Saffron sun and stenciled loaves

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I made saffron bread with a sourdough base today.

It was a beautiful dough- silky and easily managed- just right for shaping- the sun face came out just right- I love the almonds in his eyes.

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The turtle- well,  I forgot to put in currants for his eyes, so he is blind- but cute.

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And small- he fits right into the palm of my hand- a perfect size for my grandson.

And following Joanna’s example @ Zeb Bakes , I stenciled a loaf, just to look pretty.

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And it does look pretty-

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and the texture is light and the crust chewy and the flavor is just plain yummy!

I started this bread last night-

here as best as I can remember is the recipe, if you are interested.

1 cup of sourdough starter

2 cups plain flour

2 pinches of instant yeast

1 cup hot water

This is for the sponge or poulish as Joanna calls it.  Stir well with wooden spoon and cover with plastic wrap.  Place in draft free area and allow to raise overnight.

The next morning add:

3 cups flour

2 scant tsp sea salt

1 cup milk, scalded

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter

1 large egg

1/4 cup sugar

2 pinches of saffron


While milk is still hot, melt butter in it, add two pinches of saffron and stir well, set aside, beat egg and add to milk when cooled.

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Add dry ingredients to 1 cup of flour and mix into sponge alternatively with liquid.  Mix well, adding additional flour until dough is quite stiff ( you may need more flour than listed).  Dump out of bowl and start to knead.

Knead dough for at least 8-10 minutes.   If is is too stiff at first, allow to rest on the cupboard, covered, for at least 20 minutes to relax and then try again.

When dough feels smooth and pliable, place into greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let raise until doubled- this could take up to 3 hours depending on the warmth, humidity,age of starter and many other factors.

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When risen, dump from bowl and divide dough for your shaping purposes.

saffron sun and family 002 I used a little less than half to form the sun.

saffron sun and family 003about 6 1/2 ounces for the turtle,

And the last half for the loaf.

I used a stencil and olive oil spray to design the stenciled loaf.

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I used a precut stencil and lightly sprayed top loaf of the bread with olive oil.

Sprinkle flour into stencil cut outs and remove carefully.


Allow to raise again, about  1 1/2  hours

Bake at 350F for at 30 minutes, until golden brown.

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I think it turned out quite well.

8 thoughts on “Saffron sun and stenciled loaves

  1. Heidi, puppeteer Frank Oz once said, “The craft is your rocking chair, you lean back on it so you can rest, and then have the artistry..”

    You have so much skill and instinct in your breadmaking that your artistry seems to ooze from your dough!

  2. Thank you.
    For me there is something quite holy about bread.
    It is life affirming, made up from simple ingredients to become a gift to our mouths and bodies.
    And I love to make it as much as I love to eat it.
    When I was a young girl, I wanted to become a baker.
    I grew up in a greenhouse, my mother a florist, but my sights were set on the kitchen and bread.
    Thankfully, I learned the florist’s skills as well, but there is something about working with the dough- kneading and shaping it that gives my spirit rest.

  3. I must confess, I have never made bread. The closest I have come to kneading is making biscuits, and I know that doesn’t require nearly as much work.

    I enjoyed seeing your results. The sun looks so jovial! And the turtle is so cute, that I know what would happen if I made that for my daughter. She would announce it was too cute to eat. Love it!

  4. Glorious bread Heidiannie! And what you write above I totally agree with.. my dear tai chi teacher who passed away very suddenly two months ago, said to me one day when I was going on, like I do….. May the Tao reveal itself to you…. especially in bread. Wasn’t that a lovely thing to say?

  5. thank you, Adrienne-
    kneading is a wonderful way to work out your frustrations- and a good upper body workout , as well. People always say the bread is too cute to eat, until they smell it!
    There is an Irish blessing for bread-
    Be Gentle when you touch bread.
    Let it not lie, uncared for, Unwanted.
    So often bread is taken for granted.
    There is such beauty in bread—
    Beauty of surf and soil,
    Beauty of patient toil.
    Wind and rain have caressed it,
    We have often blessed it.
    Be gentle when you touch bread.”

    I take it to heart and keep it in mind all along the process -mixing, stirring, kneading, shaping, and baking- even in the cutting or breaking and eating.
    Thank you for your kind words.

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