Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Loaded Walnut Wheat Bread

This is another recipe coming from Daniel Leader's book Bread Alone. I cannot call it a formula because Leader does not give specific amounts of ingredients in his recipe. This is another bread from this book with much too much grey area for my liking.  

The first thing that I noticed about this bread is that each loaf contains roughly 8 ounces of toasted walnuts.  To put that into perspective, that is almost 40% by weight. Typically, breads which contain nuts and dried fruit and other ingredients include them at a ratio close to 20% of the total weight. That means that this bread is loaded.  This is an insane amount of nuts and I think that it really dried out the dough. I took the opportunity to take a lot of pictures of the mixing process. This is another bread in which I implemented the mixing technique which Jeffrey Hamelman explains in his Olive Levain. This technique involves mixing the dough on first and second speed and then adding the auxiliary ingredients, in this case the walnuts, in very small amounts. After the second speed mix, the bowl is lowered and pulled away from the hook. A small divit is made in the dough and a handful of nuts is placed in the divit. Then the dough is raised and mixed for about 30 seconds. This process is repeated until all of the walnuts are incorporated and distributed evenly throughout the dough. I had to do this six or seven times. This bread also includes cracked rye and cracked wheat, which are not soaked, a bit strange, but it worked okay in this formula (I would soak them none the less).

Here are the photos of the inclusion of the walnuts.
The first inclusion of walnuts started with one big handul

The second inclusion

The third inclusion, as you can see the walnuts are becoming spread throughout the dough

The fourth inclusion

The final inclusion

I would like to note that even before adding the nuts, I found this dough to be a little dry. Because of this, I added close to a 1/3 of a cup of water, and still the finished product was a little on the dry side. This is another unimpressive loaf from Leader's mediocre (at best) book Bread Alone. I know that Hamelman's book Bread is a bit more technical, but I think it is worth it. There are other books out there that are better than this one. One of the advantages to Bread Alone is that it does provides instructions for mixing by hand, which is great for those who do not have a mixer. Other than that, I would seek my formulas elsewhere. 

The dough ready to be shaped. Look at all those nuts!
This bread is made with about 25% whole wheat flour, but it felt like much more than this. I was not impressed with the texture. Also, Leader calls for 1/2 tsp of instant yeast in the poolish. On a personal note, I only used a pinch because this is how I was taught by Richard Miscovich (whom I have great respect for). Hamelman suggests the same thing for formulas that only produce two or three loaves (typical for home based bread production.) So, I remain firm in my use  of the "pinch" technique!

I am glad that I baked this bread. My gladness is not for the finished product but because I was able to explain the mixing process that was used, and I was able to document it in photographs.  I hope that you are able to replicate this technique in all of your baking. I think that it really works. It really helps to allow for gluten development, and it reduces the destruction caused by sharp ingredients such as chopped nuts. I would like to note that often times when a soaker is used it is possible to add the soaker during the beginning of the mix. The soaking of the grains really helps to soften them.

This bread was very dense and lacked pizzazz and moisture. I really was not too satisfied with the results and have avoided eating it. I am going to pawn it off on my friends.

Tons and tons of nuts! But, overall I would stick with Hamelman's rye with walnut formula.
Bake On

1 comment :

  1. As the friends who this got "pawned off" to, we thought it was great. Thanks!