Being a pastry chef by trade, hazelnut is a fundamental ingredient in my repertoire. Yet it seems a bridesmaid to Walnuts in conventional bread making. While devising a baking menu for an upcoming job I decided to feature a hazelnut bread as my nut based loaf. The difficulty in using hazelnuts is that their flavor is semi subtle and must be exaggerated through other ingredients which in pastry is most commonly done with brown butter, caramel or an earthy chocolate. Both excellent choices, however I did not want a dessert/sweet bread in this case, as my true intent was to find nuttiness in the wheat itself.
Upon reading through some TFL posts the other day(I'm particular fond of Dmsnyder & Janedo's writings,) I found myself going through the comments section on a Pain A l' Ancienne where Jane and David were having a discussion on the delusion of hazelnut flavor in long autolysed dough(You're not crazy Jane. It's there.) To me, this represented the perfect vessel to develop a hazelnut flavored bread which relies on inherent nuttiness in wheat.Once formulations were made, and the recipe followed through I was more than happy with the results.
The recipe relies on a stiff levain (Local Breads P.111) as well as a little fresh yeast for leavening. The finished quantity of dough was enough for 2 batardes, feel free to extend the quantities using baker's percentages to your requirements (With the exception of baguettes which mostly go to friends and family, I rarely make more then one or two loaves at a time.) Another note about the recipe. I used red fife flour as it's my go-to WW however another local WW flour would be adequate in it.
12-14 hours before mixing final dough.
Refresh Stiff Levain
50g Levaiin 50% Hydration
50g Water 20-25dC
95g White Bread Flour
5g Red Fife Flour
Combine levain and water, stirring to a frothy consistency. Incorporate flour and knead into a rough dough. Be sure to absorb all flour. Let mature for at least 12 hours. The excess levain can be stored in fridge for up to a week. I typically refresh mine every 3 days.
450g White Bread Flour
50g Red Fife Flour
400g Ice Cold Water
Combine flour and water, stirring until distributed evenly. Wrap in cling film and rest in fridge for 12 hours.
900g Autolyse Dough(Pre-Dough)
50g Stiff Levain
5g Fresh Yeast
10g Sea Salt
160g Hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
Totals (represented as %)
White Flour 90%
Red Fife Flour 10%
Stiff Levain 10%
Fresh Yeast 2.5%
Sea Salt 5%
Remove autolyse flour/water mixture from fridge. Combine with stiff levain, fresh yeast. Using a kitchen aid mixer or equivalent, mix at speed 2-3 for 5 minutes. Add sea salt to dough and continue mixing for a further 7-10 minutes. Check proper dough development using a gluten test. Add toasted hazelnuts to well developed dough and mix until combined. Rest dough in appropriate vessel for at least 20 minutes.
Bulk Ferment dough for 4-6 hours (in my kitchen the temperature currently ranges from 14-18dC which took the dough about 30 minutes longer than the expected fermentation times, however I'm quite aware that the environment I ferment in is an exception...brrr!) Within the first 2 hours of fermentation perform 4 stretch and folds. To achieve this wet hands liberally and grab one corner of the dough and fold it into the middle. Do a 1/4 turn of the dough and proceed folding until all 4 edges are in the middle. Gently flip dough and tuck excess edges (love handles?) underneath the mass.
After bulk fermentation, remove dough from container and gently release some of the internal gases. Divide dough in half and form in to batardes. Place in WELL FLOURED couche or banneton. This is a slack dough and needs to be handle with dexterity.
Proof batardes for 1-1 1/2 hours. Pre-heat oven to 480dF. If using a baking stone, place it in the oven now.
Insert steaming vessel in to hot oven and add 1/2 cup of ice cubes. Transfer batardes to a peel and score with a straight 90 degree cut on the long axis. Place in oven.
Bake at 480dF for 15 minutes. Remove steaming vessel and turn down heat to 450dF. Bake for another 20-30 minutes, depending on your desired color.
Check doneness of 98dC. Turn off oven and leave door ajar with loaf resting on baking stone for 5-10 minutes.