SOURDOUGH LOAF WITH CRANBERRIES AND WALNUTS

I blogged on a similar sourdough last year, but this is a slightly different version, with a bit of semolina and whole wheat flour. I baked this bread for a very special occasion, the visit of dear friends I had not seen in 15 years!  A cute story behind our friendship needs to be told.  Back in 1995. When I moved from Paris to Norman to join the University of Oklahoma, a colleague from our department insisted I should meet Denise, a Brazilian graduate student from the College of Education.  It so happens that I’m not that wild about this type of arranged meeting.  I don’t know exactly why, maybe I simply prefer to meet people naturally and make connections independently of the place where they were born. And guess what? Denise felt exactly like me about the whole thing. But we both liked that Professor very much, and decided what the heck, let’s just give this a try. To make a long story short, we “clicked” in a way that we could not have anticipated in a million years!  Our friendship continued after she, her husband Hélio and three kids (now three adults) emigrated permanently to England a few years later. Hélio now travels to Texas on a regular basis for work, and that made it easier for them to plan a quick visit to our neck of the woods. Fifteen years!  Hard to believe time passed so quickly… Denise loves cranberries, so this bread was a natural choice to welcome them to our home. She also loves white chocolate, but that story shall be left for another post…

denise-sourdough

DENISE’S SOURDOUGH WITH CRANBERRIES AND WALNUTS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

For the starter (you won’t use everything)
30 g sourdough starter (at 100% hydration)
55 g water
45 g all-purpose flour

For the dough:
65 g starter (about half of starter prepared)
220 g water
160 g semolina flour
120 g bread flour
35 g whole wheat flour
7 g sea salt
80 g dried cranberries
50 g toasted walnut pieces

Make your starter 12 hours before you intend to prepare the dough. Let it ferment at room temperature.

To the appropriate amount of starter (65 g, remember you are not using the full amount made) add the water and mix gently to dissolve it. No need to completely dissolve the starter at this point. Add the flours and mix, allow it to sit with the water for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Sprinkle the salt over the dough, mix it by folding several times, to incorporate the salt. Add the cranberries and the walnuts, mix them gently. Allow the dough to ferment for 5 hours. Fold 5 times at 30 minute intervals. That will take you to 2.5 hours fermentation. Allow the dough to ferment for 2.5 more hours undisturbed.

Shape the dough as a ball, place it in the fridge overnight. Remove it from the fridge one hour before baking, as you heat the oven. Invert the shaped loaf on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper for easy transfer to the oven.

Bake at 450 F with initial steam for 20 minutes, reduce temperature to 425 F and bake for about 25 more minutes. Use your favorite method to generate steam, I like a covered Dutch oven with the lid moist with water before covering the bread. After 30 minutes I open the lid to allow the bread to brown. Cool completely on a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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Comments: I am always a bit anxious when it comes to baking bread for special friends. I want it to be perfect, delicious, awesome, but sourdough is a harsh mistress… You can make one perfect loaf, use the same starter, the same recipe a couple of days later and open the oven to find a bread that turned out more like a flat pancake. Usually still very tasty, but… well, you get my point. I made this bread the day before they arrived, so that if it was not worthy of my friends, I could have time for a plan B: a frantic drive to the grocery store. Imagine that!  But to my relief it all had a happy ending. A beautiful marriage between cranberries and walnuts, nice balance of whole wheat with regular flour so that the bread itself had a nice texture and taste.  Perfect with goat cheese, but even just a little butter will work well.  Honestly, even naked it’s great. The bread. Obviously.

I am submitting this post to Bread Box Round Up,
hosted by Karen, the Bread Baking Goddess.

 

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FIVE YEARS AGO:  Post-workout Breakfast

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AUBERGE PECAN-WALNUT BREAD

BBBuddybadgemarch2016Every once in a while I see a recipe and get “the itch.”  It will not leave my mind until I make it. Not only I catch myself thinking about it in the middle of the day, but I often dream about it. In my dreams, I might gather the ingredients and jump into action, or sometimes get into an almost nightmare mode in which I cannot read the ingredients or find them in my pantry. The mind works in odd ways. I have no idea why some recipes do this to me, but the most recent example was the Auberge Walnut Bread blogged by Karen, as part of the Bread Baking Babes group. It is a fun virtual event, also happens monthly as The Secret Recipe Club, but in this case a member of the group picks one bread recipe and everyone makes it. This month’s bread was chosen by  Elizabeth, hostess of From OUR Kitchen.  I highly recommend you stop by and indulge in her blog. She is hilariously witty, and keeps a wonderful site!  Back to BBB, I have thought about joining the group because c’mon, who would not like to be a “Babe?” However, I don’t think I can handle another monthly commitment. Instead, I watch them from a safe distance and marvel at all the breads they bake.  Until  now, that is.  When I saw Karen’s post, I got the itch, and because it is a bread that doesn’t require a sourdough starter, I made it right away. You should too. You won’t need to knead it by hand, you won’t need to fold it, baby it, watch it, nothing. It is one of the easiest bread recipes to tackle, and the result will blow your mind: a soft, moist, flavorful crumb, with a darker color than you would expect from a bread made only with white flour. Smells amazing as it bakes, tastes amazing with anything you’d like to pair it with.  But I advise a little blue cheese.  To quote Karen

Oh Em Gee…   😉

Auberge Pecan Walnut Bread

AUBERGE PECAN-WALNUT BREAD
(slightly modified from Karen’s Kitchen Stories)

