The Fresh Loaf

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Walnut-Dried Fig Sourdough Bread: Variation on a SFBI formula

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Walnut-Dried Fig Sourdough Bread: Variation on a SFBI formula

Walnut-Fig Sourdough Bread: Variation on a favorite from SFBI Artisan II

David Snyder

7 December, 2015

This blog entry could have been titled “So many breads, so little time.” Or “time flies when you're having fun.”

One of my favorite breads from the San Francisco Baking Institute sourdough workshop I took in December, 2010 was a sourdough Raisin-Walnut bread. I made it at home a couple weeks after I got home from the workshop, and it was really delicious, even without a deck oven bake. I wrote about it back then and said I expected to make it often. Ha! I not only haven't made it since then, I couldn't even remember that I had made it at home. All I remembered was that brother Glenn and his wife particularly liked it.

Well, I suppose I could also title this entry “Better late than never,” because I made this bread again yesterday, only substituting diced dried figs for the raisins, and all I can say is, “I should have been making it often,” because it is truly a delicious bread – I think my favorite of the many combinations of sourdough-dried fruit/toasted nut breads I have made.

 

Total Formula

Baker's%

Wt. (g)

AP Flour (11.7% protein)

71.57

383

Whole Wheat Flour

19.77

106

Rye Flour (Medium rye)

8.66

46

Water

67.62

362

Yeast (Instant)

0.08

1

Walnuts (toasted)

15.81

85

Dried Calmyrna figs (diced)

19.77

106

Salt

2.13

11

Total

205.41

1100

 

Firm Levain

Baker's%

Wt. (g)

AP Flour (11.7% protein)

95

77

Rye Flour (Medium rye)

5

4

Water

50

40

Active firm starter

60

48

Total

210

169

  1. Dissolve the firm starter in the water.

  2. Add the flours and mix and knead until there is no visible dry flour.

  3. Shape into a ball. Place in a clean bowl. Cover tightly.

  4. Allow to ferment overnight (12 hours at room temperature).

  5. Toast shelled walnuts, broken or chopped coarsely, at 300ºF for 8 minutes. Allow to cool then place in a jar or bowl and cover.

  

Final Dough

Wt. (g)

AP Flour (11.7% protein)

275

Whole Wheat Flour

106

Rye Flour (Medium rye)

42

Water

305

Yeast (Instant)

1

Walnuts (toasted)

85

Dried Calmyrna figs (diced)

106

Salt

11

Firm Levain

169

Total

1100

Procedures

  1. Pour the water into the bowl of a stand mixer.

  2. Add the flours and mix with the paddle attachment at slow speed until a shaggy mass is formed. The dough should be medium soft.

  3. Remove the paddle. Scrape the dough together. Cover the mixer bowl and let it rest for 20-60 minutes.

  4. Cut the hard stems off the dried figs. Cut the figs into medium dice (about the size of raisins). Place the diced figs in a fine sieve and run water over them, mixing them with your fingers and separating the pieces stuck together. Place the sieve over a bowl to drain until ready to mix the figs into the dough.

  5. Sprinkle the salt and the yeast over the dough. Add the firm levain in several pieces. Mix with the hook attachment at slow speed for 1 or 2 minutes, then increase the speed to Speed 2 and mix for 5-8 minutes. D.D.T. is 78-80ºF.

  6. When moderate gluten development has been achieved, scrape down the dough. Add the figs and walnuts to the mixer bowl and mix with the hook at slow speed for 2 to 3 minutes.

  7. Transfer the dough to a floured board and knead it for a couple minutes to better distribute the nuts and figs. Then transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl and cover.

  8. Ferment for 2 hours at 76ºF with a stretch and fold at 60 minutes.

  9. Divide into two equal pieces and pre-shape as boules. Cover and let the gluten relax for 20-30 minutes.

  10. Shape as bâtards and place, seam-side up, in floured brotformen or onto a linen couche.

  11. Cover and proof for 90 to 120 minutes at 80ºF.

  12. Pre-heat oven to 500ºF with baking stone and steaming apparatus in place for 45-60 minutes before baking.

  13. Transfer loaves to a peel. Turn down oven to 460ºF. Score the loaves as desired. Steam the oven. Load the loaves onto the stone.

