Posted in baking

Fresh From the Oven Challenge: Whole Wheat Walnut Bread

whole wheat walnut bread
The nuts make it lumpy.

This month’s FFTO challenge was clearly chosen with health in mind, which is great, since I’m trying to eat better in between Daring Baker challenges ;).  Sarah from Simply Cooked chose this bread from Jill Van Cleave’s book The Neighborhood Bake Shop.

Here’s the recipe after going through my baker’s percentage calculator, with my (as always, shortened) version of the instructions:

62.7 B%        383.3 g        3 c bread flour, divided
37.3 B%        227.7 g        1 3/4 c whole wheat flour
0.5 B%        3.2 g        1 t active dry yeast, divided
77.4 B%        473.2 g        2 c lukewarm water (95 – 110F, 35 – 45C), divided
3.4 B%        20.7 g        1 T honey
2.2 B%        13.6 g        1 T olive or walnut oil
0.8 B%        5.0 g        1 t sea salt
175 g, 1 1/2 c coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted

Mix 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. Cover the bowl and leave at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours. Use or refrigerate and bring back to room temperature before using.

Mix remaining 1/2 t yeast with 1 c (250 ml) lukewarm water in a large bowl. Let proof for about 5 minutes.
Mix with starter, honey, oil, whole wheat flour, and salt.
Add 1 1/4 c (160 g) of the remaining bread flour gradually to form a stiff dough.
Add the walnuts.
Knead for ten minutes until smooth and elastic, adding as much of the reserved flour as needed to keep it from being too sticky.
Grease, cover, and allow 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 let rise 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.

It turned out soft, if not very tall.

The original had the option of using part semolina flour, but I didn’t have that on hand so I took it out of my recipe.  I also used agave syrup instead of honey, and I chose olive oil as the oil.  I didn’t add the reserved flour; after letting the flour absorb the water, it was a little sticky, but really just about how I think dough should be.  I think I used less walnuts than called for, too, because when I started adding them it just seemed like enough.  I left them in big chunks, mostly out of laziness, and they were breaking up the dough a lot so I didn’t want to overload it.

I actually tried to make half of the recipe since it says it makes two loaves and I have trouble going through one before it gets stale (then again, some of the best things you can make call for stale bread), but as I feared, I forgot that I was halving the measurements somewhere along the way, so I ended up making the full amount except with half the starter.

Lately I’ve had trouble where I have a great first rise and a bad second rise, so I thought that maybe I’ve been overrising my dough – it is higher than normal room temperature in my un-air conditioned apartment.  So I stopped the first rise after 1 1/2 hours, when it was clearly doubled in size.  I hoped this would help, but I’m not sure that it did.  The bread wasn’t dense at all, but it had no height.  Maybe I needed to shape it differently.  I also had no luck at slashing the top.  I’ll blame it on my dull knife.

Posted in baking

Fresh From the Oven Challenge: Turkish Pide

unbaked pide
I took to pinching the corners to get them more squared off.

That’s right, I couldn’t help myself.  I joined another monthly baking club: Fresh From the Oven.  This month, Pei Lin a.k.a Mrs Ergül hosted.  She chose a recipe from Iffet’s blog My Turkish Kitchen for a Turkish bread called pide – sounds like pita, looks not entirely unlike focaccia.  I made mine whole wheat because that’s the only kind of bread flour I have around, and it worked just fine.  Mine looks very, hm, rustic, but I got the basic shape with the scoring and the sesame seeds.  The inside was soft and evenly risen, with small holes throughout.  I think it would be best with some sort of jam or butter, but I had my Turkish friend Seda over (she helped me put together my croquembouche last month), and she liked it without.  She said it was good with a Turkish yogurt drink but she didn’t have a blender to make it with. Here’s the recipe with my notes, and the directions in my own words.

4 cups (to 5 cups) All Purpose Flour – I used 4 cups
1 and 3/4 cups Warm Water – I used 1 1/2 cups
1/2 stick Butter ( melted )
1/2 tablespoon Instant Yeast – I used active dry
1 tablespoon Sugar
1/2 tablespoon Salt
Black and White Sesame Seeds – I only used black

    baked pide
    It didn't rise in the oven as much as I would have liked, but that didn't compromise its texture.
  1. Mix dry ingredients and then add and mix in wet ingredients.  (Not the sesame seeds, of course.)
  2. Knead.
  3. Rise for about 2 hours, until doubled in size.
  4. Fold, then let rest for a few minutes so it will be easier to stretch.
  5. Stretch dough into a large rectangle on a cookie sheet. (The original recipe has measurements, which I ignored. I’m a rogue like that.  I made the rectangle close to the size of my cookie sheet, but not touching any of the sides.)  Score in a square pattern.  Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F and let rise 30 minutes.
  7. Bake 30 minutes.
  8. Cool 20 minutes.
I like the way the black sesame seeds look on it.

The dough had a high hydration level (around the level of ciabatta bread, that famously wet dough) even with my reduction in the amount of water, and yet I found it very easy to work with.  I would definitely make this recipe again, and try it as more of a regular loaf.

a slice
It was nice and fluffy inside.