Heavenly Accident: Coconut and Onion Seed Sourdough Bread

Once upon a time, there was a little red hen  who lived on a farm . She was friends with a lazy dog , a sleepy cat , and a noisy yellow duck …

When the bread was finished, the tired little red hen asked her friends, “Who will help me eat the bread ?”
“I will,” barked the lazy dog . “I will,” purred the sleepy cat .
“I will,” quacked the noisy yellow duck . “No!” said the little red hen . “I will.” And the little red hen ate the bread all by herself.


Now usually, I consider myself a touch more methodical baker than Little Red Hen. So I would love to share a handsome, intriguing story about the history of my newest creation, the Coconut and Onion Seed Sourdough Bread, including in the story months of research, preparation and experimenting… I can not, however, tell such a lie. The origin of the recipe is the following…It was a late night in the end of April 2013 and the enthusiastic housewife – after hours of studying – lovingly worked on tomorrow’s bread. All the leftover task was to sprinkle the kitchen work-surface with a dusting of flour to knead for the second time, when she – half asleep – with the best of will grabbed the coconut (instead of flour) and generously covered the dough…what a Red Hen ACCIDENT – that is the true cause of this invention. Well, the truth is, it resulted in something heavenly (No, not because of all those who’ve tried it have ended up in Heaven!!!).



6 g salt

250 g active starter

140 ml water

375 g flour

About 100 g desiccated coconut (estimated on how much is lost from the bag…Hmmm)

2 tbsp Nigella seeds

olive oil, for kneading


Preparation method

Step One

Mix over night ferment, by combining half of the flour, all of the starter, one third of the water in a large mixing bowl.

Step Two

After 6 hours add the remaining water, remaining flour, honey, salt, coconut, onion seeds and mix with hands to make a soft dough. Coat a chopping board or work surface with olive oil, then tip the dough onto it and knead the dough for 10-15 minutes, or until the dough forms is smooth and elastic. Tip the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to rise in a warm place for five hours, or until at least doubled in size.

Step Three

Knead the dough until it’s smooth, knocking the air out. Roll into a ball (or into a sausage) and dust with flour. Tip the dough into a well-floured proving basket (or well-floured loaf tin) and leave to rise for about 8 hours.

Step Four

Put a tray half filled with water on the bottom oven shelf and preheat the oven to 220C/Gas 7. Gently tip the risen dough onto a lined baking tray or leave in loaf tin. Bake the loaf for 30 minutes at this heat, then reduce the heat to 200C/Gas 6 and bake for a further 15-20 minutes. This was only an accident and  I’m not sure whether it’s the coconut which impacts on the rising process for the sourdough as there were a few holes in a generally denser loaf compared to usual sourdough.


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