Before I was baking bread, I was buying it for what felt like extravagant prices from a local deli. A decade ago, my favourite was a black walnut sourdough – I can’t remember which bakery made it – but I do recall paying about $6 for a small loaf even back then.
I thought I’d have a go at baking a nutty loaf at home and ended up with one of the most delicious sourdoughs I’ve ever made…
- 300g active sourdough starter (fed at a ratio of one cup water to one cup flour)
- 600g water
- 500g bakers/bread flour
- 500g Semola Rimacinata di Grano Duro (fine durum wheat semolina flour)*
- 18g fine sea salt
- 150g each (450g total) of roasted skinned hazelnuts, whole raw almonds and pecan halves (any nuts would work, these are just the ones I had in the fridge)
Note: If you can’t find remilled semolina flour, substitute more bakers/bread flour and reduce water to 570g.
1. Mix all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, squelching them together until well combined. Scrape off your fingers, cover the bowl and allow to rest for half an hour.
2. Uncover and knead briefly in the bowl for a minute, then cover again and allow to prove until doubled in size.
3. Dust the bench with fine semolina, or lightly oil it, and turn the risen dough out. Shape the dough as preferred – I made one large loaf and two small ones. Try to keep the nuts inside the dough as much as possible – any on the top might blacken during baking. Allow to prove a second time as you preheat your oven to 240C with fan.
4. I baked my loaves in covered enamel pots, but as this dough is quite low hydration, it will also work well baked directly on pizza stones or an oven tray. If you’re using pots, place them in the oven to heat up while the dough is having its second rise. Note that this is a bulky, cumbersome dough to work and shape – don’t worry too much if the end result isn’t particularly neat.
5. Once the dough has puffed up a bit, slash the top and drop it carefully into the pot and cover with the lid. Return the pot to the oven and reduce the temperature to 220C with fan. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for a further 15 minutes at 200C with fan. Check the loaves and bake for a further 10 minutes at 175C with fan if required.
Alternatively, bake your shaped dough on pizza stones or oven trays for 15-20 minutes at 220C with fan, followed by a further 20 – 30 minutes at 175C with fan.
. . . . .
The end result is a heavy, very nutty loaf which goes brilliantly with butter and a good cheddar cheese…
This bread toasts well, so I’ve sliced up the large loaf and stashed it in the freezer for future breakfasts!