The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A new Hamelman recipe for me

Abe's picture
Abe

A new Hamelman recipe for me

Hamelman's Hazelnut and Fig Levain. An interesting combo of roasted hazelnuts, dried figs and a touch of anise seed. Most of us are familiar with Hamelman's 125% hydration levain but his recipes are divided between high hydration and low 60% hydration levains. This recipe incorporates a stiff 60% hydration levain. There is quite a high percentage of wholegrain for which I used wholegrain einkorn flour. The result is a nice loaf and while I do prefer (from what I've done so far) the more apparent lactic acid flavour coming from the high hydration levains this bread is done justice when toasted. I think the flavour of the hazelnuts and anise seed comes through more which makes an interesting pairing with the figs. 

Another Girl's picture
Another Girl

You certainly bake some beautiful breads. This one looks like it would be perfect for breakfast or with an afternoon coffee or tea. Hamelman's pain au levain is a favorite of mine for its mild flavor; it's the only sourdough I can get my husband to eat and, (to be honest, he's even balky about this one). May I ask if you toasted the hazelnuts before baking? 

Abe's picture
Abe

I've had his book 'Bread' for quite some time. A few recipes became my favourite and they've just being going round on my baking repertoire. I decided some other neglected recipes need to have a chance. All things being equal the stiff levain build makes for a mellow sourdough. A different profile than his usual 125% hydration levain. Perhaps this is an avenue you would like to explore. The recipe calls for toasted skinned hazelnuts which Hamelman explains how to do however I bought them already prepared. The recipe does not specify about how to add the hazelnuts or figs. It seems to suggest whole but decided to roughly chop them both. 

Benito's picture
Benito

Another beautiful loaf Abe, the crumb is just lovely.  Perfect slice right through that fig too.

Abe's picture
Abe

Quite a different bread to his more famous 5 Grain Levain. Delicious in its own right albeit very different. The figs are nice touch. Recipe doesn't specify either way so I roughly chopped them into smaller chunks. Wasn't sure about whole figs in the bread. 

Benito's picture
Benito

Abe, I never used to soak the dried fruit and was always disappointed in the fruit.  I now make a habit of soaking the fruit, spiced rum is a favourite soaking liquid for dried fruit.  Did you soak the dried figs Abe?

Abe's picture
Abe

And never been disappointed in the results. I either do a soaker if the recipe calls for it (mainly for add ins which will benefit from being softened like seeds however either way works for me) or just add them in when performing the stretch and folds. I find fruit will bake nicely either way and turn into jam or atleast soften and add moisture. 

Portus's picture
Portus

My taste buds are pleading for the cheese and wine pairing. Perhaps a lightly toasted slice of loaf, topped with some farm butter, a wedge of Stilton and a drizzle of honey, washed down with a glass of sauternes or tawny port? 

Joe  

Abe's picture
Abe

Had it toasted with cheese this morning and can confirm it goes very well indeed! Now Stilton is one cheese I haven't had yet but would love to try it. Trouble is I can only find it in wedges that are too much to finish by the recommended use by date. Every one I find says once opened consume within 3 days. Always been suspicious of blue cheese but people love it so much I'm curious. We have to have a cheese tasting party one day. I like the idea of washing it down with a good wine. 

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

You can certainly keep Stilton in the fridge longer than 3 days after opening with no problem. It's one of these things where they are being over-cautious on the label just to protect themselves. If cheese was going bad in such a short time the whole idea wouldn't have caught on - the point of cheese is to preserve milk for months (or even years, for hard cheeses, if they are not cut), instead of having to consume it within days.

And if there is a cheese deli anywhere in the neighbourhood they will cut you a slice any size you want, by the way (and the cheese is likely to be better).

Abe's picture
Abe

I'm one of those people who are over cautious too and look at any food past it's sell by date or BBE as suspicious. I work close to the famous Neal's Yard Dairy but haven't seen it open in this lockdown and even going into work a few times last month it was closed. I'll try to find a nice prepacked one and give it a try. Now I need to pair it with a good wine. 

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

As an alternative, I think this would pair wonderfully with goats cheese!

Abe's picture
Abe

My friend loves it in pizza however I always thought it was too pungent. Tried a slice with some goats cheese and didn't like it. I think goats cheese is a very acquired taste. 

gavinc's picture
gavinc

Very nice, Abe. Another great bake from you. I haven't baked this as yet, but it's now on my list. Always on the lookout for new ideas to try.

I concur with the others about paring with cheese and a dessert wine. Mouthwatering.

Cheers,

Gavin.

Abe's picture
Abe

Now that I've been convinced to try a Stilton what wine would you pair it with? Hope you get to try it soon. It is a very nice combo and while the actual loaf doesn't have an apparent lactic acid tang familiar with other Hamelman recipes, due to the low hydration levain, the pairing works so well and it toasts up really nicely. 

gavinc's picture
gavinc

Depends on the time of day :)  Stilton with figs loves a white sparkling at breakfast, a soft still white wine for lunch or a medium-dry amontillado, oloroso sherry or a sweet madeira in the evening. Best in the company of good friends.

Cheers,

Gavin

 

 

HeiHei29er's picture
HeiHei29er

Very appetizing!

Looks like something that would be perfect with a morning cup of coffee.

Abe's picture
Abe

With a slice of cheese and a nice string coffee makes a great breakfast.

Thank you.