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  • Jessica

{poppyseed & walnut sourdough bread}

Updated: Jun 19, 2021

I love poppyseed. I can add poppyseeds to almost every baking, that's why you could be easily to see it appears in my bread baking. Let's talk about this sourdough bread, I mixed walnut together in order to create a crunchy texture, which it does. It bases on a basic country bread formula which you could easily found on the internet, or you could try my way to see how it works with your flour.

Ingredient (baker's percentage):

High gluten bread flour / 60% / 150g

White bread flour / 20% / 50g

Einkorn flour / 20% / 50g

Hydration / 80% (please adjust the % per your flour, normally starting from 75%) / 200g

Levain / 20% / 50g

Salt / 2% / 5g

Poppyseed & Walnut for lamination around 10g

My usual schedule:

9:00 a.m. - Build levain

I use white bread flour (~12.5% protein) for my every 12 hours starter feeding, so as the levain, with ratio 1:2:2 (for example, 25g starter : 50g flour : 50g room temperature distilled/boiled water). If this is prepare for dough, I will place it in my Brod & Taylor Proofer for the development (I live in Vancouver where the temperature is not warm enough for bread proofing, most of the time.) at 78F.

I used to build a bit more levain than the need, I will use 35g active starter (from the starter which fed a night before) and mix with 70g white bread flour and 70g water for this bread. It will be ready to use in about 4-5 hours at 78F-80F.

12:00 p.m. - Autolyse

Most of the time I will do the autolyse 2 hours before adding the levain (or I will do it once the levain added, stay for an hour (at least 30 mins if you are in a rush) instead, if I am not around the kitchen before). Mix flour and water (leave around 25-50g for later use) together until no dry flour is found, then covered with a plastic wrap, rest for 2 hours (temperature at around 78-80F). I use a danish whisk and a 2.5L Pyrex clear mixing bowl.

"During the autolyse the flour absorbs the water, becoming fully hydrated. This activates enzymes in the flour that stimulate the proteins to start gluten development. At the same time, further enzymes are starting to break starch down into the simple sugars that will feed the yeast during the bulk prove."

2:00 p.m. - Add levain

This is 5 hours since you mixed the levain in the morning, it now should be at its peak (or at least triple). You always can do the "float test" to make sure your levain is good to go - further. Drop a small amount of the levain (as small as a teaspoon size) into a cup of clean water to see if it floats or not - "it tells you is that it holds enough gas to be able to float." If the levain/starter is well built, the little one should be floating; If it sinks in the water, it may not be ready to go to the next step, let's be patience and wait for another 30-45mins and test again :) Although this floating test may not be always getting an accurate result, why not to spend few seconds to make sure the levain is strong enough for the dough instead of ruining your day finally? Once the levain passed the float test, you can add the levain to the dough now. Use your fingers gently squeeze the levain into the relaxed dough, keep kneading at a slow speed around 4-5mins until everything comes together again. ***DON'T tear apart the dough during the mixing or you will destroy all the gluten that built during the autolyse***. The texture will not be as strong as an enriched dough, it should be a sticky dough still. Stay the dough in the same bowl, and covered with a plastic wrap, rest for 30mins (temperature at around 78-80F).

2:30 p.m. - Add salt

Sprinkle the salt on the dough, and pour the remaining water down to the dough. Again, use your fingers gently squeeze the sticky dough slowly, the added water helps the salt and the dough combine together easily. Everything seems not quite happy together at first, but it will be perfectly fine when you keep mixing them up, it takes about 4-5mins. Covered with a plastic wrap and rest for 30-45mins (temperature at around 78-80F).

3:00 p.m. - Stretch and Fold

I used to read "TARTINE BREAD" by Chad Robertson all day long when I started my sourdough journey, and I highly recommend to all my friends who are interested in baking/cooking but not really started their own sourdough.

"To do a turn, dip one hand in water to prevent the dough from sticking to you and then grab the underside of the dough, stretch it up, and fold it back over the rest of the dough." by Chad Robertson.

It is a basic technique for EVERYONE, definitely not only for beginners. Some of the bakers love to stick with this technique throughout the bulk fermentation (mainly focus on the first 2 hours), stretch and fold for 4 directions each time. And I love to do it 30mins after the salt mixing. Covered with a plastic wrap and rest for 45-60mins (temperature at around 78-80F).

3:45 p.m. - Lamination

Lamination is done by stretching your dough on a wet counter to open it to a big rectangle and then folding it back together. Slightly spray some water to your working counter, then use a wet hand or a spatula to transfer the dough onto the wet counter. Use both of your wet hands gently stretch and pull the dough edges outward in order to make a thin rectangular layer (as thin as it could be), then sprinkle the poppyseeds and chopped walnuts over the thin layer evenly. Fold the dough back together as an envelope and place it into a clean flat baking pan. Personally I prefer a flat pan/dish rather than a bowl because it made it easier for the coil folds later, but it all about your preference :) Covered with an plastic wrap and rest for 45-60mins.

4:30 p.m. - Coil folds

Do 2-3 sets coil fold (45-60mins apart) before resting the dough until the end of the fermentation. One of the interesting things about sourdough is you will get different experience/result EVERY time. Sourdough is so sensitive that is affected by even a slightly difference in flour, hydration, temperature...etc, so you have to observe and determine whether it still needs more folds.

7:00 p.m. - End of bulk fermentation / Shape

It ended the bulk fermentation in 5 hours at 80F. I normally will skip the preshape and do the final shape directly if the dough looks good to go, and the thing is I always only make a single dough. Generously coat the basket, or the linen towel/lining with white rice flour and place the shaped dough inside. Rest on the countertop for 15-30mins.

7:30 p.m. - Cold retard

There are 2 ways for you to cover your basket before sending it into the fridge. 1: Your can put the whole basket into a big Ziploc bag and seal it tight. Or 2: You can just wrap the top of the basket with a disposable shower cap. Put the wrapped basket into the fridge for an overnight (normally refers to 12 hours long) cold retard at 3C.

6:30 a.m. - Preheat the oven

Preheat the oven TOGETHER with your preferred baking pan for 45-60mins in advance at 260C, or at the highest temperature that your oven can do.

Choosing a correct baking pan to bake your sourdough is very important - we need "steam". Steam plays a key role in how the bread will open up or bloom while baking and the Dutch oven helps to control this process. Since we do not have Dutch oven (normally), we have to use a pot that traps in heat and moisture which is essential to achieving artisan style bread at home. I was using my STAUB and LE CREUSET cast iron pots at the beginning, and recently I always bake my sourdough with my LODGE cast iron combo cooker, I think all of the cast irons do a average good job, just depends on your personal preference.

7:30 a.m. - Score and bake

Take the dough out from the fridge, place a parchment paper on the top of the basket, with the support of your palm, flip the basket up-side-down and place on the counter top. Take away the basket then. Now the dough should be stand alone steadily and, firmly. Slightly swipe away the extra flour, use a baking lame (a double-sided blade), take it at an angle of 45 degrees to the surface of the dough, score the dough from top to the bottom, it allows the dough to bloom easily during the oven spring. If your don't have a lame on hand, find a small sharp straight knife also be fine as long as it is good to cut a clean line. Grab the edges of the parchment paper and transfer the whole thing to the preheated baking pot, covered. Bake at 260C with lids for 20mins, then remove the lid and reduce the temperature to 225C for another 20mins.

Once the bread is done, cool COMPLETELY before cutting, normally I will wait at least 3 hours, so that you will not destroy all the textures and crumbs that created - in the last more than 24 hours.

Enjoy :)

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