Why make regular bread when you can make caffeinated bread? I’ve always wanted to learn how to make sourdough bread, so when my buddy Walt offered me a cut of his starter, I figured the time had come. That same day, a different friend with a tea company called asking if I had any ideas for new ways to use yerba mate. On this episode of BeCreativeNow, I invent “Boosted Bread: Yerba Mate Sourdough” – don’t eat it before bed!
The bread I made in this video does indeed have a little “kick” to it, and if you are curious enough to try it yourself, I’ve included my recipe below. In addition to the basics (flour & salt), you’ll need a kitchen scale that measures to the nearest gram, a dutch oven or some other covered baking dish, a flat pan, some sourdough starter, and some strong yerba mate.
If you ask around, you can usually find a baker with some starter to share, since it is kind of like kombucha in the sense that it’s always growing and you often have more than you can use. If you’ve got time on your hands, you can make your own – do some research about this if you want, it takes about a week and involves capturing wild yeast, usually out of thin air. I used to make a “wine” called tepachi from the yeast of pineapple skins when I lived in Oaxaca back in the day, really great stuff. So it totally clicked for me and the universe made sense for a brief second when Walt, my friend who makes a little cameo in this video, told me off-camera how some people make their starters by capturing yeast from the skin of specific wild berries.
Walt also names his starter cultures. The one I used here is named Sister Sour, which was interesting since my own sister happened to live in Walt’s current place over fifteen years ago. I’m not going to go fully into it here, since there’s already a ton of information on it out there, but the bottom line is that sourdough starter is its own intricate topic, kind of like mycelium, a deep rabbit hole worth exploring. And you need some to make this bread.
The main point here is my recipe for a caffeinated twist on classic sourdough bread I’m calling “Boosted Bread: Yerba Mate Sourdough.” If you need a line on some yerba mate, for the bread or just to drink since it’s delicious and packs a punch, you can buy it in most grocery stores, or order some good organic stuff from my friend Mackay over at Yerba Montana.
Once you’ve got your starter and your yerba mate locked down, you’re ready to make your own batch of Boosted Bread Yerba Mate Sourdough. Don’t be afraid to alter this recipe however you see fit, and if you find a variation you like more, let me know in the comments!
Boosted Bread Yerba Mate Sourdough
- 1000g flour (should be unbleached, but works with bleached)
- 27g salt
- 650g brewed yerba mate – as strong as you can make it
- 200-300g sourdough starter
- Some olive oil, rosemary, salt & pepper (optional)
- Brew up a batch of strong yerba mate in a french press, coffee pot, or on the stove, and drink a little to get in gear for breadmaking
- Mix up the flour, salt, brewed yerba mate, and the sourdough starter
- Knead the mixture for about 20 minutes, or until it passes the “window pane” test – this means you can stretch the dough thin enough to see light through it without it breaking
- Set the dough aside to prove for three hours in a bowl lined with a floured tea towel at room temperature, or in one of those fancy proving baskets if you have one, and go do something else for a while
- When yo come back, beat the dough back down a little to get some of the air out, then divide in two
- Shape your loaves: I recommend one round loaf, one focaccia.
- For the round loaf, you basically make it into a ball – there’s a technique to it, go watch a video if you want – then put it back in the bowl with the towel
- For the focaccia, put it flat in an oiled pan, and try to stretch it to take up the whole pan
- Leave the loaves to rise overnight in the fridge, for maximum flavor. (If you’re in a hurry, you can leave them out of the fridge for 4 hours instead.)
- In the morning, make some yerba mate to drink while you preheat the oven to 450, with the dutch oven inside
- Set the focaccia on top of the stove to warm up gently
- Take the round loaf out of the bowl and bake it first in the pre-warmed dutch oven
- Right before you put it in, use a sharp little knife to carve a design into the top of the loaf – this is your “baker’s signature” and also helps relieve stress as the break expands
- For the first 25-30 minutes, leave the lid on the dutch oven, to seal the moisture in
- For the next 25-30 minutes, take the lid off to let the crust turn brown
- While the round loaf is baking, poke a bunch of dimples into the focaccia
- Pour the olive oil on it and sprinkle the rosemary, salt and pepper on top
- As soon as you take the round loaf out, set it aside in the dutch oven to cool and put the focaccia in the oven, in the same pan it was in all night
- Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the edges start to brown
- Remove the focaccia from the oven and let it cool a little
That’s it. You’re done. I like to put some yuzu honey or raspberry preserves on the round loaf, get a good sugar buzz with the caffeine boost and run around for a while, then come back and sit on the couch while I eat a slice of the oily focaccia with butter on it to come back to earth. If you’re going for a long bike ride, a sandwich on boosted bread is also a great alternative to those store-bought caffeinated energy bars.
Let me know in the comments what you think of boosted bread, or what your twist on the recipe would be. If you want to stay in the loop about future creative projects and tips, don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter at the top of the page, or check back here next week at BeCreativeNow.com.