Once you’ve mastered baking a loaf of basic sourdough bread, you might like to start exploring the world of flavored sourdough. This blog aims to show you how and when to add mix-ins to sourdough bread and what makes a delicious addition to sourdough bread.
You can pretty much add any flavor you like to your sourdough. It’s really down to personal preference. You may like to add sweet or savory additions to your sourdough – or if you’re brave a combination of both! One of the craziest sourdough flavor combinations I’ve heard of is lemon zest and white chocolate! It’s on my to try list!
There are very few rules for when to add mix-ins to sourdough bread. There are however a few things to note which may save you from a sourdough disaster!
- consider how wet your additions are – if they are dry (like dried fruit or nuts) you shouldn’t have too many issues. If they are wet – like frozen berries or liquid coffee – you may need to consider how they will affect the overall hydration of your dough and lower the water content to compensate. If you’re adding a powder like raw cacao or even coffee, mix it with the water before you add it to your flour so it’s evenly distributed.
- sugars in your additions will feed the yeasts in your sourdough bread which may speed up your ferment time. You will need to watch your dough a little more carefully once you’ve added your chosen flavors.
Do I Need A Recipe?
There’s no right or wrong answer here. Sometimes a recipe is handy – particularly if the flavor of your sourdough bread requires a different flour ratio or part of the flavoring comes from liquid. This recipe for coffee and maple infused date sourdough is such a recipe. Equally this recipe for pumpkin sourdough uses puree which needs liquid adjustment.
But you can also just use your favorite sourdough recipe and add flavors to that. As a general rule, you’ll want to add a Baker’s percentage of no more than 20% of flavorings vs flour. So if your recipe has 500g of flour, you’ll want to add 100g of your chosen flavorings. This calculation works well with things like olives, dried fruits and nuts, berries. You don’t need to be so exact with herbs and spices.
When Should You Add Flavorings To Your Sourdough?
Generally, any additions to sourdough bread should be made half way through the stretch and fold stage (so around the 3 to 4th fold if you’re doing 6 sets). You want to ensure that the flavors you add to your sourdough bread are evenly distributed through the dough. But dont worry if they don’t spread through your dough when you first add them. By the last set of stretch and folds they should be evenly incorporated.
Additions to sourdough bread made at this stage of the process means that your dough has had enough time for the gluten strands to develop and be strong enough to withstand any inclusions that may tear at their structure. It also means that any air that is knocked out from adding ingredients will have enough time to reform during the bulk ferment stage.
Delicious Flavors To Add To Sourdough Bread
Some of the sweet flavored sourdough additions you could consider mixing through (these amounts are designed to be added to this Basic Sourdough Recipe which has 500g of flour):
Lemon & Blueberry – It’s better to use dried blueberries as they will not interfere with the hydration of your loaf. You can add a few handfuls of blueberries with as much lemon zest as your palette prefers. If you want to take your bread to the next level, you could add a zesty lemon glaze while the bread is still warm. You might like to try this recipe for Maple Blueberry and Sweet Lemon Zest Sourdough Bread – it’s utterly delicious!
Honey Oat Sourdough Bread – this hearty bread is just so good! I’ve included lots of variations in the recipe too so you can find one that suits you and your family’s tastes! Check it out here!
The Best Sourdough Fruit Bread – this delicious sourdough fruit bread is perfect for breakfast or even morning tea. I’ve put together lots of variations too so you’ll never get bored of fruit bread – ever! You’ll find the recipe here.
Easy Pumpkin Sourdough Bread – this fall inspired loaf brings together the sweetness of pumpkin and honey to create a loaf worthy of the most adoring Thanksgiving table. You’ll find lots of delicious variations for this winning bread too. Full recipe here.
Chocolate Chips – use whatever chocolate chips you love! Whether it’s milk, dark or semi sweet. You can add the chocolate chips alone, or add some cocoa powder to the overall bread at the beginning of the bake. This will create a “double chocolate” sourdough loaf. I’ve created a recipe for you to follow for a Chocolate and Walnut Sourdough Loaf that uses raw cacao powder and chocolate chips. You can use it as a basis for any chocolate sourdough combination (I’ve included lots of yummy chocolate flavor suggestions too).
Coffee & Dates – this flavor combination is heaven sent! I have written up a recipe for this one because the dates need to be infused and the coffee changes the water component of the bread. It’s devine! You’ll find all the details here.
Some of the savory flavored sourdough additions you could consider mixing through:
Jalepeno & Cheddar – this is one of the most popular flavor combinations ever! It up to you as to how your add your jalepenos – some people like them sliced, others in a smaller dice. You can add either fresh or pickled. Use whatever cheddar you prefer – you can grate it or cube if. Add 100g of cheddar and as much jalepeno as you can handle! I find 40g of pickled, chopped jalapenos is perfect!
Herb & Cheese – always a classic, try adding an Italian herb mix and some good quality cheese.
Roasted Garlic & Rosemary – you’ll need to lightly roast the garlic in some olive oil for this one. Roast 2 heads of garlic in the oven until they are soft and caramelised. You can pop them out of the head by gently squeezing them. Once they are cooled, add them to your sourdough at the stretch and fold phase with 2 tablespoons of dried rosemary. You can also use fresh rosemary if you prefer. Do not use powdered garlic in your sourdough – it hinders fermentation and you’ll end up with a frisbee!
Feta & Sundried Tomato – any kind of feta will work from soft and creamy Danish feta to more solid Greek style feta. Try to drain the liquid from the sundried tomatoes as much as you can by draining them on some paper towel. You can use the oil they are in – but you’ll need to add it with the water at the beginning of the recipe. It’s an oil, so can be added on top of the water, not instead of.
Bacon & Cheese – you’ll need to dice and cook the bacon before you add it to your sourdough. It’s best to fry it til crunchy and then drain on some paper towel to cool. Add around 50g of bacon with 100g of your favorite cheese during stretch and fold.
Kalamata Olive – Olive bread is such a popular flavor when making sourdough. You can really add any type of olive you like, but for a classic olive loaf, Kalamata olives work best. You’ll need to make sure they are pitted, sliced and well drained before you add them to your dough.
Green chilli and garlic olives could be fun too!
Cheddar & Pickled Onions – another classic flavor combination, this will have your taste buds tingling! Finely dice your pickle before adding it to your dough along with 100g of cheddar.
You really are only limited by your own imagination.
Ready Made Flavors & Seasonings
You might also like to take advantage of pre prepared seasonings. Any kind of seasoning can work with sourdough. Think about your favorite herb blend, salt or seasoning. What combination of seeds do you love? Why not try adding them to the top of your loaf next time?
I also love to add seasoning mixes during the stretch and fold stage so that the flavor is baked into the loaf. Vegan parmesan works really well in this way.
If you’d like to try a simple recipe for sourdough bread, which you can then add the flavors mentioned above to, try this one.
You’ll find some useful tips on improving your oven spring here.
Looking for a seedy multigrain loaf? Check out my easy multigrain sourdough recipe.
You can also join our supportive Facebook Community – Sourdough Starters: For Beginner Bakers of Bread and Sourdough.
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