120 grams pecan pieces
50 grams walnut pieces
7 grams (one package) active dry yeast
85 grams (1/4 cup) honey (I used acacia)
320 grams (1 + 1/3 cups) warm water
30 grams (2 tablespoons) olive oil
500 grams (3 + 3/4 cups) bread flour
7.5 grams (1 + 1/2 tsp fine sea salt)
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Heat the oven to 400 F. Spread the pecan and walnut pieces in a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for about 7 minutes. Let them cool. Pulse them in a food processor until you have both crumbs and medium pieces.
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In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the yeast, honey, and warm water. Stir and let stand for about 10 minutes. Add the olive oil, flour, sea salt, and walnut pieces. Stir with a dough whisk or wooden spoon until the ingredients are combined. Knead with the dough hook for about 5 minutes, until the dough is fairly smooth. Place the dough into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 75 minutes.
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Lightly flour your work surface and turn the dough out without deflating it.  Shape the dough into a ball and place in a floured banneton for the final rise. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 60 minutes.  While it rises, heat the oven, with a baking stone (if you have one) on the middle rack, to 400 degrees F.  When the dough has doubled, invert it on a sheet of parchment paper, slash the surface with a razor blade and quickly place it over the baking stone.  Use your favorite method to generate steam (I invert the lid of a Dutch oven slightly moist and bake the bread covered for about 20 minutes). Bake at 400 F for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 40 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.
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ENJOY!
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to print the recipe, click here
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Comments:
As you know, I love sourdough baking, but there’s something wonderful about having a loaf of bread cooling less than 3 hours after gathering the flour.  In fact, the dough was quite fast to rise, it did not need 75 minutes for the bulk fermentation, in 65 min it was more than doubled, so I shaped it. And instead of allowing a full hour for the final rise, I decided it was good and ready at the 50 min mark.  I toasted the nuts the evening before, and added them to the food processor right before mixing the dough. Easy as pie, except for the fact that the goal was to make a walnut bread and it turned into a pecan bread with a hint of walnuts.  It is my personal saga, a perverse Flour-Vinegar-Nut trilogy. When it comes to those items, I am always stumped by the difference between what “I think I have”, and what “I do have” in the pantry.  But, I can tell you that pecans worked very well, and the bread tasted terrific! Very moist, I am sure it would have lasted for several days at room temperature, but since it’s just the two of us, on the second day it was sliced and frozen for   future enjoyment.
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Auberge Pecan Walnut Bread2
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Elizabeth, it was great to “meet” you! Looking forward to following your adventures… And of course, Karen, you never cease to inspire me with your bread baking and cooking in general… Nice to have one more recipe from your site showcased in the Bewitching Kitchen…

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PISTACHIO-WALNUT SOURDOUGH BREAD

The goal: to make a sourdough bread loaded – and I mean loaded – with nuts, a crumb not as open as my usual loaves, to enjoy with an assortment of cheeses, from  French Brie to Italian Gorgonzola, passing by Spain with its awesome Manchego.  My starting point was a recipe from Maggie Glezer’s Artisan Baking, adapted to include whole pistachios, and small pieces of walnuts.  I wanted the pistachios to be the main textural component in the bread, and the walnuts to impart mainly their flavor throughout the crumb.  According to my dear husband, I hit the jackpot with this bread, he absolutely loved it. It reminded us of a bread we used to buy in a street market in Paris on Saturdays, except for the fact that the French version included a lot of sunflower seeds. Now, that’s an interesting idea for a future baking adventure… 😉

PISTACHIO-WALNUT SOURDOUGH BREAD
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

Levain (you will use only half of it):
1 Tbs firm sourdough starter
45 g  warm water
75 g  bread flour

Dough:
300 g  bread flour
25 g  rye flour
25 g whole wheat flour
228 g  warm water
8 g salt
80 g walnuts, lightly toasted, in small dice
50 g whole pistachios, roasted

Make the levain by mixing all the ingredients and kneading lightly to form a smooth dough.  Keep at room temperature for about 12 hours (it should at least triple in size).

Make the dough by combining the three types of flour with the water.  Cover and let the mixture rest for 30 minutes. Add the salt and the levain (half of it only!) and knead a few times until it forms a shaggy mass.  Add the nuts and knead briefly to incorporate them.  Let it rest for 30 minutes, knead for about 10-20 seconds, and let the dough rest for another 30 minutes.  Knead (or fold) a few times, and let the dough rest for 1 hour.  Knead (or fold)  a few times, and let it rise undisturbed for 2 hours.

Pre-shape the dough as a round ball, let it rest for 15 minutes, then shape it in its final form, placing it in a banetton or another appropriate, well floured container, with the seam side up.   Cover and let it rise for 3 hours. Invert the dough on parchment paper, slash the surface, place on a baking stone on a 425 F oven, covered for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for 15 minutes more, until dark brown and the internal temperature is at least 205 F.

Let the loaf cool over a rack  before cutting.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  Making this bread was a labor of love, because I shelled the pistachios myself. My finger tips had quite a workout, so next time I will buy shelled pistachios to make life a little easier, and I advise you to do the same. At any rate, this bread is a nut-lover’s paradise.  The pistachios shine like little jewels, and the walnuts become almost sweet during baking.  I could not be happier with it, as it turned out exactly as I hoped.  Plus, it was another  successful performance by our Breville toaster oven!

Who could resist having a second slice?  😉

I am submitting this post to Yeastspotting

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