Turmeric Fennel Seeds and Black Pepper sourdough bread

I made this bread today and it’s pretty tasty so I figured I share the basics and a few pics. The dough felt dry I suspect because of seed and dry spice additions.

500g flour (half AP and half bread flour)
395g water
75g starter
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp whole fennel seeds ground incompletely with mortar/pestle
1.5 tsp salt
Several turns of the black pepper mill


that looks terrific; might have to try it

It was very fun from the color standpoint, and delicious and aromatic. I got two slices - one day of, with butter, so good; and the crusty heel 3 days later to dip in leftover marinara sauce. The fennel seeds somehow went well with tomato sauce.


My loaf - YUM! and fragrant. I love fennel and a good thing is there was a glitch between recipe and brain and I used 2 T instead of 2 tsp. I got the measure correct for the turmeric … ??? I did grind the fennel as my skill with mortar and pestle is not great. I typically make an overnight levain of a spoonful of starter, 75 g flour and 75 g water so did that (meaning I had about 175 g starter vs your 75 g). I started with 475 grams of flour: 1/2 bread, 1/4 rye, 1/4 white whole wheat. I kneaded in a bit more before refrigerating. Method: mixed everything but salt and 50 grams water, 1 hour rest, add water/salt and mix in stand mixer to windowpane, covered and left at room temp (66F) for 6 hours. Kneaded a bit more water in before shaping and refrigerating. Baked (from frig) in preheated (500F) cast iron dutch oven for 20 minutes lid on, reduced temp to 450 and baked another 14 minutes.

I love the flavor. The crumb is soft but holds for a sandwich and makes good toast - Sardines in tomato sauce on toast is especially good! The crust is crisp.

In addition to the loaf, I used a handful for a 1 person sized pizza. As you noted in your Instagram, this goes very well with tomato sauce and made a great pizza crust.


That looks amazing! The photo is really beautiful too. Great idea to use it for pizza dough. I’ll do that sometime soon. Also the sardines :slight_smile:

This bread looks so interesting. I’d like to use the overnight method since it’s similar to my own but I have some questions. How much water did you add after the overnight levain?

I added 345 g water (Melissa’s 395 less 50 g) for the autolyze (rest after mix)
Then I added 50 g more water with the salt totaling 395

And then there is a typo or autocorrect … the sentence "Kneaded a bit more water in before shaping and … " should be Kneaded a bit more flour in.

I knew I was adding extra water as Melissa noted the dough seemed a bit dry. But then I thought mine was too wet before going into the frig. At any rate, you may have to go with how things look and feel to you.

Oh!!! I completely forgot … I also added 2 tsp of thyme. I started with 1 tsp, increased by a tsp when I realized my mistake with the fennel. I thought the thyme would balance out the extra fennel.

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Thanks for your response. I had wondered if you adjusted the amount of water given that there was some used in the overnight levain. Going to mix this up tonight.

It looks beautiful and I bet it tasted great. I must give this a try when cooking Indian again; it should go well with a tomato based curry then, I think, after what you mentioned about the tomato sauce. And it´s something different to the flat bread I usually make too. Thanks for sharing!

You’re welcome ~ good plan to pair it with a tomato based curry. I love Indian food and flatbreads too. Lately I’ve been making sourdough naan and eating it with things like black bean soup and taco fixings. It’s definitely rewarding to mix it up.

Sourdough naan is just the best! Tried that too, haha. Lovely tender taste it has. (with grilled chicken, pickles and a potato/spinach/curd curry on the last pic btw)


That looks amazing! It’s making me hungry :slight_smile:

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I can’t believe how long it took me to make this bread again because it is such a hit with my family. I’m now commited to making a pizza dough with this flavor combination!

I looked up this thread to remind myself of the fennel and turmeric quantities, so I figured I’d add my latest photos and formula here.

This batch was similar to the one above but with less water, some honey, and different mix of flours.

350g all purpose flour
150g whole grain kamut flour
340g water
100g starter
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp semi-crushed fennel seeds
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp salt

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As promised, I made pizza with these flavors. It was so soooo good. Fennel seeds add a tiny sweetness that pairs well with salty sausage and cheese, tangy marinara…etc. I’m not sure how to describe the turmeric element except that it’s delicious and it works.

I did drop the fennel seed and turmeric by a bit, compared to the bread.
Here’s my formula in weight and baker’s percentage:

450g all purpose flour (plus more for kneading)
300g semolina flour
500g water
150g starter
1.5 Tbsp EVO (21 grams)
2.75 tsp salt (16 grams)
2 tsp fennel seed, crushed with mortar and pestle (4 grams)
2 tsp ground turmeric (4 grams)

100% flour (blend types as you prefer)
66% water
20% starter
2.8% EVO
2.2% salt
0.5% ground turmeric
0.5% crushed fennel seeds

Photos of the process and the pizzas (3 large pies):


Melissa, could you provide info for this recipe in terms of bulk fermentation, folds, basic technique etc, maybe even baking time. Thanks


So my process has been essentially what I outline in this recipe blog post, minus the autolyse, which I haven’t been doing much these days. Also note that kitchen temp will impact rise times. When my house is in the high 60s, this dough might need 7-8 hours to bulk ferment. In the high 70s, I’m looking at 5-6 hours. If I use half the amount of starter, I can get a leisurely overnight bulk fermentation.

I’ve also been varying the amount of gluten development I do depending on my availability to tend to the dough. I didn’t laminate my recent version of this bread, for example. In this blog post under Gluten Development Tips, I describe some ways to get strength in the dough at different times in the process.

(If you meant the pizza recipe process :slight_smile: that info can be found here)

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Thanks Melissa! I usually use the oblong cloche, and needed temperature and times for baking the loaf. Thanks, Gary
P.S. I really enjoy your posts. I am no where near your level of expertise but still get very useful tips from you.

Could I use fresh Turmeric? If so, How much?

Who cannot be tempted with pizza liken that?