolyse for 1 hour.
+ 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Knead with mixer until the salt is incorporated into the dough.
+ 18g cold cubed butter
Knead till window pane stage.
Transfer to a covered container and leave in the fridge for 1 day.
Next day, remove from fridge, shape the dough gently into a ball, creating a smooth and stretched outer surface.
Line the bottom of a dutch oven with rice flour.  Place the shaped dough inside, dust surface of dough with rice flour, score the loaf to liking and bake covered for 40 minutes in a preheated oven at 250C.  I made a 30 degree cut to create “ears”.
After 40 minutes, remove the cover and bake for another 20 minutes at 220C.  When done, transfer the bread to a rack to cool completely, at least 1 hour, before slicing or serving.

Pumpkin Sourdough // Mono + Co

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Walnut And Dried Longan Sourdough

Walnut and Dried Longan Sourdough // Mono + CoWalnut and Dried Longan Sourdough // Mono + CoWalnut and Dried Longan Sourdough // Mono + Co

The natural starter rose to more than doubled it’s original volume but I still have balance bread.  What to do when the bread baking schedule cannot catch up with the starter’s feeding schedule?

i. The easiest way is to skip a day of baking.
Discard starter to leave just 1/3 of the weight that you normally need (mine is 150g, so I discard to leave 50g of starter in the container)  for baking, feed it with equal amount of flour and water (mine will be 50g of flour and 50g of water) and leave it in the fridge.  By the time I need it for the next day or the day after, I simply return it to room temperature on the counter and once it rises to double or pass the float test, I will use it to mix the dough.  If the baking break is too long, and the starter does not appear to be active or doubling its volume, 1 or 2 more feedings might be required to reactivate its strength.  To do so, discard to leave  1/3 of the weight of the fed starter required by the bread recipe and feed with flour and water.  Repeat this once or twice a day until the starter regains back its strength.

ii. Make sourdough pizza dough like this.

iii. Make sourdough pancakes or waffles.

iv. I chose to bake a sourdough that requires 2-3 days of long fermentation time so that my bread consumption can catch up with my productive baking timetable.  After using 125g of my 150g fed starter for a Tartine’s walnut sourdough recipe, I feed it with another 20g flour and 20g of water to maintain a 60g starter.  This can then be kept in the fridge or leave it on the counter for next day to be fed for a different bread dough.

For this Tartine’s sourdough, I adapted from here, (I like the timetable he puts up) halved the recipe and added dried longans for sweetness.  Just like my previous Tartine recipe attempt, the dough was too wet to be shaped or handled at my 30C room temperature, so I let it final proof and ferment in its shaggy state in the container without shaping, only to gently gluten stretch it into a boule just before baking and it worked out fine.


TARTINE WALNUT DRIED LONGAN SOURDOUGH

adatped from the perfect loaf

125g fed starter
350g water
500g of plain flour
(original used 50g wholewheat 450g white flour)
10g sea salt 
25g water 
1 cup toasted walnuts 
1/2 cup dried longans **

** In a small bowl, rehydrate the dried longans by covering them with just enough water.  Gently squeeze out excess liquid before adding them to the dough.

In a large mixing bowl, add fed starter to 350g of water and stir with a wooden spoon to mix well.  Next, add plain flour, turn on mixer to knead with a dough hook to form a wet dough.  Cover the bowl and leave this aside for 40 minutes (I left mine to autolyse for 60 minutes.)

Sprinkle sea salt over the dough and pour the remaining 25g water, start the mixer and knead on its lowest speed setting.  The dough by now will appear very stretchable and doesn’t stick to the side of the bowl while the mixer is running.  Stop once the salt and water has appeared to be mixed well into the dough.  Remove bowl from mixer and transfer this to a covered container.  Leave this in the fridge for 1st fermentation.  The original recipe did its bulk rise and turns immediately after this.  I wasn’t in any rush, so I gave the dough a whole day in the fridge.

