My favorite nuts are pecan and walnuts with pistachios coming in a close third. I have been wanting to make bread with nuts in it for a while, but since my wife detests nuts I have not baked one for a while. In any case it was time to take the plunge and incorporate both of my favorites in one bread.
I didn’t want the pecans to compete too much with the walnuts so I ground the walnuts into a paste with my coffee grinder and added the pecans after chopping them.
I used the 36 hour method which I have posted about a few other times which I found really helps to develop the flavors and open the crumb. I also wanted to push the hydration limits on this one and see how high I could go with a multi-grain type bread and still get a nice open moist crumb, so this one is not for the faint at heart and comes in at 80% hydration.
I used a multitude of flours which I thought would provide a nice nutty flavor profile to compliment the pecans and walnuts and I have to say I was not disappointed. The final bread while a little flat due to the high hydration is chock full of nutty flavor and as a bonus the walnuts gave the dough a nice purple haze.
Refresh your starter the night before you are ready to bake and make sure you have at least 300 grams. I used my standard AP starter which is at 66% hydration.
Mix the flours, and ice-cold water together in your mixer or by hand until it just starts to come together, maybe about 1 minute. Put the dough in a slightly covered oiled bowl and put in the refrigerator for 12 hours.
The next day chop the pecans and grind the walnuts into a paste. (Note: do not grind the pecans, just the walnuts). Add your starter, walnut paste, mashed potatoes and salt to the dough and mix by hand or in your mixer on low until it is thoroughly mixed and evenly distributed. Mix for 3 minutes and then add the pecan pieces and mix for another minute until the nuts are evenly distributed. Place the dough into a well oiled container or bowl and cover.
Bulk rise at room temperature for 2-3 hours until it grows around 1/3 in volume doing stretch and folds every half hour until it has developed the correct amount of strength.
Put the dough back into the refrigerator for around 20-30 hours. I ended up letting it go around 40 hours since I got tied up in Skype meeting but it didn’t have any adverse effects.
When you take the dough out of the refrigerator you want it to have almost doubled in volume. Mine only rose about 1/3 in volume. Let it rise at room temperature for around 2 hours or until the dough has doubled from the night before.
Next, shape as desired and place in your baskets. Make sure you use enough rice flour with flour in your bowl/basket to prevent this moist dough from sticking. This is a very wet dough so you will have to make sure you use wet or floured hands to shape the dough. Don’t add too much flour when shaping. I actually didn’t use any flour for shaping these, and pretty much did the shaping in the air before plopping them into the bannetons.
Cover the dough with a moist towel and let sit at room temperature for 1.5 to 2 hours. (I used my proofer set at 80 degrees for 2 hours).
Set your oven for 500 degrees F. at least 45 minutes before ready to bake. When ready to bake place the loaves into your on your oven stone with steam and lower the temperature immediately to 450 degrees. When the loaf is nice and brown and reached an internal temperature of 200 degrees F. you can remove it from the oven.
Let the loaves cool down for at least an 3 hours or so before eating as desired.
This post has been submitted to the Yeast Spotting Site here: http://www.wildyeastblog.com/category/yeastspotting/.