The Fresh Loaf

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DiMuzio's Double Raisin Bread with Toasted Walnuts

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xaipete's picture
xaipete

DiMuzio's Double Raisin Bread with Toasted Walnuts

I wanted to try one of Dan's breads for Mother's Day and thought his Double Raisin Bread with Toasted Walnuts sounded delightful!


Dan gives several options for making it: as a straight dough, as a pain au levain, and as a pain au levain with a little added yeast. I chose to make the bread without the addition of any yeast.


Early yesterday morning I created a liquid levain from my stiff levain on the thought that it would take about 12 hours to fully ripen. At 8 hours I could see that it was just starting to recede, so I went into to action thinking I would have enough time to complete the bread before going to bed. (Just to clarify, I had planned to make the liquid levain in the AM and refresh it in the PM for use today, but when I saw it was proceeding faster than I expected, I just went for it.)


Results: I didn't get any oven spring but I think that was because I let them proof too long in the pans and I didn't have the oven hot enough (see below). The crumb is slightly wet, but pretty open. The flavor is quite delicious. This is the best raisin walnut bread I've ever had. I especially like it because it doesn't have a sugary or cinnamon flavor to it, just the pure pain au levain taste mixed with the natural sweetness of the raisins and nutty walnut flavor. I would definitely make this bread again. It is a real winner.


I'm hoping Dan will critique my method below. Dan's book, like Suas', is a big jump for me. But I figure if I don't try to learn to use this type of book, that I will never make real progress, and I really want to understand what I am doing so I will be able to develop my own recipes some day. I have given a detailed description below of how I understood Dan's method. Dan: you won't hurt my feelings so please don't hold back on any comments! Many of us will benefit from what ever you have to say.


dan dimuzio double raisin bread with toasted walnuts


dan dimuzio double raisin bread with toasted walnuts


From: Bread Baking: An Artisan's Perspective


Liquid levain:


133 g bread flour


133 g water


67 g ripe levain (I used about 60 g of my stiff levain and added a little more water to get to the total of 333 g)


 


Final dough:


467 g bread flour (I used KA bread flour)


67 g whole wheat flour (I used some I had ground about 30 hours before)


347 g water


13 g salt


167 g dark raisins (I pumped the raisins with warm water, but drained them before incorporating)


167 g golden raisins


167 g toasted walnut halves


266g of the liquid levain at the peak of ripeness


 


My interpretation of Dan's method:


1. Mix the levain and the water together with the paddle attachment on speed 1 until the levain is well incorporated, about 1 minute.


2. Add the bread and whole wheat flours, and the salt. Mix with the paddle attachment on speed 1 until everything is combined, about 1 minute.


3. Let dough hydrate with mixer off, about 5 minutes.


4. Resume mixing with dough hook on speed 2 until dough reaches improved mix stage (window pane forms but breaks when stretched), about 5 minutes. I had to add a small amount of additional flour, approximately 1/4 cup, to get the dough to sit right on my dough hook.


5. Reduce to speed 1 and add in the nuts being careful not to break them up too much.


6. Fold in the raisins with a kidney shaped bowl scraper. Dan warned me to be careful not to cut the raisins because they are high in calcium propinate, which is a yeast retardant.


7. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover and let bulk ferment at room temperature for 30 minutes.


8. Do one stretch and fold, return to covered bowl, and continue to bulk ferment until dough doubles. (Although the dough was a little sticky after one stretch and fold, it seemed to have good strength so I only did one. I thought bulk fermentation would take about 3 hours--my kitchen was about 74º--but it took more like 5 1/2 hours).


9. Preshape the dough into two balls and let rest under plastic for 30 minutes. (The dough was difficult to preshape because it was loose/wet/a little sticky--not sure what the remedy was here, but I floured my hands and the board in an attempt to make it easier to shape.)


10. Shape into two loaves and place in 4 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch oiled bread pans. Cover with plastic and let proof until about 1 1/2 times. (It was now 10:30 PM and I didn't achieve very good surface tension.)