Next morning, take out the dough from the fridge and do a series of turns 6 times at 30 minutes interval.  No need to bring the dough to room temperature.

Turn 1 : Reach of the dough from the bottom of the bowl and pull up to tuck it to the opposite side of the bowl.  Turn the bowl and repeat for another pull-stretch-tuck action for about 3 more times till one round is completed. Leave this aside for 30 minutes.

Turn 2 : Repeat the same pull-stretch-tuck action, when completed, add the walnuts and rehydrated longans and roughly mix them into the dough with few folding actions.  Leave aside for 30 minutes.

Turn 3 –  6 : Repeat as above.  By the end of the 6th turn, cover the container and put the dough back into the fridge for another overnight retardation.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 250C.  Take out the dough from the fridge and shape the cold dough gently into a ball, careful not to break up too much of the air pockets that has built up inside the dough.  Place the dough inside a floured dutch oven pot.  Sprinkle flour on surface and score, cover the pot and put it into the preheated oven bake for 40 minutes.

After 40 minutes, remove the cover, reduce the oven temperature to 220C and bake for another 30 minutes.

Cook on rack completely for at least 1 hour before slicing.

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Tartine’s Country Bread

Tartine's Country Bread // Mono + Co

This sourdough bread almost didn’t make it to the baking stage as I found it too sticky to shape at room temperature.  After going bulk fermentation overnight and 4 turns at 30-minute intervals to carry out a series of stretch-and-fold action,the dough became more and more sticky as it returned to room temperature.  By the time I had reached the last turn, the wet dough obviously looked like it won’t survive beyond my somewhat still botchy shaping skills.

Tartine's Country Bread // Mono + Co

But my natural starter has been surprising me pleasantly for the past few bakes, so I was curious how this bread will turn out, with a nice shape or not.  Plus the recipe I referred to also bake the bread straight out of the fridge.  So I placed the dough back into the fridge overnight to firm it up again, swiftly removed the entire dough out of the container it while it is cold the next morning, shaped the dough by creating a tight gluten cloak, sprinkled some flour on the surface, created a deep slash before sending it into a preheated oven at 220C for 1 hour.

Tartine's Country Bread // Mono + Co

True enough, my starter did not disappointment me this time either.

Tartine's Country Bread // Mono + Co Tartine's Country Bread // Mono + Co

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Natural Starter Taro Chia Seed Bagel

Natural Starter Taro Chia Seeds Bagels // Mono + Co

I bake bread fervently for two reasons. One. To have control over the ingredients that goes into mine, that means no artificial flavors or unfamiliar additives that I can’t pronounce.  Two.  To avoid packaging, especially the plastic ones from commercial bakeries.  I have taken an extra step to buy as many ingredients as possible without packaging by sourcing them from dry goods stores at wet markets.  I am so glad that I have found plain flour, sold in bulk.  Being the main ingredient of bread, that’s a lot of plastic bags avoided, but there is still no avail for wholemeal flour.

Natural Starter Taro Chia Seeds Bagels // Mono + CoNatural Starter Taro Chia Seeds Bagels // Mono + Co

I am not a great fan of bagels but I am intrigued by that overlapping end that gives bagel its signature handmade look.  Some recipes suggest simply poking a hole through a dough ball and shape it further like a donut.  I found the method of flattening one end of a cylindrically shaped dough and wrap this end around the other end most useful.  For more shaping techniques, check out here and here.  The method I adopted is demonstrated with photos in the recipe section.

Natural Starter Taro Chia Seeds Bagels // Mono + Co

After proofing, the size of the hole became smaller as the dough expanded.  It was reduced further to resemble a belly button after boiling in water before baking.

Natural Starter Taro Chia Seeds Bagels // Mono + Co Natural Starter Taro Chia Seeds Bagels // Mono + Co Natural Starter Taro Chia Seeds Bagels // Mono + Co

I boiled these bagels in a small pot of water with honey added to get these golden brown effect after baking.  As this recipe yields 6 bagels, I boiled them one by one for 1 minute on each side, so that I won’t waste a big pot of water as well as honey, which is expensive.  Alternatively, cheaper malt syrup can be used.


