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Chipotle sourdough bread

March 26, 2013


This delicious and pleasantly “fiery” bread has become my current favorite. The kitchen fills with the very distinctive warm smoky, aroma of the chipotle and bread as it bakes. It is a very simple addition to a basic sourdough. I encourage you to try adding canned chipotle peppers to your own  recipe. As in my pumpkin seed sourdough, this bread is based on Chad Robertson’s “Basic Country Bread”.  This time I used the same amount of hydration as he does, substituted whole wheat flour for some of the bread flour,  and added the chipotle pepper in adobo sauce as my variation. Instead of using a Dutch oven, I simply use a baking stone and mist the oven with water during the first few minutes of baking.

Chipotle peppers are jalapeno peppers that have been ripened, dried, and smoked.  They have become much easier to find recently.  Canned chipotle peppers,  which are used in this recipe,  have been widely available for a while. The peppers are canned with an adobo, a sauce made of vinegar highly flavored  with a variety of flavors including but not always spices, herbs, tomato and other  ingredients.


This recipe makes 2 loaves. As I have highly recommended before,  get “Tartine Bread” by Chad Robertson for the original source to this basic sourdough bread method.



1 1/2 teaspoons active starter

50 grams whole wheat flour

50 grams bread flour

100 grams water at 80 degrees


Final dough:

700 grams water at 80 degrees

800 grams bread flour

200 grams whole wheat flour

20 grams salt

50 grams water

3  tablespoons canned chipotle pepper (include some of the adobo sauce) chopped


For the leaven:  The night before you plan to bake,  disperse the starter in the 50 grams water and add the 50 grams bread flour and 50 grams whole wheat flour. The starter I used had been refreshed about 8-9 hours before and had reached the stage where it had begun to collapse.  It had a slightly tangy aroma.  Cover the leaven with plastic or a kitchen cloth and let it ferment overnight. Mine took about 12 hours in a 72 degree room to ferment to a desired stage. Chad Robertson advises to test the leaven by dropping a spoonful in moderate temperature water. It is ready when the leaven floats.


For the final dough:  (On the baking day)

1. Put the 700 grams water into a fairly large mixing bowl and add the leaven to disperse. Next add the flours and mix very well until there are no dry bits of flour.  Let the dough rest for about 25- 40 minutes.

2.  The dough will feel and look more cohesive after the rest period.  Add the salt and 50 grams water by squeezing it into the dough. Fold the dough on top of itself and place it in a plastic container that will serve for it’s bulk fermenting period. The ambient temperature was between 72 and 76 degrees.

3.  This bread is not kneaded, but instead given “turns”.  A turn consists of reaching the underside of the dough and folding it over the top.  Do this 3 times for each turn to make sure it is evenly folded.  Do a turn every 30 minutes for 3 hours.  During the third hour, be more gentle so as to maintain the aeration that is developing.  The dough should increase in volume by 20 to 30 per cent and feel softer. Bubbles should be forming along the side of the container.  I use a clear plastic one so I can see how the dough is coming along. Extend the fermentation period with more turns if needed.

4.  Remove the dough from the container with a dough spatula onto an unfloured surface.  Lightly flour the surface of the dough and then cut it in half with a pastry scraper. Seal the flour on the surface of the dough by folding the cut side of each piece onto itself.  Use flour on your hands so that the dough does not stick to you. It is a wet dough that is difficult to handle.  Using a pastry scraper and one hand, form each dough into a round shape as you build tension on the surface. This tautness on the outer surface helps with the oven spring you are going  for as the dough begins to bake.

5.  Let both rounds rest for about 30 minutes.  They will both spread out into a thick pancake-like shape. The edges should be round and fat, not flattened out too much. If it appears like they are tapering too much,  shape them again into rounds.  This is like giving them another turn.

6.  For the final shaping,  lightly flour the  top of the rounds and flip them over carefully with your pastry scraper.  Try to maintain the round shape. The floured side is now against your work surface.   Work each round one at a time. Grab the third of the dough nearest to you and fold it over the middle third. Next,  stretch the third of the dough  horizontally to your right and fold it over the middle. Do the same with the left third of the dough.  Now grab the third farthest from you and fold it over the middle as well.  Hold the part of the dough nearest you and wrap it up and over, meanwhile flipping the dough over so that the smooth side is now on top.  Repeat the shaping with the other round.

7.  Line 2 bannetons or medium size bowls with lightly floured kitchen towels.  This helps keep the dough from sticking to the towels.  Chad Robertson suggest using a 50/50 mixture of rice flour and wheat flour.  Using your pastry scraper,  carefully transfer the rounds to the baskets or bowls. The smooth side is face down while the seam side should be on top.  They should proof from 2-4 hours in a 75 to 80 degree temperature environment.  A 2 hour rise will result in a milder flavored loaf.  You can also delay the process by putting them overnight in a refrigerator.  An 8 to 12 hour rise will produce more complex and slightly more acidic results.

8.  About 30 minutes before you begin baking,  pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees. Place your baking stone if using one.  If you don’t have one,  try using 2 layers of heavy baking sheets.  Robertson uses a method of baking the loaves each in a Dutch oven which he says simulates the action of steam injected professional ovens.  When ready to bake,  invert one of bannetons or bowl onto parchment paper, remove the bowl and towel carefully to expose the round. Lightly flour the surface of the round and score.  Using a peel, slide it along with the parchment paper  in the oven.  Lower the oven temperature to 425 degrees.   My oven is too small to accommodate both so I refrigerate the 2nd dough for about 15 minutes while the other is baking.   I don’t think refrigerating is particularly necessary, since a 30 minute wait at this point won’t make too much difference.  I use a garden mister to create a steam environment in the oven. I mist 3 or 4 times for the first 10 to 12 minutes.  The bread should be ready in about 25 minutes.  I check with thermometer when I feel it is close to done. The internal temp of the loaf should be 200 degrees.  Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.


This bread will add great flavor and kick to a sandwich,  say one of queso fresco,  roasted tomato slices,  avocado,  and mixed greens.  It would also make very flavorful garlic croutons for soups or salads.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 28, 2013 3:55 am

    Thanks for letting me camp out in your blog for a little while today. I had a great time and tried to leave my campsite as good as when I arrived. I’ll be back!

    • May 28, 2013 7:40 pm

      I appreciate you visiting and taking a look! I’ll be spending some time on your site. There is a whole lot going on there. Thanks again!

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