Wednesday, 29 March 2023

Herbed Mushrooms on Home Baked Toasted Sourdough

The unique umami of edible mushrooms combined with fresh herbs, garlic and balsamic vinegar shines through in this recipe in both taste and nutritional benefits. Essentially it is a simple dish to make but every element within brings wonderful savoury richness to the plate. This recipe evolved after I had baked two loaves of rye sourdough bread in the morning. I felt like celebrating the success of the bread with a tasty lunch to compliment toasted sourdough. When mushrooms are in the vegetable crisper, they are the obvious choice for a very tasty meal. Mushrooms are quick and easy to cook with and they complimented the unique flavour of the rye sourdough perfectly. The best rule with mushrooms is to prepare them as little as possible and eat them as soon as possible. That's what we did. I just love them.

Portobello mushrooms are just large Swiss brown mushrooms. They are a dark brown very firm mushroom with full-bodied flavour, ideal for filling with other ingredients, for barbecuing, for chopping and frying, and love to be the hero of a dish like this one. Some say it is the original form of mushroom, before market preference developed for the white mushroom. Strangely though I generally find at the supermarkets that the Portobello mushroom is more expensive than the white capped mushroom. I always use the stems and the caps of mushrooms, but the stems need to be chopped quite finely. This dish is a celebration of the mushroom and will be a perfect meat free Monday dish or lovely for a Sunday brunch.


280 g Portobello mushrooms (around 4 large) or equivalent in other mushrooms, sliced.

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 thin slices rye sourdough bread

1 garlic clove peeled and crushed.

4 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

2 small handfuls of fresh parsley, with just the leaves roughly chopped

4 thin slices goats cheese (around 80 g), or soft goats cheese sprinkled over the mushrooms


Frying the mushrooms. Add the oil to a large non-stick frying pan, bring to a high heat and fry the chopped mushrooms until just browned, while stirring continuously. (This should take 3-4 minutes)

Thyme and garlic.  Add the thyme leaves and garlic to the mushrooms and cook for 30 seconds. Give them a good stir.

Toast the sourdough bread. Meanwhile toast the bread during the next step.

Add the vinegar, then the parsley, and toss quickly with the mushrooms.

Assembly. Butter the sourdough toast and place the delicious umami flavoured mushrooms onto the toast. Sprinkle with some finely chopped parsley.

Place the goat's cheese on top of the mushrooms, and garnish with a generous grinding of black pepper. 

Serve with extra slices of goat's cheese and a drizzle of olive oil if you wish.

One of two of my latest loaves of sourdough bread. It was really good to eat fresh.

My Sourdough Bread Recipe

This is my basic Sourdough bread recipe that I use most of the time now. I've refined it since I first started baking sourdough, which was nearly 10 years ago. This makes two medium sized loaves of bread. We eat one and freeze the other one sliced to avoid wastage. A loaf of sourdough really needs to be eaten within 3 days for ultimate freshness. No problem in our house.


380 g of Bakers Flour (I mostly use the Laubke Rye flour now because I don't eat grains and I love the Rye flavour) but any breadmaking flour can be used.
120g of Other Normal Flour (Normal Plain flour or 1/2 and 1/2 Plain and Wholemeal)
10g salt (no more)
100g of Sourdough starter or Desem which I have been fermenting for a couple of days
290g water (Best results obtained with warm boiled or distilled water)
20g good local honey (I use our own delicious honey from our beehive)
30 g Macadamia or Vegetable Oil (any oil can be used but I have found Macadamia is lighter with a nicer flavour but it can be more expensive)


Mix the Desem with the lukewarm water to which you add in the oil and the honey making a kind of slurry.
Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl and combine well. (I generally don't sift anymore, just stirring it all together is ok.)
Add the Desem, water, oil and honey mix to the flour and combine well with a large spoon. Rest this dough for 10 minutes in the bowl.
Turn the dough mixture onto an oiled or floured bench and kneed gently for about twenty seconds folding the dough over itself rather than pounding it.
Knead again gently and place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover with a moist tea towel or a fitted shower cap.
Place the bowl in a warm spot and allow the dough to make a 50% rise. This works best if you allow the rise to happen slowly overnight in a warm spot.
When the dough has risen, take it from the bowl, knead it again gently on a floured bench, and place your dough in a lightly oiled bread tin.

