Purple corn and Butterfly pea flower Sourdough

Picking out interesting produce in a supermarket makes food exciting. I like playing with diversity in food to add an element of fun and a whole lot of health. My mother is an exceptional sourdough baker and I’ve finally convinced her to join me here! Sourdough bread is a bread leavened by wild yeast and lacto bacilli collected from the environment through a mother culture. It is extremely healthy because the flour is pre digested by the bacteria and yeast and has a much lower glycemic index compared to regular bread. We love playing with the biodiversity in our breads so they nourish us ( and our gut microbiome) while we gorge on them! To me nothing smells like home more than a freshly baked loaf of sourdough. It’s the highlight of our week and we’re always finding ways of incorporating it into our meals. Finding things that compliment the bread and celebrate it.

It’s always fun to experiment with new flavours, combine different things and come up with something spectacular. Almost like casting a spell and magically creating something new. Wandering the isles of a supermarket, Im always picking up more than I need and getting home and concocting something new.

My latest find was purple corn and they looked just gorgeous, with their deep dark amaranthine hue. This Peruvian corn has been around and used by the indigenous people for 1000s of years. It is a powerhouse of antioxidants. The vibrant colour comes from anthocyanins, which is known to fight certain cancers, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. We also used Butterfly pea flower tea in our bread to add a different colour. Butterfly pea flower i.e. Clitoria Ternatea is a traditional Chinese medicine that has a gorgeous indigo colour.It is used all over south east Asia. It is steeped in hot water and makes a beautiful blue tea. It is rich in anti oxidants, flavonoids and peptides. We grow these in our garden back in our country house and harvested some for this bread.

This bread is a play on the vivid colours of both these ingredients to form a vibrant purple and blue sourdough. Very appealing on a cheese platter or as a tartine, topped with some pesto, poached pears and rocket leaves. Or you could put some lettuce, a fried egg and some cherry tomatoes. Or, just play!



36g Sourdough Starter

36g All Purpose flour

36g Water

Total Formula

Purple corn dough

Weight Ingredients Bakers %

212.5g Bread Flour 85%

37.5g Freshly milled Purple corn flour 15%

75g Soaker water (boiling) 30%

175g Water 70%

50g Levain 20%

5g Salt 2%

Butterfly pea flower dough

Weight Ingredients Bakers %

250g Bread flour 100%

5-10g Butterly pea flower

180-200g Water 72-80%

50g Levain 20%

5g Salt 2%


  1. Prep (11am)

Take the purple corn and remove the kernels and sun dry or place in a dehydrator, till the corn kernels are fully dried. On the day of mixing, grind the corn kernels (mock mill) to a fine flour.

Boil the butterfly pea flowers in the water for 5 Mins. Let it steep for 1/2 hr. Strain, cool and use.

2. Levain (11am)

Activate the starter and make the levain around 3-4 hours before mixing time (depending on your ambient temp, this was done at around 28C or 82.4F ). In cooler climates it may take longer for the levain to peak. In a medium sized jar, mix 36g flour, water and starter each, together. Cover and let the levain peak at room temp.

3. Autolyse (1pm)

Autolyse the bread flour for both the doughs separately. For the purple corn dough, take 212.5g bread flour and mix it with 175g cold water ( in case you can’t handle a very wet dough, you can reduce the water to 162.5g) and keep for 1hr. For the Butterfly pea flower dough, mix 250g bread flour with 200g cold water ( or 180g). Mix till no dry bits of flour remain. Cover and let it rest for 1hr. Autolyse helps in gluten development.

4. Soaker (1pm)

Mix 37.5g ground purple corn flour with 75g hot boiling water. Soak for 1hr.

5. Mixing (2pm)

Add the starter to the autolysed flour, mix well keeping your hand like a dough hook and continuously mixing till the dough starts to feel smooth and elastic. This is called the Rubaud method. This may take upto 10 mins.If using a Kitchen-aid, add starter to the dough and mix for 5 mins on speed 2, until well mixed.

Mix the starter to the butterfly pea flour dough in a separate bowl, in the same way.

Rest both doughs for 30 mins.

Add salt(2:30pm)

Add salt to the Butterfly pea flour dough, incorporate well and again work on the dough using the Rubaud technique to develop gluten. If using the kitchen aid, add the salt and mix on slow for 5 mins and then on fast for about 3 mins till the dough is wrapped around the dough hook.

Add the salt to the purple corn dough and work on it till the gluten has developed and you get a good window pane. Then add the soaker and again work on it till well incorporated. If using the kitchen aid, after adding the salt mix on speed 2 for 5 mins, add in the soaker and mix again for 5mins on slow and then on fast for 3 mins or so. The dough should come around the hook, but may still stick to the bottom.

Transfer both doughs to 2 separate bowls, cover and keep for 1/2hr.

7. Bulk Fermentation. (3pm)

The bulk will go on for a total of 3.5-4 hrs. At temp between 24C to 27C.


Wet your counter top a little and stretch both the doughs separately. Place one on top of the other. Fold and rest for 1/2 hr.

Do 4 stretch and folds every 1/2 hour, starting at 3:30pm.

Continue bulk for another 1 to 1 1/2 hr(depending on the ambient temp). You should see bubbles and the dough should increase by 30-40% .

8. Pre shape (6:30pm)

Let it rest for 15 mins

9. Shape (6:45pm)

Shape and put in the banneton. Refrigerate at 4c for approximately 12-14 hrs.

10. Bake (7am)

Preheat your oven at 250C with the dutch oven inside for 1hr prior to baking.

Score with a lahm and put inside the dutch oven. Bake at 250c with the lid on for 20 mins. Reduce the temp to 220C and continue baking with the lid off for another 25 mins till the loaf has a good brown colour to it. The internal temp should be 100C and on tapping the bottom of the loaf you should hear a hollow sound.

Take it out, resist cutting till the bread cools down. After that, cut away and see the vivid magic reveal itself! Enjoy!

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