Pressed flower crust
Cheese and chive sourdough loaf with pressed flowers.
This loaf evolved from a cheese and chive loaf with chive blossoms to several variation’s with edible flowers.Jump to Recipe
Lining the bread proofing basket with edible flowers and herbs before the shaped dough is place in creates a beautiful lacy floral pattern.
Using herbs and flowers that are packed with flavour like chive blossom, nasturtium and calendula.
These give flavor to the loaf, and are not just for decoration.
The petals are added in the dough too so when sliced a beautiful confetti of colours is revealed.
Its delicious eaten with chive blossom butter, scroll to the bottom of this post to see how to make it.
The process of making sourdough is a long one and there are so many variables, so i find it such wonderfully involved thing to bake.
Its difficult to give exact timings because things like how active the starter is or the weather can make a big difference.
Most people will have made their starters, or even feed their starters differently so we are not all starting with the same thing.
This means you have to watch your dough, notice when its ready and learn each time.
When my sourdough adventure began again back in January, (i dabbled once a few years ago and had no clue what i was doing and gave up) i never imagined how much i would love it.
Funnily enough during lock down and the lack of dried yeast in the supermarkets, i was really happy i had started one. It meant i could bake fresh bread daily.
I baked a few of these white sandwich loafs, but generally i make a small focaccia loaf each day.
Adding cheese and chives made this bread a lot more likely to get eaten in our house.
I made four of these in one week, where as a plain white loaf seemed to sit in the tin for a few days.
I also found that the moisture in the cheese and herbs helped it stay fresher for longer.
Using edible flowers that are packed with flavour makes sense for this loaf and it there for that purpose and not just decoration.
Use herb flowers like chive blossoms, or wild garlic blossoms if they are still avaible.
Nasturtium are a wonderful flower to cook with as they have a lovely peppery spicy flavour similar to rocket or watercress.
Calendula are another great flower for savoury recipes.
Use flowers that are organic and have not been sprayed with any chemicals.
For my sourdough cracker discard recipe and a few other edible flower suggestions see here.
Maddocks farm organics, in Devon has a great selection of edible flowers available to buy online for sale in the UK.
Cheese and chive sourdough loaf
By lining the basket with flowers and herbs before placing the dough in to proof, they adhere to the breads surface better.
Cheese and chive sourdough notes
I am by no means a sourdough baking expert, but these are methods i have found work well for me.
I have baked this loaf several times, keeping the flour/liquid ratios the same but adding selection of add ins and flowers each time.
Changing cheeses between cheddar and Parmesan and switching herbs.
Chive blossoms and thin fresh chives added alot of flavour.
Nasturtium added a peppery flavour.
Calendula (marigold) hold their colour well when baked. The petals in the dough are seen when the loaf is cut.
They are not as essential to the flavour of the loaf as the chive blossoms or nasturtium. If you cant find them don’t worry. Cheese and chopped chives will be just as nice.
From experience, placing shaped bread, in the proving basket in the fridge to proof makes it easier to score and transfer to the pot to bake.
8 to 12 hours in the fridge is ideal so leave it over night.
Score the loaf the moment before placing it in the oven.
The bread is baked at a high temperature, fast. covered for 25 minutes then uncovered for 8.
I add two tbsp of water later in the recipe after the initial mixing stage. That is because i knead this dough a little and find that means the dough can handle more liquid.
All brands of flour are different and some absorb liquid better than others, so you may find you don’t need it.
I bake with my starter that is active and kept on the work top, if you keep yours in in the fridge you will need to refresh it, by feeding it in advance or make a levian. See the link below for info about levian.
If you are unfamiliar with how to shape or make a sourdough then Edd Kimber has a great post with step by step photos that is worth a read.
This recipes makes one small loaf.
Sourdough with cheese and chive
- 8 inch proofing basket
- lidded crock pot or dutch oven
- weighing scales
- 200 g water plus 2 tbsp for later
- 90 g active sourdough starter
- 270 g strong white bread flour
- 50 g wholegrain spelt flour
- 8 g salt
cheese and chive
- 60 g cheese grated mature cheddar, Parmesan, red Leicester ect
- small bunch of chives finely chopped and chive blossoms approx 1 tbsp chives and the flowers from 2 chive blossom heads. plus more for decoration
Nasturtium cheese and herb
- 60 grams grated cheese (hard cheese like cheddar)
- large hand full of nasturtium leaves and flowers
- small bunch of chives chopped basil works quite nicely too if using Parmesan as it gives a pesto like flavour
- 3 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
Calendula sunflower seed and herb
- petals from 5 calendula flowers plus more for top nasturtium and herb flowers optional
- 60 grams grated cheese cheddar or other strong cheese
- 3 tbsp sunflower seeds
- small bunch of herbs like thyme, chives ect
Parmesan, black pepper and garlic and herbs
- 50 g finely grated Parmesan
- 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tbsp chopped chives
- 1 tsp thyme leaves
- 1 garlic clove finely sliced and fried in olive oil then left to cool saving oil to add in too.
