Whole Wheat Walnut Loaf

As I mentioned in my prosciutto ring post, bread can be made using a variety of techniques. This week’s “Alpha Baking” project was a whole wheat loaf based on the sponge technique. This is where the liquid is mixed with some of the flour and some of the yeast, then the remaining flour, yeast, salt, and any extras are sprinkled over top.  I made this up on Friday, to take as part of my contribution to meals at our friends’ cottage this past weekend. Since it was a holiday weekend, I’m a bit behind on writing this up. Oh well!

I’ve mentioned one of my favourite baking toys a few times in the past on this blog, but I think this is the first time I’ve used it for a bake-along recipe. A couple of years ago, Jay got me a flour mill for my birthday. 😀

I might be just a little bit spoiled
I might be just a little bit spoiled

Rose mentions in her book to use freshly ground flour either within 3 days of grinding, or after 3 weeks, due to enzyme activity in the flour. Since I always grind mine immediately before use, I’m covered there.

Fresh ground whole wheat flour
Fresh ground whole wheat flour

To make the sponge, you add water, yeast, and honey to part of the flour.

Making the sponge
Making the sponge

Mix it up…

Sponge ready
Sponge ready

Then sprinkle the remaining flour over top. At this point, I went out for lunch, and picked up the vital wheat gluten that was supposed to be mixed in to the flour mixture.

Flour blanket
Flour blanket

I kind of halfheartedly stirred the gluten into the flour blanket when I got home, before kneading it in for real.

Mixing up the dough
Mixing up the dough

After the dough comes together, you leave it to rest for 20 minutes before final kneading, then add the salt and walnuts.

After adding the walnuts
After adding the walnuts

Let it rise for an hour, turn it, then rise again. Empty onto a floured counter, and shape.

Shaping
Shaping

Shape by flattening into a square, then rolling it up into a loaf shape.

Ready for proofing
Ready for proofing

“Proofing” is the stage where the loaf is in its final shape, and you let it rise before baking. Here’s my fully risen loaf, just before it went into the oven on Friday night.

Risen
Risen

As I mentioned earlier, I brought this to share with our friends who hosted us at their cottage for the weekend. It was a big hit, though the blue cheese was only enjoyed by 3 out of the 4 of us. It’s ok, Bill had lots of other cheeses and toppings to choose from. The summer sausage from Pine River Cheese was a hit, as was the spicy cheddar.

My contribution to dinner at the cottage
My contribution to dinner at the cottage

I really enjoyed this loaf, and I think it’ll likely get added to a normal bread routine to some extent… probably after all of these bake-throughs, because I’ve got plenty of new recipes to keep me busy.

On a super exciting note… I’m making plans to visit Golda’s Kitchen in Mississauga next Sunday at 4pm. Why so specific? Rose is going to be there! I can’t wait to meet the woman who’s made my baking what it is! I can’t imagine what I will possibly say in person, but I guess I’ll just bring some books to get signed. 😉

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2 thoughts on “Whole Wheat Walnut Loaf

  1. I am trying again today if my message can go through. Yesterday I tried a few times but can’t work…

    You are so fortunate to have freshly milled flour! I like how Marie calls you the little red hen. LOL! I have forgotten that story but now that she mentions it, does seems so. 🙂 Say hi to Rose for all of us and do tell us after what happened! 😀

    Like

  2. I bet your bread was fantastic with freshly milled flour. What a great birthday gift; something that is useful and will last for years. Your loaf turned out nicely shaped.

    Like

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