Marbled Butterfly Pea Flower Sourdough Bread

by - November 24, 2020

Marbled Butterfly Pea Flower Sourdough Bread

Marbled Butterfly Pea Flower Sourdough Bread

Marbled Butterfly Pea Flower Sourdough Bread

Marbled Butterfly Pea Flower Sourdough Bread

Marbled Butterfly Pea Flower Sourdough Bread is so pretty and I have been trying to bake it.  I did the first one 2 months ago and the crumb and oven spring was not so great and I think that was due to an unhealthy starter. At my second attempt, the crumb, oven spring and ear turned out great but the colour was a little dull.  The butterfly pea flower that I have has not been consistent. This is my third attempt and I think it's third time lucky! I finally achieved the colour, crumb, ear and oven spring that I have been looking for.  

I used 77% hydration (final) as I think this is a good hydration for the Japan High Gluten Flour that I am using.  Too much hydration will cause the colours to merge and the swirl pattern will get a little muddled.

The idea and method is adapted from "Full Proof Baking".  

I have another Butterfly Pea Flower Open Crumb Sourdough Bread recipe that you may be interested.

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.

Recipe - Marbled Butterfly Pea Flower Sourdough Bread

Yields:  1 loaf
Total flour:  300g + 30g (from levain) = 330g


Butterfly Pea Flower Water:
About 3g dried butterfly pea flowers (removed stem and discarded), boil with 80g water, steeping for 30 minutes, strain to get the blue water and keep aside to cool.

White Dough:
180g bread flour (I used Japanese high gluten flour) - 90%
20g whole wheat flour - 10%
150g water (reserve 10g for salt) - 77% final hydration
4g sea salt - 2%
40g levain (sourdough starter - 100% hydration) – 20%

Butterfly Pea Flower Dough:
90g bread flour (I used Japanese high gluten flour) - 90%
10g whole wheat flour - 10%
74g butterfly pea flower water (reserve 5g for salt) - 77% final hydration
2g sea salt - 2%
20g levain (active sourdough starter - 100% hydration) – 20%
  • Please reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go as each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 
  • Banneton (proofing basket)'s size - 6.5" oval shape
  • Ambient temperature after adding in levain:  25C 
  1. Feed starter - Feed ratio of 1:1:1, keep at room temperature (28C – 30C) and wait until tripled, around 3 – 4 hours.  Please feed your starter at the ratio that fit your schedule as long as the starter is at its peak when use.  
  2. Autolyse 
    1. White Dough - Mix flour and water, stir until there is no more dry flour with a spatula then by hand.  Cover and leave for 1 to 3 hours.
    2. Butterfly Pea Flower Dough - Mix flour and butterfly pea flower water, do the same as white dough.
  3. Levain - 
    1. White Dough - Wet your hand, add 40g sourdough to the white dough and hand mixing until incorporated, about 3 - 4 minutes. Cover and rest for 30 minutes.
    2. Butterfly Pea Flower Dough - Add 20g levain and do the same as white dough.
  4. Sea Salt - 
    1. White Dough - Dilute sea salt with the balance of 10g water.  Pour on top of the dough, use hand to mix in the sea salt water.  It takes about 5 minutes until it is fully incorporated.  Cover and rest for 15 minutes.
    2. Butterfly Pea Flower Dough - Dilute sea salt with the balance of 5g butterfly pea flower water.  Do the same as white dough.
  5. Stretch and Fold - 
    1. Stretch and fold both dough individually in the dish as per the video. Cover and rest for about 30+- minutes or until the dough spread.  Please watch your dough and not the clock.  Time given is just a guideline.
  6. Lamination & Combine both dough-  Please watch the video.  Put dough in a clean dish.  Cover and rest for about 30+- minutes or until the dough spread.  Please watch your dough and not the clock.
  7. Coil Fold 1 - Fold dough in the dish. Cover and rest for about 30+- minutes or until the dough spread.  Please watch the video.
  8. Coil Fold 2 - Repeat the same.  Cover and rest for about 30+- minutes or until the dough spread.  Please watch the video.
  9. Coil Fold 3 - Repeat the same.  Cover and rest for 60 - 90 minutes or until the dough rise about 40 - 50%. Please watch the video.
  10. Shape - Please watch the video.  Flour the counter top.  Shape and transfer to a heavily flour banneton.  
  11. Proof -  Proof at room temperature for about 10 - 15 minutes.  
  12. Retard - Then retard overnight in the fridge (4C) for about 12 - 16 hours.
  13. Baking 
    1. Preheat oven, with the dutch oven at 250C for  about 30 minutes before baking.  
    2. Take bread dough out from the fridge, invert onto a parchment paper and scoring (please watch video).  Immediately transfer the dough with the parchment paper to your preheated dutch oven.
    3. Lower the temperature to 230C (fan-forced) and bake with cover on for 20 minutes.  Remove the cover and lower the temperature to 220C (fan-forced), continue bake for another 10 - 15 minutes.
    4. Remove bread from oven and dutch oven. Let it cool on rack sliglty before slicing.

Please read the below notes before baking for beginner.


Do also note that the baking temperature and timing provided are what works for my oven and should also be regarded as a guide only. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven.

The liquid measurement given is also a guide.  It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go.  This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency.  This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 


A healthy starter is very crucial as advised by Baking with Gina.   It is advisable to feed your starter regularly if you want your bread to rise nicely and to use the starter (levain) at its peak.  A starter that is fed regularly will be more active in general.  If the mother starter is not strong, the bread dough will not rise a lot even though the starter is used at its peak.  

