Fig Water, Multigrain, Apricot, Walnut, Whole Wheat Sprouter
I'm sorry about the pictures on this post. We can't get them to line up no matter what my apprentice does :-)
Sometime things just happen because they are triggered subtly and naturally by our senses. We are reminded of something and then these thoughts lead to other unrelated ideas. Next thing you know you have a new bread formula designed by the simplest of things - in this case smell.
After our; very tasty and soft crumb, not to mention good looking, fig, hazelnut, Tang Zhong, Italian bread, we kept and froze some of the fig soaker water for a future bake to use as part of the liquid. We didn’t want to use figs again, but the smell of the juice made us immediately think of dried apricots so the fruit decision was made.
While looking for the apricots we noticed a little bit of some buckwheat flour that we had purchased for sweetbird’s beautiful, hard cider, Buckwheat Bread. My apprentice had reminded me to use up long ago – so it would have to go into the flour along with our usual spelt, rye and whole wheat multigrain mix. We wanted to double up the whole grains from the last bake and get them closer to 50% than 25% too.
Instead of a whole berry scald, this time we decided to do a 48 hour WW sprouting of 100 g of WW berries. It has been a while since we made sprouts for bread and this was the perfect time to get back to them.
sweetbird’s bread has a light purple cast to the crumb because of the buckwheat and knowing we couldn’t use hazelnuts two times in a row, we immediately thought of Phil’s purple and green Walnut and Sage Super Hero Bread we like so much. We love the purple color the walnut paste gives to the crumb so 25 g of walnuts a 12 g of walnut oil were crushed together in a mortar and then we decided to use 75 g of quartered walnuts in the dough too.
To try to duplicate the soft crumb that Tang Zhong provides we decided to use some yeast water in the levain. Yeast water provides a similar soft, moist crumb. This time we decided to build one levain in 3 stages using all 3 of our wild yeast starters; the WW and the rye sour to go along with the YW. This levain was very active doubling in 4 hours after the 2nd build. We fed it the all flour 3 build and let it sit on the counter for an hour before retarding it overnight.
When the starter came put of the fridge the net morning we also started the 4 hour autolyse of the fig juice, water, salt, flours, malts, VWG and Toadies. We micro waved the chopped apricots in water to get them re-hydrated and then prepared the walnut paste in the mortar and chopped the add in walnuts to get them to a more manageable size.
Once the autolyse met the levain we did a quick hand mix with a spoon in the bowl before doing 10 minutes of double slap and 1 folds. We made this dough a little stiffer than normal because the apricot soak and sprouts would give the dough a little more liquid than the hydration calculations take into account.
We incorporated the sprouts apricots and walnuts on the first of 3 sets of S&F’s that were started 15 minutes after the slap and folds and 15 minutes apart. By the end of the 3rd set the add ins were thoroughly incorporated and the dough felt like it was at 75% hydration instead of the 72% in the formula.
After an hour on the counter, we put the dough in the fridge for a 15 hour retard. In the morning we let it sit for 30 minutes before dividing the dough in half, shaping and placing each in a rice floured basket. We proofed them for 3 hours in a plastic trash bag before firing up Big Old Betsy to a 500 F pre-heat.
We haven’t tried shaping cold dough so we thought we would give it a try and see if it affects how our normal bread turns out in any way. After another 45 minutes the oven was ready. We upended the baskets onto parchment paper on a peel, slashed them with a paring knife (tough going for breads like these) and chucked them onto the bottom stone.
A nice YW pancake with sausage and egg.
We had another stone on the top rack of the oven and steam was supplied by a Sylvia’s large size steaming pan with two towels in it and a 12” CI pan that has lava rocks in it, ala David Snyder. Each was filled half way with water an placed in the oven at the beginning of preheat.
We turned the oven down to 475 F when the bread was loaded in and we steamed them for 12 minutes. After removing the steam, we turned the oven down to 425 F, convection this time. We rotated the bread 180 degrees on the stone every 8 minutes. The bread tested 205 F and was deemed done 16 minutes after we removed the steam.
We let the crust crisp on the stone with the door ajar and the oven off for 10 minutes and then removed the bread to a cooling rack. It came out if the oven nicely browned, hardly blistered and crispy. The crust went softer as it cooled.
The crumb had that purple tinge we like so much. It was fairly open, moist and soft. The taste is unique, earthy and hearty. Everything works well together from a flavor perspective too. It is fun bread to make and well worth the effort. We will be making this again. Thanks to Phil and sweetbird for the fond memories of their great bread.
WW SD, YW and Rye Sour Levain
WW SD Starter
Rye Sour Starter
Levain % of Total
Fig Water 175 Water 200
Fig Water 175 & Water
T. Dough Hydration
Whole Grain %
Hydration w/ Adds
Add - Ins
White Rye Malt
Red Rye Malt
Walnuts 25 g in walnut oil paste
Weight of apricots is pre re-hydrated weight