Homemade sourdough bread with a seeded crust and dried tart cherries folded into the dough. The crunchy crust is incredible! Naturally leavened, and made with active sourdough starter. Slather with salted butter and honey to eat.
I deviate from my everyday sourdough bread every once in a while. This Tart Cherry Seeded Sourdough is a new favorite in our house (and the neighbors, who were gifted numerous test loaves!). The dark brown, crunchy crust is embellished with seeds, and the fluffy, moist interior has pops of dried Montmorency tart cherries woven throughout.
There are endless combinations of seeds, nuts, and fruits that one can bake into a loaf of bread, but this unique combination of sunflower and poppy seeds paired with ruby red tart cherries makes for true sourdough bliss.
You’ll know exactly what I mean when you try your first slice. The tang of the sourdough meets the sweet-tart bursts of the cherries, and they complement each other astoundingly well.
Sunflower and poppy seeds are savory without being too bold. And I really love the aesthetic they add, besides a brilliant crunch.
Having Montmorency tart cherries in your pantry means supporting U.S.-grown products and local family farms (mostly in 7 U.S. states, including Michigan, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Oregon, Pennsylvania and New York.)! Also referred to as sour cherries, they’re the most common variety of tart cherries grown in the U.S and are available year-round in dried, juice, canned and frozen forms. The bright color of the tart cherries indicates the natural plant compounds (or phytonutrients) inside!
First, you’ll need active sourdough starter to mix the dough.The process to make this sourdough bread isn’t too much different from regular sourdough bread, except for folding in the dried tart cherries, and rolling the dough in the seeds before the final rise.
Here are some notes to help you with those two steps.
First, you’ll soak the dried tart cherries in hot water for about 10 minutes. Then you’ll drain them, and pat mostly dry with a paper towel. If you add dried fruit to the dough without soaking, they will absorb necessary water that the grains need, resulting in a tougher dough. This will also inhibit fermentation, gluten development and the oven spring later.
Adding the cherries to the dough comes during the 3rd of 4 sets of stretch and folds. If added sooner, you will disturb the gluten development that is built while working the dough.
Once the fruit is added, the dough continues its bulk fermentation. Because of the natural sugars occurring in the fruit, I found the dough rose and completed bulk slightly faster than regular sourdough bread. And it produced such a lovely, open hole structure!
By the end of your bulk fermentation, the dough should look a bit puffy and jiggly with an increase of 50%. Little bubbles around the sides and top all show signs of good fermentation.
Most importantly, because kitchen temperatures and your water temperature may vary, be sure to use the time suggestions in the recipe as such – a SUGGESTION. Let the dough guide your process rather than the clock.
When you’re done shaping the bread, you’ll want to brush the top side with water using a pastry brush. Distribute sunflower seeds and poppy seeds ready on a flat plate. You’ll put the dough top side down, on the plate, then gently roll and adhere the seeds onto the top of the bread. The dough then goes into the banneton for its final rise as usual, seam side up.
Is tender and moist, with scattered holes and a beautiful color from the tart cherries. I attribute the combination of bread flour, all-purpose flour, and whole wheat flour for its wonderful texture, which I first used in my Honey Walnut Sourdough Bread recipe.
This is the thinnest, most brittle crust I’ve ever baked! The knife just slides right through it, with crumbs scattering from its crispness. Obsessed.
How to eat this Tart Cherry Seeded Sourdough Bread:
I prefer eating it warm, with salted butter and honey. Or peanut butter. It’s such a treat! For a savory take, this bread is also great with cream cheese, and hear me out – sliced green OLIVES.