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Sourdough Pain Brie, Chocolate Sourdough with Rum Raisin Chocolate & braids

Kistida's picture

Sourdough Pain Brie, Chocolate Sourdough with Rum Raisin Chocolate & braids

This is the easiest (from a lazy person's pov: me) sourdough bread!

I've made the yeasted version of pain brié multiple times and have always wondered, using the old dough method (Pâte fermentée) must've been the only way considering no commercial yeast (discovered mid-1800's) was available as far back as the 14th century when such breads were made. So, I prepared a stiff starter and used it for the loaves.

Sourdough Pain brié
Stiff starter (60% hydration)
10g starter (100% hydration)
184g water
310g all purpose flour
10g sugar
1g salt

all of the starter
140g milk or 125g water
200g all purpose flour
80g spelt flour
5g vital wheat gluten
8g salt
50g unsalted butter

Prepare the stiff starter in a large mixing bowl. Cover and leave it to ferment at 21-23°C for 12 to 16 hours.

Whisk flours, salt together in a medium bowl. Add milk or water to the starter and slowly pinch the starter apart. Gradually add the flour mixture while mixing with a spatula or by hand. Mix until dough forms with no dry bits of flour. Do not add more milk or water. Cover and rest 30 minutes.

Add a few pieces of butter. Pinch and fold until they are absorbed before adding the next pieces of butter. Once all the butter is added, continue kneading the dough for 15 minutes on the counter. Do not add any flour. Spritz the counter with water if humidity is low (especially in the winter) and the dough surface appears to dry too fast. The dough will gradually become smooth and soft, but it will not feel like doughs with higher hydration. Dough temperature 24-25°C.

Shape the dough into a boule, lightly grease with oil and transfer it to a bowl. Cover and let it rise: First proof: 2 hours 21 - 23°C

Divide the dough into 3 to 6 pieces. Shape each piece to a boule, cover and let them rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

Shape each piece to batards or boules (No extra flour needed). Transfer to baking sheet. Cover with damn tea towels (spritz the top of the towel and then cover with damp another towel). Final proof: 1 hour 21-23°C

Preheat the oven to 190°C halfway through the final proof.

Score 3 to 7 parallel lines on each shaped loaf.

Place ice cubes or a source a steam beside or beneath the baking rack.

Medium loaves: 3 x approx 300g 200°C 15 minutes with steam, 10 - 15 minutes without steam or until internal temperature is at least 90°C.

Smaller rolls: 5 x 180g 190°C 30 to 35 minutes until internal temperature is at least 90°C.

Let the baked loaves cool in the oven (turned off) for at least 3 hours before slicing.

So, why did I say this is the easiest sourdough bread?
Low hydration, easy to handle.
Knead therapy? With little bit of time and some elbow grease, kneading this dough felt so good!
No sticky hands; well, sticky for a little while only.
Very easy to shape.
No need to check on the dough during its short first rise
Tight crumb - characteristic to this bread. The dough used to be pounded to achieve tight crumb
Once the starter is ready, buttery bread will be ready within 3-4 hours, all done at room temperature

The next loaf takes more time and effort but it was worth it!

What's great about rum raisins? They make amazing chocolatey treats! When I came across Maurizio's cherry & chocolate sd recently, I figured I'll have to do something with the jar of rum raisins I keep. So, instead of tempering chocolate, I just melted chopped dark chocolate with espresso powder and salt over steaming water real quick, drizzle onto a baking sheet and let it set for a few minutes. Then, sprinkle pat-dried drunken raisins all over the set chocolate followed by a thicker layer of dark chocolate on top. Let this set and within an hour or so, I get this super-easy and not-so-neat version of very tasty Jamaican rum raisin chocolate. Of course I've to make about a 1/8 sheet pan sized bar because some of that had to be "taste-tested".

