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Candied Jalapeño-Parmesan Sourdough


Earlier this year, when I started on this sourdough journey - read all about that here -, I went way off the deep-end with my add-ins to the bread. Then I backed off and solidified my recipe and my process to get consistent loaves. Now, after months of baking that Ten-Percent Rye Sourdough, I decided to try adding in some goodies once again. With restraint this time!


I decided to fold in a handful of my candied jalapeños with shards of salty parmesan. And I used the Tung Fu Salt from Big Sur Salts for another kick of flavor.

Ingredients makes two boules
  • 200 grams sourdough starter (recently fed)
  • 600 grams warm water + 50 grams warm water
  • 900 grams all-purpose flour + more as needed
  • 100 grams rye flour
  • 20 grams salt (I used the Tung Fu Salt from Big Sur Salts, but use whatever salt you have)
  • 1/3 cup candied jalapeños
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, roughly chopped
  • rice flour for sprinkling in Dutch oven
  • Also needed: banneton proofing baskets or bowls lined with floured tea towels, Dutch ovens

Procedure

Place 200 grams starter in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Pour in 600 grams warm water. Add in the flours. Use your hands to blend everything together so that all of the flour is moistened. Let stand for 40 minutes.

At the end of 40 minutes, pour in another 50 grams of warm water. Add in the 20 grams of salt and gently knead the dough until the water is completely absorbed.

Now I start the folds: rotating 90 degrees four times every thirty minutes for 4 hours. After the first round of folds, I add a few pieces of candied jalapeños and cheese to the dough each time I fold so that the goodies are incorporated throughout the bread.

I run my hand under warm water, grab one side of the dough and pull from underneath, folding it over the top of the ball. Rotate the bowl 90 degrees and repeat. Rotate. Repeat. And a fourth time so that the bowl has completed a full circle. By the end of the 4 hours, the dough should be billowy and increased in volume.

Lightly flour a workspace and use a dough scraper to divide the dough ball in half. Transfer the dough balls to the work surface. Lightly flour the banneton or towel-lined bowl. 

Now I repeat the folds, but with dry hands to shape the boules while creating tension in the top. Keep the floured side of the ball down and fold from top to bottom four times while rotating the dough. This keeps the sticky side inside. 

Flip the ball over and work the dough into a tight round. Let stand for 15 minutes. Repeat three times. After the third shaping, place the dough ball, rounded side down, in the floured banneton.

Now you proof. I typically put the dough in the fridge and leave it there till I'm ready to bake. For these boules, I left them in the fridge for 24 to 72 hours, depending on how quickly they are eating the bread. But we have found that we prefer the sourness that results from a 72-hour proof.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the empty Dutch ovens (bottoms only) into the oven. When the oven reaches temperature - an in-oven thermometer is very, very helpful - let the oven stay at 500 degrees for 30  to 40 minutes.

After the preheating, remove the Dutch ovens and reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. Lightly flour the inside of the ovens with a sprinkling of rice flour. Gently pull the dough away from the sides of the banneton and invert into the Dutch oven.

Score the top with a knife or razor blades. I have even just snipped a few vents into the top with my kitchen shears. Place the lid on the Dutch oven and return the pots carefully to the hot oven. Bake for 35 minutes.

After 35 minutes, carefully remove the lid and return the pots to the oven again. Bake for an additional 30 minutes.

The loaves should be firm and crunchy on the top, golden brown, and feel hollow when the bottom is tapped.  Move the loaves to a wire rack and let cool for at least an hour before slicing!


For this batch, I decided to try my hand at tying off the loaf so that it looked like a pumpkin. 'Tis the season after all though the only thing I could think about was a giant scamorza!

 
The verdict was they needed more add-ins. So, I will up that to 1/2 cup candied jalapeños and 1 cup cheese next time. But I think these loaves have definitely given me the confidence I need to try adding in more flavors to my breads. Stay tuned.

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