Tuesday, September 1, 2020

White Cannellini Bean and Tuna Dip with Homemade Sourdough Cob Bread


I am loving Spring already, what a gorgeous day it is here today in North Queensland for the first day of Spring. I hope it is wherever you are as well,  and that in the Northern Hemisphere the start of Fall brings lots of hope for a better year ahead. This was the last weekend for Winter, and by Saturday my sourdough starter was happily bubbling away, so I made the most of it and  mixed up three loaves of sourdough in bowls ready to rise all night in my warm laundry. While I was sleeping, the sourdough was doing its work, the perfect arrangement. On Sunday morning I found my mojo and prepared two loaves for proofing, and then excitedly thought that I would try my hand at an artisan style cob loaf for a change. So my friends, my story is as much about this delicious White Bean dip that I saw on John's blog at Kitchen Riffs, as about my artisan style cob sourdough loaf.

I saw the Bean dip recipe on KR's blog early in the morning and had been hankering after it ever since as it looked like a great alternative to carbs. All those beans are very healthy for our gut, and then when my bread came out of the oven, this went with that and we had a delicious lunch of  Cannelini Bean Tuna Dip with freshly baked Sourdough Cob Loaf and salad. Not something we generally do for lunch but my friends it was tasty and light and the dip only took 15 minutes in the food processor to prepare. I added some extra tuna, lemon juice and seasoning to the original recipe but that's just me wanting a really tasty topping for the sourdough. For afternoon snacks, dips, and drinks, I might go lighter on the lemon juice and the tuna and just use the 141 g. as per the recipe, but it depends on your taste buds at the time. I always like to taste my food as I cook. Thanks for the inspiration KitchenRiffs. Here are the ingredients for the Dip and then I will tell you about my best sourdough cob loaf to date. I'm still excited at the result.

  • 1 x 400 g (15 oz.) can of white beans (I used cannellini beans)
  • 1 garlic clove, the bigger the better
  • 3 chopped shallots or substitute chopped chives 
  • 141 grams (5 oz.)  from a large can of tuna in olive oil, and add more according to taste if you like it stronger 
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice (or more to taste)
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste, about 12 grinds
  • finely chopped shallots, parsley or chives to garnish, just the green part

Drain the can of beans in a colander, rinse them and set aside to drain.

Peel the garlic clove, roughly chop, and add to your food processor bowl.

Wash and prepare the shallots, roughly chop, and add to the food processor. Save some green  bits from the shallots for a garnish, chopped chives work well too.

Add the can of tuna and the olive oil it's packed in to the food processor. Add the cannellini beans. 
Process the lot  until well mixed.

Add your lemon zest and lemon juice. While the motor is whirring, slowly add the olive oil, 2-3 tablespoons. (If you have made hummus or pesto in your food processor you will know to add a little extra olive oil to achieve the right consistency and some more lemon juice if it needs a little extra kick for your taste.)

Now add salt and pepper to taste.

Scrape the dip mixture from your food processor bowl using a rubber spatula or whatever bowl scraper you use.

For individual servings, spoon into individual bowls, or just use one large serving bowl. Garnish attractively with finely chopped shallots, chives or parsley. I was in a hurry to  put this on our table,  so some chopped shallots was what I used. 

I used my freshly baked sourdough cob bread slices  for dipping, but you can use pita bread, crackers, cucumber slices and other chopped vegetables such as carrots and celery. I was in a hurry so I just used whole cherry tomatoes and cucumber. Delicious and fresh.

Whilst I was preparing my cob loaf, my rectangular bread loaf was baking so the oven was nice and hot for the cob.

 I bake sourdough bread most weeks now, and as long as I remember to have my starter dough (Mother) fermented and ready and bubbling after a couple of days of feeding we have fresh sourdough bread baking by Thursday. Last weekend it happened to be Sunday, which was a free day, so I decided that was the day I wanted to try a different bread making technique and make a cob loaf. I've been inspired for quite a while by posts written on sourdough by Celia@FigJamandLimeCordial, who produces beautiful artisan style cobs of bread using covered enamel baking dishes, and has been very kindly making bread for her neighbours during the Covid crisis. She is also a very clever lady with handicraft. Anyway, I couldn't help myself, and I also invested in a book recommended by Celia written by Emilie Raffa, called "Artisan Sourdough Made Simple". In her book she refers to Celia's technique and breaks down the process of how to bake a loaf which resembles one baked by an artisan bakery. Well my friends to be honest, I didn't quite achieve that, but following Emilie's technique for a simple rye sourdough cob I was pleased with the result for my first attempt. I used my red enamel CHASSEUR pot with a lid to bake the loaf in and it worked. I was really excited with the result. My friend Lulu just happened to call in and visit whilst I was taking loaves in and out of the oven and found herself caught up in the excitement. The loaf had a beautifully browned crust, with a pattern, sounded hollow on the base when tapped, and most importantly was absolutely delicious.

I used my standard recipe that I generally use for making sourdough loaves, and if you would like my recipe you can find it here on my blog. Save me from typing it out again.