11. Bake in a preheated 375º oven for 55 minutes. (I think the oven should have been hotter because the loaves didn't brown as much as I thought they should. Also, I didn't get any oven spring, but that was probably my fault because I think I let them almost double in the pan--of course in my defense I had gone to bed. I got up at 2 AM to turn the oven on and again at 3:15 AM to put them in. By that time they were doming the pans and were probably more like double.)


--Pamela

Comments

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

David

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I really liked it. I'm cooking a turkey today and think the bread will make great sandwiches tomorrow. What a delightful change from the usual sweet, cinnamony, stale nut type stuff I've eaten in the past. This bread is pure pain au levain. My husband got his toast this morning! The only thing I would do different next time is plan better so I won't have to get up 4 times in the middle of the night to attend to it!


--Pamela

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Great looking raisin and walnut bread...I love that there is plenty of fruits and nuts in the crumb..delicious!


Sylvia

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Thanks, Sylvia. I, too, loved that the bread had plenty of fruits & nuts. It was really delicious--I just finished eating a toasted sliced for breakfast!


--Pamela

ques2008's picture
ques2008

i must try that someday.  in fact made some raisin bread for a friend and her daughter last saturday but it was with the usual cinnamon and sugar.  now i must add some walnuts too.  thanks for sharing the recipe.

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Eliminating the cinnamon and sugar allows the bread to take on a whole different character. I hope you try it; it really was delicious and not difficult to make.


--Pamela

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Hi Pamela,


Looks like you did well.  Nice crumb structure.  I didn't realize before that you chose to bake it in a pan.  As you can see from the photo in the book's color plates, I usually make it as a free-form batard, but any bread that works as a hearth loaf can usually be made as a pan loaf just as well. 


Double Raisin w/Toasted Walnuts


It will bake differently than it would as a free-form loaf, mostly because the bottom and sides are enclosed and release less moisture.  That can prolong the browning process, but I do agree that you should increase the temperature to 400 degrees for the size loaf you've made.  Larger loaves might be better baked at 375 degrees -- you have to adjust these things according to loaf weight, loaf shape, and the peculiarities of your oven.


More observations:


The KA Bread Flour you used is 100% hard spring wheat, which is very strong.  I use KA's AP flour (or other brands that are like it) for most of my breads because it is made from hard winter wheat, which is still strong but not so strong as to be inextensible.  The spring wheat actually needs more mixing than I specified in the books general directions  -- you probably need to add another 2-4 minutes to get enough development to get good height and better oven spring.  If you don't mix the spring wheat longer, it will be effectively underdeveloped, and its strength will work to compact the loaf instead of expanding it.  Also, spring wheat is much more absorbent than the flour I use, so it will need probably 2-4 percentage points more water than the same dough made with the winter wheat flour.  


I think your observations about extended bulk fermentation time and lack of oven spring may have been about underdeveloped gluten, which will resist growth in dough or loaf size.  You might try using the KA AP, or just mixing the KA Bread Flour dough longer before adding walnuts and raisins.


How warm was the dough when it came from the bowl?  That could have affected bulk ferment time as well.  You should normally be shooting for 76-78 degrees, and anything cooler would have a definite slowing effect.


I remember that you said your levain was ready after 8 hours instead of 12 hours.  Just as a reminder -- you really want that levain to be 70 degrees after it is assembled and then you want to keep it at 70 degrees for the suggested 12 hour period.  If it still becomes ripe too early, then try using a smaller percentage of ripe levain when you assemble the final levain for the bread next time.  Use half as much, or whatever reduction might get it under control.


I did actually design the raisin-walnut dough to start out a little wet, since over time the dried fruit absorbs a lot of water from the dough.  Your raisins, though, were plumped before use, and we should probably reduce the water in the dough by 1 or 2 percentage points if that's what you prefer, or you might save yourself the trouble by not  plumping them for this dough and just add them as they are out of the box.


