Something I love about baking bread is the progressive sharing of knowledge that’s required to make a successful loaf. We all start somewhere, and I can name some key people who’ve been pivotal to my bread baking journey. Some of these people are famous personalities (Jim Lahey, Dan Lepard) but most of these people are friends and virtual baker buddies I’ve gotten to know through my blog and lately through Instagram. And so it happened I got to chatting with Chivas Brothers engineer Graeme Taylor about sourdough, through which he introduced me to Glasgow-based Vicky Manning aka @thelittleforagerskitchen and her turmeric sourdough bread. I rushed home to feed my starter intent on having a go that evening.
Guys, this bread is a Game Changer. The colour, aroma, and aesthetic appeal of this loaf is off the charts. And if you’re up on your Ayurvedic medicine, you might get pretty stoked about the idea of BREAD as a delivery device for the botanical beast that is turmeric.
So what’s the deal with turmeric anyway? From a recent “Scam or Not” read in the New York Times:
Turmeric is hailed for helping a host of conditions: high cholesterol, hay fever, depression, gingivitis, premenstrual syndrome and even hangovers. In Ayurvedic medicine, it is believed to act as an antiviral, antibacterial and antiparasitic, and has long been used to help with diabetes, pain, rheumatism, osteoarthritis, memory and skin conditions like eczema … Some research indicates that both turmeric and curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric supplements, have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral and antiparasitic activity. But this has mostly been demonstrated in laboratory studies, and, in many cases, the benefits of preclinical research isn’t observed in clinical trials…
So, maybe it works? But who knows? We do know it’s safe to consume up to 2 grams of turmeric daily. So whether it’s a miracle drug or not, you’re safe with your turmeric lattes and Indian thalis. And this bread!
The big sell for me is flavour and appearance. I adapted my usual sourdough technique here, adding 2 tsp of turmeric to the flour mixture, then folding in wild garlic at the last stage of shaping the dough. I coated the final dough ball in a mix of onion seeds, black sesame seeds, and poppy seeds. Then crossed my fingers and put it in the oven.
The combo of turmeric and onion seeds is Off The Hook. And you can’t deny the visual appeal that turmeric brings.
And let’s talk about adaptability – this turmeric sourdough can be mixed up with all kinds of things. Vicky suggests using whatever you have to hand to mix into the dough. I happened to have wild garlic, but I could see anything from caramelised onions to herby pesto to sun-dried tomatoes working a treat here. The coating is up to you, but I think something aromatic is desirable here: onion seeds, sesame seeds, crushed coriander, fennel, or cumin, or a mix.
Next steps? Get inspired by Graeme and Vicky and their food adventures in Scotland. Feel free to read how I make sourdough, hugely inspired by the Tartine Bread book. Keep your eye on shop.eatsleepwild.com where I may sometime soon be selling this and more twists on my usual sourdough. Get in touch if you need some sourdough starter to get started with. And most importantly, keeping trying new things!