Natural Starter Taro Chia Seed Bagel

160g fed starter
200g plain flour
100g steamed taro, mashed
3 tablespoon milk powder
45g water
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
30g cold butter, cubed
1 tablespoon chia seeds

In a mixer bowl, add fed starter, plain flour, cooled mashed taro, milk powder, and water. Start mixer to knead on its lowest speed with a dough hook until all the ingredients come into a ball.  Stop the mixer and let the dough rest for 15 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the liquid better.

After 15 minutes, sprinkle the sea salt on the dough and start the mixer again to knead for 1-2 minutes before adding cubed butter one by one.  Knead until the dough reaches window pane stage.  Add chia seeds to incorporate.  Stop mixer and leave the dough in the covered mixer bowl to bulk rise at room temperature for 120 – 150 minutes, until the dough expands and passes the poke test, a sure sign that the first fermentation stage is completed.

After the dough has risen to double its volume, punch down the dough to deflate and transfer to a clean worktop.  Sprinkle worktop and palms with flour if the dough is too sticky to handle.  Divide the dough into 6 portions, mine’s around 100g each.

Take one of the dough and roll it on the worktop to get a cylinder shape, about 30cm long.  Using a roller pin, flatten about 5 cm of one end, then join the two ends to make a loop with the dough and overlay the flatten end to wrap the other end.

Natural Starter Taro Chia Seeds Bagels // Mono + CoNatural Starter Taro Chia Seeds Bagels // Mono + CoNatural Starter Taro Chia Seeds Bagels // Mono + Co

Arrange on a baking tray.  Repeat with the rest of the dough balls.  Proof these for an hour.

Fill up 3/4 pot with water, I used my smallest 16 cm diameter one to save water, and add 1 tablespoon of honey.  Bring the water to boil.  Gently pick up a bagel dough, and transfer it into the pot of boiling water, with its top side facing down.  After 1 minute, flip the bagel and continue to cook for a further 1 minute.  Remove the cooked bagel from the pot, and drain on a sieve, before arranging it on a baking pan.

Bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 8 minutes. Turn the tray and bake for a further 7-8 minutes till the surface turns golden brown.

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Natural Starter Pumpkin Pullman Loaf

Natural Starter Pumpkin Loaf // Mono+Co Natural Starter Pumpkin Loaf // Mono+Co

I am so addicted to the height my natural starter gives to all the homemade bread.  The dough might take longer to bulk rise or ferment, but the magic they do once they are in the oven is amazing.

Natural Starter Pumpkin Loaf // Mono+Co

I sprinkled a mixture of white + black sesame seeds and slashed the loaf top lengthwise for decorative effect because I know the natural starter will create an oven spring that gives the loaf a beautiful split top look.  And I was not disappointed.

Natural Starter Pumpkin Loaf // Mono+Co Natural Starter Pumpkin Loaf // Mono+CoNatural Starter Pumpkin Loaf // Mono+CoNatural Starter Pumpkin Loaf // Mono+Co


NATURAL STARTER PUMPKIN PULLMAN LOAF


150g fed starter **
245g plain flour
100g steamed pumpkin
2 tablespoons brown sugar
17g water
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
20g cold butter, cubed
1 tablespoon black + white sesame seeds

** I used a starter made from raisin yeast.

In a mixer bowl, add the starter, plain flour, cooled and mashed pumpkin, and brown sugar.  Start mixer to knead on its lowest speed with a dough hook, and add water in a trickle until a dough ball is formed.  You might not use up all the water or you might need more, depending on the hydration level of the ingredients, especially with pumpkin.  Stop the mixer and let the dough rest for 15 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the liquid better.