Whilst baking a loaf using this method takes more time, the result is worth it. So here is the method I used for the actual baking of the cob loaf after I had proofed it in a proofing basket lined with a flour dusted tea towel, however you could use a bowl. After the initial proofing of the dough overnight, and a gentle kneading, with floured hands cup the dough and pull it toward you in a circular motion to tighten its shape. It is very malleable at this point. Place the dough into your proofing basket, seam side up.

For the second rise, cover the dough and let it rest until it is puffy but not fully risen, which took about an hour in the warm sun.

Now for the baking, I was getting excited.  Preheat your oven to 230 deg. C., 450 deg. F Yes it needs a hot oven. Cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit the size of your baking pot.

Place your sheet of parchment over the dough and invert the proofing basket to release. Dust the dough with plain flour,  gently coating the whole surface of the dough. Then, decide what design you would like on your dough when it comes out of the oven, and make 8 cm cuts around the dough using either the tip of a razor blade or a small serrated knife. This is what I use. In her book, Emilie give lots of ideas about designs for her bread as does Celia on her blog. I just did four simple slits this time because I was pushed for time, next time I will be more creative.

Use the parchment to lift the dough into the baking pot. This is very important as it is still soft to handle.

BAKE the dough on the centre rack of your oven for 20 minutes, covered with the lid of your pot.. Remove the lid, and continue to bake for 30 minutes. Lift or tip the bread out of the pot, and finish baking the bread back in the oven directly on the rack for the last 10 minutes. Transfer your loaf to a wire cooling rack and cool for 1 hour before slicing, if you can keep the hungry hoards away from it that is.

Your work is done and your bread will be delicious using that technique.

Enjoy Spring or the Fall my friends, I am feel quite optimistic that things can only improve from here on in.

Oops we have visitor, must go. Sorry about any typos:)

Warm wishes



  1. Both dip and the bread are looking amazing! You are truly a great baker...that sourdough boule looks bakery perfect.

    1. Thank you so much Angie, you are very kind. I still have to practice a bit to get the cob look I am after, but the main thing is it tastes good.

  2. My starter comes all the way from Celia. Your cob loaf looks so good. Sadly it's been too cold here for bread making. Enjoy your spring day!

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Tandy. It's wonderful isn't it to know the history of your starter. I follow the sun around the house with my starter some mornings on cooler days but proofing overnight seems to work regardless. Take care, Pauline

  3. Pauline, your blog is like mine and takes ages before I can leave a comment. I wonder what the problem is. Your sourdough looks great. I fed my starters yesterday and they were bubbling away in no time due to the warmer weather.

    1. You are going well with your starter Chel. I feed mine for a couple of days before I feel it is ready to use for baking. Do you just feed yours with plain flour? Nice that things are warming up in Toowoomba. Thanks so much for your message.

  4. Aw, thanks for the shout out! And glad you enjoyed this -- such a neat recipe, isn't it?

    1. KR, my pleasure, it is a great recipe and so nice to be able to actually make a dish that you have put together. I am always a bit nervous about that but I hope I gave you enough credit for it. Thanks so much for your very kind comment.

  5. Pauline, thank you so much for visiting me at Marmelade Gypsy. It's a delight to meet you. This dip with the bread sounds just fabulous and pretty easy, too. And so does that rose cake underneath, which is gorgeous!

    1. Thanks so much Jeanie, and it's so nice to hear from you. I hope you enjoy reading about my foodie adventures in the future. Best wishes, Pauline

  6. When John over at KR posted the dip, I knew I wanted to make it. So, seeing your go at it has reaffirmed my wish to whip up a batch.
    As for your bread making, I think your loaves and cob look grand. A copy of Artisan Sourdough Made Simple sets on our kitchen shelf. It's a great reference. Thursdays my baking day as well, and as this Thursday so I best get cracking.

    1. Ha, Ha regardless where you live Ron, there are so many similarities just with day to day stuff, aren't there? Can't beat homemade sourdough bread.

  7. Pauline, The freshly baked bread looks delicious. My son is learning to bake breads and shall try this recipe. Thanks for sharing.

    1. So great to hear from you Sonia. The thing with sourdough is that the most important key to success, I think, is preparation of the starter so that it is bubbling and ready to be used, and then the overnight first proofing. I think I talked about that in my first post on making bread. I hope bread making goes well for your son. I am happy to help if I can, from a distance. Best wishes, Pauline

  8. Pauline
    Your sourdough looks perfect and loves your tip of using parchment to lift the dough into the oven pan.

    1. It's so nice to hear from you, thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. Yes using the parchment makes all the difference with successfully transferring your dough to the baking pot.Happy bread baking!

  9. 4th time lucky. Blogger is a curse!! Great dip. Great bread.

    1. Thanks so much Sherry for your perseverance, I really appreciate it. I am having similar problems at times. The new Blogger interface is very challenging at times, but at least we can still revert to the old way if it gets too difficult. Not sure bow long we will have that option though. Believe me this is a very tasty dip. Take care, Pauline

  10. hi pauline
    you may end up with dozens of comments from me here:) They just seem to disappear. i did get one notification about moderation but the others i didn't. just delete it all if you like...


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