ww, quinoa, spelt and rye raisin walnut bread
Ah, walnuts. It is that time of year again, when the fragrant nuts are falling. I find them underfoot when I'm out walking the dog. The bruised green husks are drying up, or rotting. I lift the odd one to my nose and inhale the scent. Careful: don't let the husk actually touch your nose, or it will paint your nose brown. And brown is not typically a great colour for noses.
I have fond memories of collecting bags full of walnuts for my father-in-law. He would, every fall, plant some in an effort to get some of the seedlings to grow. He loved working with walnut wood, and planted trees that he knew he would not live to harvest. Usually the biggest problem was the squirrels, who followed right behind him and dug up the nuts. One year we tried placing a screen over where we had buried the nuts, but the squirrels dug right through it. It never deterred him from trying again the next year.
There is a Canadian animated short film that made the rounds many long years ago, that deeply affected me, and reminds me of my father-in-law: The Man who Planted Trees, based on the short story by Jean Giono.
The actual movie "The Man Who Planted Trees" can be watched online here
Synopsis: An old man carefully selects a number of nuts every day before his walk, and places each of them in a hole in the ground. After decades of unending toil, the groves that result provide recreation and joy for many humans and animals.
My brother-in-law, a graduate of Guelph Agricultural University, says that the film is utterly implausible. But that never stopped him from planting walnuts with his father, nor from transplanting some of the seedlings that did grow, nor from working with walnut wood himself.
With every bite of this walnut-filled bread, I will remember my father-in-law as the man who planted walnut trees.
Here are the numbers for this raisin walnut bread, in percentages. Walnuts and raisins are given in grams.
- ww 50
- quinoa 20
- spelt 20
- rye 10
- wild yeast @100% hydration 20
- salt 1.9
- water 75
- walnuts 107g (11)
- raisins 185g (19)
- golden flax seeds (a sprinkling)
Method: A la' Tartine: i.e. mix dough, let it rest and then add salt and 5% of the water. Fold during bulk fermentation x 3 hours, Q30min. Add walnuts and raisins on 2nd turn. Divide, bench rest, then form and proof in baskets overnight in fridge. Bake 40 minutes in an Iron Dutch Oven at 450 degrees, the first half with the lid on.
This dough was a pleasure to work with. It seemed really slack at first, but it was silky-gooey. I wondered if it was the quinoa that was so sticky on my fingers. But I wet my hands with water at each turn, and it helped. Indeed, as the bulk fermentation progressed, the gooeyness ceased, the gluten strengthened and the dough became somewhat firmer. The feel from beginning to end was substantially different.
The taste is great. Strange how the crust was so much improved by just a few of those golden flax seeds on the top. They add a distinct toasted flavour, and offset the sweetness of the loaf's raisins in the crisp crust. The walnuts add something special -- of course, they turn the surrounding dough purple (you can't detect it so much in the digital photos, unfortunately). This is just how many walnuts there were in a small package that I bought at a local store: there is really no need to fill the bread up with so many nuts you taste walnuts in every bite, as in the official Tartine bread that contains walnuts. Who needs too much juglone anyway?
A very nice bread indeed. There are lots of different textures here to consider as you chew. I like it with cheese, or with nothing but a little butter. It toasts well too.
Notes to Myself
- As I began to research the movie mentioned in this blog entry, I tried to google for it, but didn't for the longest time remember its name. It didn't help that I thought I was searching for a man who planted walnuts, when in the original story he planted acorns and beechnuts. But while looking for it (I googled for 'old man' animation), I came across this interesting cartoon, with an old familiar Neal Young song. Reminds me of what I do, every day, in palliative care.
- As far as I know, the packaged walnuts I used were not on a list of recently recalled walnuts here in Canada, suspected of having an E.Coli contamination.
- Walnut oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, but likely the high temperatures of the oven are going to unravel some of the goodness.