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Friday, January 14, 2011

Walnut Whole Wheat Bread

I needed a change from making PR's breads, with the two day planning and the more scientific process (Well, not really, but it seems like it). I needed something more casual: put together ingredients-knead-rise-shape-proof-bake. I didn't find anything in LR's book that I felt like making and had all the ingredients handy. So I looked through my newest cookbook 'King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains' (KA). There is a whole section on yeast breads but most of them have some amount of bread flour or all purpose flour. Some day when I am feeling a little more generous I will try one of them. I did find a recipe that was 100% whole grain and sounded good; Walnut Whole Wheat bread. That's what I made Thursday evening. It took about 5.5 hours from start to finish, which is fairly minimal for yeast breads.

One of the unique ingredients in most of KA's whole grain bread recipes is the use of a little orange juice. They claim that it softens the whole grain and the flavor is not noticeable in the final results at all. I think it worked really well. The recipe also called for finely chopped walnuts and I love walnuts in bread, great crunch and taste and a great way to add omega-3 to a vegetarian diet. From LR's book I have learned that walnuts should be lightly toasted which slips some of the bitter covering off the walnuts. I also used LR's suggestion of adding the walnuts towards the end of the kneading process to keep them from tearing the gluten. Also adding walnuts early on can make them turn purple when baked.

The process
It was the first time with this recipe, so I followed the ingredient specifications obediently, even though I was tempted to reduce the quantity of sugar and instant yeast. Next time I probably will.


The dough was very sticky throughout,
but the book warned against adding flour to 'fix the stickies'.

Close up view to show the finely chopped walnuts mixed in.

After the first rise. The dough rose surprisingly fast and high.
It sighed noticeably when poked.

I rounded and rested the dough for 10 minutes before shaping it.

After proofing for 50 minutes. The book said it would take 1.5 - 2.5 hours
but if it rose 1 inch above the pan rim, it should go in the oven.

I thought it should be slashed knowing it would collapse. I did it anyway.

Didn't get much oven spring.

Crust was wonderfully flaky and the loaf felt very soft.

Nice crumb methinks.

Date: Jan 13, 2011
Recipe: Walnut Whole Wheat Bread from 'King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains'

Flours: Whole wheat
Bread specific ingredients: Walnuts, orange juice, vegetable oil
Sweetener used: Light brown sugar
Liquid: Water

First rise time: 95 minutes, followed by rounding and 10 minutes rest
Proofing time: 50 minutes
Comments: Followed the recipe closely, even though sugar quantity seemed a lot. Next time can half sugar and/or try agave nectar. Used all 2½ t instant yeast. Mixed walnuts at the end of the kneading period. Dough was very sticky throughout the kneading. It rose very quickly compared to the times given, collapsed a lot when slashed and then didn't have much oven spring. Registered 205° F after 40 minutes (given temperature was at least 190° F and 40 minutes). Baked on fourth-from-top rack. Remembered to bake at 25° F less in the Chicago Metallic pan. Bread did not come out easily, so had to loosen edges. The bottom didn't sound very hollow so put the bread (out of the pan) back in the turned off oven for another 5 minutes. Crust is surprisingly wonderfully flaky. Crumb is pretty good too and taste is wonderful. Authors were right, the taste of the orange juice is not noticeable at all. Will definitely make again, probably with less sugar and yeast.


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