Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Alpha Bakers -- Whole Wheat Walnut Loaf


Bread is so wonderful. My birthday breakfast this year was a large loaf of Zaro's raisin challah, eaten with coffee one day and dipped in milk the next (yes, it was a birthday weekend, nobody celebrates just one day). This week with the Alpha Bakers was 100% Whole Wheat Walnut bread, a cheese-friendly loaf that wasn't very pretty on the outside, but was lovely and simple inside. 
The bread begins with a small preferment, which rises under a blanket of the rest of the flour. The flour I used was Farmer Ground, from an organic cooperative from upstate NY that is sold for a very reasonable price at farmer's markets and my food coop. They have a whole wheat line, but all I could pick up yesterday was their all purpose, an 11% protein flour milled from 'Warthog' winter wheat. Warthog. This made my loaf a little lighter, and I'd like to try with the whole wheat, but the all-purpose is still much sturdier than your average store brand. Whole wheat flour is sometimes a little harder to bake bread with, so Rose's recipe includes a dash of vital wheat gluten, which increases gluten development and elasticity, contributing to a higher rise. 

My kitchen was very, very hot last night (I was making this in the middle of a heat wave) and I accidentally threw in a little too much yeast (must measure, weighing is too inaccurate at those small amounts), so my bread rose wildly and was a little more loose than I would have preferred. I did the first turn in the bowl instead of stretching it out on a counter, but I am pretty good at bowl turns after years of using the Tartine method, so I am confident in my choices. The looseness of the dough meant that the final loaf was a little sloppier looking and not as domed as I could have wished, but the interior was perfect. I'll be serving it for breakfast with jam and Comte, and then taking it to work. 

As for the pie I said it was too hot to make, I didn't make it. Blueberry pie is great but I have extreme difficulty holding on to blueberries long enough to get to that place. I've been skipping around a lot with the Alpha Baking lately but expect to be back on track for the rest of the summer (until I move, more on that later, cross your fingers...). The week before last I made some cookies but haven't blogged them yet because I went to the beach instead. In fact I took them to the beach. Behold the Kourambiethes in their fancy packaging. Buttery and nutty and buttery, we ate them on the beach and threw the crumbs everywhere. Everyone approved, and my friend's two and a half year old, who claimed to be too shy to interact with us, pronounced them 'nummy.' So.





 

8 comments:

HanaĆ¢ said...

Lovely airy texture! Given the dough amount, I'm thinking of baking two smaller loaves that way I can put walnuts in one for hubby and one without nuts for me.

faithy bakes said...

Yours look wonderful! Mine was a bit on the dense side and I don't know why? I used baking stone too!

Katya said...

Faithy, different flours, especially whole grain, can make a huge difference. Did you use the vital wheat gluten? What kind of flour was it? I overyeasted on a hot day and used a slightly more whole grain version of an all purpose flour, both of which will have had a textural impact.

phylliscaroline said...

I'm looking forward to this. I think it's the excuse to buy blue cheese I'm really happy about. Your bread looks lovely and airy. I'm thinking of adding a little bit of white flour to the mix just to add a little bit of spring.

faithy said...

I did use vital wheat gluten. I used KA 100% whole wheat flour. I thought I over proofed too because when baking the whole thing collapsed actually..

Vicki said...

This bread is beginning to sound like a real winter staple. So far everyone has liked it. I love your beach and cookie story!

Kimberlie Robert said...

Hi Katya, You're a Comte fan! Me too. I just love it. Your bread is beautifully done.

Michele at The Artful Oven said...

Great loaf, Katya! Mine was a bit heavy but still delicious. I think I will try this one again. I did use the gluten but used a bigger pan, which I don't think was a good idea. Didn't you just love the kourambiethes?