  14. After12 minutes, remove the steam source. If you have a convection oven, switch on the fan and reduce the temperature to 435ºF. Bake for 12-14 minutes more. The loaves are done when nicely browned, they sound hollow when thumped on the bottom and the internal temperature is over 205ºF.

  15. Optionally, leave the loaves on the baking stone with the oven turned off and the door ajar for another 8-10 minutes to further dry the crust.

  16. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing.

The crust was quite crunchy. The crumb was light and quite tender. (I think the tiny bit of instant yeast really contributed to the nice crumb texture.) The flavor is complex with clear elements of sourdough, with a lovely, creamy lactic acid predominating, toasted walnuts and sweet, chewy figs.

This bread is probably a pretty well-balanced meal eaten plain, but it is wonderful with sweet butter, toasted or not, and with almond butter. All the sourdough breads with nuts I have made are great with cheese. Walnut breads with thin slices of Cotswold cheese is a great combination. I am thinking this bread might make extraordinary French toast. Breakfast tomorrow?

Yesterday, I also made a couple loaves of Hamelman's “Pain au Levain with Whole Wheat Flour.” They were retarded overnight and baked today.

Today, I made Hamelman's “5 Grain Sourdough” which is now retarding to bake tomorrow. (You know, I was out of town for Thanksgiving, which brother Glenn and his wife hosted this year. So my baking itch needed serious scratching this week. By the way, that “Pain au Levain with Whole Wheat Flour” makes pretty wonderful Thanksgiving dressing. My wife makes the 3-onion stuffing from a 1995 Gourmet magazine.)

Happy baking!

David

Comments

alfanso's picture
alfanso

These look just great David, might as well just get out my digital rubber stamp.  Crust, crumb, lovely oven spring, all around.  

Janetcook gave me a suggestion to amp up my recent bread's apple taste by using boiled apple cider syrup, which I am now on board to do, and you just provided me with another here.  I'd mentioned that the dry mouth feel of the walnuts wasn't working for me in that same bread.  But I see that you toast the walnuts, which probably intensifies the flavor and perhaps removes some dryness by bringing some oil to the surface of the nut.  I'll have to try these two suggestions next time around.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

That boiled apple cider stuff rocks. I've used it in apple pie filling. Hmmm ... probably would be great on French toast.

David

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

each other.  My figs are 'well dried' and need to be rehydrated before using but then the excess rehydrating water becomes dough liquid.  Now you have to make that bread without the 1 g of instant yeast to see how much the crumb structure is effected:-)  Lucy say I'm too much of a doofus to notice any difference, he might be right about that,  but she has faith in you for some reason!  Dogs, as well as, Baking Apprentice 2nd Classes just know these things.  It sure looks good from here and has to make tasty French Toast.  The PAL looks very nice too and fine pic for dressing.  Well done and happy baking David

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I have found that just rinsing dried fruit, then letting it drain well gives good results. The fruit plumps up but doesn't carry too much water to the dough. If you don't wet the fruit some, it will suck water from the dough. You want it to be "hydration neutral," I think.

David

Bread1965's picture
Bread1965

David.. I've yet to see a bread you've posted that I haven't said to myself "I have to try that". Your breads look remarkable. Your notes from the SFBI workshop have me tempted to take the class. Just not enough time to bake all the bread I have in mind! I guess I'll be bookmarking this entry as I have many of your other posts!

Rajan Shankara's picture
Rajan Shankara

Looks like the perfect combination of ingredients. That criss cross scoring looks fun too. 

Anne-Marie B's picture
Anne-Marie B

I am also a fig and walnut fan. Those loaves look too good to resist. I will mark this one to try out over the holidays. Thank you.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

If you make it, let us know how you like it.

Happy baking!

David

corihal's picture
corihal

Oh man, that fig and walnut bread would be decadent with a little bit of high fat butter.  Thank you for sharing these wonderful recipes and techniques.