091108 Mr. Dan Lepard's Sourdough Walnut Bread
Inspired by Nathan's recent post, I made Mr. Dan Lepard's sourdough walnut bread (page 111, The Handmade Loaf). This was an experience of assimilating existing and new techniques learned, making independent judgment, and testing new gear. I experienced the one-hour autolyse technique, which worked seamlessly with my spiral mixer to achieve my goal of streamlining home baking procedures in order to minimize hands-on time. As Nathan mentioned in his post, the dough was well developed after the one-hour autolyse. It only took additional 4 minutes and 30 seconds of mixing by my mixer to reach the windowpane stage. This did not only save me the follow-up stretch-and-folds of the dough, but also prevented its temperature from rising too high from over mixing. It registered 75F when mixing was completed.
I was very relieved to have learned this effective technique-plus-gear combination because it means more flexibility in my schedule. With the added peace of mind, bread baking will be more enjoyable. I did not perform any subsequent S&F to this dough but the crumb still turned out very springy since gluten was sufficiently developed through extended autolyzing and brief mixing.
Like Nathan, I did not use commercial yeast in this bread. It was leavened by 18% of pre-fermented flour maintained at 80% hydration. My percentages were a bit different from Mr. Lepard's, since my presentation took into account the water and flour content in the starter as well. The weight of all ingredients used (except for water), however, is identical to Mr. Lepard's formula.
In this bread, I made my favorite water roux starter with all the rye flour called for in the formula. I made sure the rye roux starter had reached 176F, so to destroy the amylase in the flour (thanks again to Mini Oven for the information). In order to achieve a reasonable consistency of the roux starter, I had to raise the final dough hydration to 79%. However, the dough was not difficult to handle, probably due to the presence of (pre-roasted) nuts and good gluten development. It just felt very pliable after the 3-hour bulk fermentation. The dough was then shaped and retarded overnight. It was baked in the next morning at 500F for 20 minutes, then 460F for 15-20 minutes.
Nathan's beautiful breads in another post also inspired me to purchase Mr. Hamelman's book, which I used primarily as a reference for shaping and scoring this time.
The taste of this bread was divine. The crust was crunchy and the crumb was springy, buttery, and fragrant with the walnut paste mixed in the dough. I enjoyed it very much. I no longer need to dream about Nathan's bread because now I have my own. Thank you, Nathan, for bringing this bread and Mr. Lepard's book to my attention.
And here it is, Mr. Lepard's sourdough walnut bread:
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