2014/12/02

Things we can do... (Tuesdays with Dorie Baking with Julia: Walnut Bread)

I've had bread on the brain the past couple of days.

When I first started making bread, I had one main goal - to be able to turn out a decent loaf of holiday bread. Holiday bread is pretty serious stuff in The Dude's family - something to be fought over. The ultimate goal was to be able to make it as well as his "Ma". 

I may never be able to turn out a loaf of holiday bread quite as good as Ma's; but hundreds of loaves of bread later, I think I can hold my own.

Ma E. left this earth a couple of days ago and took a little piece of us all with her; but she also left behind memories and traditions - these we will be able to keep with us through the days, months and years ahead.


When I made those first humble (humbling) loaves several years ago, I certainly never thought that I would someday be taking on (and adapting) a mixed starter bread. I am also pretty sure that back then I had no clue what a mixed starter bread was.

The concept of using old dough to bring life to new dough is an interesting concept. A first stage dough is made of fully risen dough, water and flour - since I didn't have any dough hanging around, I decided to substitute a quarter cup of unfed sourdough - the flour/ water ratio, overnight rest and second dough stages were similar enough to a normal feeding cycle that I thought it just might work out.

This dough took a turn away from the sourdough cycle when it was time to prepare the final dough - in this step yeast was added to the in progress dough in order to promote a quick rise (a long, slow rise would have resulted in sourdough - which was not the intended result). Walnuts were worked into the dough at the final dough stage and by the end of the final rises, were fully incorporated into the dough.

The dough was baked off in a hot (450F) oven, into which steam had been added. The end result was a crusty loaf with a lovely, chewy, custard like crumb. Delicious by itself, even better toasted.

Of all the skills that I have picked up in my adult life, I think the ability to make a loaf of bread is one of the ones I am the most proud of (laminated dough may be a close second...).

This post participates in Tuesdays with Dorie. The recipe for Walnut Bread can be found here.

13 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss! I think I need to delve deeper into the world of bread. I really enjoy making it, but have only tried fairly simple recipes.

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  2. so sorry to hear that Ma passed-all my sympathy to you and your family. Family recipes and traditions are so special, even better when bread is involved!

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  3. So sorry for your loss. Thankful you have those traditions and memories to hold onto.

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  4. I'm so sorry about Ma, and so glad you could find the comfort in baking bread. It's pretty therapeutic for me. I did not know you loved baking bread. I did the exact same thing, using unfed starter. Worked so well!

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  5. kudos to you! Your walnut bread looks delicious!!!

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  6. Sorry to hear about Ma E - hugs to you all. This bread sounds wonderful.

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  7. So sorry about your loss. The tragedy is that all that knowledge goes along with them.
    I am a recent dabbler in bread making and I agree with you about feeling proud when you bake a loaf of bread.

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  8. Oh, Cher, I'm so sorry for you & Joe. We lost John's mother in September. It's just so hard for John. And, of course, with the holidays, even more so. I love that you celebrate her through traditions.

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  9. Sorry to hear about Ma. Glad she inspired such greatness with bread.

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  10. I have no doubt that you can hold your own as a baker of holiday bread. You too, are leaving a legacy of baking and love. So very sorry to hear of your loss.

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  11. I am sorry to hear about your loss my friend, I can't even imagine how you feel. Hugs to you and this bread is a lovely way to honour her.

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  12. Our condolences to you, the Dude and the rest of the family. I'm sure Ma E is proud of you and happy that the bread baking will go on.

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  13. So sorry to hear about Ma E, but it looks like the holiday bread tradition is left to continue in very capable hands.

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