March 25, 2009

All It's Cracked Up to Be

Walnuts are such a great addition to so many foods, but I particularly like them in breads. A nice waffle becomes great with the addition of chopped walnuts. A good muffin with dates or dried fruits becomes deeply satisfying with the addition of walnuts.

This bread would be fine without the walnuts, but I think they add just the perfect crunch and flavor for fine sandwiches or toast. The other players are my whole wheat sourdough starter, (although you could use active dry yeast proofed in water and that would be fine, too), a mixture of seeds including sesame, poppy, flax and sunflower, plus a little barley flour, more whole wheat flour, regular bread flour and milk and honey. With the nuts and seeds that were on the surface toasting while it baked, this loaf sure made the house smell good during baking. This seems like a good candidate for this week's Yeastspotting over at Susan's Wild Yeast blog. Truly an inspiring collection of yeasted recipes...check it out!

When I took the loaf out of the oven, there was the baker's dog, standing by the kitchen, ready for any piece of bread that might come his way.

Elle's Whole Wheat Seeded Walnut Bread

1 cup sourdough starter, preferably a whole wheat one
½ cup condensed milk mixed with ¼ cup warm water
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup barley flour (or use more whole wheat flour)
2-3 cups unbleached bread flour
¼ cup mixed seeds – I combined flax seed, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and poppy seeds
½ cup chopped walnuts

In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the dough hook, combine the starter, milk, honey and mix to combine.

In a bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the salt and flours. With the machine running, add the dry mixture, a half cup at a time until the dough forms around the dough hook and cleans the sides of the bowl. Continue to let the machine knead the dough for 5 minutes, adding more of the dry mixture, a tablespoon at a time, if needed.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead another 2-3 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl, turning to oil all sides of dough, cover and let rise in a draft free place until doubled in bulk, about 2-3 hours.

Punch down dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. With your hands, spread the dough out into a rectangle about 10 inches by 10 inches, by pushing down on the dough. Sprinkle all of the seed mixture and all but a few tablespoons of the walnuts evenly over the dough, leaving about an inch at the edges free of seeds and nuts. Roll the dough jelly roll fashion to enclose the seeds and nuts. Press down on the roll to flatten it a bit, then sprinkle on the remaining walnuts. Fold the ends of the roll toward the middle, then knead the dough to distribute the seeds and nuts.

Again flatten the dough into a rectangle about 10 inches by 8 inches. Roll again jelly roll fashion along the long side. Pinch the seam where the roll stops, then fold under the ends and place in a loaf bread pan. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Uncover the pan and place bread pan in preheated oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.

Let cool on a rack for at least 20 minutes before slicing.


  1. Really crust on this one. Give the dog a pat from me.:)

  2. Anonymous3/26/2009

    You know, I like hazelnuts and pecans to mix things up every now and then but my very favorite nut is the walnut. You can never go wrong with them as far as I'm concerned.

  3. You have beautiful bread and a beautiful dog. I also agree that walnuts are a great addition to so many recipes. I am sure they were wonderful in your bread.

  4. I can understand your dog, I would look like this, too, when such a lovley bread comes out of the oven.


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