This leek, parmesan and black pepper sourdough is perfect for fall. The parmesan makes the crust extra crispy, and the black pepper adds a subtle warmth. I was inspired to make this flavor combination after we found some lovely leeks at the Farmers Market in Mountain View.
For the leeks, I sliced the white and light green parts of two medium sized leeks. I added the fresh leeks to the dough. However, caramelizing the leeks first before adding them to the dough would also be quite tasty. The fresh leeks actually caramelized themselves a bit during the baking, especially the leeks that were near the crust.
Other cheeses besides parmesan could also work well in this loaf. Pecorino, dry Monterey Jack, or sharp cheddar would be delicious.
I baked the loaves using my Emile Henry Dutch oven. It was the perfect size for these loaves. For a full list of my favorite baking tools, check out this post here. Usually, I bake the loaf directly on my Dutch ovens without any sticking problems, but for these loaves I recommend lining your Dutch oven with parchment paper. I am concerned that the cheese and leeks could cause some sticking to the Dutch oven, so parchment paper helps prevent that (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases).
Hope you enjoy these savory sourdough loaves!
Leek, Parmesan and Black Pepper Sourdough
- Dutch oven
- dough scraper
- Large mixing bowl or container
- kitchen scale
- banneton (optional)
- rice flour (optional)
Leaven (Levain) Ingredients
- 176 g (6.2 oz) sourdough starter (active) Feed it and let it double or triple in volume before using it
- 693 g (24.4 oz) water
- 187 g (6.5 oz) whole wheat flour
- 467 g (16.5 oz) bread flour I used Central Milling's Artisan Baker's Craft Plus
- leaven (from above)
- 422 g (15 oz) bread flour
- 147 g (5.2 oz) water
- 16 g salt (about two teaspoons)
- 2 leeks light green and white parts thinly sliced, about 600 g total I've also found pre-sliced frozen leeks at Trader Joe's that are perfect when leeks are out of season!
- 70 g parmesan cheese (shaved or grated), about two handfuls
- black pepper I added about 10-15 grinds of pepper per loaf
Mix the leaven (levain)
- In a large mixing bowl or container, mix all of the ingredients for the leaven (starter, water, whole wheat flour, bread flour). Mix gently until thoroughly combined and cover.
- Rest the leaven at room temperature for about 6-12 hours until doubled or tripled in volume and very bubbly. My leaven took about 6 hours to become very bubbly at 75 °F and about doubled in volume. This is when mine was ready to use, but it really depends on the activity of your starter and temperature of your home. If you put a small piece of the leaven in a cup of water, it should float when it is ready to use.
Mix the dough
- After the leaven is very bubbly, add the remaining water (147 g) and bread flour (422 g). Mix by hand until combined. Cover and let the dough rest for 45 minutes.
- After 45 minutes, add the 16 g salt to the dough. Mix gently until combined. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Then, about every half hour for the next 3 hours, stretch and fold the dough by gently lifting up the dough from the sides of the container and folding it inward toward the middle. I usually lift up one side of the dough, fold it inward and then rotate the container, repeating the folding until all of the edges of the dough have been folded toward the middle. The dough will look like a loose ball after this stretching and folding. Cover the dough and let it rest. Repeat this stretching and folding process approximately every 30-45 minutes for the next 3 hours. (Note: If you are short on time, you could put your dough in the refrigerator overnight and only stretch it a few times)
Shape the dough and the leeks, parmesan and black pepper
- After about 3 hours, the dough should be noticeably soft and billowy. If not, you can let it rise a little longer. Then, remove the dough from the container or bowl onto a clean counter and divide it into two pieces. With damp hands and a dough scraper, stretch the dough out to a rectangular shape (it doesn't need to be perfect). I have a demonstration on Instagram if you need guidance. Then, spread out half of the leek slices, parmesan, and black pepper over the top of the dough rectangle.
- Then, fold over the edges of the dough rectangle toward the middle, to capture the leeks, parmesan and black pepper inside the dough. Gently flip over this dough packet, and shape carefully into a ball. It is okay if the shape is not perfect or if some of the fillings escape. Just gently shape it back into the dough. Let the shaped dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes. Repeat this process for the second piece of dough.
- After 30 minutes, transfer the shaped loaves to flour bannetons or mixing bowls. The "seam" of the dough will be facing up (so the loaves are upside down). usually line the banneton or bowl with a kitchen towel, dust the towel with rice flour to prevent sticking, then place the dough into the banneton with the dough seam up. Then, dust with more rice flour and cover with the kitchen towel.
- Then, transfer the shaped loaves to the refrigerator in the banneton or bowl and refrigerate for about 12-24 hours.
Bake the loaves
- Preheat your oven and Dutch oven to 500 °F for at least 20 – 30 minutes.
- Once the oven is preheated, remove a loaf from the banneton or bowl and score the top with a slash using either a sharp knife or lame.
- Then, cover the bottom of the Dutch oven with parchment paper, transfer the loaf gently to the Dutch oven and cover. Bake for 25 minutes at 500 °F.
- After 25 minutes, recover the cover from the Dutch oven and decrease the oven temperature to 450 °F. Bake the loaf for 20-45 more minutes until golden brown (check on it every 10-15 minutes).
- Remove the loaf from the Dutch oven and let it cool on a wire rack for a least a few hours before slicing. Repeat this baking process for the second loaf.
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