After 15 minutes, sprinkle the sea salt on the dough and start the mixer again to knead for 1-2 minutes before adding cubed butter one by one.  Knead until the dough reaches window pane stage.  Stop mixer and leave the dough to bulk rise at room temperature for 120 – 150 minutes, until the dough expands and passes the poke test, a sure sign that the first fermentation is completed.

After the dough has risen to double its volume, punch down the dough to deflate and transfer to a clean work top.  Sprinkle worktop and palms with flour if the dough is too sticky to handle.

Flatten the dough with a rolling pin to push out air bubbles trapped inside during the bulk rise stage.  Shape the dough into a long roll that fits inside a Pullman tin, mist the top of the dough with some water, and sprinkle black and white sesame seed mix on top evenly.  Then place the dough in the tin and proof for another 120 – 150 minutes, till the bread height rise to reach the top of the tin.  Make a deep slash across the top of the dough, lengthwise, before baking in a preheated oven at 200C for 25 minutes.

Remove bread from tin immediately after baking and cool completely on a rack before slicing or serving.

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Natural Starter Walnut Boule : Overnight Fermentation

Natural Starter Walnut Boulet // Mono + Co

This homemade bread is by far my best attempt to use ingredients that I can purchase sans the packaging.  The dry goods stores in wet markets and Victoria Wholesale Center are my best bet for sources of bulk food. I simply plan in advance to know how many reusable containers or bags to bring along.  I buy plain flour, brown sugar and walnuts packed in my own containers.

The best part about buying from these unofficial bulk stores is that I can buy as little as I need, I usually don’t require that much.  Thanks to the flexibility, for example: I can purchase just enough dried Chrysanthemum to make a day’s supply of Chrysanthemum tea, without the need for storing the unused portion.

Natural Starter Walnut Boulet // Mono + Co

Another important ingredient that I have been making my own is this natural yeast starter.  This also helped me to do away with packaging from the instant dry yeast.  Simply feed it with an equal amount of flour and water, it will actively multiply itself in the next few hours and I will have enough to bake a bread and some balance that I can keep feeding subsequently to maintain a continuous supply of natural starter for homemade bread.

Natural Starter Walnut Boulet // Mono + Co

Once the starter doubles its volume and passes a float test (see photo, above), it can be added to a favorite bread recipe in place of instant yeast.

Natural Starter Walnut Boulet // Mono + Co  Natural Starter Walnut Boulet // Mono + Co Natural Starter Walnut Boulet // Mono + Co


Walnut Boule

160g fed starter **
295g plain flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
50g water
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
25g cold butter, cubed
75g walnut, chopped roughly

** I used a starter made from raisin yeast.

In a mixer bowl, add the starter, plain flour, and brown sugar.  Start mixer to knead on its lowest speed with a dough hook, and add water in a trickle until a dough ball is formed.  You might not use up all the water or you might need more, depending on the hydration level of the ingredients.  Stop the mixer and let the dough rest for 15 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the liquid better.

After 15 minutes, sprinkle the sea salt on the dough and start the mixer again to knead for 1-2 minute before adding cubed butter one by one.  Knead until the dough reaches window pane stage and add chopped walnuts to mix.  Stop mixer and transfer the dough into a covered container, leave this in the fridge overnight for its first fermentation.

Take out the container from the fridge and leave it on the counter for 2 hours to return the temperature of the dough to room temperature, it will expand its volume at the same time.  Transfer the dough a floured worktop and do a stretch and fold step like this.  Sprinkle worktop and palms with more flour if the dough is too sticky to handle.  Leave the dough aside, covered, for 1 hour.

Shape the dough into a boule like this.  I arrange it on a floured baking tray and leave it to proof for one last time for 2 hours inside the oven.

When ready to bake, take out the bread from the oven, and preheat the oven to 220C.

Sprinkle a coat of flour, then make a few slashes on the surface with a sharp knife just before sending the bread into a preheated oven to bake for 35-40 minutes.  I also place a small metal cup with 3 cubes of ice at the corner of the baking tray to create a “steaming effect” during the first few minutes of baking.

