Sourdough khara bread (Sourdough spicy bread) step-by-step recipe with photos.
About Iyengar Bakery Khara Bun
Iyengar bakery is a famous bakery chain that originally started in Bangalore and is now famous all over India. Their unique and innovative baked goodies are to die for and something not to be missed. Khara bun (or masala bun) is one such item. 'Khara' means spicy in Kannada and these buns are made with a good amount of chilli kick. These buns are flavoured with onions, curry leaves, coriander leaves and of course, green chilli.
Here are some famous Iyengar bakery goodies that I regularly bake.
About this recipe
This sourdough bread is my take on the delicious Iyengar bakery khara bun. I have used the same spice mixture used to make the khara bun; however, I have incorporated it into a sourdough boule. I make this bread with a combination of bread flour and atta (Indian whole wheat flour/chapati flour).
Like I mentioned, this bread has a good amount of chilli in it and is on the spicier side. While it will work if you add less chilli to make it mild, it may not taste as good as it does with lots of chilli.
Ingredients to make sourdough khara bread
Sourdough starter: Make sure the starter is active and bubbly.
Flour: I use a mix of bread flour and atta (Indian whole wheat flour/chapati flour) to make this bread; however, you can choose any flour – for example, just bread flour or a combination of plain flour and whole wheat flour.
Onion and green chilli: Finely chopped onions and green chilli fried in butter adds a unique flavour to this bread.
Herbs: Lots of coriander leaves and curry leaves are used in this bread.
Spices: I use cumin seeds and crushed pepper to make this bread.
Butter: I use butter to make the base spice mix for the bread; however, you may replace it with any cooking oil of your choice.
Step by step instructions
Heat butter and add cumin seeds. Next, saute onions until translucent. Add the herbs, pepper, and fry for a minute. Let the mixture cool down completely (step 1).
Combine starter and water. Add flour, mix well and let it rest (step 2).
Add the onion mixture and salt. Bring together to form the dough (steps 3,4).
Gently pull the dough to perform stretch and fold (steps 5,6).
Continue to stretch and fold at 30 minutes interval (steps 7,8).
The dough gains strength as the gluten develops (steps 9,10).
Pinch out any air bubbles in the dough during stretch and fold (steps 11,12).
Let the dough sit for bulk fermentation (step 13).
The dough doubles after bulk fermentation (step 14).
To shape the dough, pick both sides of the dough and bring it to the centre. Roll it to form a log. Place in a well-dusted kitchen towel for cold proofing (steps 15,16).
Next morning remove the dough from the fridge and score it once the oven is preheated (step 17).
Place in the hot dutch oven and bake with the lid on. Next bake without the lid (steps 18,19).
Cool it completely on a wire rack before slicing (step 20).
Storing this bread
This bread can be stored like any other sourdough bread. It stays fresh at room temperature for up to 5 days. Keep the bread wrapped in a cotton bag or a clean tea towel once the bread completely cools down. On the day you slice the bread, keep the cut side down on the board and cover it with a clean tea towel. From the next day onwards, place it in a bread box or air-tight container.
If you plan to store it beyond 3-4 days, it is best to freeze it. You can either freeze it as a whole or you can slice and freeze it. Thaw the bread overnight in the refrigerator or for a few hours at room temperature. You can freeze it for up to three months.
Pro-tip: Use this dough to shape them into small buns instead of boules and enjoy a healthier version of the authentic khara bun.
Tips and tricks
The amount of chilli added to this bread can be adjusted depending on your preference.
Make sure you chop the onion, chilli and herbs finely. If they are too big, they can be difficult to handle during stretch and fold.
Handle the dough carefully while doing stretch and fold, given the filling may make it slightly tricky to handle.
Make sure the starter is active. The night before you plan to make the dough, take the starter from the fridge and feed it in 1:1:1 ratio of starter:flour:water. Click here to see how to activate the sourdough starter.
It is important to note that the time taken for the starter to activate depends on many factors. For example, the ambient temperature, the nature of the starter itself, etc. If your starter activates at a much faster rate, you can activate it the same day you are making the dough. Or, you can use either less starter or cold water to slow down the activation.
I have made this sourdough with a combination of bread flour and atta (Indian whole wheat flour/chapati flour), but you can choose any flour – for example, just bread flour or a combination of plain flour and whole wheat flour.
Click here for more sourdough recipes.
This sourdough khara bread:
– is a healthier version of the authentic khara bun
– can be shaped into buns instead of a bread
– can easily be made vegan-friendly by replacing butter with oil
– stays fresh for up to five days
– freezer friendly
Sourdough Khara Bread (Sourdough Spicy Bread)
- 100 grams sourdough starter active, see notes
- 400 grams bread flour
- 100 grams whole wheat flour
- 375 grams filter water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 4-5 green chilli finely chopped
- ½ cup coriander leaves finely chopped
- ¼ cup curry leaves finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon pepper crushed
- Rice flour to dust the banneton
- Heat butter in a frying pan or kadhai and add cumin seeds
- Once it splutters, add onions and fry until it turns translucent
- Add green chilli, curry leaves, coriander leaves, and pepper
- Saute for one more minute. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool down completely
- Combine bread flour and atta together. Set aside
- Combine active starter and water together
- Slowly add the flour and mix well making sure there are no dry bits of flour. Let it rest for 30 minutes
- Next, add salt and the onion mixture to the dough. Mix well, making sure they are incorporated well
- Perform six sets of stretch and fold at an interval of 30 minutes. Wet hands, grab a portion of the dough and slowly stretch it taking care not to break it and fold it towards the centre over the dough. Keep turning the bowl and repeat the process until all parts of the dough is covered. Carefully flip the dough and round it up. This completes one set of stretch and fold. Repeat this process six times at an interval of 30 minutes. See the pictures below or the video here to see the technique
- Let the dough sit for bulk fermentation until it is almost double and has bubbles on the top
- Dust the banneton well with rice flour
- Shape the dough. Flip the dough onto a well-dusted bench. Pick one side of the dough and fold it to the centre. Pick the other side and fold it to centre. Now hold the dough gently and tuck it to form a log. Carefully place the dough seam-side up on the banneton
- Cover the dough loosely and place it in the refrigerator overnight for cold fermentation
- Next day, place the dutch oven in the oven and preheat at 230 C (450 F) for 45 minutes
- Take the dough out of the fridge once the oven is preheated
- Score the dough using a blade or sharp knife
- Place in the dutch oven and close the lid. Bake for 20 minutes
- Take the lid off the dutch oven and bake for 20 minutes
- Turn off the oven and let the bread sit in the oven for 15 minutes for curing
- Cool completely, slice and serve