Sourdough Marble Loaf

Over at the Home Maker’s Forum, some of us have been busy sharing our sourdough baking adventures.  It has been a lot of fun, although at times the difficulty of baking with something unpredictable becomes quite evident.  We pummel on regardless — after all, nobody ever said that baking bread was easy!  There is lots to learn and so many things worth trying.

Nanna Chel of Going Grey and Slightly Green has brought a blog to my attention and I am really enjoying it.  It is called Home Joys, and in it, Gina writes about her interesting life raising six children and being active at their Church along with her minister husband.  I am always amazed at people who live this way.  She has also inspired me to make this loaf today — a Sourdough Marble Loaf, adapted from Home Joys’ Soft Rye Sourdough Bread.

Sourdough Marble Loaf

Makes 1 large loaf (baked in a 1-1/2 lb bread tin)

For the sponge, mix the following ingredients the night before baking (I mixed mine in the mixer bowl with a dough hook at about 4pm on Sunday):

220 grams light rye sourdough starter*

225 grams filtered water

66 grams light rye flour

78 grams wholemeal (wheat) flour

*My starter is kept in the fridge and maintained at 100% hydration, meaning, fed with equal weights of light rye flour and filtered water.  On this particular occasion, the starter had just been fed roughly 24 hours before (Saturday afternoon) and placed back in the fridge immediately.

The next morning when the sponge is bubbly, add the following ingredients straight into the mixer bowl (I mixed mine at 8am):

70 grams wholemeal spelt flour

78 grams baker’s (bread or unbleached white) flour

18 grams olive oil

35 grams honey

13 grams powdered milk

Leave the dough for about 30 minutes to autolyse.  In my case, I had to rush for school drop-off and didn’t get back until an hour later.  Divide the dough into two bowls (about 380 grams of dough per bowl) and mix the following:

Dough partitioned; more ingredients added and kneaded in. Ready for the first rise in separate, slightly oiled bowls.

To bowl #1 (light dough):

6 grams gluten flour (optional)

3 grams fine salt

80 grams baker’s (bread or unbleached white) flour, holding off on the last 20 grams and only adding enough of it to make the dough come together into a ball

Knead the dough until it is smooth and let it rise in a slightly oiled bowl.
To bowl #2 (dark dough):

6 grams gluten flour (optional)

3 grams fine salt

30 grams unsweetened cocoa powder

50 grams baker’s (bread or unbleached white) flour, holding off on the last 20 grams and only adding enough of it to make the dough come together into a ball

Knead the dough until it is smooth and let it rise in a slightly oiled bowl.
Notes (added 10-May-2017):  With some flours, more might be needed until the dough comes into a ball.  Keep working slightly more flour in the first minutes of kneading, until the dough just clumps into a ball, while still being slightly sticky.  With some trials I have done using flour from different sources, I have needed to add as much as 40 grams more.

When the dough balls have roughly doubled in size (it took about 4.5 hours for me, but sometimes it could take up to 8 hours), the loaf is ready to be shaped.

On a lightly floured board, gently roll out the light dough into a rectangle about 8 inches x 10 inches. Place the dark dough in the centre and proceed to roll it out gently on top. Roll the dough up into a log about 10 inches long.
Pinch the ends to seal, and continue to roll the log until it is twice the length of the baking tin. Fold the log in half.
Twist the halves together and pinch their ends together to seal.
Lay the log gently inside the tin and fold the ends underneath. Allow the dough to proof until roughly double in size.
I used the oven’s residual heat from a roast, so it took only 1.5 hrs for the proof.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and brush the top of the loaf with milk. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow. I used a thermometer for this loaf and took it out when the temperature was about 90 degrees Celsius. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Despite the addition of cocoa powder, the loaf isn’t sweet and has nearly no hint of chocolate.  It is quite disconcerting for me to eat it with a savoury filling, though, so I might add a bit of sugar and some chocolate chips or dried fruit next time.  My daughter was more than happy to eat it because of the chocolate look, so I guess that counts as a win.

More sourdough experiments coming up in the following weeks, so I hope I am not boring you with all of these!

5 Replies to “Sourdough Marble Loaf”

  1. Well I think you are an excellent baker as well. I have just pinned your recipe for future reference. I am just about to cut my ‘marbled sourdough’ experiment. Hopefully we will have some chewable sourdough for lunch 🙂

    1. Nanna Chel I just saw your loaf on the forum. Well done! I would be over the moon with your loaf too. Now what experiment shall you be doing next?

      1. Hmmm, not sure but I would like to perfect that rustic loaf as I liked the taste but perhaps I will wait till it gets warmer as it took a while for the starter to do its thing with the rye flour added. I like HomeJoys loaves so will check out some of her other recipes plus I want to make some sourdough ciabbata from a recipe in the book I have from the library.

  2. You really are a fantastic baker. I was thinking the same as you. When you look at it you think sweet. Definitely a win if your daughter likes it.

    I’m heading over to Home Joys for a look around.

    Oh and you are not boring me. I sit here reading your steps and looking at your pictures in total admiration.


    1. Kylie, I am really enjoying that blog. It gets me wondering how she is able to do all that, when I am bone-tired everyday doing a tenth of what she does!

      You humble me with your comment, thank you. I don’t consider myself an excellent baker and I really would love to take classes. Unfortunately, I will need to take an English language test again to be able to enrol (it lapses every two years). I’m scheduled to take it this September and hopefully I can take a course by mid-2018 (or 2019) when my son is in preschool.

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