The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Walnut Ciabatta

BobS's picture
BobS

Walnut Ciabatta

This summer we had the occasion to pass by the King Arthur bakery and store in Norwich, VT several times. The cafe is quite good, and we tried to time our visits for lunch or dinner. Of course, we always pick up some bread to scope out too. One of these was a walnut ciabatta that had a remarkably nutty flavor. Couldn't figure out what was in there until I saw a 'walnut raisin ciabatta' in V2 of Hamelman: ah, toasted wheat germ.

I've made this a few times since, increasing the hydration a bit to open the crumb more.  It's good, and my homegrown food critics say its pretty close to what we brought home.

Here's where I ended up.

 

26.7%ripe white levain, 125% hydration
100%AP flour
6%wheat germ, toasted
83.5%water
2%salt
1%IDY
21%walnuts, toasted
  1. Prepare the levain ahead of time.
  2. Mix all ingredients except the walnuts in a mixer until there is moderate gluten development. In my Kitchenaid this took maybe 10 minutes at moderately high speed. You need to crank it up at this hydration
  3. Fold in the walnuts.
  4. Bulk ferment 2 hours, folding once.
  5. Turn out, divide in half (don't shape, just divide) and proof on parchment for maybe 1.5 hours at 75F. This is pretty wet stuff; don't handle it much.
  6. Bake with steam (I use the dabrownman MegaSteam method) at 460 35-40 minutes.
  7. Enjoy.

Comments

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

Walnut Ciabatta sounds lovely. Enjoy!

What's the Dabrownman mega steam method? I could do with finding a way to get more steam in my oven.

BobS's picture
BobS

I'm surprised that he hasn't told you himself yet, but his technique is to pour boiling water over rolled-up towels in two loaf pans (a method first described on TFL by sylviah), and put them in on the lower shelf, plus pour boiling water over some lava rocks. He does this when the oven is 25 degrees F below his target temp (say 500F) for loading the loaves. When the oven hits target, there's a lot of steam. You lose some steam when putting in the loaves, but you lose less heat than if you have the oven open to both load the loaves and steam.

I find that I get enough steam by just putting the towels at 25 degrees before target. You can find a lot of his references and description here.

 

Bob

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

time.  Since I usually bake on a stone with another stone above (ala Ian Sandman) and the stones lag the temperature of the oven by 15 minutes I now preheat to 500 or 550 F.  When the oven beeps it is at temperature i put the 2 of Sylvia's steaming towel pans and one of David Snyder's lava rock pans, all half full of tap water, on the bottom rack of the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes.  When the timer goes off the steam is billowing and the stones are now at caught up at the right temperature.  Once the bread goes in I also throw a half cup of water in the bottom of the oven for instant'steam as i close the door to make up for the lost steam while loading the bread.  Doing it this way you don't have to boil or handle the boiling water before loading.

For the mini oven I still use 2 of Sylvia's steaming Pyrex measuring cups, with a dish rag in them half full of water, and still heat them to boiling in the microwave before loading.

I don't know of any way to make proper steam than the Mega Steam way for large loaves, if you aren't baking in a DO or cloched, due to size of the  bread or baking a lot of bread at once..

Beware!!!  When taking the Mega Steam out of the oven to finish baking dry,  do not get your face anywhere near the oven door when you open it or you will burn your face very badly!  Don't ask how I know this:-)

happy baking

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Gorgeous Crumb!  Sooo enticing,  I just want to reach thru the screen!   

Walnuts, blue cheese and dry white.   I'm thinking about brushing with a hint of brown butter and sprinkle of blue cheese crumbs.  :)

On the flip side, I'm a softie for caramel cinnamon butter  ...as a dip.

BobS's picture
BobS

That sounds good, but this stuff is pretty tasty plain. Or with a bit of sweet butter. It doesn't last long.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

it doesn't last long...  I always eat my first piece plain.    (:P)

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

has to be tasty with the toasted wheat germ in there - add some various bran varieties and sifted middlings from whole grains, toasted with the the wheat germ and you have Toadies!.... one of the best bread additives for flavor of all time!   For even more walnut purple color and flavor you can mash up some extra walnuts with walnut oil in a mortar ...ala PIP's method for his purple people eater walnut and sage bread.

To get even bigger holes you can up the water to 90% and to get the big holes more evenly distributed and not rising to the top you can stick a dough scraper under each end of the proofed dough and flip the whole mess over.... right back onto the parchment just before baking.  No worries, the extra water won't be much worse than your 83% and the flipping won't make the holes smaller either  The flipping sounds weird but it works

I saw a lady on YouTube, (probably still there), flipping her really wet right before going in the oven and it made a difference.  Another bread oddity where more handling of ciabatta at the right time is better in the end to evenly distribute the large holes.

Well done and happy baking Bob

BobS's picture
BobS

Thanks for that flip tip, db. I did flip it, but before proofing. Onward to 90%!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

15 minutes after the flip to give it a chance to settle down from being so rudely flipped off....eeerrrr......over...:-)

golgi70's picture
golgi70

Bet it's tasty.  I keep refraining from buying walnuts to put in a loaf as it's so very pricey.  I'll cave soon enough.  Maybe for something like this.  I second or is ithird the flip off couche right before baking.  I also highly suggest just a touch of rye flour, maybe 2%.  it does so much more for ciabatta than one might think at such a small %.  

Nice Baking

Josh

a_warming_trend's picture
a_warming_trend

Somehow I missed your bread...could have been in on the flip tip earlier. Love the even airiness of the crumb.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman
BobS's picture
BobS

She can really flip those loaves off. The counter.

Thanks