Date Walnut Bread
The inspiration for this bread is David Snyder’s Fig Walnut recipe. I followed it pretty closely but I subbed out dates instead of figs since I had some that needed to be used up. I also used a stand mixer rather than doing it by hand. And of course, I can’t forget the yogurt to tenderize the crust!
Makes 3 loaves
158 g strong bakers unbleached flour
40 g freshly milled Selkirk wheat flour (Selkirk wheat berries)
158 g filtered water
40 g sourdough starter
594 g strong bakers unbleached flour
92 g freshly milled Selkirk wheat flour (Selkirk wheat berries)
194 g freshly milled rye flour (Rye berries)
682 g filtered water
22 g pink Himalayan salt
30 g local yogurt
220 g toasted walnut pieces
220 g chopped dates
396 g levain
Make sure to refresh your starter a couple of times before making the levain.
The night before:
- Mill the needed grains if you mill your own flour. Cover and set aside.
- Toast the walnuts in a 300 F oven for 9 minutes. Cool.
- Chop the dates, add to the walnuts and reserve.
- Dissolve the sourdough starter in the water for the levain.
- Add the flours listed for the levain to the bowl, mix well and let the levain rise at room temperature until it doubles (8 - 12 hours).
Dough making day:
- The next morning, a couple of hours before the levain is ready, place the dough water in a mixing bowl. Add the dough flours and mix on speed one of a mixer for a couple of minutes until you have a shaggy dough with no dry flour. Let sit for a couple of hours.
- After the autolyse, add the salt, the yogurt and the levain to the mixing bowl. Mix for a minute to integrate everything and then mix on speed 2 for 9 minutes.
- Add the walnuts and the dates, and mix only until everything is evenly distributed.
- Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place in a lightly oiled covered tub. Let rest 30 minutes in a warm spot (oven with light on).
- Do 2 sets of stretches and folds at 30 minute intervals and then 2 sets of sleepy ferret folds (coil folds) at 60 minute intervals, and then let the dough rise to about 40%. This took another 2 and a half hours. It’s a very slow moving dough due to the amount of fruit and nuts in it. It should have irregular bubbles visible through the sides of the container and bubbles on top as well.
- Tip the dough out on a bare counter, sprinkle the top with flour and divide into portions of ~815 g. Gently round out the portions into rounds with a dough scraper and let rest 1 hour on the counter.
- Do a final shape by flipping the rounds over on a lightly floured counter. Gently stretch the dough out into a circle. Gently overlap the edges of the dough in the center. Flip over and pull the dough towards you on all sides to seal the bottom. Be super gentle not to degas the dough. Did I mention to be gentle with this dough? 😂
- Sprinkle a mix of rice flour and all purpose flour in the bannetons. Place the dough seam side down in the bannetons and cover. Let rise for an hour and a half in a warm spot and then put to bed in a cold (38F) fridge overnight.
- The next morning, heat the oven to 475F with the Dutch ovens inside for an hour. Turn out the dough seam side up onto a cornmeal sprinkled counter. Place rounds of parchment paper in the bottom of the pots, and carefully but quickly place the dough seam side up inside.
- Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 425 F for 25 minutes, remove the lids, and bake for another 22 minutes at 400 F. Internal temperature should be 205 F or more.
Next time, I would do only one set of folds rather than 2 in the first hour. This dough is heavy and needs time to rise. As well, I dropped the temperature of baking on the second batch as the bottom of the loaves from the first batch baked up pretty dark. The recipe reflects the lowered temperature.