A couple of times now, I’ve used or experimented with Middle Eastern flavors in bread recipes:
- Honey Curry Bread
- Pepper Mango Masala Bread
- Raisin Curry Bread
- Turmeric Ginger Sourdough
- Za’atar Bread
Some time ago, I made a recipe with sumac, but didn’t write down the measurements. While perusing the aisles in Fresh Market, I saw a container of sumac and thought I’d revisit the idea. Not only for the flavor, but because purple pretty much rules.
The finished product has a subtle pinkish purple crumb with a fresh, almost fruity, flavor. I might add a bit more sumac next time – just to see what the impact on the flavor would be. And, if I didn’t have currants, I think golden raisins would be a tasty substitute.
Sumac Currant Bread
Pinkish purple crumb with a fresh, almost fruity, flavor.
- 1 scant tablespoon (or one ¼-ounce package) active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ cup warm water about 110 degrees
- 1½ cup warm water about 110 degrees
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup ground sumac
- ½ cup currants
- 4-5 cups unbleached flour
Note: this recipe uses a bread cloche.
In a small bowl, stir yeast and sugar into ½ cup water to soften.
Combine 4 cups of flour, salt, sumac, and currants in a large bowl.
Add the yeast mixture and the rest of the water. Mix well adding more flour or water as necessary.
Turn dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead until you have a smooth, elastic dough.
Put dough into an oiled bowl. Turn to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until doubled, about one hour.
Remove from the bowl, and knead it a few times. Let the dough rest on the counter for about 5 minutes and then shape into a ball.
Place the dough in a well-floured proofing basket, cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.
About 30 minutes before baking, place the cloche base in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.
When ready to bake, take the cloche base out of the oven and put it on the stove. Place a circular cut of parchment paper in the base of the cloche (or sprinkle the base with corn meal or semolina flour). Gently turn the dough onto the cloche base and score the top of the loaf in fancy patterns with a sharp knife.
Place the cloche into the oven. Cover with the cloche lid. Bake for 20 minutes and then turn the temperature down to 400 degrees. Bake for 15 more minutes and then take the cloche lid off. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
The internal temperature of the loaf should be about 190 degrees. Immediately remove bread from the cloche base and cool on a rack.