- (this this recipe i used smoked salt rather than plain salt in the main dough)
Step 1 mixing the dough
- Weigh water in a bowl on some scales and add a spoonful of the starter and make sure it floats, this is called the float test. if it floats then its nice and active and ready to make this loaf with. If not feed your starter and wait four hours and try again.
- Add the flours with the water and starter and mix together into a messy shaggy dough, cover and leave for 15 to 30 minutes (if can be left up to an hour if you are busy)
- Add the salt, and chosen add ins and knead in for 5 minutes until combined. You can fold it in by hand or quickly mix in a stand mixer for a dough hook for 2 minutes minutes. I find kneading evenly distributes the salt and add ins, and makes the dough easier to handle.
- Cover the dough and leave to relax for 20 minutes, then add the two tbsp of extra water and fold in by hand by lifting corners of the dough and folding it in on its self until combined.
The first rise
- Once the dough has been mixed, cover and leave for 4 hours or until risen. During this time stretch and fold the dough a 4 times over that time period. Do this gently by picking up one corner of the dough and lifting it to stretch it and fold it into the centre of the bowl, then turn the bowl and fold again, do four folds and cover the bowl again, As the dough had some kneading at the beginning if you forget to do one of the stretches don't panic. The stretching helps build gluten and will help with the structure of the loaf.
- After four hours the dough should have risen and be nice and puffy. This can take longer in the colder months and could take 5-6 hours.
Shaping the dough
- Once dough has risen, tip out on to a floured surface, and form into a ball, i do this by pulling the edges of the dough into the centre, then i pinch braid the seam together, turn it over and pull the ball of dough over the work surface towards, causing tension making the dough form a tight ball. I do this for a minute until a nice tight ball is formed. Add flour to the top of the dough and leave for 10 minutes to rest while you prep the basket.
- Flour the basket well, i do this by adding a mix of white flour and rice flour, but white flour is fine. For the pressed flower effect, place flowers and herbs in the basket, for whole flowers place them face side down so when the loaf is tipped out they will be facing the right way.
- Then place the dough in the basket seam side up on top of the flowers, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise in the fridge over night for 12 hours, or leave to rise at room temp until risen again, approx four hours. (I find scoring a lot more successful with a chilled loaf) if you want to rise it at room temp. once risen, pop it in the fridge for one hour before baking.
- Place a lidded cast iron pot, casserole dish, or dutch oven in the oven and preheat to 230c 445f gas 9
- Once the oven has reached the temperature, tip the dough out onto a piece of baking paper, (i find scrunching a piece of baking paper up and running it under the tap and then squeezing the water softens it and makes it easier to shape). you can cut the paper to size instead if you wish. slash the dough with a blade at a 45 degree angle then carefully remove the lid (it will be very hot) and place the bread in and put the lid back on and bake for 25 minutes, remove lid and bake uncovered for a further 8 minutes.Leave for 2 minutes them carefully lift out of the pan and cool on a rack. Leave for 1 hour before slicing.
Why not add some chive butter on your cheese and chive bread, not only is it incredibly beautiful but its packed with flavour.
If can be made from scratch with cream, or made by mixing chive blossoms into softened butter.
To make chive butter with cream
Pour a pint of double/heavy cream into a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip at medium speed.
The cream will turn into whipped cream with soft, then stiff peaks. Keep going until the cream breaks. you will see the butter clinging to the beater. This usually takes around from 5 to 10 minutes — this process separates the butterfat from the liquid.
Once the butter has solidified, pour the buttermilk away. (you can save it for baking). Scoop the butter into a bowl or a cheese cloth. Rinse the butter by pouring ice water over it and pressing the remaining buttermilk out with a spoon or squeezing it. Pour off the water and repeat the process. Keep rinsing and squishing the butter with the ice water until the water runs clear. Then add some salt and chive blossoms.
I used the blossoms from 6 chive blossom heads. shape and chill.
To make it with softened butter
Let butter come to room temp, or soften in the microwave. Whip in a mixer until pale and cream, then mix in the blossoms and some salt.
Shape into a block using some baking paper and chill.
The chilled butter can be used to make pastry.
Chive blossom vinegar is another great way to use them. It creates a great salad dressing.