The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Morning storm with walnuts

PiPs's picture

Morning storm with walnuts

We had a bleary eyed start to Saturday after a late evening celebrating my birthday. A dinner out with friends at a fantastic bistro

Taste sensation of the night was baked fresh dates stuffed with gorgonzola, mixed cress salad, pedro ximinez dressing…OMG!!!

Anyway … bleary eyed today.

This week’s bake was about sifted flour and walnuts. I kept it simple, no tempering, no focussing on multiple passes…
The night before mixing – one pass then sift and remill caught material then sift again. Combine the sifted flours. I caught about 10% weight of my original flour, but I am not focussing too much on the extraction rates.

The weather here for the past few days has been very erratic, making my starter builds and bread planning a little dicey. This morning was no exception as a thunderstorm rolled through Brisbane at around 6:30am, dropping temperatures dramatically.

I mixed two doughs today, one with walnuts and the other using two starters (a rye and a firm sifted wholewheat). The rye starter originated from my desem starter and has been refreshed over a week with freshly milled rye flour.

Walnuts and oil

Walnut Bread
Total dough weight: 2kgs
Hydration: 85%
Prefermented Flour: 10%
DDT: 22-24°C

Sifted wholewheat starter @ 60% Hydration: 172g
Sifted wholewheat: 900g
Fresh milled rye: 73g
Water: 855g
Salt: 21g
Lightly roasted walnuts: 3 cups
Walnut oil: 2tbps

Autolyse flour and water for 1hr.

With wet hands squeeze and incorporate starter, salt and walnut oil into dough until smooth and feel no lumps then place in oiled container.

Bulk ferment roughly 4hrs with four stretch and folds 30min apart in the first 2hrs and another gentle stretch and fold at 3hr mark. Walnuts are squeezed through dough after 2nd stretch and fold.

Divide and preshape. Bench rest 20min. Shape.

Bench resting Country Bread and Walnut Breads

Final proof was roughly 1hr at room temperature (22°)…was surprised how fast this proof was.

Bake with steam on stone for 10mins at 250°C then a further 35mins at 200°C.

The walnut oil was mentioned in the “Tartine bread” book and is something I have always wanted to try. It is aromatic and rich, almost intoxicating. A fine walnut bread toasted, spread with honey and ricotta is amazing.

Walnut Bread

Walnut Crumb

Walnut gringe


Country Bread with two starters
Total dough weight: 2kgs
Hydration: 82%
Prefermented Flour: 15%
DDT: 22-24°C

Rye starter @ 110% Hydration: 115g
Sifted wholewheat starter @ 60% Hydration: 180g
Sifted wholewheat: 933g
Water: 773g
Salt: 25g

Country bread with two starters

Autolyse flour and water for 1hr.

With wet hands squeeze and incorporate starters into dough until smooth and feel no lumps then knead for 10mins (I use slap and fold). Rest dough for 5mins. Incorporate salt and knead for a further 10mins.

Bulk ferment 3hrs with three stretch and folds 30min apart in the first 1.5hrs.

Divide and preshape. Bench rest 20min. Shape.

Final proof was roughly 30min at room temperature (22°) then into fridge for 2hrs and back onto bench for 1hr before baking…it was a messy proof, but the oven was busy….slightly underproved…I love the dramatic look :)

Bake in preheated dutch oven for 20mins at 250°C then a further 20mins at 200°C removed from dutch oven and placed on stone for even browning.

These were baked boldly.

Country breads

Country bread crumb

The country bread was fantastic, I love the dark flavours of the crust. Brittle and thin due to dutch oven baking.

Well ... the desem starter is again happily snoozing in the fridge ... but …

… I now have a rye starter sitting on the bench taunting me …

All the best, Phil





lumos's picture

Beautiful loaves,  Phil. All of them!

Interesting idea, adding walnut oil in to the dough mix. 

It has quite strong aroma, doesn't it?  I've only used it in salad late '80s when it was very popular. (Yes, I'm ancient....) How does the strenghth change when heated/baked?  Maybe 2tbsp for 1kg flour doesn't have too dominating effect?

