The Fresh Loaf

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Walnut Pepita 35% Whole Wheat Sourdough Hokkaido Milk Bread

Benito's picture

Walnut Pepita 35% Whole Wheat Sourdough Hokkaido Milk Bread

Since my last two loaves were for family members I am low on bread again.  I toasted some walnuts and decided to combine it with pepitas (pumpkin seeds) for a loaf.  I love the flavor you get from the addition of nuts and seeds to bread.  For this loaf I baked it once the total rise was 140%.  I use an aliquot jar to measure this, a company called BillieOlive makes them.  I’ve doing testing of their aliquot jars for them and most recently, they made a new one that has markings to allow me to measure over 150% rise.  These are very useful.  This loaf is a touch over fermented, you can see that by the slight loss of definition of the four lobes.  I like to see more definition, so probably for this dough 130-135% rise is optimal.

For one 9x4x4” Pullman pan loaf.




Mix the levain ingredients in a jar or pyrex container with space for at least 300% growth. 

Press down with your knuckles or silicone spatula to create a uniform surface and to push out air.

At a temperature of 76-78ºF, it typically takes up to 10-12 hours for this sweet stiff levain to be at peak.  For my starter I typically see 3-3.5 times increase in size at peak.  The levain will smell sweet with only a mild tang.



In a sauce pan set on medium heat, stir the milk and whole wheat flour until blended. Then cook for several minutes until well thickened, stirring regularly with a spoon or heat-resistant spatula. Let cool in the pan or, for faster results, in a new bowl.  Theoretically it should reach 65ºC (149ºF) but I don’t find I need to measure the temperature as the tangzhong gelatinizes at this temperature.  You can prepare this the night before and refrigerate it, ensure that it is covered to prevent it from drying out.


If you plan on using a stand mixer to mix this dough, set up a Bain Marie and use your stand mixer’s bowl to prepare the tangzhong.



In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the milk (consider holding back 10 g of milk and adding later if this is the first time you’re making this), egg, tangzhong, salt, sugar and levain.  Mix and then break up the levain into many smaller pieces.  Next add the flours.  I like to use my spatula to mix until there aren’t many dry areas.  Allow the flour to hydrate (fermentolyse) for 20-30 minutes.  Mix on low speed and then medium speed until moderate gluten development this may take 5-10 mins.  You may want to scrape the sides of the bowl during the first 5 minutes of mixing.  Next add room temperature butter one pat at a time.  The dough may come apart, be patient, continue to mix until it comes together before adding in more butter.  Again, knead until well incorporated.  You will want to check gluten development by windowpane during this time and stop mixing when you get a good windowpane.  You should be able to pull a good windowpane, not quite as good as a white flour because the bran will interrupt the windowpane somewhat.  Add the nuts/seeds, then mix again until they are well distributed.


On the counter, shape the dough into a tight ball, cover in the bowl and ferment for 2 - 4 hours at 82ºF.  There should be some rise visible at this stage.


You can next place the dough into the fridge to chill the dough for about 1.5 hours, this makes rolling the dough easier to shape.  Remember, if you do so the final proof will take longer.  Alternatively, you can do a cold retard in the fridge overnight, however, you may find that this increases the tang in your bread.


Prepare your pans by greasing them with butter or line with parchment paper.  


Lightly oil the top of the dough. Scrape the dough out onto a clean counter top and divide it into four. I like to weigh them to have equal sized lobes. Shape each tightly into a boule, allow to rest 5 mins. Using an oiled rolling pin roll each ball out and then letterfold. Turn 90* and using a rolling pin roll each out to at least 8”. Letterfold again from the sides so you have a long narrow dough. Then using a rolling pin, roll flatter but keeping the dough relatively narrow.  The reason to do this extra letterfold is that the shorter fatter rolls when placed in the pan will not touch the sides of the pan.  This allows the swirled ends to rise during final proof, this is only done for appearance sake and is not necessary.  Next roll each into a tight roll with some tension. Arrange the rolls of dough inside your lined pan alternating the direction of the swirls. This should allow a greater rise during proof and in the oven.


Cover and let proof for  4-6 hours at a warm temperature.  I proof at 82°F.  You will need longer than 4-6 hours if you chilled your dough for shaping. I proof until the top of the dough comes to within 1 cm of the top edge of the pan.


Preheat the oven to 350F and brush the dough with the egg-milk wash.  Just prior to baking brush with the egg-milk wash again.


Bake the loaves for 50 minutes or until the internal temperature is at least 190ºF, rotating as needed to get even browning. Shield your loaf if it gets brown early in the baking process. After 50 mins remove the bread from the pan and bake a further 10 mins by placing the loaf directly in the oven on the rack with the oven turned down to 325ºF.

My index of bakes.


Benito's picture

For those interested, here is a photo of the dough just prior to baking.  You can see the aliquot jar I use in the photo.

JonJ's picture

Lovely bread and seed combination, and interesting new aliquot, I guess you've run out of specimen jars! One question, do you still add sugar to the sweet stiff levain? 

Benito's picture

I still have my specimen jars Jon, but these new aliquot jars are quite a bit more accurate.  I am still making a stiff sweet levain for these types of breads where I don’t want a sour tang.


tpassin's picture

Whoa, Benny!  That closeup of the crumb is to die for! Great work!


Benito's picture

Thank you Tom, the bread is definitely tasty and I also like the crumb a lot.


Isand66's picture

I love the walnut and pepino combo.  Your crumb looks perfect.  Some technical questions for you:  what % bulk rise are you aiming for and what % rise final proof?  While I am not using the aliquot jar method I’ve been experimenting with measuring my bulk % to try and hit around a 30% rise at 80 F before shaping and doing the final rise in the refrigerator.  As you know I use a high % of fresh milled flour which tends to ferment much quicker than retail flours.  
I did buy a square plastic dough container which makes it much easier to measure the rise.  


Benito's picture

Thank you Ian, quite pleased with the overall bake, but would shorten fermentation by a bit next time just to get that definition of the lobes.

So with the aliquot jar, the dough is put into the tube immediately after mixing is complete.  I aim for about 30% rise for this type of bread and then either cold retard for convenience or shape.  This bake I did a total rise (since the dough stays in the tube) to 140%.  In the future I would probably cut back a bit to 130% or 135%.  So if one was measuring rise again of the shaped dough it would be 130/30 or 4.33 times rise.  Hopefully that makes sense.