I was in Portland nearly three years ago to attend the birth of my second grandson (first child for my son). I had not been baking very long and I knew that Portland was a 'Bread' town. My son took me to the Pearl where I purchased several breads, including a Walnut Bread. We took the purchases back to the apartment and tried them all. I liked the Walnut Bread, but felt that, with a little work, I could produce a loaf that tasted that good. I'm truthfully not sure of the origin of this recipe, but I have adjusted it over the years based upon suggestions from my best taste-tester (and wife). I really love the flavors present in this bread, but it will not satisfy a craving for a nice Pain Ordinaire. Final rant: I feel that one of the most overlooked, and better if the recipe collections, is "Baking Illustrated" by the fine folks at "Cook's Illustrated" magazine. The really neat feature of this book is that they try many variations on each recipe to see what really produces the best (subjective) flavor. Variations are discussed so you can grasp what differences minor variations make. Anyway, on with the recipe. Regretably, I have no pics - my son has the camera.
50/50 Flour 6.5 oz
Instant Yeast ½ tsp .125 oz
Room Temp Water ¾ cup 6 oz
Combine flour and yeast in a medium bowl. Add water and stir until the consistency of a thick batter. Continue stirring for about 100 strokes or until the strands of gluten come off the spoon when pressed against the side of the bowl. Scrape down the sides, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit in a warm place until bubbly and increased in volume.
Active Dry Yeast 1 tsp .25 oz
Room Temp Water 1 ½ cup 12 oz
Buttermilk 1 ½ cup 12 oz
Honey 2 Tbsp 0.5 oz
Demerarra Sugar 2 Tbsp 6.25
50/50 Flour 24 - 30 oz
Salt 1 Tbsp .75 oz
Craisins 12 oz
Walnuts 10 oz
Bring the poolish to the work area. It should be soupy, bubbly, and puffy and should have a wheaty aroma. Scrape it into the mixer bowl, adding the water and yeast. Break up the poolish with the paddle attachment and stir until it loosens and the mixture foams slightly. Add the sugar, buttermilk, and honey; stirring until well combined.
Add flour (24 oz), stirring until well combined, then switch to the dough hook and add the salt and just enough of the remaining flour to make a thick mass that is difficult to stir.
Turn out onto a well floured surface and knead, adding more flour for 10 minutes. Gradually knead in craisins and continue kneading until the dough is soft and smooth, 15 to 17 minutes total. The dough is ready when a small amount pulled out from the mass springs back quickly.
Flatten the dough into a rectangle about ½ to ¾ inch thick. Spread some walnuts, to cover, over the middle third of the rectangle, pressing lightly to hold them in place, and fold the right side over the walnuts. Repeat on the folded portion and fold the remaining piece over the walnuts. Again flatten the dough as before and repeat until all walnuts are incorporated.
Shape the dough into a ball and let it rest on a lightly floured surface while you scrape, clean, and oil a large bowl. The dough temp should be 78. Place the dough in the bowl, upper surface down and turn once to cover (smooth side is now up). Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment until doubled in bulk. The dough has risen enough when a finger poked ½ inch into the dough leaves an indentation.
Degas the dough in the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface and divide into four equal pieces. Flatten each piece firmly with your hand and shape each piece into a tight round ball, sealing the seam. Place the loaves on a floured peel, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to proof in a warm place until increased in bulk about 1 ½ times. Preheat the oven to 450.
Slip the loaves onto the baking stone, score them and add boiling water to steam pan. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the loaves begin to color. Reduce the heat to 400 and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until the loaves are a rich caramel color and the crust is firm. Test for doneness by thumping the bottom of the loaf and listen for a hollow sound. If not ready, bake for another 5 minutes and retest. Cool fully on a wire rack
Good luck. I'd like to hear from anyone who tries this.
I am constantly amazed that a little flour, water, yeast, salt, time and temperature may be varied to produce an almost endless variety of great tasting breads.