Bearing in mind that yeast has only been widely used for the past 75 years or so, it becomes clear that everything before that was baked with a sourdough starter. Ciabatta – yes! Baguettes – yes! Bagels – yes! and everything else in between including sweet and celebration bread and buns (sourdough hot crossed buns being a good UK example). While writing Perfecting Sourdough I tested and slightly adapted a recipe for chocolate and cream cheese buns. Up front: the original recipe is not mine and for the life of me I cannot remember whose it is. I am in one place and the original is in another and so I apologise and will rectify this situation as soon as I am reunited with the original. Meanwhile, if the author is reading this please let me know! This is the last of the”taster” recipes I am going to give away on the website (the first post about this is here and if you then begin to click forward you will see all the others) and I hope that the sample on the site is enough to inspire you to get sourdough baking and, of course, to buy the book. If you want some friends to bake along with, you can join the facebook group dedicated to doing just that.
Back to the buns. I confess I was dubious. I thought they would be dreadful. I had never made chocolate bread before. I thought the filling would be sickly.
I thought wrong.
They are seriously delicious and not too sweet at all. I have a source of amazing, organic, made by cows that are probably unicorns in disguise, cream cheese which is wonderful but you can of course use Philadelphia if your unicorn herd has deserted you.
For the dough:
50 g wheat sourdough starter from the vat in the fridge
350 white wheat flour
50 g water
160 g milk
50 g white sugar
50 g butter
6 g salt
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
30 g cacao powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (this is necessary to help it rise without becoming really tough and dry – the cacao really slows the rise)
For the filling:
225 g cream cheese, at room temperature
25 g white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
60 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp melted and cooled butter to brush on the dough
For the icing (optional):
110 g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
60 g milk
Measure the sourdough starter into a large bowl and return any remaining starter to the refrigerator. Add 50 g of the flour and all the water. Stir and cover with a shower hat, and leave on the counter for around 8 hours.
Add the remaining dough ingredients and knead well for 10 minutes. Put the dough in a bowl, cover it with a shower hat and leave for 4 hours. Meanwhile, using a hand beater, beat together the ingredients for the filling.
Scrape the dough onto a heavily floured surface and lightly flour the top. Roll it into a rectangle that is 55 cm x 25 cm. Gently spread the filling all over the dough – this is harder than it sounds so just be patient.
Roll the dough up from one of the long ends, using a scraper to help you. Place it seam side down on the counter and slice the sausage of dough into 18 equal pieces.
Place the pieces of dough on to a well buttered baking sheet (or two). Brush the tops and sides with butter and then cover with plastic wrap and let the buns rest for 2 hours or until they pass the probe test.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and put the buns in. Bake the buns for 30 minutes.
Remove them from the tray with a spatula and let them cool completely on a wire rack.
If you would like to ice them, mix the icing ingredients together and then, with a spoon, dribble the icing all over the tops of the buns.
Click here to take our full day sourdough course and learn more than you can possibly imagine in a small class where you can ask a lot of questions, eat a lot of bread and have plenty of your own to take home.