Last week, we had a minor mishap in the back fridge – a ziploc bag filled with glacé cherries leaked, oozing sticky bright red sugar syrup all over the top shelf.
On cleaning up, I found a bag of coarse burghul (also known as bulgur wheat). It needed a new container, but the entire kilo didn’t quite fit in the box, so I thought I’d add the excess to a batch of sourdough. I always like to soak grains before adding them to bread – I find it allows the flavour of the grains to permeate the dough, and also reduces the chances of cracking a filling on a hard kernel. In the case of the coarse burghul though, I knew from prior experience that the grains would need boiling to soften them.
I was inspired by Laila’s recent post to shape the dough into flower loaves. They’re great fun to make and in some ways resemble Anne’s huffers. Big Boy and I broke off a petal each for lunch, filling them with ham, cheese, mustard and pickles.
I reduced the liquid in my dough to allow for the water absorbed by the burghul. The slightly lower hydration dough is also easier to shape.
- 300g active, bubbly starter (fed at a ratio of one cup water to one cup flour)
- 550g water
- 1kg bakers flour
- 100g coarse burghul
- 18g fine sea salt
1. Put the burghul into a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about five minutes until al dente. Pour the grains into a sieve and cool under cold running water. Drain well.
2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the starter, water and drained cooked burghul. Add the flour and salt and mix well with a clean hand, squelching everything together until the flour is completely incorporated. Scrape off your hand, cover and allow to rest for half an hour.
3. Uncover the bowl and give the dough a quick knead. Cover again and allow to rest until well risen – anything from 6 – 12 hours, depending on weather.
4. Dust a bench with flour and turn out the risen dough. Fold it onto itself a couple of times, then divide into two. Shape each half into a round ball.
5. Place a ball of dough onto a sheet of parchment. Flatten it out into a wide circle, then make five cuts nearly to the centre as shown in the photo below. Stretch each petal out slightly to create gaps between them. Repeat with the other ball of dough. Cover with a tea towel and allow to prove. Preheat oven to 240C with fan and position pizza stones on the rack(s).
6. Once the dough has puffed up, spritz the loaves with water and slide them, still on their parchment sheets, onto the pizza stones. Reduce the oven temperature to 220C with fan and bake for 20 minutes.
7. At the 20 minute mark, carefully remove the parchment sheets, rotating the loaves if necessary. Reduce the heat to 175C with fan and bake for a further 20 – 30 minutes, until the loaves are well browned and sound hollow when tapped. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
Even though it was precooked, the burghul didn’t turn into mush in the finished bread. The crumb was elastic and chewy, with a delicious, slightly nutty flavour…
These funky 70s flower power loaves were great fun to make. The shape could be easily adapted – a four leaf clover for St Patrick’s Day perhaps? Both yeasted and sourdoughs would work – just be sure to use a lower hydration formula to make the shaping process easier.
Thanks for the inspiration, Laila!