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#15 Sourdough - Whole White Loaf with Activated Charcoal and Garlic

Updated: Apr 5, 2021

What is activated charcoal?

Activated charcoal are usually derived from bamboo or coconut shells where they are charred and grounded into powder. When added in to food, the activated charcoal adds an earth and smoky taste and gives a black natural colouring to the food.

Food Grade Activated Charcoal v ordinary barbeque Charcoal

Do not be confused with the charcoal that you use for barbeque with food grade activated charcoal. Food grade activated charcoal are commonly found in health food store or specialty store are are frequently produced from heating coconut shells to an extensively high temperature until they are complete carbonized and burnt off.

What is the health benefit of activated charcoal?

In recent research, the so called health benefit that activated charcoal can give such as lowering cholesterol, treat provisioning and reduce abdominal gas has been proven a myth. Nonetheless, consuming this substance is not harmful to your body. In my opinion, activated charcoal bread adds a kind of ashy flavour to the loaf not disregarding the natural colour effect it gives for visual.

Therefore, if you are looking for a healthy version of bread, adding activated charcoal is not the way to call it. If you want to have a healthier loaf of sourdough bread, it is better off to substitute the all white baker's flour with some healthy version flour such as rye, whole wheat or spelt. You can also add some grains and seeds in the loaf for health benefit quality to your loaf.


The recipe below makes 1 x 940 g loaf



60 g Water

30 g Whole Wheat Baker's Flour

30 g Organic White Baker's Flour

60 g Starter

Final Dough

445 g 100% White Baker's Flour

340 g 76% Water

9 g 2% Salt

110 g 25% Ripen Levain

3 g 0.6% Activated Charcoal

40 g Minced Garlic

Since I have some of the activated Charcoal leftover from my #14 Sourdough Activated Charcoal Focaccia recipe, I figured I would just try to make something fun for the effect and not necessarily for the taste.


Work Flow

7 pm Prepare Levain the night before.

Mix the following together in to a mass and leave in a loosely lidded jar overnight.

30 g Ripe starter

60 g Water at 24 °C

30 g Whole Wheat baker's Flour

30 g Plain Baker's Flour

7 am Autolyze

The next morning and one hour before the Levain is anticipated to be ready, autolyze the flour together with the activated charcoal and 320 g (reserving 20 g) of water at 37°C. Cover the dough and leave to rest until Levain is ready.

8 am Add Levain

Weigh out the Levain and spread it out on the autolyzed dough and pinch and knead into the dough (takes around 2 to 3 minutes) Cover the dough and rest for 30 minutes

8:40 am Add Salt

Sprinkle the salt and rub some of the reserved water to help it dissolve and same as when you add the Levain, pinch and knead into the dough until you can no longer feel grainy bits of salt. Cover the dough and let rest for 30 minutes.

9:10 am Lamination and adding minced garlic

Spray the work surface with a tiny bit of water and drop the dough on to it. Wet your hands and gently stretch the dough out to an even square ( you do not need to stretch the dough too thin, just wide enough for you to fold the dough on to one another. Spread the minced garlic on top. Fold the top quarter to the centre then fold the bottom ends over the top fully. You will now have a rectangle shaped dough like a wrap. Now, fold the dough on the left half way to the centre then fold the opposite ends to fully cover the first ends.

Lightly oil a container and gently lift the dough into the container. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes. You are now ready to begin your bulk fermentation process!

9:40 am #1 Coil Fold

Perform the first coil fold. Cover the dough and rest for 30 minutes. You will be doing 6 coil fold in total from here on with 30 minutes resting in between until the last coil fold #6.

10:10 am #2 Coil Fold

(30 minutes later)

Perform the second coil fold. Cover and rest for 30 minutes

10:40 am #3Coil Fold

(30 minutes later)

Perform the third coil fold. Cover and rest for 30 minutes

11:10 am #4 Coil Fold

(30 minutes Later)

Perform the fourth coil fold. Cover and rest for 30 minutes

11:40 pm #5 Coil Fold

(30minutes later)

Perform the fifth coil fold. Cover and rest for 30 minutes.

12: 10 pm #6 Coil Fold

(30 minutes later)

Perform the sixth and last coil fold. Cover and rest untouched for the rest of the fermentation time for 2 hours at room temperature.

2 :20 pm Final shaping

(2 hours later)

Pre shape the dough in to a boule and place into a well dusted banneton basket. Cover and let it rest for another hour at room temperature.

3:30 pm Retard

(1 hour later)

Place the proofing basket into the fridge and retard to sourdough overnight to up to 18 hours.

6:30 am Pre heating the oven

(15 hours later)

Place the cast iron pot with the lid into the oven and pre heat the oven to 210 °C for 1 hour.

6:30 am Scoring and baking

When the oven is ready, remove the sourdough from the fridge. Carefully tilt the sourdough to release it from the proofing basket with the seam side underneath onto a parchment paper. Dust the top with some baker's flour (optional) and score. Transfer the dough onto the cast iron pot and place the lid over with a slight gap. Spray generously into the gap with some water then seal the lid tight.

Bake the sourdough with the lid intact in the pre heated oven for 20 minutes then remove the lid and bake for a further 30 to 40 minutes or until the desirable crust colour is achieved.

Once baked, remove the sourdough from the cast iron pot together with the parchment paper and allow for it to fully cool on a wire rack for 2 hours before cutting.


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