"Bread Bible" Whole Wheat Walnut Raisin Bread
In continuing my mission to bake my way through The Bread Bible, I had the opportunity to try the recipe for Whole Wheat Walnut Raisin Bread. I was a bit worried it would be a bit advanced for my skill level, but I was baking it for my dad, who needed to transition to whole wheat bread to aid in his recovery from intestinal surgery.
The first thing that made me nervous was plumping the raisins, something I had never done before. But, a quick Google search led me to completely cover them in boiling water and set the timer for an hour as I worked on the dough. I drained them in a collander and then on a papertowel, trying to get them as dry as possible, but now I'm wondering if one shouldn't keep them a little moist so the finished loaf doesn't dry out....? At any rate, I hand mixed them with the walnuts and set aside.
I found the dough to be pretty easy to knead and not nearly as nubby as I thought it would be. However, it did seem to be rising very slowly.
Since the formulae called for a two- to two-and-a-half rise to double in bulk as opposed to the usual hour, I assumed this was normal. At any rate, the dough eventually reached the doubled point, a little over two hours after being set to rise.
This is where some mild difficulty began. The first fill-and-roll went fine.
The second, not so much.
I had a hard time keeping all the walnut pieces and raisins in the dough, though eventually I got there.
I then cut the dough into three pieces, but (and I’ve already tried this recipe again), the middle piece inevitably ends up with far more filling. And, much to my disappointment and frustration, the dough began to tear over the filling in the middle boule:
I wasn’t sure if this was ok or not—on the one hand, I’d certainly seen boules like that in stores and whatnot, but on the other hand, the other boules felt more sturdy. Still, after about forty minutes of futzing around with it, I decided to just let the three boules sit for their second rising and learn by doing when the time came.
Scoring them also proved to be a bit challenging.
When they did come out of the oven, they came out really, really dark. I thought they were burnt, but they ended up tasting ok.
The second time I tried this formulae, I moved the oven rack (on which I have a square stone) to the second-to-the-bottom place, and that seems to have solved the problem. I’m wondering if I shouldn’t leave it there for my other loaves. That being said, sure enough the raisins that were poking out of the middle were burnt and fell off.
Fortunately, the rest of the filling stayed within the loaf, even after slicing. Since this was my first time baking a yeast bread with filling, I counted this as a success.
I was, however, concerned about a small moist streak you can see on the bottom right-hand side. It didn't effect the taste any, and the texture wasn't noticably different, but all the same inconsistency worried me.