Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Year Of Bread

Time flies when you're baking bread! It's hard to believe that the Bread Baking Babes are celebrating our first anniversary this month. We started out as twelve intrepid bakers, willing to delve into challenging recipes, have long discussions of various flours and hydration levels, and have a wild time together taming the bread of the month. We made crowns, braids, wreaths, and pockets. We lived the sweet life, went on safari, attempted an impossible miche-on, and took a trip to France . What an amazing year with a wonderful group!

As we start a new year together we've had a little re-arrangement of our roll (pun intended). We lost Sher of What Did You Eat last year and Glenna of A Fridge Full of Food bowed out so she could have a less structured approach to her food blogging. In order to bring our number back up to our full complement we have invited Natashya of Living In The Kitchen With Puppies and Gretchen of Canela and Comino to join the Babes. They have been faithful Baking Buddies, completing and posting the breads to earn a Baking Buddy badge each month. We're so pleased to welcome them to Babes!

This month, Tanna, the amazing lady who dreamed up our group, gave us a new twist on bread. Go nuts! Walnuts, to be precise. Instead of going nuts right a way, I had to go shopping. This loaf contains, besides the walnuts, 5 different grains, so it was time to add to my ridiculous collection of flours. The helpful tip was that if you didn't have oat flour or brown rice flour, you could grind them. Well, that's helpful if you have a grinder, which I don't. I certainly wasn't going to attempt this with a mortar and pestle!

Once I had the ingredients I got to work toasting the nuts, measuring the flours, and mixing up some seriously tasty bread. My first thought when I took a bite of the crusty bread was, "I know this taste. What is it? What is it?" Finally, the aha moment came - Rye Krisp crackers! Even though this bread is supposed to be all about walnuts, it really tasted exactly like Rye Krisps in bread form to me. It was good spread with butter, but I loved it even more toasted. Thank you, Tanna, for this great recipe and for this great group. Be sure to check out the other Babes and see their take on the Walnut 5 Grain bread (the links are on the side).

And if you'd like to bake along with the Babes, you have until February 26th bake and post the bread and send a link to Tanna. She'll send you a beautiful Bread Baking Buddy badge to proudly display on your site.

Five~Grain Bread with Walnuts
- adapted from The Italian Baker by Carol Field

Makes 2 - 9 X 5-inch loaves

2-1/2 cups (300 grams) walnut pieces
3-3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast or 1 1/2 small cakes (27 grams) fresh yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups water, room temperature
3-3/4 cups (500 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cups (125 grams) oat flour or finely ground rolled oats
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (125 grams) rye flour
1 cup less 1 tablespoon (125 grams) whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup (125 grams) brown rice flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (12 grams) salt

Toast the walnuts for 10 to 15 minutes in a 350° F oven until they begin to darken and smell toasted; then chop in a food processor fitted with the steel blade or with a sharp knife to the size of a fat rice kernel. Do not grind them finely. (I left larger chunks so I could enjoy the texture in the bread.)

Stir the yeast into the warm water in a large mixing bowl; let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in 3 cups water. Mix the walnuts, flours, and salt and stir 2 cups at a time into the dissolved yeast, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. The dough should come together easily. Knead on a floured surface, sprinkling with additional all-purpose flour as needed, until firm, elastic, and no longer sticky, 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir the yeast into the warm water in a mixer bowl; let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in 3 cups water. Stir in the flours, walnuts, and salt with the paddle. Mix until the dough comes together. Change to the dough hook and knead for 3 to 4 minutes at medium speed until firm and elastic but still slightly sticky. Finish kneading briefly by hand on a surface floured with all-purpose flour.

Make sure your food processor can handle the volume of this dough. Even when done in 2 batches, there will be 4 cups flour to be processed. Stir the yeast into the warm water in a small bowl; let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Place the flours and salt in a food processor fitted with the dough blade and process with several pulses to sift. With the machine running, pour the dissolved yeast and 3 cups cold water through the feed tube as quickly as the flours can absorb it; process until the dough gathers into a ball. Process 40 seconds longer to knead. Knead in the walnuts by hand on a surface floured with all-purpose flour.

First Rise. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Shaping and Second Rise. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. The dough should be moist, firm, and noticeably elastic, if slightly sticky. Cut the dough in half and shape each half into an oval loaf to fit a loaf pan. Place the loaves in the oiled pans (preferably glass), cover with a heavy towel, and let rise until truly doubled and fully above the tops of the pans, 1 to 1 ¼ hours.

Baking. Heat oven to 400° F. Slash a pattern in the top of the loaves. One baker in Milan cuts the shape of a stalk of grain on the top; elsewhere bakers make 3 parallel slashes. Bake 40 to 45 minutes; bake the last 5 to 10 minutes out of the pans on a baking stone or baking sheet to brown the bottoms and sides. Cool completely on a rack.


VeggieGirl said...

Happy first-year anniversary of the BBB!!!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Rye crisp . . . I just got walnut. You must have had some amazing rye flour!
It's been a wonderful year Lynn and I so so glad you are with us. Thank You.

Bellini Valli said...

Congratulations on a year of baking from a great group of ladies. I look forward to many more winderful aromas wafting my way over the years to come:D

Lien said...

Isn't it amazing how 12 people can make the same recipe look so different. I like that a lot about baking together. Your bread looks great. I can't remember tasting rye crackers in mine, so i think Tanna's right you had some potent rye flour at hand!
Looking forward in baking another year together!

Natashya said...

"so it was time to add to my ridiculous collection of flours"
I hear ya! So funny but so true.
Great bread! We loved it too. So happy to be baking with you, sweetie!

Maria said...

Congrats on one year!! The bread looks very hearty and delicious!

Engineer Baker said...

One year down - hopefully I can join in a bit more this year :) That bread looks fabulous!

Baking Soda said...

O wow, I love to taste rye crackers in my bread. Have to bake it again!
Happy anniversary Lynn, glad to have you with us

breadchick said...

OH BOY!! More flour!!! How much fun we've had this past year and how much fun we're going to have this upcoming year.

Can't wait to bake more lovely bread (and drink some adult libations along the way) with you Lynn.


Melinda said...

I know what you mean about having so many flours. I just bought some potato flour for a bread recipe I want to try. I thought I had them all! Shesh!
Your multi-grain loaf looks very nice! I can't tell about your slashing...did you do the arty farty slash?

Gigi said...

Happy Anniversary! The bread sounds wonderful and hearty!

Elyse said...

This bread sounds delicious! I've been on a bread kick ever since I bought the white chocolate chip cherry bread from Great Harvest Bread Co. I'm now on a mission to find all the best bread recipes! Looks like I can pocket this recipe for my collection; it looks great!

Rose&Thorn said...

This is on my bread to make list.

natalia said...

Congratulations !Wonderful bread !!

Ilva said...

It looks beautiful! A big anniversary hug to you Babe!

Peabody said...

That's a lot happening for one bread. Rye tends to steal the show no matter what else is in the bread.

Dee Light said...

There's nothing quite like bread baking in the oven. I need to give this a try, but first I've got to try the overnight cinnamon rolls.

Katrina said...

LOVE the additions of nuts in bread. Gorgeous and SO tasty.
Having a giveaway on my blog, come on over.

Sara said...

lovely post! this has been a great year.

CookiePie said...

Great post! That bread looks so hearty.

Anonymous said...

I'm really excited to learn more about bread baking!

Just to let you know, a number of the blogging links don't link to the correct blog when clicking on them. Not sure if it's just on my end...

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Anonymous - Thanks for pointing that out. I think I fixed them.

Glenna said...


Dawn said...

this looks really good!