Saturday, May 24, 2014

Whole Wheat Sourdough with Toasted Pecans

I have a weakness for pecan bread. It calls me to the kitchen when one is around. I developed my first bread recipe using a whole wheat flour fed poolish with toasted pecans; and this bread follows that general idea. Once again, the base for this bread comes from Miscovich's new book From The Wood Fired Oven, with some minor changes. In order to make this 75% hydrated Pain Au Levain 50% whole wheat, I replaced the bread flour in the sourdough build with white whole wheat flour. You get less lift in the build, but you get a bit more sourness in the final bake and you get some extra fiber, which is always good wholesome fun. 

The preparation of this bread is very simple. The build is mixed 8-10 hours before the bake. I used colder water since I knew that I had a long work day ahead of me. I also used my white whole wheat starter, Jack Straw, which I have not fed in at least a month. He performed brilliantly. These microorganism colonies are so powerful that you can feed them whenever you can. I have never had trouble with one going kaput! 

As always, I toasted the nuts for this bread because it brings out their oils and their natural nuttiness. I like to toast my nuts just under the point of burning. I feel that you get much more bang for your buck that way. The nuts in this recipe make up 20% of flour weight, and they really do go a long way. 

In my humble opinion, the best ways to eat this bread is either toasted, with nothing on it, or cold with some sweet, unsalted butter. It also makes an awesome grilled cheese sandwich, but cold with butter is my personal favorite. 

I'll be baking some more sourdough breads in the coming week, but I'm not yet sure what they will be. I am having so much fun with these 75% hydrated loaves and kneading by hand. To be continued.