Olive, Lemon & Thyme Sourdough
This is a fragrant loaf, reminiscent of flavours of the Mediterranean. It goes well with cheese, cured meats or lightly toasted with a drizzle of olive oil.
This recipe follows the ‘sponge’ method which is what we use in our basic recipe too. The idea behind it is to take some of your active sourdough starter and mix it with more flour and water, then leave it overnight. This will enable the wild yeast and bacteria in the starter to multiply, giving you a strong concentration of these organisms to prove your dough with. It is therefore important that you feed your starter for a few days leading up to making the sponge, so that it is very active. We use our Derbyshire Sourdough starter as its mild flavour compliments the filling of olive, thyme and lemon rather than overpowering it with acidic notes.
For the sponge:
For the filling:
For the dough:
450g strong white flour
50g wholemeal flour
The night before:
Mix the ingredients for the sponge until well combined. Cover and leave somewhere cool (approx. 18°C) for at least 12 hours. This will allow the wild yeast to multiply and give you a strong base for your dough.
Mix the filling ingredients until combined and allow to infuse overnight in a closed container.
The next day:
Mix together the dry ingredients and water for the dough but leave out the salt. Knead for 10 minutes. Now flatten out your dough into a rough circle and sprinkle the salt evenly over it. Roll up your dough and knead for at least another 5 minutes to incorporate and dissolve the salt.
Cover and allow to prove for 1 hour.
Tip dough onto your work surface. Try to use very little flour or any if possible. Flatten the dough into a rough rectangle and pick it up by the two corners closest to you and fold it over the dough halfway. Pick up the furthest two corners and fold them towards you and over the dough. You have just given your dough a stretch and a fold. Now shape into a ball and cover again.
Leave to prove for another hour.
Flatten the dough into a rough circle and scatter over the olive filling, lightly pressing the olives into the dough. Now shape your loaf into a round or oblong and place into a floured banneton (proving basket).
Cover and allow to prove somewhere warm (approx. 21°C) for 1-2 hours until doubled in size.
Preheat your oven to 240°C (475 F / Gas Mark 9). Place a loaf tin or baking tray into the bottom of the oven.
Tip the loaf onto a floured peel, slash the top with a grignette and slide into the oven. Pour boiling water into the hot tray/tin to create steam and close the door.
Bake for 30 minutes.
I dare you to resist slicing into it before it has completely cooled!