You need this basil sourdough bread recipe in your life. This basil sourdough bread is perfumed with a deeply savory basil paste made with fresh basil, Italian seasoning, and garlic. Not only will you learn how to transform any basic sourdough bread recipe with this post but we’ll also cover these topics:
Alrighty, how about we kick this post off with a little bit about sourdough bread and why it’s so special.
Why Sourdough Is Special
Did you know we’ve been eating sourdough bread for over 5000+ years? It’s been around since 3000 BC. Sourdough bread is technically made out of three components: the sourdough starter that’s made from fermenting flour and water, and more flour and water. So really, only 2 ingredients.
Sourdough bread is leavened naturally with the help of a sourdough starter. The fermented flour and water mix cultivates bacteria and wild yeast. This helps sourdough bread rise and gives it that signature sour tang.
What’s really cool about sourdough bread is that you can flavor it with anything you like. In this case, we’ve used our favorite basic sourdough recipe to make a savory basil sourdough bread.
If making a basil sourdough bread sounds too daunting, click here to start your sourdough baking journey with our beginner sourdough recipe? It’s basically a bread recipe sourdough starter guide that will explain everything from different rising methods and how to make a sourdough starter from scratch.
Sourdough magic doesn’t just stop there! In the next section, we’ll discuss the 5 benefits of sourdough bread.
6 Benefits Of Sourdough Bread
If making 5000 year old bread with 3 ingredients doesn’t have you excited to eat sourdough bread, maybe these 6 benefits will:
- Good for your gut
Some studies have shown that sourdough bread actually acts as a prebiotic -which is great for your gut. The fiber in sourdough bread supports the good bacteria in your gut. These good bacterias are detrimental to having a strong and healthy digestive system.
- Easier to digest
When sourdough is made the traditional way -a lengthy fermentation process- it’s easier to digest compared to regular bread that’s made with commercial yeast. The slow process of fermentation increases the bread’s mineral and vitamin content.
This fermentation process also breaks down the protein in the bread, meaning that there’s actually less gluten in sourdough bread. Less gluten and more vitamins equals easier to digest!
- It’s more nutritious
Like we covered in point 2, the fermentation process that sourdough bread goes through provides a lot of benefits. That process not only increases the vitamin and mineral content in sourdough bread but it also bulks up the fiber.
Psychotic acid is a natural compound found in bread. The fermentation process breaks down this natural compound and makes it possible for us to absorb the grains nutrients and minerals.
- Natural ingredients
You can’t get any more natural than whole flour, wild yeast, and water. These 3 ingredients are all it takes to make sourdough bread and they’re in their purest forms.
- Less preservatives
Sourdough bread is the oldest leavened bread in the history of humankind. Most of the bread we eat today has a lot of preservatives so it has a long shelf life. Sourdough bread on the other hand naturally prevents mold from growing with acetic acid. It’s bread with its own natural preservatives.
- No commercial yeast
Making bread sourdough starter means that you won’t be needing commercial yeast. Commercial yeast isn’t always a bad thing but it is healthier to avoid it. There’s always the risk of having a yeast infection from commercial yeast but the healthy wild yeast and bacteria cultivated in a sourdough starter present more benefits to your gut.
After those sourdough benefits, we’re itching to make a loaf of sourdough bread. But before we get into how to make sourdough bread, we need to make sure your starter is in tip top shape. So, how do you know when your starter is ready to use?
How Can I Tell If My Sourdough Starter Is Ready?
Not sure if your sourdough starter is ready? The best way to know if your sourdough starter is ready or not is to try the float test. Grab a glass of water and drop a bit of sourdough starter in there and see if it sinks or floats. If your sourdough starter floats, it’s ready. If it sinks, then it’s not.
The general consensus is that your sourdough starter is at its peak 2-4 hours after feeding but we’ve tested our sourdough starter at the 6-8 hour mark and it still floats.
If your sourdough starter is floating, then it’s time to get baking. In the next section, we’ll walk through all the steps necessary to make basil sourdough bread.
How To Make Basil Sourdough Bread Recipe
This basil sourdough bread recipe is based on our basic sourdough bread recipe. This plain bread sourdough loaf is flavored with a basil paste made from fresh basil, Italian seasoning, and garlic.
Begin with forming the dough for the basil sourdough bread by adding 407 grams of bread flour, 225 grams of water, and 50 grams of sourdough starter. Mix everything together until it forms a loose dough.
Cover the dough with a damp tea towel and let it rest for the first proof. We prefer to start this process in the evening and let the dough ferment for about 12 hours and come back to it in the morning.
After the first rise, you can make the basil paste. Feel free to use a food processor for this part. We used our mortar and pestle because we wanted a finer consistency. Add your fresh basil leaves into a food processor along with the olive oil and garlic clove. Blend everything until it becomes a paste.
Add your favorite Italian seasoning, we used our absolute favorite: Badia complete seasoning. Seriously, get a container of this stuff if you can get your hands on it.
