Just for a change of pace I thought that I'd try a riff on the Raisin-Pecan WW Levain that I've been baking, which are based on Ken's Artisan Bakery's gems. A voyage not too far offshore to visit an Apple-Walnut WW Levain version.
Pretty much a straight exchange of fruit and nut for other fruit and nut. Taking a suggestion that I'm sure I've seen on TFL, I started out with dried apple rings, and soaked them in apple cider for a day. The idea being to attempt to introduce a stronger apple flavor than what I might otherwise get from just using fresh apple.
These seemed to have a particularly robust oven spring, although the shaping and scoring adhered to my standard method. The left of the two batards had a double score down its spine, but the oven spring would have none of that, and burst the division between scores right open. The grigne on the right batard, in the last picture, is so wide that it completely burst apart where the end of the score usually has the two sides of the bloom meet. Okay, I'll accept its apology!
Gave away the baguette to an (un)suspecting compatriot with the caveat that neither man nor beast had yet ever tasted these, and reminded him to ensure that his health care policy for the family was paid up ;-) . I'll get a report back tomorrow. If he still looks healthy and with no sallow complexion, I'll try the batard myself!
Okay, so my friend didn't come down with the whooping cough or the heebie jeebies or any other illness from the bread. But I snuck in a few bites last night before it was determined that he was still ambulatory! And then I had some toast this morning too.
Anyway, I was surprised at the distinct lack of apple taste in the bread. Much more lost in the flavor panel than the golden raisins, which the apple replaced. The raisins gave a distinctively sharp burst of flavor completely unmatched by the apple. As far as the walnuts, they have a dry mouth feel in general, and carried over to the bread as well. I didn't glean much value to replacing the pecans with them either. I may give this another go, but if/when I do, I think that I'll sub out some of the water in the hydration for apple cider. If that doesn't give the batard a kick start, I'll chalk it up to just another adventure here on the Isle of TFL.
The crumb shot below. Considering the amount of oven spring, the batard exhibits a surprisingly denser crumb than I would have anticipated. Not a complaint, just an observation.