The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Ken Forkish's Walnut Levain bread

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Skibum's picture
Skibum

Ken Forkish's Walnut Levain bread

Wow is this EVER a TASTY loaf!!!  I proofed this in a plastic bowl lined with fine linen.  I only used 1 layer of linen and when removed from the proofing container the linen was wet and clinging to the dough.  I used enough rice flour that it removed well and didn't damage the dough, but the seam never opened and there is a large nose blister on the right and some holes where the baker sleeps on top.  Note to self:  for these wet breads at least 2 layers of linen in the bowl and perhaps 4.

Baked this in the covered DO for 30 minutes @ 475F and the full 20 @ temp with convection off and turning every 5. 

In his book Ken mentions he sells this bread to restaurants who pair this with cheeses.  He also mentions it is tasty toasted with honey.  TOTALLY RIGHT on both of those calls.  Lunch today was a lightly toasted, (still warm from the oven!) buttered slab with old cheddar melted and buttered with honey for dessert. Very yummy stuff.  No photos of lunch, but here is a crumb shot:

The volume I am getting on HALF of a Forkish recipe is such that I will either have to go to 1/3 of his formulas or get a longer bread knife. My 8" Henckels was barely able to slice this beast of a loaf.  I followed this recipe to the letter and it makes mighty fine tasting bread.

I had enough starter left over to make a 1/3 overnight levain pizza dough which was mixed yesterday and bakes for dinner tonight.

Well so far a BIG tip of the hat to Ken Forkish for an excellent and compelling book -- particularly for 'sourdough' or levain bakers as he likes to call it. I really like the idea of being able to change the flavour profiles of your bread by manipulating the hydration and other aspects of your starter. Very cool stuff indeed to this old ski bum.

Comments

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Nuts and cheese, what's not to like, right?

if you shape your loaf as a batard instead of as a boule, you won't need to buy a new knife.

Paul

Skibum's picture
Skibum

. . . is always a treat.  I think I will begin scaling Kens bakes down to 1/3. I am amazed at the volume I am getting with 500 grams of flour!

Regards, Brian

isand66's picture
isand66

Looks great.  I have his book on my Kindle and must start reading it after you and David and others have proved its well worth it.

Ian

Skibum's picture
Skibum

. . . is an interesting read.  His thoughts on managing flavour profiles by manipulating your levain is pretty thought provoking stuff in my small mind! The first 2 breads and last night's pizza have all been very tasty.  Dive in Ian!  I can't wait to see your first Forkish bake.

Regards, Brian

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Looks like a good one, alright.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

bread.  Boldly bake and it tastes great too!   Seems many fine bakers are having a ball with Forkish's book!  Love the blisters on this loaf,  That crust has to be especially tasty.

Glad you are joining in Karin's challenge fun too!

Skibum's picture
Skibum

Thanks Floyd.  Great bread and a most interestiing book!

Regards, Brian

Skibum's picture
Skibum

I highly recommend this book based on the flavours of the first 2 loaves and last night's pizza!  Great flavours, but then you are used to that with your incredibly complex breads.

I was encouraged this morning to see that the second build of Karin's challenge bread had expanded in volume nicely.  After adding all of the goodies and mixing well with my wooden dough hook, (modified wooden spoon), it almost looked like bread dough, although nothing like the last dough's I have made . . .

I figure now that the dough is in a loaf pan, I will let all of the add in goodies get happy for a while and will bake either late today or tomorrow am and am guessing a long retard in the fridge can only help things along.  It will be fun to see how things bake up!

Regards, Brian

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Take a look at the post Lucy just put up about our challenge bake.   You can get a handle of what the loaf should look like when fully risen.  Here is a picture of the cracked top you will be looking for.

Fill the pan half full with dough, when the center rises to the top of rim and is cracked it is ready to bake.

 

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Your crumb looks delicious and bold European baked crust.  What a tasty loaf with toppings.

I agree this is just a fabulous tasting loaf.  I love bread with walnuts.  Especially for morning toast.

I used two DO and baked my two loaves at the same time.  I flipped the loaves onto a round piece of parchment paper with a wide, long strip of tin foil under it so I could lift the loaf out of my porcelain iron DO.

It's a bit difficult for me to maneuver these heavy pots.  I really don't like doing two DO at the same time.  So next time I will do one loaf, one DO.  That's plenty of bread and DO for me in one go.  I'd rather not freeze this bread for later. 

I see you have a little purple in your crumb.  I think the purple in the crumb looks lovely.  I did toast the walnuts and thought it might take out the purple crumb.  I guess you have to remove the skins to kill the purple.

You didn't get the seam to open.  Well at least you remembered to proof it seam down.

I made two loaves in linen lined baskets and forgot put them seam up. Old habits die hard.  They were scored and did open nicely and looked pretty, even though I was very disappointed I didn't get to try the seam up version.  I also only had enough walnuts to put into one loaf.    For my whole loaf shots I had my camera set on very large photos and can't figure out how to shrink them on my mac.  I do have some photos that were on the right setting.  Here's one of K.F. suggested toasted version...so delicious.  I've been making tons of jam lately.  

Pear/Disaronno, fig and cream cheese.

Your so right Wow is this Ever a Tasty loaf!!! 

I'm going out of town tomorrow.  KF to be continued :)

Sylvia   

 

isand66's picture
isand66

Sylvia, do you have a photo editing  program on your computer?  Let me know and I can help you resize your photos.

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

  I will message when when I get back home. I'm out of town for a few days and didn't bring my laptop

Skibum's picture
Skibum

. . . is a great looking combination! I toasted the walnuts f@ 400F convection for 10 minutes and they turned quite dark brown.  Yes there is a definite purple tinge imparted by the walnuts but that is okay as the flavour is wonderful. I'm going to pick out a stinky cheese today and perhaps come chutney.

I found using a deep, enameled dutch oven cumbersome and treated myself to a Lodge Combo cooker.  I sue the shallow top to bake on, which is super easy to load and the deep fry an for the lid -- works great and I may never use it for anything other than baking bread.

Anyhow, thanks Sylvia for your kind words and for sharing your really tasty looking results!

Brian

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I have made walnut versions of 3 or 4 different sourdough breads, and they all were delicious. I haven't made a walnut version of any of Forkish's breads yet. The one you made sure looks good. 

And Sylvia's doesn't look so bad, either. ;-) Hmmm ... I just got hungry.

David

Skibum's picture
Skibum

. . . am amazed at the flavour.  Toasted with honey, with stinky cheese melted or for lunch today a full on cold cut Dagwood. I have liked both breads and the pizza dough I have baked from Ken's book. I am sure you would enjoy this recipe and I will be re-baking again soon!  Thanks for the kind words!

Brian