Sourdough Sun-dried Tomato and Olive Bread step-by-step recipe with photos.
About this recipe
Small pockets of sweet-tangy tomatoes and fruity olives tucked in a loaf of tangy sourdough bread is something you don't want to miss. This is one of the tastiest sourdough loaves I bake. The crust of this sundried tomato and olive sourdough bread is soft, unlike regular sourdough bread. The crumb is super-soft with small bubbles from perfect fermentation. But my favourite part is the intensely tarty sun-dried tomatoes.
This loaf is definitely a keeper and is loved by all of us - so much that my little picky-fussy eater looks forward to digging into it! And we can't stop eating it!
Click here to see the recipe for basic no-knead sourdough bread.
Preparing sun-dried tomatoes and olives
In this recipe, I have used a jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil. I have used both the tomatoes and oil from the jar. I measure 40 mL of oil separately and use it along with the sun-dried tomatoes. I cut the tomatoes into small pieces.
I use pitted kalamata olives and rinse them in filtered water before chopping them into small round discs. It is purely optional and you can use the olives straight from the jar without rinsing.
Sourdough starter: This is the key ingredient to make any sourdough bread. Make sure the starter is active and bubbly.
Flour: I use a mix of bread flour and atta (Indian whole wheat flour/chapati flour).
Filtered water: Use filtered water to make sourdough bread.
Sun-dried tomatoes: I use a jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil. I also use the oil from the jar. You may choose to replace it with olive oil.
Olives: I used pitted kalamata olives.
Baking without a dutch oven
When I began baking sourdough bread, I started baking them in a dutch oven (DO). But since I had just one DO, it took a lot of time for me to bake all my loaves. And let's not forget the time that goes in preheating the DO itself before we begin to bake. So I started baking my sourdough without a DO and was pleasantly surprised with the results.
Here's how I bake sourdough bread without a DO. It is really important to create steam, which is essential in baking a crusty sourdough that has a great oven spring. With DO, we get this steam when we bake the bread with the lid on. Without a DO, we need to create the steam using a water bath. So I bake the bread first with a water bath and then remove the water bath and bake it further - similar to removing the lid of the DO and then baking it.
To create a water bath, add water in an oven-safe deep tray. Add 8-10 ice cubes to it. Ice cubes help in releasing steam for a longer time, resulting in a crusty bread that has a great oven spring.
So in a nutshell:
First, preheat the oven to 220℃ for 15 minutes.
Second, create a water bath. Place water and ice in an oven-safe deep tray.
Third, place the dough on a lined baking tray and score it.
Next, place the water bath in the oven once it is preheated.
Then, place the dough into the preheated oven with the water bath.
Last, remove the water bath and bake further.
Storing Sourdough Sun-dried Tomato and Olive 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.
Tips and tricks
Prepare the tomatoes and olive as I mentioned above.
Where possible, use oil from the sun-dried tomatoes. If it is not available, replace it with olive oil.
All of the olives and sun-dried tomatoes will not be incorporated in the first go. Don't worry about it. As you stretch and fold, they will be incorporated, along with the oil. Just tuck the fillings back into the dough if they pop on the surface.
Handle the dough carefully while doing stretch and fold, as the fillings 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 bread flour and atta, but you can choose any flour – for example, a combination of plain flour and whole wheat flour or just bread flour.
This sundried tomato and olive sourdough bread:
- has a burst of sweet, tangy, fruity flavours
- has a soft crust
- tastes great just by itself or with a generous helping of butter
Step by step instructions to make Sourdough Sun-dried Tomato and Olive Bread
1. Measure the oil separately from the sun-dried tomatoes. Next, measure the sun-dried tomatoes. Cut them into small pieces. Cut the olives into mall round disks
2. Combine starter and water. Add flour, mix well and let it rest
3. Next add salt, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and oil to the dough
4. Gently pull the dough to perform stretch and fold
5. Carefully flip the dough and round it up
6. Continue to stretch and fold at 30 minutes interval
7. Let the dough sit for bulk fermentation
8. Dough after bulk fermentation
9. To shape the dough, pick both the sides of the dough and bring to center
10. Roll it to form a log
11. Place in a well-dusted banneton
12. Next morning remove the dough from the fridge and score it once the oven is preheated
13. Bake first with the water bath, then remove it and bake further
14. Cool it completely on a wire rack before slicing
Sourdough Sun-dried Tomato and Olive Bread
- Measure the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes and set aside. Measure the sun-dried tomatoes and cut them into small pieces. Measure olives and cut them into small discs
- 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 1 hour
- Next add salt, sun-dried tomatoes, oil, and olives 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 center 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
- Take the dough from the bowl onto a benchtop dusted with flour
- Shape the dough. Divide the dough into two. Shape them into two balls and let it rest on the bench for 15 minutes
- Pick one side of the dough and fold it to the center. Pick the other side and fold it to the center. 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 morning, preheat oven at 220℃
- Place water and 8-10 ice cubes in an oven-safe deep tray
- Take the dough out of the fridge once the oven is preheated
- Score the dough using a blade or sharp knife
- Place the water bath in the oven, followed by the baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes
- Reduce the oven temperature to 200℃ and remove the water bath
- Bake for further 15 minutes
- Turn off the oven and let the bread sit in the oven for 15 minutes for curing
- Cool completely, slice, and serve