I have been on a baking spree yesterday. I love baking things especially yeasted doughs. I find proofing dough a mesmerizing process. The way it comes to life. Although I have been experimenting with sourdough lately, I wanted to share with you this gorgeous yeasted walnut bread.
I follow a method I find foolproof, which I read in a magical book called “the bread bible” by the legendary Rose Levy Beranbaum. The key to this bread’s lovely texture and fluff is a pre-kneading mixture and triple proofing. Don’t panic, this doesn’t take days, only a couple of hours longer. Let’s face it! Quick breads are fine but truly great bread needs time.
What I do is first create a batter with flour, a very small amount yeast and water. This bread tripled almost in size after baking and it has only 1 ¼ tsp of dried yeast. So, I mix my remaining flour, yeast and seeds in another bowl (no water) and sprinkle this mixture on top of the batter. The batter “feeds” from the flour mixture and rises through. This takes about 90 minutes. Then I knead the bread and let it rise again. Then shape and let rise again, for a shorter time (about 30 minutes). The result is a fluffy, soft bread which stays fresh for days (although it never lasts!).
The gorgeous colour comes from the addition of carob molasses (LOVE!). I used a selection of seeds like sunflower, chia, flaxseeds and of course walnuts but you can change this any way you like.
For the starter mixture:
- 160 g strong (bread) flour
- 80 g wholewheat flour
- 2 g (1/2 tsp) dried active yeast
- 8 g sugar (or honey)
- 400 g water
For the dry mixture:
- 320 g strong (bread) flour
- 40 g wholewheat flour
- 4 g (3/4 tsp) dried active yeast
- 30 g sunflower seeds
- 30 g pumpkin seeds
- 20 g chia seeds
- 25 g flax seeds (ground)
- 90 g walnuts (roughly chopped)
- 10 g salt
- 15 g olive oil
- 20 g carob molasses
Mix all ingredients for the starter mixture in a mixer bowl.
Mix all ingredients for the dry mixture in another bowl. Sprinkle dry mixture on top of starter. DON’T MIX! Cover and let it rise through for 1-4 hours.
Place a dough hook on the mixer and knead the two mixtures together until roughly combined. Add the olive oil and carob molasses. Knead for 10-15 minutes (time is important).
Transfer dough in an oiled bowl. Let is rise for 90-120 minutes.
Deflate dough and shape into a log or whatever shape you like. Transfer in an oiled and floured loaf pan (or directly on a baking sheet). Cover and let it rise for 30 minutes longer. At this stage pre-heat the oven to 240 C fan.
Score bread with a sharp knife. Transfer in the oven and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 200 C fan and bake 25-30 minutes more.
Set bread on a wire rack to cool. Resist cutting it while it is still hot. The cooking process is still active while bread cools.