Turmeric Sourdough #BreadBakers


Our Bread Bakers theme this month is to make naturally colored bread using fruits and/or vegetables.  I love doing this and have made a number of loaves with natural colors.  One reason we personally try to avoid artificial colors is that they aggravate things like ADD/ADHD, Autism, Sensory processing, and related skin issues due to sensitivities.  Red and yellow give my daughter hives and make her crazy, and blue has given me hives since childhood.  We have done natural egg dyes as well, (super fun!).  Here are some other naturally colored breads and creations: Carrot and Beet Challah, Carrot Bread, Matcha Turtle Buns, Green Tea and Orange Loaf, Mint Chip Cookies, Purple Pain de Mie, and Floral Art Bread.

This is a very slack dough with high hydration.  Not quite as high as a ciabatta, but similar.  The first coil fold will stretch the dough almost 2 feet to pick it up, but the last one will be significantly less.  It really is remarkable to see the dough develop.  Here is an excellent video on the handling and shaping of high hydration dough.

For my first loaf, I decided to go with something many folks might have on hand in their spice cabinet: turmeric.  It gives a lovely golden yellow and is good for you as well.  I do have fresh turmeric root, but that is sometimes difficult to find depending on location, so dried works well for everybody.

With a slack dough like this, you can expect a glossy crumb and a chewy, moist interior, along with a crackling, crispy crust.  Just be sure to develop that gluten with enough folds.  It will be noticeable how much the dough starts to perk and round up after a few folds.  First loaf was baked in a fully pre-heated cast iron Dutch oven and gave the larger interior holes.  Second loaf was baked in a glazed ceramic covered baker that was pre-heated for only 15 minutes.  It resulted in a smaller crumb but more of an ear and took a little longer to finish.  I popped it out directly onto the oven rack to finish baking.

The original recipe called for a specific brand of turmeric, a "red turmeric", and only 1 tsp.  I used regular old, any brand, organic turmeric powder and 2 tsp for good color.  You can smell the turmeric in the raw dough but it is very subtle in the finished loaves and good for any application, sweet or savory.  We love turmeric anyway.  But this bread was fantastic plain, buttered, toasted and buttered, toasted and buttered with jam, and served with soup.  Just fantastic.  Both loaves gone by the second day.  Bread at its most basic - flour, water, salt, and some wild yeast.  And the turmeric of course!  I do suggest a few more coil folds if using all purpose flour.

Turmeric Sourdough
Makes 2 loaves

440g bread flour (all purpose works but should add another coil foil or two)
365g water
6g or 2 tsp ground turmeric
100g active sourdough starter
10g sea salt

7am – For the starter; combine 20g fed sourdough starter, 40g flour, and 40g water. Starter should be used right at its peak, after about 4½ to 5 hours.

8:30am – Combine flour, water, and turmeric in a bowl.  Mix well and let rest for about 3 hours, until starter is ready.

11:30am – Wet your hand, add starter to the dough.  Mix by hand, scooping up and over the edges until incorporated, about 5 mins. Cover and rest for 30 mins.

12:00pm – Add salt and mix with a wet hand until fully incorporated, about 5 minutes. Cover and rest for 1 hour.

1:00pm – Mist your work surface with water and wet your hands. Transfer dough onto the surface and gently pull from the center out to form a rectangle shape. Scoop up one edge and fold into the center. Pick up other edge and fold into the center over first section. Fold the top down half way. Fold the bottom up. Put dough in a large dish. Cover and rest for 45 mins.

1:45pm – First Coil Fold*.  Lift the dough from the middle with both hands. The four fingers will be on the underside, below the dough and only the thumbs are above the dough. Lift the dough and place it on the dish like a coil. Do this once from each side.  Cover and rest for 45 mins.

2:30pm – Second Coil Fold. Repeat the same. Cover and rest for 45 mins.

3:15pm – Third Coil Fold. Repeat the same. Cover and rest for 45 mins.

(If using all purpose flour, you may want to do a couple more folds to increase structure.  Try 5 folds every 30 minutes.)

4:00pm – Shaping the loaves: lightly flour the counter or a pastry cloth. Transfer dough onto the cloth and divide into two pieces. Shape each loaf by folding up and then rounding under the edges to increase surface tension until the loaf rounds up a bit.  Transfer to a well floured banneton or a bowl, top side down. (This is a high hydration dough and needs adequate flouring to prevent sticking.  A rice flour mixture is recommended - wheat flour will form gluten and stick.)  Let proof at room temperature for 20-30 minutes. Then move to the refrigerator for 12 - 16 hours.

6:00am (the next morning) – Preheat oven and dutch oven or clay baker at 475ºF for 30 mins. (Alternatively, you can use a baking stone and cover the loaf with an inverted roaster.) Take bread dough out from the fridge and invert onto a parchment paper.  Dust with flour and score as desired.  (With my timing, I took my loaves out and them them proof for another hour at room temperature before baking.)  Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven. Transfer the dough with the parchment paper to the preheated pan.  Bake with cover on for 20 mins.  Remove the cover and lower the temperature to 400ºF, and continue baking for another 10 mins.  Remove bread from the oven and let cool completely before slicing.  Bread may then be reheated in oven if warm bread is desired.

*Here are a couple good videos on coil folding.  


Happy New Year! We are starting this year’s events with a colorful beginning. Our theme for this month is “Naturally Colored Breads” and Radha of Magical Ingredients is our host. #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.



  1. Turmeric adds beautiful color and boosts immunity too! Love this vibrant colored bread!

  2. I had never heard of the coil fold before. Just watched a few videos. I need to try that the next time I do a high hydration loaf.

  3. That crumb is amazing! I'm going to have to try that fold too!!

  4. Thank you for including the videos, Kelly! I love the open structure of your crumb and that vibrant golden yellow. Reminds me of goldenrod, one of my favorite crayons back in the day.

  5. Beautiful, your turmeric sourdough bread has perfect crumb

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