Aleppo Pepper + Mozzarella Sourdough

I finally got my hands on some Aleppo pepper and knew it needed to go into some bread. Aleppo pepper, in my opinion, is like a combination of sun dried tomatoes, red pepper flakes and paprika. It has a slight smokiness and a lot of earthiness without an overwhelming kick of heat. I paired the pepper with some mozzarella cheese in these loaves to give it a little more savoriness.

Schedule

Using the lazy sourdough method is actually quite simple. The real key to this method is that you can use your unfed starter straight from the fridge without the need to make a levain. There’s also no autolyse which saves about 30 minutes.

Schedule: Here’s a link to the lazy sourdough method.

The exact schedule I used is at the bottom of this post.

Ingredients:

This recipe makes two loaves. Simply divide all the ingredients in half if you only want one loaf.

Dough

  • 900g bread flour
  • 100g dark rye flour
  • 750g filtered water @ 88’F
  • 200g unfed starter straight from fridge (100% hydration)
  • 120g mozzarella cheese (cut into 1/4″ cubes)
  • 10g Aleppo pepper
  • 22g sea salt
Chopped mozzarella and Aleppo pepper ready to go into the dough

Method:

After mixing the dough, I performed 4 stretch and folds within the first 2 hours, adding the Aleppo pepper and mozzarella cheese during the first fold. I let the dough bulk ferment at room temperature for a total of 8 hours. If your kitchen is warmer than 68’F, it might take a little less time to bulk ferment.

Once the dough had doubled, I shaped it into loaves and put them in bannetons that I liberally dusted with rice flour. I put the bannetons in vegetable bags and then placed them in the fridge for a 17 hour cold proof.

One hour before baking I started preheating the oven, with dutch ovens inside, to 450’F. When it was time to bake, I took the loaves straight from the fridge and placed them in the preheated dutch ovens, gave them a quick score and then put them in the oven.

I baked the loaves at 450’F for 20 minutes covered, then removed the lid of the dutch ovens and baked for an additional 30 minutes.

Result:

I had no idea how much Aleppo pepper to use in this bake, so I took a wild guess and landed on 10g. I mostly came to that number by pouring it out in a small bowl until it looked like it would be enough. Well, my guess was probably under what it should have been since the flavor, color and aroma of the pepper is pretty muted. You still get some slight earthiness and coloration, but not quite what I was expecting.

As far as the bread itself looks, it rose and vented fantastically. The cheese oozed out in several spots which I always think gives loaves a really cool appearance. The crumb is fairly compact with a few larger holes. If you’ve read any of my other posts here, you’ll know that this is the type of crumb structure I look for. I don’t want too big of holes or else it’s useless for slathering with butter, jam, cheese, etc.

The crust is just about perfect in my opinion. I could have gone a few more minutes in the oven but I still prefer mine on the lesser side of the caramelization (did I just make up a word?) scale than almost looking burnt.

There’s a ton of blistering on the loaves thanks to the long cold proof in the fridge. I love how the blisters look and it’s always a good sign that the crust is going to be well formed and full of flavor.

My Baking Notes

  • Ambient Temperature @ mixing: 68’F
  • Mixed @ 11:50am on December 10th
  • Dough was 79’F at mixing
  • 4 stretch and folds in first 2 hours
  • Started proof @ 7:50pm on December 10th
  • Preheated oven @ 12:15pm on December 11h (~17 hour cold proof)
  • Out of fridge and into oven @ 1:15pm

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