Archive | 7:41 pm

Cherry Quinoa Sourdough

26 Jun

Every time I venture to Whole Foods I manage to find something interesting to add to my bread baking and last weekend was no exception.  I was already planning on making bread with some fresh chopped cherries so when I saw some 100% Cherry Juice on the shelf I couldn’t resist buying it and using it in place of most of the water.

I recently also bought some Red Quinoa so I decided  to make a soaker by using the Quinoa and also adding some Organic Oat Bran.  I used around 2 cups of boiling water (sorry but I forgot to measure) and added that to the soaker ingredients and let it sit for about 1 hour.  Beware that this combination of grains will absorb most of the liquid and it caused me to up the amount of flour in the recipe to compensate.  Even with the added flour this is a very wet dough.  If you don’t count the soaker ingredients it is 69.5% hydration which doesn’t take into consideration the amount of liquid absorbed by the soaker.  If you include the soaker ingredients as flour it comes in at 59% but trust me this is a wet dough.

I also used some White Whole Wheat Flour, French Style Flour (low protein flour good for baguettes) and some Spelt.

The cherries were fresh cherries with the pits removed and chopped into small pieces.  If you like bigger pieces please feel free to follow your hearts or stomach’s desires.

The addition of the Cherry Juice and chopped cherries I thought would give the final bread a very distinctive cherry flavor but in actuality you don’t really taste the cherry juice at all.  You definitely see it in the reddish color and the Red Quinoa also adds a nice nutty flavor and red tint to the bread.

The dough may have over-risen slightly since it was warmer in my kitchen than usual and I was zonked after cooking a pork butt and brisket since 7:00AM in the morning and I didn’t pay attention as closely as I usually do.  The bread flattened out a bit when putting it in the oven but had some excellent oven spring.

The crust is nice and crispy and the crumb is incredibly moist and open.  The final product tastes amazing for a multi-grain bread and is nutty and sweet and earthy tasting.  The cherries are not overpowering at all but add along with the cherry juice a nice depth to this bake.


For the starter, I refreshed my standard AP white starter the night before and used most of it in this bake.  I have also included the ingredients to make the exact amount of starter needed from your seed starter.  Mine is kept at 65% hydration so adjust yours accordingly.


100 grams Red Quinoa

50 grams Organic Oat Bran

335 grams Boiling Water  (It may have been less so use your judgment and adjust accordingly)

Mix boiling water in a bowl with other ingredients and let sit covered at room temperature for 1 hour or longer.


71 grams Seed (Mine is 65% AP Flour Starter)

227 grams AP Flour

151 grams Water (85 – 90 degrees F.)

Mix seed with water to break up for a few seconds and then mix in flour until the starter form a smooth dough consistency.  Put it in a lightly oiled bowl and loosely cover and leave at room temperature for at least 10 hours.  The starter should double in volume.  Put the starter in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 days or use it immediately.

Main Dough


425 grams Starter from above (all of the starter)

300 grams French Style Flour (KAF)

195 grams White Whole Wheat Flour (KAF)

70 grams Spelt Flour

40 grams Chopped, Pitted Fresh Cherries (frozen would work fine if not in season)

200 grams Cherry Juice at room temperature (100% Juice with no sugar added)

200 grams Water (85 – 90 degrees F.)

18 grams Sea Salt (or table salt)


Mix the liquids with the levain and break it up with your hands or a spoon.    Next add the flours and mix on low for 2 minutes.  Let the dough rest for 25 minutes and then add the soaker and the salt and mix on low for 3 minutes.  Add the chopped cherries and mix on low for 1 additional minute.  Transfer the dough to your work surface.  Resist the urge to add too much bench flour (I didn’t add any) and use a bench scraper to do about 5-6 stretch and folds.  Put the dough into a lightly oiled container/bowl and let it sit for 15 minutes.  Do another stretch and fold in the bowl.  Cover the bowl and let it sit for another 15-20 minutes.  Do this 2 additional times waiting about 15 minutes between S&F’s.  By the last S&F the dough should start developing some gluten strength.  Let the dough sit out at room temperature for around 1.5 to 2 hours.  Do one last stretch and fold and put in your refrigerator overnight for 12-24 hours.

The next day take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it sit out at room temperature for 1.5 hours.  After 1.5 hours you can form it into loaves and put them in floured bannetons and let them rise covered for 2 hours (note: make sure to watch the dough and depending on the temperature of your kitchen and the refrigerator adjust your timing as needed).

Score the loaves as desired and prepare your oven for baking with steam.  I use a heavy-duty baking sheet on the bottom rung of my oven and I pour 1 cup of boiling water into the pan as soon as I load the loaves in the oven.  Pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees F. before placing the loaves in the oven.

Once the loaves are loaded onto your baking stone and you add your steam turn the oven down to 450 degrees and bake until both loaves are golden brown and reach an internal temperature of 200 – 210 degrees F.  For an extra crispy crust once done baking turn the oven off and crack the door and leave the loaves in the oven for another 10-15 minutes.  Once done place on a wire cooling rack and resist the temptation to cut the bread until they are sufficiently cooled.

I hope you give this recipe a try and be sure to let me know how it turns out if you do.

This bread has been submitted to Yeast Spotting here at