Turmeric Marbled Sourdough Bread

There was a type of bread that I wanted to bake and it was  time to try it. The marbled bread.
This bread has the particularity that the crumb has swirls of colours coming from combined dough with different colours. The recipe is a classic one, with a high hydration dough to get a more open crumb. It is just about colouring a part of the dough (preferably in a healthy way) and layering it over the rest of the dough in the lamination phase to obtain a distinct combination of colours. The swirls come from the manipulation of dough after the lamination, more exactly during the coil folds. There is a trick about them and I will explain.
For these loaves, I used turmeric as food colouring and this one has the tendency to tint the rest of the dough as well. To avoid this, it is better to keep the coloured dough in a smaller proportion than the white one, that will be about 25-35% from the total dough. Then, I performed 3 coil folds during the bulk fermentation, after I integrating the 2 coloured pieces of dough. More than 3 would make the crumb completely yellow. Two coil folds would be better in order to see the distinct swirls but you'll lose on the bread structure side as the hydration of this dough is high. So, 2-3 coil folds are the right number, but also be careful when you perform the coil folds themselves to avoid doing it multiple times. Keep the movements simple and do not overdo it.
All the rest of the steps are exactly the same as for a classic sourdough bread.

This bread is more about the visual aspect of the crumb rather than the taste or bread fermentation technicalities. I find that the turmeric addition did not changed the overall taste of the bread so this ingredient is kind of neutral for the taste. 
To get the open crumb, I recommend fermenting the dough up until the aliquot jar indicates 100% volume increase.
I invite you to watch the video above for all the detailed steps of this recipe and method of making bread.


Ingredients: (1755g dough, 80% hydration)

  • 175g sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 700g strong wheat flour (14% proteins) 
  • 100g whole wheat flour
  • 70g spelt flour
  • 685g water
  • 18g salt 
  • 7g turmeric


  1. [Day 1, Saturday, 9:00] Scaling. Start by scaling your ingredients using a balance and put them on the table to ensure that nothing is forgotten.
  2. Mix water + flours. Mix only the flours with water until well combined. Do not knead at this stage, just ensure there is no unincorporated dry flour resting in the bowl and that's it. I used warm water heated in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. The exact temperature is not that important because, during the autolyse, it will arrive at the right temperature. For this recipe, the dough needs to stay during the resting periods at 27ºC. I actually set the bread proofer to 27ºC and kept the dough inside. However, due to the manipulation of the dough at room temperature (colder in the winter), the dough temperature was 2-3ºC less.
  3. [Day 1 Saturday, 12:00] Sourdough starter. Add the preferment over the dough and mix with a standing mixer for 10 minutes.  After mixing, let the dough relax for 1 hour.
  4. [Day 1 Saturday, 13:00] Salt. Add the salt and mix for 5 minutes. Then, let the dough relax again for 1 hour.
  5. [Day 1, Saturday, 14:00] Divide, Stretch and Fold, turmeric. Take the dough out of the bowl put it on the slightly wet table board and divide it into 2. The 2 parts should not be equal, look for 25-33% for the one that will get the turmeric included and the rest is for the second dough. Stretch and fold each piece on the board and place them in squared glass bowls. Let them sit covered for 1 hour.

  6. [Day 1, Saturday, 15:00] DivideLamination, Merge. Take the small dough and add the turmeric over it. Start distributing it into the dough by using pinching and stretch and folds on the counter. Then, divide the yellow dough (with turmeric) into 2. Divide also the white dough (with no turmeric) also into 2. Stretch a piece of white dough in a big rectangle, like you do for the lamination method, then, near, stretch a piece of yellow dough in the same way. Flip the yellow stretched dough over the stretched white dough then continue the classic folding for the lamination. Repeat for the other 2 pieces of dough. Now you've got 2 pieces of dough with integrated white and yellow layers.  Let the dough rests covered for 1 hour. 
  7. [Day 1, Saturday, 16:00] Coil fold 1. Start now a set of 3 coil folds performed straight in the bowls. Do the first coil fold set in each glass bowl and let them sit for 1 hour. Limit the number of layers when coil folding as the interior of the dough will combine too much and you'll lose the marble effect.
  8. [Day 1, Saturday, 17:00] Coil fold 2.  Do a second set of coil folds in the glass bowls and let them sit for 1 hour.
  9. [Day 1, Saturday, 18:00] Coil fold 3. Do a third set of coil folds for each dough and let them sit for 2 hours covered.
  10. [Day 1, Saturday, 20:00] Shape the loaves on the lightly floured board. The shaping must take place when the dough volume increase reached 100% (measured in an aliquot jar). Place the dough face down into well-floured bannetons. Repeat the process for the second piece of dough. Place the bannetons covered with a plastic bag/shower cap in the fridge overnight. 
  11. [Day 2, Sunday, 9:00] Score. Before scoring, you need to preheat the oven with a baking stone inside at 270ºC. 
    Take the dough out from the fridge and reverse the banneton on a baking sheet. Score and decorate the bread as you like.  
  12. Bake. Immediately after, slide the loaves on the hot baking stone in the oven and bake for 15 minutes at 270ºC. Generate also steam inside the oven to improve the oven spring. After these 15 minutes, reduce the temperature to 210ºC and continue to bake for 25 minutes, this time without steam, with the oven ventilator on.
  13. [Day 2, Sunday, 9:40] Cool. The bread needs to cool for at least 2 hours until it reaches room temperature. The cooking process continues slowly even after taking the bread out of the oven, so this is why it is important to not skip this step and to resist cutting it too early. If you can, of course...
  14. [Day 2, Sunday, 11:40] Cut. Now is the big moment to enjoy a slice of delicious bread... 


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