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If you love pizza, you’ll fall in love with this bold Sun-Dried Tomato Sourdough Bread with Capers!
Sun-dried tomatoes add a concentrated sweet-tart flavor, and I use the ones without oil so that they don’t add any liquid or fat to the recipe. Then, I add a whole jar of capers to the loaf (!). That way, you get that salty, briny, and slight savoriness in every bite akin to olives.
Oregano and red pepper flakes add more Mediterranean flavor with a little heat, akin to pizza seasoning. Every bite packs a punch of flavor!
This loaf has the most inclusions of any bread recipe I’ve made so far, so it’s a great way to experiment with baking with some bold flavors in your bread.
The result is a fragrant loaf that’s excellent served with cheese, butter, or dipped into good olive oil.
🍅 Adding Sun-Dried Tomatoes to Sourdough Bread
Working with inclusions in your bread recipes is a great way to add new flavors and experiment with different ingredients.
And while it may be tempting to toss a bunch of ingredients into a loaf of bread, you have to think about the many implications of each inclusion you’re adding.
Sun-dried tomatoes are usually sold in two forms- dried in bags or oil-packed in a jar. The oil-packed tomatoes are more plump and juicy, but adding them to a loaf means you’ll need to drain and remove the oils.
That’s because adding too much oil to sourdough can affect the integrity and structure of the loaf. It’s an issue I go into more detail in my Black Sesame Sourdough Bread recipe, which includes a dough made with a high-fat ingredient.
Instead, I use sun-dried tomatoes that are sold in a bag. There’s no need to reconstitute them in water or liquid like I do for plumper raisins in my Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread. That’s because the dried tomatoes will soak in some of the water in this high-hydration loaf. Once baked, the sun-dried tomatoes still end up juicy!
On the other hand, capers are only sold preserved in jars (FYI I use the most well-known and popular non-pareil capers, not grusas or capote capers). So you’ll need to strain out the brine and pat them dry with a paper towel to remove most of the extra liquid.
Laminating Inclusions into Sourdough Bread
Lamination in sourdough bread is the process of spreading the dough into a thin sheet and folding it onto itself.
The process has a few benefits and uses: evenly distributing multiple inclusions, creating a swirl effect with more than two types of dough, and to strengthen gluten structure in a very extensible dough.
With one or two inclusions, I will simply add them in during coil folds, which distributes the ingredients well enough, like in my Preserved Lemon & Rosemary Sourdough Bread.
However, when there are more than a couple of inclusions, I think it’s best to laminate them so they get evenly distributed.
In this recipe, both the chopped sun-dried tomatoes and capers are heavy inclusions that otherwise risk sinking to the bottom of a loaf or staying in one location if they’re folded in.
Lamination lets you spread the ingredients out into a wide surface area. Then, the dough is folded up like a packet with multiple layers of dough and inclusions.
The process is a similar idea to laminating pastry like croissants, pie crust, puff pastry, scones, or biscuits/shortcakes). However, in pastry, you laminate the butter into multiple layers so that it puffs up into flaky layers in the oven.
👨🏫 Baker’s Percentage Chart
I include a baker’s percentage chart to scale a recipe up or down easily. With baker’s percentages, the total weight of all flour in the recipe is 100%.
I also include the prefermented flour from the levain in this flour weight. Finally, I note the ingredients proportionally to the total weight of flour (in this case, 430g). That’s why the percentages below will add up to over 100%.
If you want to learn more, the King Arthur website has a more detailed reference page on why and how baker’s percentages are calculated.
|Bread Flour||370 grams (includes 30g for levain*)||86%|
|Whole Wheat Flour||60 grams||14%|
|Sea Salt||8 grams||1.9%|
|Water||347 grams (includes 30g for levain)||80.7%|
|Sourdough starter||30 grams (all for levain)||7%|
|Sun-Dried Tomatoes||56 grams, not oil-packed||13%|
|Capers||70 grams, strained and patted dry||16.3%|
|Dried Oregano||1 ½ tsp||To taste|
|Red Pepper Flakes||1 tsp||To taste|
*Note: If you opt to not make a levain, use 90 grams of active sourdough starter.
🛠 Tools Needed
View my Sourdough Tools and Equipment guide for a complete list of my favorite bread-baking tools.
- Dutch Oven
- Baking Scale
- Bread Lame
- Or a sharp razor blade or sharp knife.
- Bench Scraper
- To assist with shaping.
- Banneton Proofing Basket
- I use this 10″ oval proofing banneton for baking batards (ovals) and a 9″ round banneton for boules (rounds).
- A proofing basket will help keep your dough shaped while it proofs overnight and removes easily from the basket with a liner. If you don’t have one, line a mixing bowl with a floured tea towel.
