Once you have mastered the art of sourdough bread, take your loaf to the next level by adding inclusions. For those looking to add a little variation into their loaves, adding extra ingredients to sourdough is a must. Simply mixing inclusions into the dough can drastically change the flavor profile of a sourdough boule. Yet, it is not as simple as selecting some top sourdough add-ins and baking with your usual recipe. Throwing new ingredients into the mix can alter the baking process. Use our guide below to discover the best sourdough bread flavors and the tips to use with each variation.
1. Cheese Sourdough Bread
Some of the best sourdough bread variations are cheese loaves. Cheese and onion, garlic cheese, and cheddar jalapeno are just a few of the top sourdough add-ins when it comes to exploring new flavors.
Tip 1: Experiment with different forms of cheese. For a smoother flavor where the cheese is blended naturally into the loaf, try shredding it. Meanwhile, for those looking for cheesy sourdough that will pack a punch, cube the cheese to create pockets of gooey goodness inside.
Tip 2: Different add-in points will create a different experience. Adding extra ingredients to sourdough while mixing the initial dough will mean the cheese gets spread fairly evenly throughout. However, waiting for the final fold of the dough will mean a more random distribution of ingredients. This could mean some sections are especially cheesy, while others may be plainer.
2. Cinnamon Sourdough Bread
One of the most popular options continues to be cinnamon. With its delicious smell and sweet flavor, it is no wonder it’s one of the best sourdough bread flavors! As a ground spice, cinnamon can be easily added while making the initial dough.
Tip: Cinnamon slows down the fermentation process. If adding cinnamon to your loaf, be prepared to add up to an hour more of bulk fermentation time.
3. Dried Fruit Sourdough Bread
When considering when to add inclusions, do not forget about dried fruit! Raisins and dried apples tend to be the top sourdough add-ins when it comes to fruit, however, dried cranberries and plums are also great choices.
Tip 1: Use the 20% rule. Before mixing inclusions into the dough, determine how much you really need. A general rule of thumb for dried fruit is to use 20% of the total dough weight. For example, if the dough weighs 500 grams, use 100 grams of dried fruit.
Tip 2: Soak the fruit first. Though creating some of the best sourdough bread flavors, dried fruit can be difficult to bake with if not prepped properly. Dried fruit can soak up all moisture from the dough and dry out your final loaf. Easily avoid this by soaking the fruit in a bowl of water for a few minutes before adding to the dough to prevent baking problems down the line.
An easy and delicious sourdough bread variation is a nutty inclusion. Chopped walnuts, almonds, and pecans can be the perfect crunch to balance a chewy sourdough loaf.
Tip 1: Buy unsalted. When purchasing nuts to mix into your sourdough, be sure to choose unsalted. Adding salted nuts in addition to the salt already present in the dough can make the loaf too salty and ruin the flavor.
Tip 2: Different add in points create a different experience. Like with cheese above, determining when to add inclusions can alter the overall texture. Nuts added in the initial phase will be incorporated evenly throughout, while nuts added at the final fold may clump or remain toward the top of the loaf. If using a banneton to shape the dough, nuts can even be sprinkled on top during the final rise.
Thinking about sourdough bread variations, many overlook peppers while deciding what flavors can be added to sourdough bread. For a zesty bread, peppers are a must. When deciding the best sourdough bread flavors, jalapeno, chipotle, and ancho peppers usually take the top spot.
Tip: A little goes a long way. Unlike dried fruit, pepper amounts should start much smaller. A tablespoon of diced peppers is often enough to add zing without going overboard. Additionally, adding cheese can help counter the spiciness of the peppers.
6. Sunflower Seeds
Though not as popular as some ingredients higher on the list, sunflower seeds are still one of the top sourdough add-ins. Due to their small size, sunflower seeds are easy to incorporate and give loaves a nutty flavor.
Tip: As sunflower seeds affect the texture of the loaf, it is important to mix these evenly throughout the dough. When using sunflower seeds, mix them in during the second stretch and fold at the latest to ensure adequate distribution.
When deciding what flavors can be added to sourdough bread for extra zest, the possibilities are endless. Surprise your friends and family with new varieties every week. Experiment with different add-in combinations to find your favorite sourdough loaf!