My previous post in 2017 on how to bake sourdough bread can be found at this link. I've made a few changes to my method since then, such as I now rise my dough overnight in our warm laundry room and bake it in the morning after kneading and another rise of a few hours. This recipe isn't suitable really for the more artisan rustic style loaf which has the nice holes in it and the very crusty surface and is high-hydration sourdough. My recipe makes good bread for slicing for everyday use and is more a low-hydration mixture. However, I have made the high-hydration artisan style loaves as well though. I'll try and do a post on that process in the future.

My cooking notes:

  • Parsley is such an essential herb in any kitchen, and brings it's unique flavour to most savoury dishes, not to mention it shines through in photographs. However, I need to be honest with you here, I didn't have any on hand in the kitchen when I cooked this dish. I had everything else, and after baking bread, etc. I didn't have a trip to the supermarket left in me. But flavour wise, I didn't miss it, the thyme filled the gap perfectly. Presentation wise, yes, I did miss it and no doubt there would have been even a little more flavour with parsley included. So please try and imagine a prettier photo with beautiful green chopped parsley for a garnish if you can.
  • I only had soft goats' cheese on hand which doesn't slice well, however pieces shredded over the top of the dish worked beautifully. I love, love, love goat's cheese and use it whenever I can. However sliced and grilled or fried haloumi would also work well in this dish. 
  • Umami is a Japanese word meaning "pleasant savoury taste". This dish has it in spades. The darker the mushrooms, the more the umami. Umami's ability to enhance flavour also gives it a few distinctive health benefits, including letting us cut back on salt without reducing flavour. (Carrie Dennett, registered dietitian nutritionist, writing for the Seattle Times, 14.09.2016.)
  • Portobello Mushrooms are large and darker in colour and have more beneficial umami when cooked and taste great.
  • Mushrooms can also taste somewhat meaty.
  • There's no need to wash or peel any mushroom, whether cultivated or wild. Just wipe away any dirt with a damp cloth.  Oh, to be able to forage for wild mushrooms in the forest, however you need to know what you are doing to avoid the poisonous ones. It's on my bucket list. 
  • I have always been fascinated by mushrooms, even the "poisonous" ones that emerge in our garden and lawn after rain, because they are invisible one day but by the next are pushing though the leaf mulch and the earth all dewy and damp, begging to be collected, but no, don't be tempted unless you are with an expert.
  • Not everyone is a bread baker, or sourdough bread baker. However good quality sourdough bread can be purchased now at many Farmer's Markets, and I've noticed that Coles supermarket (no promotion intended) now sells 30-hour baked sourdough which is really good, for around $7.00 a loaf, which in my books is still expensive but justifiable for an occasional treat. My sourdough loaves are prepared over at least a 30-hour period so I'm not sure how long the Coles ones actually take to bake but long and slow on a low heat is always preferable for maximum nutritional benefits from the sourdough yeast.
  • Is your sourdough starter ready to bake with? It might have some bubbles in it but is it ready? To test if your sourdough starter is ready to use to bake with after fermenting for a couple of days, place a teaspoon of starter in a glass of water, and if it floats to the top, it is ready to use. It's like magic.
  • I reckon that the tangy, slightly acidic taste of sourdough bread due to the presence of lactic acid and acetic acid in the sourdough starter, is the perfect base for this mushroom dish. My bread isn't too strong in those flavours.
Happy cooking,

Warm wishes



  1. These toasts look wholesome with earthy mushrooms and homemade rye sourdough.

    1. Thanks Angie, they were very nourishing as well as tasty.

  2. I love the ingredients you used here! A good sourdough bread is hard to beat no matter what, but then add the earthy flavors of goat cheese and mushrooms? Count me in! Great way to use that bread!

    1. David, the sourdough bread toasted was just perfect with the mushies. thanks for your very nice comment.

  3. this looks delicious Pauline. I do love mushies! THo lots of people don't it seems. i guess they do have a very distinct flavour that some find ... disturbing :=) Your bread looks great too! Have a fab weekend.

    1. Thanks Sherry, it really is difficult sometimes to please everyone when it comes to individual tastes but that's fair enough. We love them.

  4. I must try your bread recipe! Wait until you get to France and see all the wonderful mushrooms they have available in the markets. I always feel spoilt for choice in Europe :)

    1. Yes I'm looking forward to the French markets Tandy, I won't be able to control myself I'm sure.

  5. And goat cheese???!!!!! sign me up!!!

  6. This looks absolutely divine.

  7. What a perfect lunch meal - so many wonderful flavors. And on homemade bread? Heaven!

    1. Thanks David, the mushrooms really were so delicious, and on the sourdough bread was perfect.


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