It had been months, actually almost two years, since I saw Dan Lepard’s Peanut Chile Bread, and it was high time I tried making it. But, every time I set out to make a bread with commercial yeast, my sourdough starter feels neglected, overlooked, like I’m cheating on it. I couldn’t have that. It had been too long since my starter and I had spent time together, so I took Dan’s recipe and combined it with the sourdough bread recipe that I use more than any other. That is the Norwich Sourdough that came from Susan at Wild Yeast. From Dan’s recipe, there are roasted, spicy, red chiles, cumin seeds, peanuts, chunky peanut butter, and tahini. I mixed all of those ingredients into the Norwich sourdough right after the autolyse, and it worked like a charm. I got to try this bread without breaking my starter’s heart. The result was sesame-crusted loaves with a rosy-hued crumb from the chiles. It was nutty and a little spicy and perfect with some olive oil for dipping.
I used fresno chiles, but whichever red chile you prefer is fine. They were roasted under the broiler and left to cool. Stems and seeds were removed, and the chiles were chopped. Tahini, peanut butter, cumin seeds, and salt were placed in a bowl, and hot water was poured over them. The chopped chiles were added along with some cold water and the peanuts. Since I was turning this into a sourdough, I used one-third of the total water for the recipe at this stage. The other two-thirds was used to begin the dough by combining it with starter, bread flour, and rye flour. That was mixed in a stand mixer with a dough hook for a few minutes and then left to sit for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, the chile and peanut butter mixture was added to the dough, and it was mixed until well incorporated. The dough was then left to rise in a wide bowl in which it could be turned without removing it to a work surface. The dough was turned at 50 minutes and then at 100 minutes while fermenting for a total of two and a half hours. After fermentation, the dough was turned onto a work surface and divided. It was allowed to rest before being shaped into long loaves. The loaves could have proofed at room temperature until ready to bake, but I proofed them partially at room temperature and then overnight in the refrigerator. The next morning, as the oven pre-heated, the loaves were brushed with water, sprinkled with sesame seeds, and slashed down the middle. They baked until golden and crisp-crusted.
This flavorful bread was great alongside a salad and with soup, but my favorite use of it was for spicy carrot sandwiches. Those sandwiches were mentioned in the March issue of Food and Wine. After toasting the bread, hummus was spread on it and then topped with grated carrots that had been briefly cooked with sliced garlic, crushed red pepper, and I used cumin seeds instead of caraway. A spoonful of Greek yogurt finished the sandwich. The nutty bread and spicy carrots made a great match.
I’m submitting this to Yeastspotting where you’ll find some seriously well-made bread.