- Optional: Brød and Taylor Folding Bread Proofer
- This folding proofing box by Brød & Taylor is a game changer to keep your sourdough starter and doughs at the perfect temperature while proofing.
- The proofer folds up easily, includes a humidity tray, is multifunctional, and can even be a slow cooker.
- Optional: Danish Dough Whisk
- Mixing einkorn flour can be very sticky. I really like using a Danish dough whisk to help get the job done faster and with less mess. It’s an optional, but helpful tool that I’ve been using more and more.
🛒 Ingredients Needed
See below for more information, recommendations, and possible substitutes.
- Bread Flour
- I used King Arthur Bread Flour at 12.7% protein for recipe testing this bread. A high-gluten content flour works best.
- This will result in a taller loaf that’s easier to shape, score, and blooms well in the oven.
- Whole Wheat Flour
- Can substitute with another whole wheat flour such as spelt flour.
- Sourdough Starter
- Sea Salt
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes, chopped
- Use the sun-dried tomatoes sold in a bag, not oil-packed tomatoes. No need to reconstitute them as they will become juicy when baked in this high-hydration loaf.
- Capers, chopped
- Non-pareil capers are tiny, French capers that are typically sold at the store and the ones I use for this recipe. I use a whole 3.5oz jar for the recipe.
- Strain the capers and pat them with a paper towel to dry. Then, chop them.
- You can substitute capers with olives or leave out if you don’t like them.
- Dried Oregano
- Dried oregano has a more concentrated, potent flavor than fresh oregano. It also distributes more easily in this recipe.
- However, you can substitute dried oregano with double the amount of fresh oregano (1 TBS).
- Red Pepper Flakes
- You can always adjust the heat in this recipe if you’re sensitive to spice. One teaspoon is a good balance to me, but add more, less, or leave out!
⏰ Sample Baking Schedule
This is my typical baking schedule for most sourdough breads. This schedule works well for a weekend bake. However, many steps are flexible, depending on your own day-to-day schedule.
For example, you can make the levain the night before (use 10g of starter and 40g of flour and 40g of water). You can also proof the dough overnight in the refrigerator for up to a day to bake on your own time.
|1. Make Levain||9:00am|
|3. Add Levain & Rest||2:00-2:30pm|
|4. Add Salt & Mix||2:30pm|
|5. Bulk Fermentation (Includes lamination and folds)||2:30-7:00pm (4 to 5 hours)|
|7. Overnight Proof||7:30pm-9:00am (or up to a day)|
|8. Score and Bake||Next Day, 9:00am|
👨🍳 How to Make Sun-Dried Tomato Sourdough Bread
Follow this visual and detailed guide to help you make the best sun-dried tomato sourdough bread recipe.
1. Make the Levain
Mix 30 grams of sourdough starter, 30 grams of bread flour, and 30 grams of water in an empty jar.
Cover and set it in a warm location (between 75-80ºF) for about five hours until it’s bubbly and ripe. The levain should at least double in size during this time.
Note: Alternatively, skip this step and use 90 grams of an active sourdough starter in the recipe. To make a sourdough starter from scratch, follow my day-by-day Sourdough Starter recipe guide.
Learn more about the difference between a starter and levain.
When the levain is ready, mix 340 grams of bread flour and 60 grams of whole wheat flour in a mixing bowl.
Make a well in the center of the bowl and pour 307 grams of warm water into the bowl.
Use your hands or a Danish dough whisk to mix the flours and water well. The dough will be quite sticky.
Cover the bowl and set it aside to autolyse for an hour.
3. Add Levain and Rest
When the levain is bubbly and ripe, add the levain.
Use your hands to dimple the levain into the dough. Then, stretch and fold the dough onto itself for a few minutes until you thoroughly incorporate the levain into the dough.
To stretch and fold:
- Use your hand as pincers to pull up a portion of the dough.
- Lift the dough to stretch it, then fold it down in the middle of the bowl.
- Rotate the bowl and repeat this motion.
Cover the bowl and rest it in a warm location for 30 minutes.
4. Add Salt & Mix
After 30 minutes, sprinkle 8 grams of sea salt onto the dough. Note that this amount is slightly less than 2% salt because of the saltiness of the capers.
At this point, you can add another 10 grams of water if you think the flour can handle it. The small amount of water also helps to dissolve the salt.
Then, dimple in the sea salt and begin mixing. Stretch and fold the dough for about 5 minutes until it’s smoother.
Cover the bowl and rest for 30 minutes.
5. Bulk Fermentation, Lamination, and Folds:
Bulk fermentation begins after mixing in the salt. Throughout bulk fermentation, we will add the inclusions via lamination and perform a few folds to strengthen the dough.
