Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sourdough Bread with Walnuts

After a brief sabbatical, I am back to Daniel Leader's formulas. This one comes from Bread Alone. I have not baked out of this book in over a month. I am really not sure how much I like this book. I am not completely impressed with the formulas. This bread is nothing special, but then again, I have not had a piece recently.  Before I go any further, I will go grab a slice. I am a firm believer that sourdough becomes much better as it sits and is able to 'make love' to itself. A sourdough eaten just out of the oven is a ten-four no no!

This bread is a very typical Leader bread. It calls for 20% bran flour. I substituted 75% bread flour and 25% whole-wheat flour. The formula also calls for the walnuts to be roasted. This is accomplished by placing the walnut halves or pieces on a sheet pan and baking them at 350 degrees until they are fragrant. I have a confession to make here.  I roasted the walnuts early this morning, and forgot about them. I burned them to a crisp. Twenty minutes later there was a smell very similar to cannabis permiating my apartment. I immediately said "Uh OH, my nuts". I had to roast another round of walnuts. I set a timer for the second batch. 
A picture of the dough prior to bulk fermentation

Here is a picture of the shaped loaf prior to proofing

A macro close up on a toasted walnut just before baking

Walnuts can create a purplish tint to your bread. For this reason I do not recommend chopping them too small. I like to have chunks of nuts in my bread. I really like to bite into them. Leader recommends pulsing 3/4 of the nuts with flour in the food processor. No way!! I just placed them on my cutting board and using the side of the sheet pan I used to roast them, smashed them into medium sized pieces. It is important to break them at least slightly because it helps to release their flavorful oils. My bread did take on a slight purple hue, but its okay because I LOVE PURPLE. 

A photograph of the crumb (this is after two days at room temperature

To be honest this bread is a bit dry. Perhaps I did not let it rise long enough during the proofing stage. It was a beautiful day and I just had to get outside to play guitar! So I baked it a little early. I also used a liquid levain because I did not have enough stiff levain for this recipe. The liquid levain should have made the bread more moist. Perhaps I made a scaling error. 

For some reason, the breads that I have baked from Bread Alone have had this weird spotted look during the bake. I am not sure why, but I am not a fan of it. The appearance is strange. I am a much bigger fan of Hamelman's sourdough formulas. Maybe I am just more of a fan a liquid starter. 

This bread is just okay. To be honest I am waiting for it to be gone so I can eat something else. Perhaps I will make awesome croutons with it. I am planning on making a nice dinner after spring break, and this would make a perfect salad topping.
The finished loaf

I love these macro shots

when you click on the photo it will enter into a slide show, and will maximize. 

I am going to be baking some rye bread with my best friend in the world this weekend. So stay tuned!

1 comment :

  1. Marla and I were lucky enough to try this bread, and despite your reservations about it, we think it's delicious. We enjoy the purple hue *almost* as much as the sentence "I am a firm believer that sourdough becomes much better as it sits and is able to 'make love' to itself.'" Bake on, indeed :)