There are so many ways and methods of how to maintain the starter.  Below is my method of starter maintenance.  This is just for your reference. Please try and find a way or schedule that works best for you.

I bake almost everyday.  So, my starter is left at room temperature and I feed it twice a day  at its peak when it is tripled.  

10.00 am - at ratio 1:10:10 at room temperature 27C - 28C
9.00 pm - at ratio 1:10:10 at room temperature 25C - 26C 

I feed a very small amount of 1g starter + 10g water + 10g flour if I am not baking, so that I will not end up with too much discard.  When I bake, I feed the starter accordingly to make up the quantity required by the recipe to be baked. If I know that I won't be baking for a few days, I will then feed it only once a day at 1:1:1, transfer to the fridge when it is doubled, and feed again 24 hours later.

If you do not bake daily or if you bake perhaps once or twice a week, then you may place your starter in the fridge and feed once a week.  But, you will need to refresh your starter around 2 days before the baking day. There is no way around this, sourdough baking takes planning! 

How I judge my starter is healthy?  My starter usually tripled in size (or at least double) in within 3 - 4 hours at room temperature (27C - 28C) for feeding ratio of (1:1:1 = starter:water:flour)

When is a starter at its peak?  My sourdough starter is usually at its peak when it is tripled in the jar. The surface of my starter looks bubbling and uneven.  The starter will not collapse when you tap the jar.  If the starter falls it means it has already past its peak.  It usually stays at its peak within 30 - 60 minutes before it starts to reduce/fall.  

Why use starter at its peak?  This is when the starter is most active and it will result in a better rise for your bread in general.  By the way, you can use when it is doubled/before its peak too.  But, not it starts to fall.


Bulk fermentation starts when you add in levain to the dough and ends when the dough is ready for shaping.  


Ambient temperature plays a very important part in sourdough baking.  It will affect the dough temperature and eventually affect your fermentation time.  The cooler ambient temperature will extend the fermentation time.  The greater degree of proof, the stronger the dough will be as explained by Trevor J. Wilson. 

The ambient temperature that worked for me is between 25C - 26C and bulk fermentation time is between 4.5 hours to 5.5 hours.  At the end of bulk fermentation, my dough would have increased 50% in volume. 

But, my kitchen ambient temperature (without air-conditioner) was 29C - 30C.  So, I have to bring down the temperature. 

How to bring down ambient temperature?
  1. Air-conditioner room - Rest the dough in air-conditioner room during bulk fermentation.  I used this option sometimes.  I turned on my air-conditioner when I added in levain and try to maintain temperature between 25C - 26C.
  2. Home oven (that's turned off) -  Place ice cooler packs inside along with an ambient temperature thermometer.  Then place your dough during bulk fermentation in the oven. Keep an eye on that thermometer and try to keep between 25C - 26C.


Too strong (tension or elastic) dough will take a longer time to increase (proof) in volume.  So too strong dough may not have good oven spring and open crumb.  While too weak dough (extensibility) dough may not hold it shape and rise with good oven spring too.  

So over-working the dough (too strong dough) or under-working (weak dough) may affect the crumb structure and oven spring.  

The number of coil folds is not fixed and very much depends on the strength and extensibility of the dough.  

As demonstrated in an experiment by Kristen (Full Proof Baking) the over-worked dough rose super tall but was smaller in overall size and had a more dense crumb while the control dough rose tall during the oven spring and had a better overall result.

How do we know when it is enough and no more coil folds are needed? 
We usually do 3 coil folds for this method.  However, if by the second coil fold the dough is strong with less extensibility as you lift up a part of the dough then it should be the last coil fold, or just do a half coil folds instead of full. The resistance of the dough to being folded should be an indication to refrain from folding further.

How do we know when to do the next coil fold or stretch & fold?
When the dough spreads. Please do not rely on the time given in the recipe as it is just a guideline.  Please watch your dough and not the clock.  


You may wonder why most of the recipes asked to add salt after autolyze and adding levain.  Salt will tighten the gluten and make it harder to stretch. 

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  1. Hallo.
    Dir ist das Brot großartig gelungen, ich würde es jetzt zu gerne kosten, yummi!
    Viele Grüße sendet,
    Jesse-Gabriel aus Berlin
    P.S.: Danke für die Gramm Angaben!!!

    1. Hi, thanks for the comment and visiting this post.
      Cheers :)

  2. hello, i followed your recipe, but i got into trouble at the 3rd coil fold. its still very wet and it sits flatly after fold. i tried with more folds, end up it breaks and its wet and sits flat. was it too wet? should i rest longer in between more folds?

    1. Hi, Thanks for trying.
      It could be the flour. This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. Please try to hold back some water. Maybe you do not need to use the water reserve for salt.

      should i rest longer in between more folds? It depends when the dough spread and become flat.

      I hope I have answered your question.

      Cheers :)

    2. hihi,

      thank you for your advise. will try again with lesser water. right now im trying with pandan instead of blue pea and reduce water as well. somehow, it's kinda wet too. now is in retard proof, will see how it turns out tomorrow.

      Thanks again.

      take care.

    3. Hi, sounds nice. I haven't used pandan juice on this bread.

      Good luck and hope it works well.

      Cheers :)