The August challenge, and my first, from Fresh From the Oven was to make a whole wheat walnut bread. Like the Daring Bakers, Fresh From the Oven has a new challenge, hosted by one of its members, every month. For July our host was Sarah from Simply Cooked who chose her recipe from The Neighborhood Bakeshop by Jill Van Cleave.
After some sourdough mishaps, I feel I have lost confidence in my bread making abilities, and am delighted to have joined Fresh From the Oven, and to have the nudge to make bread once a month and am looking forward to building my skills.
I pretty much followed Sarah’s recipe to the letter, but, my sponge starter was made with 50% white / 50% whole wheat flour, and I was out of walnuts and so used pecans instead. I really like the sponger starter method, and will be using it again as I think that it gives far more flavour and hit of sourdough character to the loaf.
Whole Wheat Walnut Bread
adapted from The Neighborhood Bakeshop by Jill Van Cleave
makes 2 loaves
1 t active dry yeast, divided
2 c (500 ml) lukewarm water (95 – 110F, 35 – 45C), divided
3 c (380 g) plain bread flour, divided
1 T honey
1 T olive or walnut oil
1 1/2 c (180 g) stone-ground whole wheat flour
1/4 c (40 g) semolina flour, oat flour, or more whole wheat flour
1 t sea salt
1 1/2 c (175 g) coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
First prepare the sponge starter. Dissolve 1/2 t yeast in 1 c (250 ml) lukewarm water in a medium bowl. Let proof until bubbly, about 5 minutes.
Add 1 1/2 c (190 g) bread flour and stir until a thick batter forms. Cover the bowl and leave at room temperature to rise and bubble for 6 to 8 hours. The starter is ready to use now or can be put in the fridge overnight. (Bring it back to room temperature before using.)
Dissolve the remaining 1/2 t yeast with the 1 c (250 ml) lukewarm water in a large bowl. Let proof for about 5 minutes.
Add the sponge starter and mix well. Stir in the honey, oil, whole wheat flour, semolina flour or oat flour (if using), and salt.
Add 1 1/4 c (160 g) of the remaining bread flour gradually to form a stiff dough.
Add the walnuts.
Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for ten minutes, adding as much of the reserved flour as needed to keep it from being too sticky. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Grease the bowl and return the dough, turning it to coat it in oil. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise until it is doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Divide the dough into two pieces and form into loaves. Place on a baking pan and leave them to rise again, about 30 minutes.
Bake at 400 F/205 C for 30 to 40 minutes, until the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Cool on a wire rack.
Delicious. We had several slices warm with butter, the rest will be for breakfast tomorrow and the second loaf will be sliced and squeezed into the freezer.
Many thanks to Sarah for an excellent challenge and I am looking forward to seeing what August brings.