I'm sorry you had your night re-arranged for you by the dough!  If you make the adjustments I suggest, and start & maintain the liquid levain a full 24 hours or more before use (instead of the 12hrs I specified in the book), you'll probably have better luck.  In that case, the liquid levain would be created 24 hrs or more before use, and you could feed it 12 hrs later with a (1 part ripe levain)+(2 parts flour)+(2 parts water) refreshment.  As I said earlier, though, if you know the levain is ripening too early that way, use less ripe levain for the feeding.  By starting the LL earlier, you'll have time to adjust things during daylight hours if need be.


I'm glad the bread turned out allright.  It is one of my favorites.  Customers were always amazed that there was no added sugar in the dough despite the sweet taste, and the toasted walnuts add this "browned butter" nuance to the flavor and aromas.


--Dan


 

xaipete's picture
xaipete

 


I didn't think about doing the loaves free-form. Next time, which will be soon, I'll try that, and increase the heat to 400º. There are only two of us here, so I like to make the loaves a bit smaller to accommodate.


Thanks for the information about KA bread vs AP flour. I'll give AP flour a try on my next batch. Thanks also for the information about how to develop the gluten when using bread flour.


The dough was fairly warm when it came from the bowl, but probably not in the 76-78º range. I'll keep an eye on the DDT next time, esp. if it means not having to get up in the middle of the night to bread-sit!


It's difficult for the home baker to manage precise temperatures for a levain, i.e., to keep it at 70º. I'll have to try to figure out how to accomplish that. Maybe I can find a cupboard that maintains a steady cooler temperature.


I see I shot myself in the foot by pumping my raisins! :-)


I can't wait to try it again. Thanks for all your very helpful comments and suggestions. It is a wonderful bread and definitely on my favorite list.


--Pamela
dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

OK, Pamela.  I really meant it when I said your loaves looked good.  The things I mentioned are more like tweaks that can take it to the next level, or which could address what seemed to concern you.


I know what you mean by the 70 degree challenge.  If you live in a north-to-central climate like Cincinnati, and it's winter time, that is sometimes a spot on top of that tall bookshelf in your living room, or over the refrigerator in your kitchen, where the compressor's cooling fan exhaust comes out.  In the summer, it might be near the floor or even in the basement.  It's not that 70 degrees can't ever be exceeded to have success, but in my experience and that of many other pro bakers this is a temperature where the bacteria will produce a moderate and fruity kind of acidity and the wild yeast will be active but under control for that size feeding with a liquid levain, on a 12-hr feeding cycle.


As I said, you can use a smaller proportion of ripe levain to get more control over the fresh one you create 12 hours before baking.  For instance, instead of 1 to 2 to 2, you could go 1 to 3 to 3, or even 1 to 4 to 4 (or anything in between).  That should get the yeast activity under control with the situation you seem to have.  Liquid levain at 75 degrees will be even less sharply acidic than an LL maintained at 70. 


When French bakers encountered warmer weather in the days of no refrigeration, they would use a much smaller piece of ripe levain to make the same-size refreshment (or fresh levain), or they would feed more often, or both.


  Also, you can use firm levain to make this bread instead of liquid levain.  Ready?  Get your pencil, paper, and calculator.


Just refigure the final levain by leaving in the same amount of flour but removing enough water to create a 60% hydration, instead of the original 100%.  Then take the water weight you just removed from the levain and add it to the water amount in the final dough.


The advantage of firm levain in the summer would be that, even at warmer temperatures, it moves more slowly than liquid levain, and it is easier to control that way.  It will also retain a bit more acidity at, say, 75 degrees than a liquid levain would at the same temperature.  It would have a bit less yeast activity than the liquid levain, but, since it is the wild yeast that seem to be running around like teenagers with a car load of beer, that might not be a bad thing here.


One more thing -- when I suggested mixing KA's "Bread Flour" for a few more minutes than you were, the remark was directed only at King Arthur's "Bread Flour," or any other 100% hard spring wheat flour.  I really don't know of any other bread flours from Gold Medal or others right now that would fit that description.

xaipete's picture
xaipete

It really is a tasty bread! The two of us have managed to polish off almost a whole loaf in less than 2 days. For lunch I toasted up two thin slices and spread them with with bleu d'Auvergne. Yum.


