If you’ve mastered a basic sourdough loaf, it’s time to add mix-ins to your bread dough; here are some specific recipes for sweet and savory sourdough add-ins, and tips for striking out on your own. You’ve been using your copious spare time to perfect your sourdough recipe and technique. But now that your gluten is developed and you’re getting a lovely ear…what’s next?
Adding in herbs, spices, and other fillings can be an exciting way to add variety to your standard wild yeast loaf.
Before you go throwing stuff in willy nilly, there are a couple things to keep in mind:
Keep It Simple
Too much of a good thing can weigh down the bread, and the flavor impact is diluted. I recommend you keep toppings small (no bigger than a standard chocolate chip), and I’ve found that two to three elements are enough. Aim for about 20 percent of your total weight in baker’s percentage (so dough weighing 500 grams would have around 100 grams total add-ins).
Ingredients that are too wet can impact your dough, so make adjustments to the amount of liquid in your original mix as necessary, or better yet, dry all add-ins thoroughly.
There are two main methods for incorporating ingredients and maximizing flavor:
Bulk Rise Add-Ins
For my cinnamon raisin swirl bread, I like the raisins to be distributed throughout, so I add them during the early stages of bulk (after the first fold). This is also an excellent method for other chopped fruit, chocolate chips, or nuts. If adding herbs (dry or fresh) into your dough, make sure they are diced well to avoid woody or gritty textures.
Swirling in Additional Ingredients
Another way to get creative is to swirl an ingredient into your bread before proofing. After the bulk rise, stretch out your dough and gently cover the surface with your topping (like cinnamon and sugar or pieces of cheese spread out well). Roll the bread up jelly-roll style, and place in your banneton for proofing.
Now you have the theory, let’s get baking! Here are a few flavor combinations that will bring new life to your old sourdough baking rotation.
Note: These ingredient amounts assume a loaf with 500 grams of flour—for bigger or smaller recipes, please adjust proportionally.
Jalapeño Cheddar Sourdough
Chop 60 grams of pickled jalapeño peppers and 40 grams of finely diced mild cheddar cheese (or use shredded). When ready to proof the dough, stretch it out and sprinkle the toppings over the surface. Gently roll up to incorporate fillings and proof and bake as usual.
If peppers aren’t your thing, you can leave them out and go for cheesy bread.
Sun-Dried Tomato and Feta Sourdough
This combo brings the richness of focaccia together with the lovely texture of sourdough. If using oil-packed tomatoes, be sure to dry them completely.
When ready to proof, swirl in 40 grams of finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes and 60 grams of feta (blotted dry if in brine) and sprinkle with a little dried oregano if desired.
Candy Bar Inspired Coconut and Dark Chocolate Sourdough
Coconut is divisive, and nobody likes it in my house except me, which means more for me, for a change.
In a dry frying pan, toast 40 grams of flaked, sweetened coconut until golden; allow to cool. Add 60 grams of dark chocolate chips after the second fold of the bulk rise and incorporate the coconut flakes with the swirl method before proofing.
Olive, Thyme, Lemon, & Parmesan Sourdough
The lemon adds a surprising kick to this bread, and the olives and parmesan are salty and creamy.
Add 45 grams of chopped olives, 2 teaspoons of crushed dried thyme, 2 teaspoons of grated lemon peel, and 30 grams of grated parmesan into the bulk dough mix.
Classic Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough
This bread makes your home smell amazing, and you’ll come back to this classic time and time again.
Mix 75 grams of raisins with a splash of vanilla and a tablespoon of water. Microwave for 20 seconds, add ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, stir, and cool before adding it into the dough for the bulk rise. When ready to proof, mix 2 teaspoons of cinnamon with 6 teaspoons of white sugar, and then generously sprinkle on the dough and roll up to create the swirl.
Amy’s Apricot and White Chocolate Sourdough
My favorite neighborhood candy shop, Amy’s Candy Bar, is always an inspiration for flavors, and this combination comes directly from them. It’s just a little sweet and amusing because the white chocolate chips melt gently into the bread, and the apricots are like nuggets of sunshine.
Measure and chop 50 grams of dried apricots; add a dash of vanilla and a tablespoon of water, stir, and microwave for 20 seconds. Stir again, and when cooled, use this mixture and 50 grams of white chocolate chips to swirl into your bread before proofing.