Ben Starr

The Ultimate Food Geek

Inclusions / Additions to Simple Sourdough (Adding stuff!)

How add inclusions to my wildly easy Simple Sourdough method.

Print link at the bottom of the recipe!


Simple Sourdough

Rethinking Roasted Garlic


My favorite kitchen scale (Restaurant grade, takes AA batteries or plugs in)

Clear proofing bowls with lids

Parchment rounds (Measure the bottom of your Dutch oven to be sure you order the right size!)

Parchment sheets (This is a standard half-sheet size, but measure your baking sheets before ordering!)

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There is no hard-and-fast recipe, as this is a METHOD rather than a specific recipe. In general, here is a starting point for the amounts of inclusions to add to the regular Simple Sourdough recipe:

Fresh Herbs – 1/4 cup chopped (rosemary is my fave)

Dried Herbs and Spice Mixes – 2-3 Tablespoons

Seeds – 2 Tablespoons to 1/4 cup (mustard, caraway, cracked black pepper, sesame, quinoa, etc.)

Whole Grains – 1 – 1 1/2 cups, fully cooked, drained well.

Dry Ingredients – 1-2 cups (dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, etc.)

Cheeses – 8oz/227g cubed is best, but shredded works (for soft cheese like chevre, use the folding technique rather than mixing in at the beginning)

Moist Ingredients – 1 – 1.5 cups (pickled or fresh jalapeƱos, pitted olives (whole or chopped), roasted red peppers or green chiles, fresh fruit or berries, roasted garlic cloves, etc.) **Will need to adjust hydration and possibly salt content of recipe, see below, and very delicate ingredients will need to use the folding technique.

!!! IMPORTANT – Hydration Compensation for Moist Ingredients !!!

When using moist ingredients, weight the amount you are adding to the recipe, and subtract 50% of the weight of the ingredients from the water content of the recipe. For example, if adding 4oz/113g roasted red pepper, subtract 2oz/57g water from the recipe. You do not need to adjust the water content when using the fold-in method after the bulk fermentation for very delicate ingredients.

!!! IMPORTANT – Salinity Compensation for Moist, Salty Ingredients !!!

When using pickled ingredients that are both wet and salty, like olives or pickled jalapeƱos, some of the salt will migrate out of the ingredients and into the dough along with the water. In this case, reduce the salt content to compensate. I typically reduce the total salt added to 0.4oz/11g for 4oz/113g of pickled jalapenos. You do not need to reduce the salt when using the fold-in method after the bulk fermentation for delicate ingredients, nor do you need to reduce the salt if using dry, salty ingredients like aged cheeses.

In a bowl, combine:

4oz / 113g sourdough starter (at 100% hydration, straight from the fridge)

12oz / 340g water (NOTE: Adjust water amount if using moist inclusions!)

Stir to distribute the starter into the water. Then add:

1lb 4oz (20oz/567g) all purpose flour (or bread flour)

0.7oz /v20g salt (any type) (NOTE: Adjust salt amount if using salty, moist ingredients)

Inclusions (except very delicate inclusions which could be crushed by the mixing process…see “Fold-In Method” later in recipe)

Stir to combine, then bring together in the bowl with your hand. Note that the dough may feel dry if you’ve decreased the water to compensate for moist ingredients. Don’t worry, as the dough will increase in hydration throughout fermentation. Cover securely. (Don’t make an airtight seal, but use a solid cover like a pan, lid, or plastic wrap…not a kitchen towel.)

Rise until double, 12-24 hours for most starters. (If your starter is vigorous and your dough doubles in 12 hours or less, reduce the second rise as described below.)

If your inclusions were added in the beginning, shape into a tight boule and place in a Dutch oven that has been oiled and lined with parchment.

NOTE: If your dough is extremely sticky, it’s overhydrated. This can be caused by an overhydrated starter (fix it with this video), or could easily have come from your moist ingredients. Fix this loaf by kneading in enough extra flour to make the dough shape-able.

FOLD-IN METHOD: If your inclusions are very delicate, mix the dough according to the un-adjusted recipe above, and ferment until at least double. Stretch the dough out into a large rectangle on a moderately floured surface. Spread 2/3 of the ingredients across the bottom half of the rectangle, avoiding the edges. Fold the other half of the dough on top of the ingredients. Stretch out again, just a bit, and place the remaining inclusions on the bottom half of the rectangle, and fold to make a square. Then carefully tuck the corners under the loaf and work into as tight a boule as you can get without the inclusions piercing the top layer of dough.

Place the boule in a greased Dutch oven, ideally lined with parchment. Rise the loaf for 90 minutes at room temperature. (If you have an active starter and your dough doubled in 12 hours on the first rise, reduce the second rise to 75 minutes. If your dough doubled in 8 hours or less, try to shape within 12 hours, and rise only 60 minutes the second time.)

Place the Dutch in a COLD oven, 1 rack above the bottom (or place it in the most centered part of the oven possible). Turn the oven on to 425F and set a timer for 45 minutes. (Don’t wait for the oven to preheat to start the timer.) Bake 45 minutes covered, and 15 minutes uncovered.

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