Cool on rack completely before slicing to serve.

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Natural Starter Wolfberry Taro Loaf

Natural Starter Wolfberry Taro Loaf // Mono +Co

Ideas continued to flow as I rummaged through the fridge, looking for natural food additives for my next homemade bread recipe creation.  Then I saw a jar of wolfberries sitting next to my sesame seeds, and other items that I like to add to my vegetable stir fries.  It’s been quite some time since I last restock on this powerful anti-oxidant fruit, so I know I haven’t been eating my wolfberries as often as I should.  After all, it is a well-known ingredient that is said to improve vision.  Gosh, I wish I could make my kids eat more of this too.

So after putting aside a handful that I will be snacking on after dinner, I have about 20g of the berries to be added to my bread recipe.  I soak them till soft with 35g of filtered water, then I whizz them with a hand blender into a bright orange slurry mixture, which explains the color of the bread.

Now I have one bread recipe that is good for the eyes, naturally enriched, no less.

Natural Starter Wolfberry Taro Loaf // Mono +CoNatural Starter Wolfberry Taro Loaf // Mono +Co  Natural Starter Wolfberry Taro Loaf // Mono +Co


Wolfberry Taro Loaf

160g fed starter **
265g plain flour
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
100g mashed taro
20g wolfberries
65g water ***
20g cold butter, cubed

** I used a starter made from raisin yeast.

*** Use 35g of the water to soak the wolfberries till they are soft, then blend into mixture.  Remaining 30g to be used at the kneading stage.

In a mixer bowl, add the starter, plain flour, raw sugar, sea salt, mashed taro, and blended wolfberries.  Start mixer to knead on lowest speed with a dough hook.

Slowly add the remaining water until the ingredients come into a ball.  You might not use up all the water or you might need more, depending on the hydration level of the ingredients.  Once a dough ball is formed, stop the mixer and let the dough rest for 15 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the liquid better.

Start the mixer again to knead for 1 minute before adding cubed butter one by one, and knead until the dough reaches window pane stage.  Stop mixer and leave the dough to bulk rise at room temperature for 120 – 150 minutes, until the dough expands and passes the poke test, a sure sign that the first fermentation is completed.

After the dough has risen to double its volume, punch down the dough to deflate and transfer to a clean work top.  Sprinkle worktop and palms with flour if the dough is too sticky to handle.

Divide the dough into 3 equal portions.  Shape each portion like this.  Arrange them in a well greased Pullman bread tin, seam side downwards.  Leave this aside to proof for 120-150 minutes, covered.

Preheat oven to 160C, and bake the bread for 35 minutes.

When done, remove bread from tin immediately and place on a rack to cool completely.

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Natural Starter Country Loaf

Natural Starter Country Loaf // Mono + Co

If there is anything that I have too much of in the fridge right now, it will be my raisin yeast starter.  About 200g of it in 3 different glass containers, resting in deep slumber at the back of my chiller.  I am slowly cleaning out one of the bottles with a schedule that yield 160g of active starter in 2 days.

Natural Starter Country Loaf // Mono + CoNatural Starter Country Loaf // Mono + Co

My chilled starter, I reckoned to be pretty healthy, gets all ready by 2nd feeding.  The timetable goes roughly like this:

Day 1 / 7am
start with : 20g of dormant/chilled starter + a clean glass/ clear plastic jar with at least 300ml capacity
add : 20g filtered water and 20g plain flour
stir : with a clean wooden chopstick to mix well until no visible traces of white flour

set aside : at room temperature (28-30C) for 24 hours

Day 2/ 7am
add :  50g filtered water and 50g plain flour to the 60g overnight starter
stir : with a clean wooden to mix well until no visible traces of white flour
set aside : at room temperature, ready to use when the starter rise to double/triple its volume, mine took around 4-5 hours
** After emptying the bottle, I do not wash it.
Instead, I reuse it to start the steps all over again, hoping that the activated starter remains in the unwashed bottle helps to kickstart the next batch making them stronger and faster to rise.