I have a friend who buys my breads every week and one of them she orders most is walnut sourdough. I might borrow your idea next time to satisfy her walnut-crave.  :)

Thanks for sharing.....and your photos are always amazing!

best wishes,


PiPs's picture

Thanks Lumos,

I find walnut breads very falvoursome, so I am not sure if I can detect any stronger flavours due to the oil. I was pretty heavy handed with the walnuts too (rounded cups). Will try it toasted for breaky tomorrow :)

The crumb is rich  and smooth and you can't take a bite without getting walnuts.

All the best, Phil

HeidiH's picture

Sometimes I sneak sesame oil into bread that will have sesame seeds on top for the same effect.

PiPs's picture

Managed to snap a quick shot of my breakfast (minus my short black) in between making crepes for the kids. I am off dairy for a while, so honey only this morning. Still was delicious, and I love how the walnuts cook further and turn a cream colour when toasted. Nicest walnut bread I have made.


Mebake's picture

Amazing Breads, Phil! And excellent photography! Is living in Brisbane contagious by any chance? your Brisbane compatriot : Shiao-Ping, has contributed To TFL the most wonderful of breads.

What type of wheat do you use?

PiPs's picture

Many thanks,

Brisbane is a pretty place and there seems to be a growing appreciation for good food and hows its produced. Lately I have also noticed a push for locally produced goods and farmers markets (I am a country kid and also like how close it is to the rural regions)

At the moment I am sourcing grains from two suppliers.

Kialla Pure Foods ( is a organic miller a few hours out of Brisbane. I have been using there organic flours for a few years now. Their wheat flour tends to be very strong and thirsty. I use about 75-80% of this grain in the final dough. Shiao-Ping visited this mill in this post

Four Leaf Milling ( is a biodynamic miller in South Australia. They produce a beautiful wholemeal flour. It is not strong, but has a most wonderful colour and aroma. I decided to order some of there grains and been very happy. I know they a stone milling their flours and I am thinking of contacting them, as the flour has lovely big pieces of golden bran dispersed all throughout the flour...I can't seem to achieve this look as yet. I use the four leaf grains for the starter builds and the remaining flour in the final dough.

I have not delved into the specifics of the grains as yet but I believe both millers are milling hard winter wheat. I have been surprised in the visual difference between the two grains...I can easily tell them apart. The Kialla grains and smaller and darker than the Four Leaf grains. Might make some time this week to call the suppliers and find out some more specific information.

All the best, Phil

ehanner's picture

Your bold baking and ample use of additions (walnuts) combine to deliver a fine looking pair of breads. Very nice!


ananda's picture

Hi Phil,

Belated Happy Birthday!   Lovely breads, indeed.

I discovered walnut oil when tasting a bread very similar to the one you have made.   It comes out of the only really good bakery in Newcastle, and I was there today with lots of family members celebrating...great!   It makes such a difference to me.

I'm looking forward to reading about your rye adventures too.

Best wishes


PiPs's picture

Thanks Andy,

Don't see many walnut breads in bakeries here...imagine its expensive to produce in large quantities (even small batches are a treat in our household)

I did see some walnut and red wine baguettes a while ago at a local bakery: -   ...  VERY PURPLE!!!

I've done a bit of rye baking, but not yet with the fresh milled flour...I am still getting used to the large amounts of water it is consuming.

Cheers, Phil


Janetcook's picture


Beautiful loaves and I love your pictures....they have a way of making the aroma, or what I imagine it would have been like,

almost waft off of my computer screen.  They also scream:  Make this bread NOW!

Glad you had a nice birthday celebration!  My son's 15 was this past week too.

Take Care,



PiPs's picture

Thanks Janet,

So many birthdays for us around this time of the year ... My eldest daughter's birthday is a few days before mine (she is 12 now) we celebrated with golden syrup dumplings instead of cake ... her favourite.

Cheers, Phil

Yin's picture

Hi Phil,

I love your bread blog. Amazing photos and I imagine the breads all taste amazing, too.

Interesting you said you squeeze the walnuts through the dough.

Could you please explain what that mean? Do you mean really squeeze it through with your fingers? Wouldn't that squeeze out all the gas as well? I am interested to know because I am searching for a good way to incorporate dry fruit or nuts into my dough. Yours look like they are distributed quite evenly. 

I am so glad to find your blog as it is motivating me to try new techniques and recipe again. I am excited and looking forward to reading your new article.