Strange experience the period after you tell yourself you’ve retired. The baptism of fire when you start baking for sale and the intensity of the work completely changes your approach to bread. Retiring doesn’t reverse the process but after a few weeks thoughts and memories from the previous era start to plop to the surface. You no longer have to worry about customers, you can think about yourself and the ideas you want to develop for the next stage of your baking life (because there’s no escape).

Dan Lepard’s Walnut Bread was one such idea that struggled into consciousness all the way from 2004. My partner can’t cope with nuts or seeds these days. It’s not an allergy so I’d been wondering if you could get the flavour into the bread if they were ground up. Dan’s formula contains walnut halves (and yeast) but also a walnut paste. So my starting point was to omit the walnuts (and the yeast) and just use the paste.

Brown the butter and bung it and the other paste ingredients into a liquidiser and blast. Couldn’t really see any reason why not so I washed the liquidiser out with the dough water.

Mixed using my regular method (hand mix, 3 x 3 short kneads; 4 hours fermentation with hourly stretch and folds; shape, prove 3.5 hours; bake 50 mins @ 210C. My rye starter’s first outing in quite a while.

Sort of pretty in a comic kind of way. The whole walnuts (easiliy removable for the baker to munch) make it look like a coronette.

A firm dough with a low hydration but the butter and honey keep the crumb and crust soft. I was considering increasing the water but, trying it again after 48 hours, I’m not sure it needs it. Two days on it’s developed a well-rounded taste that I’m very happy with.

Next time I’m going to double the amount of walnuts in the paste and toast them first but that’s just by way of an experiment to see how much the nut flavour can be developed.

Categories: Uncategorized

3 thoughts on “Walnut

  1. Hi Mick – that’s a really pretty loaf – prizes for presentation! There used to be a stall came to our local market who had the most delicious walnuts. Sadly, they fell out with the market organisers, and now the only source (supermarkets aside) is someone who brings them damp and fusty*. It was a real lesson in how dramatically different things taste when they are fresh and stored properly.

    *Having said that, their cobnuts are great, and get an annual outing or two in your apricot and almond fougasse. xx

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