Proceed to bake your favorite bread.  I used mine to bake a country loaf recipe from this book,  but lend a slow fermentation technique from this blog to bake the end product.

Natural Starter Country Loaf // Mono + Co


Natural Starter Country Loaf

adapted a recipe from this book
295g plain flour
160g fed starter
6g salt
183g cold water

In a mixer bowl, add plain flour, ripe starter and salt.  Start the mixer to knead the ingredients on its lowest speed. Pour cold water slowly into the mixer bowl with the mixer running.

Continue to knead for 5 minuted, until the dough looks smooth.  This dough will be sticky.  Transfer to a covered container, and leave this in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Return the dough to room temperature and let it rise to double its volume, this will take about 3-5 hours depending on room temperature.

Transfer the dough onto a generously floured worktop.  With flour hands and a bench scraper, stretch and fold the dough into a rectangle shape like this.  Stretch and fold the dough 2 times.  Cover the dough with an inverted large mixing bowl or large plastic container and let it rest for 1 hour on the worktop. Repeat the stretch and fold steps again after 1 hour, and let it rest for a further hour.

Shape the dough and transfer to a well floured baking tray.  Cover and let rise for 2-3 hours.  I divided my dough into 2 equal portions and shaped them into long loaves.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 200C.  Make a few slashes on the surface with a sharp knife just before sending the bread into a preheated oven to bake for 35-40 minutes.

Cool on rack completely before slicing to serve.

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Passion Fruit Walnut Taro Country Bread

Passion Fruit Walnut Taro Country Bread // Mono + Co

Something I tried out after noticing that my natural starter is getting stronger and more predictable.  Taro and passion fruit pulp are added to my usual taro bread recipe, skipping the butter.

Passion Fruit Walnut Taro Country Bread // Mono + Co Passion Fruit Walnut Taro Country Bread // Mono + Co

Sometimes things progress so slow that I can’t tell whether it has risen or not after 2 hours.  A photo taken before and after helped a lot.

Passion Fruit Walnut Taro Country Bread // Mono + Co

Stretch and fold is one of my favorite part of bread making.

Passion Fruit Walnut Taro Country Bread // Mono + Co

While slashing is the least….

Passion Fruit Walnut Taro Country Bread // Mono + Co

The result is a loaf with thin crackling crust and soft interior.

Have fun trying this recipe!


Passion Fruit + Walnut + Taro Country Loaf

160g natural starter
235g bread flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
85g mashed taro
pulps from 2 passion fruits
50g beaten egg
50g walnut, chopped roughly

In a mixer bowl, combine natural starter, bread flour, sea salt, mashed taro, passion fruit pulp and beaten egg.  Knead with a dough hook, the ingredients should come into a dough ball without any water added.  If it doesn’t, slowly add some water, spoon by spoon, till a ball is formed.  Stop the mixer and leave the dough to rest for 15 minutes. Knead with a dough hook until window pane stage.

After 15 minutes, start the mixer again and knead until window pane stage.  Remove bowl from mixer, and let the dough bulk rise for 2-3 hours, till the dough rise to double its volume.

Transfer the dough to a clean work top.  Sprinkle worktop and palms with flour if the dough is too sticky to handle.

Pour in the chopped walnuts. Stretch and fold the dough to incorporate the walnut into the dough, and firming up the dough at the same time.  I refer to this video all the time, demonstrating the stretch and fold method. Then cover the dough to rest for 60 minutes.  Repeat the stretch and fold + 60-minute resting time one more time.

Shape the dough this way, and place it on a floured tray or banneton and let it rise for about 2 hours.

When ready to bake, make a slash in the center with a sharp knife before placing it in a preheated oven at 200C, and bake for 35 minutes.  I created “steam” by placing my smallest ramekin with some ice cubes in the oven.

When done, remove bread from oven and place on a rack to cool completely before slicing.

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