Chocolate Sourdough with Rum Raisin Chocolate
200g lukewarm water, about 30°C
200g all purpose flour
70g Kamut flour
9g vital wheat gluten
15g sugar
70g starter (100% hydration)
5g salt
8g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp espresso powder
8g coconut oil
100g rum raisin dark chocolate

Bulk ferment 6 hours at 23°C
Cold retard overnight at 4°C
Score and bake at 230°C for 25 minutes with steam (or lid) and 20-25 minutes without until the internal temperature reads at least 90°C.

Last few pieces had lovely swirls!

During a lil hiccup in my braided masala loaf recently, Benny asked me to share some braiding methods. Here are some easy lattice-like braids. Once the simple over-and-under method is mastered from left to right followed by right to left (or the other way 'round), the logic of the braiding is quite easy.


6 strands, braided like a 4-strand





Here's an easy challah made with sd discard that was braided using 6 strands but in the form of a 4-strand braid.

Challah loaf
100g milk
20g all purpose flour

All of the Tangzhong
214g starter discard
50g honey
20g heavy cream
2 large eggs
210g all purpose flour
110g Kamut flour
3g instant yeast
5g salt
50g unsalted butter

Mix until the dough reaches windowpane stage, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Proofing time was longer than usual since my kitchen was cooler that day.
First proof 2 hours 20-21°C
Second proof 21-22°C 1 hour 30 minutes, 1” above the rim of glass 9”x5” pan.
Bake at 180°C for 45 minutes, covering with foil in the last 15 minutes, until internal temperature was 94°C. Let the loaf cool slightly in the pan, for about 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Brush with a little butter and let the loaf cool completely before slicing, at least 3 hours.

That's all for now! :)

- Christi


HeiHei29er's picture

I'd love to spend a week in your kitchen to just watch and learn.  Amazing bakes.  The pain brie looks wonderful and I like the nice even crumb on that one.

Kistida's picture

I’ll be a tiny lil bug hanging around watching your do your baking magic! oh I had the pain brié with homemade chili today! 😬

- Christi 

MTloaf's picture

Your definition of lazy is different than mine unless someone else is washing all those dishes. The photos are beautiful and that chocolate bread is a masterpiece. 

Kistida's picture

Really a dream if dishes magically disappear and return clean. But I clean them as I go. 😬

- Christi

happycat's picture

So much wow. All of these look so amazing. I'd love to try yours and try my own. Thanks for sharing these and the recipes.

Also thanks for the braiding tutorial. I've always wanted to make a braided bread but I am aesthetically challenged. 

I noticed people refer to "espresso powder" from time to time. I'm not sure how widely it is known that espresso is a process and not a kind of bean or roast. The process is roughly defined as putting hot water under 6-9 bars pressure through a puck of finely-ground coffee to produce about 30ml in 30s of rich coffee. Using shots of espresso in a bake is amazing because (a) it has the rich coffee oils; (b) you can use any coffee varietal, roast or blend to provide the kind of flavour nuances you enjoy (vs a generic "coffeeish" flavour).

I recommend soaking your fruit in freshly-pulled espresso overnight :) I did that with currants in my last choc-citrus kugelhopf and was really pleased.

Kistida's picture

I remember you mentioning using fresh shots of espresso before. I could only use it if I was making a ganache say, for truffles for example, since the emulsion created with cream would be stable. 

But, if I were to infuse dark chocolate with coffee without using powdered coffee, I would use fresh ground beans. Then, once melted, I’ll just strain it. This way, I’ll get the flavors and oils without the water - that is an enemy of melted chocs. 😌 I need to try this method with the new batch of chocs.  (hubby ate the last pieces of rum raisin chocs) Thanks David! 

Benito's picture

Wow Christi, as always your breads are an inspiration!  The chocolate espresso loaf particularly looks so decadent.  Thank you for posting your braiding photos, that is so helpful to anyone who hasn’t braided before to try their hand at braiding.


alfanso's picture

Agreed in the "works of art" department.  The challah is just too nice looking to eat, but do it anyway!