On the 70º challenge: I have a two piece insulator for a one quart jar (part of a Solait dairy system manufactured in the early 80s). Earlier today I mixed up a batch of levain, got it down to 70º, and popped it in the container. I'll have a look at it later tonight to see if it is holding the temperature. If that doesn't work I'll look around at other household locations. I have a great 77-79º spot that I found in my water heater closet, so I'm sure I'll be able to work something out if my container doesn't work.


I can feed my levain early, right? The one I refreshed today as a trial won't be at 12 hours until the middle of the night. I was going to refresh it before going to bed so it would be ready in the morning.


The option of using a smaller portion of levain at a higher temperature seems easy enough. The goal here is to have the levain reach its peak at about 12 hours, right? And, it doesn't matter whether it is liquid or firm? I just want to make sure I understand the goal here.


About bread flours: When you specify "bread flour" in BB, I can substitute KA AP or use any brand of bread flour other than KA. If I choose to use KA bread flour then I will probably have to mix a few more minutes. When I mixed/machine kneaded the walnut raisin bread I didn't do it by time but tried to achieve what I considered to be the "improved mix" stage, but you are saying that KA bread flour needs to be pushed a little further because it has a higher protein count?


Thanks for all this information. I'll make another attempt probably tomorrow.


--Pamela


 


 

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

I think everything in the last paragraph there is pretty much so.  I still think KA's "AP" flour is better than any grocery-store retail brand of "bread flour."


The firm levain will be a bit different, as I already explained, but if managing the growth of the levain is an issue, you might want to consider it.  Somewhat more sour than the same qty of flour in a liquid levain, somewhat less yeast activity than with liquid levain, maybe just a bit less volume. 


The firm levain by itself still makes great bread.  I only mention it because, in warm weather, you might find it easier to manage than the liquid levain.


You know, you can use about .07% instant yeast in the dough and still have a good sourdough.  That's a very tiny amount of manufactured yeast, but the sourdough characteristics won't change appreciably.  You'll get better co2 production.


--Dan

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I know I can use a small amount of yeast and the bread still qualifies as a pain au levain, but I'm a purist striving for perfection!


Thanks to your tips I can keep experimenting for the "holy grail" of bread as Peter Reinhart calls it.


I'll keep you abreast of my loaves and my hopeful progress.


Sometimes I think it is a wonder that I can make bread at all when you consider all its complexities!


--Pamela

thebreadfairy's picture
thebreadfairy

Dan,


As an interested observer, (I don't have a "bread" in this race), and a relative neophyte baker, I found your comments to be just superb. They came across to me like a teacher wanting to impart as much information as possible to an eager student. There was a tremendous amount of experience and subtlety presented in them and reinforced to me how complex this whole process of bread-making can be. I, for one, hope you continue to offer critiques in this manner. Your previous postings impressed me and I have since purchased your book. 


Jessica

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Thanks for your kind words, Jessica.

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

You know, I meant to mention before that the double raisin walnut bread is also good when toasted, buttered, and used as the base for an open-faced chicken salad sandwich.


 

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Funny you should mention that because it was today's lunch!


--Pamela

xaipete's picture
xaipete

My liquid levain is now peaking at about 12 hours in its insulator. I tried some regular pain au levain with it today and it came out pretty good. I'll give the raisin walnut another try in a few days--still have some of the 2nd loaf left.


--Pamela

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

I'm not sure if this insulator you're using to control temperature changes allows for ventilation, but maybe it should.  I'm not a micrbiologist, so I can't be certain, but the CO2 given off by the yeast (as well as a little CO2 from the bacteria) probably needs a place to go.


--Dan DiMuzio

xaipete's picture
xaipete

The first time I refreshed I put the lid on the glass and the top on the insulator. I got very little growth. Today, I left the lid off the glass and just put the top on. That worked! I'm at 11 hours now and it has more than doubled. I'm watching it closely to see when it peaks. I saw one of these devices on eBay today.


--Pamela