Oh. My. Lord. You have no idea the taste explosion this bread will cause. Turmeric, ginger, and beet juice sing in perfect harmony on this one.
I woke the other day to see that the gods had been thoughtful enough to send along a snow storm. This is an ancient sign that the gods wish me to spend the day listening to Childish Gambino and baking some sourdough bread.
A little known fact about me… When I go grocery shopping, I linger in certain areas of the produce section looking for items I have never seen before. You know the areas I’m talking about. They have kumquats and star fruits and pomegranates and curious looking roots with vaguely foreign sounding names. Occasionally, I’ll come home with a new item – passion fruit a few weeks back, and recently a quirky little citrus hybrid called an ugli fruit.
On my last trip, I tossed some turmeric and ginger in my cart. Thanks, strange food item section! Turmeric (on the left in the image above) is bright orange behind its skin. Handle with care because it will stain indelibly. The ginger (on the right) is an equally bright yellow. I’m pretty sure I spent 10 minutes just smelling them. They are delightfully and hypnotically pungent.
The recipe calls for minced turmeric and ginger. I used my garlic press and shaved the squirty-out bits (official baker terminology) into the mixing bowl with a knife.
I’ve mentioned before that my family’s favorite bread recipe is the Sesame Cheddar Bread. It has been the winner for so long and by such a large margin that I couldn’t imagine another recipe capturing hearts and tummies like that one. But dang, this recipe was magical. I’m talking send it Hogwarts and give it a wand. I can’t urge you strongly enough. Bake this bread and you will come to realize that sourdough is your super power…
Turmeric Ginger Sourdough
Turmeric, ginger, and beet juice sing in perfect harmony on this one. This may be a new family favorite.
For the Sponge
- ½ cup sourdough starter
- 1 cup warm water about 110 degrees
- 1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
For Dough #1 (regular sourdough)
- ¾ cups warm water about 110 degrees
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 2½-3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
For the Dough #2 (turmeric ginger sourdough)
- ¾ cups warm beet juice about 110 degrees
- 1 teaspoon minced turmeric
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2½-3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
At least 12 hours in advance, combine the starter, water and flour in a large glass or pottery bowl. The sponge will have the consistency of a cake batter. Cover with plastic wrap and let ripen at room temperature for at least 12 hours but no longer than 36 hours.
When ready to make the bread, split the sponge even into two bowls. For dough #1, add the ¾ cups of water, salt and 1½ cups of the flour to the sponge. For dough #2, add the ¾ cups of beet juice, turmeric, ginger, salt and 1½ cups of the flour to the sponge. Beat each vigorously with a dough whisk or heavy-handled spoon for 2 minutes.
Do this for each bowl... gradually add more of the remaining flour, ¼ cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. You will have two distinctly different doughs to knead.
Knead each for 8-10 minutes, add more flour, a little at a time as necessary, until you have a smooth, elastic dough and blisters begin to develop on the surface.
Put each dough into an oiled bowl. Turn to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with tightly woven kitchen towels and let rise at room temperature for about 2 hours.
Turn each dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface and divide it in half. Shape each piece into a ball, cover with a towel, and let rest for 15 minutes.
Flatten each piece of dough into a rectangle shape (about as long on one side as the loaf pan you'll be putting it in). You will have two flattened rectangles of regular sourdough and two of the turmeric ginger sourdough. For variety, lay one of the regular rectangles on top of a turmeric ginger rectangle - and lay the remaining turmeric ginger rectangle on top of the remaining regular rectangle. Roll each rectangle starting on one of the sides that is the width of your pans. You are creating a roll of dough that will have a swirl of the two layers. Place each roll into well-greased loaf pans. Cover each with a towel and let rise for about 1 1/2 hours, or until almost doubled in size.
About 15 minutes before the end of the rising, preheat the oven to 400F.
Put a shallow pan on the bottom shelf of the oven.
Cut lines across the tops of your loaves with a lame, razor blade, or very sharp knife. Cut deep enough that you can see the next layer of dough (makes a nice two-toned effect). Brush the loaves with cold water.
Put 1 cup of ice cubes in the hot pan on the bottom shelf of the oven. Immediately put the bread on the shelf above and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the loaves are lightly browned and sound hollow when tapped or the internal temperature reaches 190F.
Remove from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.