At 78ºF, bulk fermentation for this loaf takes about 5 hours, but can vary based on many factors.
If your dough and environment are colder, bulk fermentation will take longer. Conversely, in warmer conditions, the dough will ferment faster.
Note: An instant-read thermometer like the Thermapen is a great tool to check your dough temperature throughout bulk fermentation.
First Stretch & Fold
After 30 minutes of resting, perform one set of stretch and folds.
I like to do at least one set of stretch and folds before adding in the inclusions to give some initial strength to the dough before lamination. That way, you’ll be able to stretch out the extensible dough more easily.
To stretch and fold, use a wet hand to lift a portion of the dough, stretch it, and fold it down upon itself. Repeat three more times in the bowl for one set.
Cover and rest for 30 minutes.
Clean a large work surface and lightly spritz it with water. The water will prevent sticking.
Lamination can be a little tricky and sticky, so you’ll want to work with damp hands throughout lamination. Thus, I like to keep a small bowl of warm water near the work area.
How To Laminate:
- Dump the dough out onto the slightly wet work surface, letting it naturally release itself from the mixing bowl.
- Starting from the middle of the dough, use damp hands to gently stretch out the dough from all directions. Stretch it thinly, trying not to tear the dough, into a large sheet on the work surface (I usually try to keep it as a large rectangle or oval shape, but the exact shape doesn’t matter too much).
- Sprinkle 56g of chopped sun-dried tomatoes, 70g of strained and chopped capers, 1 ½ tsp of dried oregano, and 1 tsp of red pepper flakes all over the surface of the dough. Gently press down the inclusions into the dough to help them stick.
- Then, wet your hands again and fold the dough multiple times (about every 6 inches or so) from one side onto itself into a long, rectangular packet. Fold the dough into a nice packet like a letter with many folds. Ideally, the dough doesn’t tear much and try to keep the inclusions contained without sticking out or being exposed.
Transfer the dough back into the mixing bowl and rest for 45 minutes.
More Stretch & Folds
Because of the amount of inclusions in the dough and because lamination provides so much strength, I find that this bread doesn’t need as many folds.
I typically do 2 or 3 more folds of the dough throughout bulk fermentation, separated by 45 minutes each.
If the dough is still very slack or not holding its shape after the last fold, you may need to add a couple of more folds.
The dough rests for the remainder of time until shaping.
Bulk fermentation is complete with this dough doubles in size, feels full of air, and there are some visible bubbles on top of and around the dough.
Try to shape the bread so that there aren’t any visible inclusions on the outside of the loaf. They will burn during baking. If you need to, remove any on top or sneak them inside of the loaf when shaping.
Since it can be a little slack, I stitch this dough in the banneton to add extra strength.
Cover and rest at room temperature for 15-30 minutes.
7. Overnight Proof:
With the banneton covered, place it in a cold refrigerator overnight and up to 48 hours.
The overnight proof, or retard, will give additional flavor to the dough and slow down fermentation.
8. Score & Bake:
Place an empty Dutch oven into the oven and preheat it at 500ºF (260ºC) for an hour.
After an hour, remove the cold dough from the refrigerator and turn it out onto a small piece of parchment paper.
Then, score the dough using a sharp bread lame.
I usually score with one long slash for a batard (oval). For a boule (round), score the dough with a cross pattern in the center of the dough or another design. The score should be about ¼”-½” deep. If interested, I often share scoring videos on my Instagram.
Carefully place the scored dough with parchment into the Dutch oven and immediately cover it with the lid. Optionally, you can add a couple of ice cubes to the pan to increase steam.
This can help increase the chances of a sourdough ear, but I notice that is much more difficult to attain one with so many added inclusions due to the weight of the inclusions!
Bake at 500ºF (260ºC) for 20 minutes.
Remove the lid, turn the oven down to 450ºF (232ºC), and bake with the lid off for about 15 minutes until the crust is dark brown.
Every oven bakes differently, so be sure to turn on the oven light to peek at the bread during baking so the crust doesn’t burn.
FYI if there are any inclusions on top of the loaf, they will burn quickly in the oven. I usually don’t mind a little char, but if some are too dark, you can just pick them off after the bake.
Cool the loaf on a wire rack for at least an hour before slicing.
Finally, enjoy cutting into this delicious sun-dried tomato sourdough bread!
I love serving this sun-dried tomato sourdough bread with cheese, a drizzle of good olive oil, or toasted on a charcuterie board.
How to Store
I like to store sourdough bread cut-side down once sliced. This helps the loaf retain moisture so it doesn’t dry out and become stale.
To slice, cut the bread in half, turn it cut-side down, and then slice it with a sharp, serrated bread knife.
