This week I’ve mailed out a stack of dried sourdough starter. I hope you all enjoy playing with them!
And whilst almost everyone who receives the starter might begin by making our basic loaf, within a very short time every kitchen will be producing their own “house” style, adapted and tweaked to suit their schedules and tastes.
I love that. The true joy of breadmaking is not in the fastidious reproduction of a set formula, but rather in the experimenting – playing with the hydration levels, testing out different flours, slashing creatively. Please don’t ever feel obliged to follow our bread recipes precisely, because I’m usually making it up as I go along!
After all these years of baking, I now read bread books for inspiration rather than instruction. Dan Lepard’s The Handmade Loaf is a treasure trove of ideas, including one for a great loaf that involves adding walnuts in two ways – whole pieces and ground into a paste…
I didn’t follow Dan’s recipe, but rather took the idea and applied it to my standard formula. You could easily do the same with your own favourite dough – just add walnut pieces and reduce the water quantity by the amount in the paste. The ground nuts give the dough a gorgeous purple tinge…
Here’s the formula I used:
- 300g ripe, bouncy starter (fed at a ratio of one cup water to one cup flour)
- 500g – 550g water (start with smaller amount and add more if needed)
- 500g Semola Rimacinata di Grano Duro (fine durum wheat semolina flour)*
- 500g bakers flour
- 20g fine sea salt
- 200g walnut halves
- walnut paste – 120g walnuts, 100g water, 15g olive oil
Note: If you can’t find remilled semolina flour, substitute more bakers/bread flour and reduce water by 30g.
I ground up the paste ingredients in my small food processor and then added it with the walnuts to the other ingredients. Our basic instructions for making a nut sourdough are here.
Our standard bread dough weighs about two kilograms and produces two large oval loaves – just letting you know in case you want to scale the walnuts and paste to add to your own dough recipe. The taste and texture of the finished loaves was sublime…
This has instantly become one of our new favourite loaves – Pete, Big Boy and I all love it (Small Man’s not a walnut fan). It’s perfect with cheese, smoked fish and eggs, or just on its own, spread with a little butter…
Have a wonderful weekend, folks!