Flatten your dough and spoon on your basil paste. As you can see, we added a few whole basil leaves but this is optional. Roll the dough into a log and fold the ends over each other to form the shape of a ball. Pinch the ends together to seal everything tightly.
Flour your proofing basket generously -we don’t have one so we’re just using a bowl with a tea towel.
Don’t worry about overdoing it with too much flour. Flour stops the basil sourdough bread from sticking to the proofing basket and the excess can be brushed off later. Transfer your basil sourdough bread into the proofing basket. Make sure the seam side is facing up.
Cover the dough and let it rise for another 1-3 hours. At the 2 and a half hour mark, it’s time to preheat your oven and bread pan or dutch oven. The oven temp for sourdough bread baking that’s always worked for us is 220c or 428f.
When it’s hot enough, transfer your dough to a baking sheet and score with any pattern you like. Next, place it in the dutch oven or bread pan and bake the basil sourdough bread with a lid or covered for 25 minutes. Then bake sourdough uncovered for another 20 minutes or until golden brown.
And voila! You have yourself a beautifully crusty basil sourdough bread that’s singing with the flavors of Italian herbs and garlic. But the flavor combinations don’t stop here, in the next section we’ll show you a few flavor combinations that we’ve tried and loved.
What Flavors Can You Add To Sourdough Bread?
If you’ve mastered a basic sourdough recipe then the world is your oyster! You can flavor your sourdough with almost any flavor combination your heart desires. We came up with this basil sourdough bread for a cheesy brunch party.
You can also make:
- Cranberry blueberry sourdough black sesame crust bread
- Black sesame sourdough
- Spelt sunflower seed sourdough
- Chocolate sourdough with chocolate chips
- Orange and poppy seed
You can pair your sourdough bread with sweet or savory options but something important to note is when you add your flavorings and how much of it you add.
Adding Flavors To Sourdough: 3 Things To Consider
There aren’t many rules to follow when adding flavors to your sourdough bread but there are a few things you should keep in mind to avoid any sourdough mishaps:
- Adding moisture: When you’re adding ingredients to flavor your sourdough, you may be adding moisture to your dough. For instance, you won’t have issues if you want to add dried fruits or nuts but adding fresh or frozen fruits, adding sweeteners like honey, will affect the hydration level of your dough.
Before adding an ingredient, consider how wet they are and lower the amount of water added to your dough to balance this out.
- Using powders: If you’re using cacao powder or coffee, we’ve found that it’s better to mix these powders with water before adding it to your dough. This will ensure your flavor will be evenly distributed through the dough.
- Sugar levels: The wild yeast in your sourdough will feed on the excess sugars. Adding sugars or sugary ingredients will speed up the fermentation time.
Generally, when you want to add anything to your sourdough, it’s best to follow the Baker’s percentage. This means adding only 20% of flavor to the amount of flour. For example, if your recipe works with 500 grams of flour, you can add up to 100 grams of flavoring of your choice.
Whether you’re making a batch of basil sourdough bread or any other whacky flavored sourdough loaf, just remember to have fun with it. The more you bake sourdough bread, you’ll get the hang of it. This basil sourdough bread was our third attempt at flavored sourdough.
It’s all about trial and error but most importantly, having fun. Let us know in the comments below if you have any wild flavor combinations you’d like to see us try. Until then, why not whip up a basil sourdough bread loaf for the weekend? Wanna make sourdough bread but don’t have a dutch oven? Try using one of the 9 ways to make sourdough without dutch oven guide!
Italian Basil Sourdough Bread
Paired with Italian herbs and garlic, this delicious crusty basil sourdough bread is perfect on its own or paired with cheese.
- 407 grams flour (we used T65 french flour)
- 225 grams cold water
- 50 grams sourdough starter
- 50 grams fresh basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1-2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 clove garlic
Add the flour, water, and sourdough starter into a bowl and mix everything together until it forms a dough.
Leave this dough to rest for at least 12 hours at room temperature.
After 12 hours, you can shape the dough into a loaf. Ideally, you want to fold the dough into itself to create a round shape.
Heavily dust your proofing basket or a bowl lined with cloth. This will prevent the dough from sticking to the proofing basket or cloth. Don't worry about using too much flour, it can always be brushed off later.
Add the basil, garlic, Italian seasoning and olive oil to a food processor and blitz.
Flatten the dough into a rectangular shape and add the basil paste to the dough.
Roll the dough up and pinch the corners tightly.
Shape the dough into a round ball and transfer the sourdough loaf into a proofing basket. Let the dough rest for 2-3 hours and cover with a damp cloth.
Preheat your oven to 220c or 428f with your dutch oven or bread pan inside for 30-40 minutes.
Transfer your sourdough loaf onto a piece of baking paper.
Before placing the sourdough loaf into the pan, score the surface with a sharp blade.
When the bread pan is hot enough, lift the baking paper and place the sourdough in the dutch oven or bread pan and bake with the lid on for 25 minutes.
Remove the lid and continue baking for an additional 20 minutes or until a deep shade of brown.
Allow to cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes and enjoy!