Then, wrap the loaf in a tea towel and place it in a bread bag, bread box, or brown paper bag, where it will stay fresh for about three days. After a few days, you may need to reheat or toast slices.
Unsliced, the bread will last another day or two without staling or losing too much moisture.
You can freeze the sun-dried tomato sourdough bread by placing slices in a freezer-safe bag where it will keep for months. To thaw, reheat the frozen slices in a toaster oven, toaster, or oven.
❓Sun-Dried Tomato Sourdough Bread FAQs:
Can I use all-purpose flour?
You can use all-purpose flour instead of bread flour, but note that you may need to mix more or add a couple of extra folds to stregthen the dough.
Can I add cheese to sun-dried tomato sourdough bread?
Yes, if you want to add cheese you can. I’d recommend harder cheeses such as asiago, parmesan, or cheddar.
Is this recipe vegan?
Yes, this is a plant-based sourdough bread recipe.
Sun-Dried Tomato Sourdough Bread with Capers
Sun-Dried Tomato Sourdough Bread
- Make the Levain:In a clean jar, mix the sourdough starter, bread flour, and water for the levain.Cover and set in a warm location (between 75-80ºF) for about five hours until doubled and bubbly.Alternatively, skip making a levain and use 90 grams of active sourdough starter below.30 grams Sourdough Starter, 30 grams Bread Flour, 30 grams Water
- Autolyse:When the levain is ready, mix together the bread flour, whole wheat flour, and water in a mixing bowl.Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in 307 grams of warm water.Use a dough whisk or your hands to mix together the flour and water just until it comes together.Cover and rest in a warm location for 30 minutes.340 grams Bread Flour, 60 grams Whole Wheat Flour, 317 grams Water
- Add Levain, Salt, and Mix:Add all of the levain into the bowl and dimple it into the dough. Then, stretch and fold the dough for a few minutes to incorporate.Cover and rest in a warm location for 30 minutes.Sprinkle the salt on top. Dimple the salt into the dough. Stretch and fold the dough for about 5 minutes until thoroughly mixed and the salt dissolves. While mixing, if the dough seems stiff and you think the dough can handle it, you can add another 10 grams of water.Cover and rest in a warm location for 30 minutes.Levain, 8 grams Sea Salt
- Bulk Fermentation, Lamination, & Folds:At 78ºF (26ºC), bulk fermentation typically takes about 5 hours.After 30 minutes, perform one set of stretch & folds. Rest 30 minutes.Dampen a large work surface and your hands and stretch the dough out thinly into a large sheet. Sprinkle the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, capers, oregano, and red pepper flakes all over the surface. Fold the dough into a packet to laminate it (more instructions on how to laminate the dough in the post above). Rest 45 minutes.Separated by 45 minutes or so, perform 2-3 more sets of stretch and folds on the dough during bulk fermentation. Rest for the remainder of time.At the end of bulk fermentation, the dough should be smooth, feel full of air, have visible bubbles, and jiggle if shaken. The dough should almost double.56 grams Sun-Dried Tomatoes, 70 grams Capers, 1 ½ tsp Dried Oregano, 1 ts Red Pepper Flakes
- Shape:Lightly flour the top of the dough and the counter. Gently loosen the dough from the sides of the mixing bowl and turn the dough out onto the counter.With the help of a bench scraper, shape the dough into a batard (oval) or boule (round). If there are any inclusions on the surface, try to stick them back into the dough so they don't burn during baking.Lift it up and place it into a floured banneton.Stitch the dough in the banneton if it's still slack.Cover and rest for 15-30 minutes.
- Cold Overnight Proof:Place the covered banneton into a refrigerator to proof overnight and for up to two days.
- Bake:Place the empty Dutch oven with lid in the oven and preheat for an hour at 500°F (260ºC).Once preheated, remove the banneton from the refrigerator and turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper. Score the dough with a sharp bread lame about ¼-½" deep.Transfer the scored dough to the Dutch oven and cover it with the lid.Bake at 500°F (260ºC) for 20 minutes. Remove the lid, lower the oven temperature to 450ºF (232ºC) and bake for about 15 minutes with the lid off.Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before slicing.Slice and enjoy with cheese or a drizzle of good olive oil.
- Try to keep the dough at a constant, warm temperature (between 75-80ºF) as much as possible throughout fermentation. I use the Brød and Taylor bread proofer to keep my dough at a constant 78ºF. If your dough and environment are cooler, bulk fermentation will take longer. Conversely, in warmer conditions, the dough will ferment faster.
- Read my Sun-dried tomato sourdough bread recipe guide for a detailed walkthrough with photos and videos for shaping, scoring, and baking this bread.