Friday, May 30, 2014

Coffee Walnut Loaf

Using the natural yeast starter, wife decided to adapt bread recipes from 'Tartine Bread' by Chad Robertson given that this is THE book to go to for many baking enthusiasts.  Chad explains the steps clearly and his recipes are easy to follow. The book makes readers understand the principles of the basic ingredients and how they act in combination. After a while, readers can adjust the recipes to gain their own desired results.  

Wife loves coffee and walnut combination. After a successful attempt using Chad's basic bread recipe, she decided to adapt it to bake this coffee and walnut loaf using the same ingredients ratio. 


Coffee beverage   120 gm
Water                    67.5 gm
Starter/Levain      50 gm (Natural yeast starter)
Bread Flour          250 gm
Walnut                 50 gm break into pieces


Combine coffee and water in a large mixing bowl.  
(Note: The amount of water relative to the flour is called the hydration percentage.  Dough made with 60 gm of water and 100 gm of flour is 60 percent hydration.  Thus, the amount of water is 60 percent of the weight of the flour.  This is a 75% hydration recipe.  I like my coffee strong so it has a strong taste, if you like the coffee to be milder, than you can adjust the water accordingly, as long as it maintains the overall water content.)

Add 50 gm of starter and stir to disperse.

Add 250gm of flour to the water and mix throughly until you do not see any bits of dry flour.  Let the dough rest for 25 to 40 mins.  Do not stick the resting period.  Working with the nature of the dough, the resting period allows the protein and starch in the flour to absorb the water, swell, and then relax into a cohesive mass.

After the resting period, add 5gm of salt and 12.5 gm of warm water to the dough.  Incorporate the salt by squeezing the dough between your fingers.  Fold the dough on top of itself and transfer to a small container.  The dough has now begun its first rise, called the bulk fermentation or bulk rise.  Here, you can either put the dough into the fridge and leave it overnight for a long, cooler bulk fermentation (which in my case was what I did, I left it in the fridge for about 8 hours, as I do not have enough time in the morning to see through the whole process) or you can leave it in room temperature for about 3 hours. 
During the first 2 hours of the bulk fermentation, give the dough one turn every half hour.  During the third hour, notice how the dough starts to get billowy, soft and aerated with gas.  At this later stage, you should turn the dough more gently to avoid pressing gas out of the dough.
At the end of the third hour, you will see a 20 to 30 percent increase in volume.

Use the dough spatula to pull all the dough out of the container onto an unfloured work surface. Lightly flour the surface of the dough and lightly work the dough into a round shape.  After this initial shaping, let the dough rest on the work surface for 20 to 30 mins.  

To form the final loaf shape, lightly flour the top surface of the dough round.  Slip the bench knife under each round to lift it off the work surface, taking care to maintain the round shape.  Flip the round so that the floured side is now resting on the work surface.  What was the underside is not facing up.
The final shaping involves performing a series of folds - taking care not to deflate the dough.  The successive folding builds tension inside each loaf so that it holds its form and rises substantially when baked.  
First, fold the third of the dough closest to you up and over the middle third of the round.  Stretch out the dough horizontally to your right and fold this right third over the center.  Stretch the dough to your left and fold this third over the previous fold.  You will now start to get a neat package.  Stretch out the third of the dough farthest from you and fold this flap toward you, over the previous folds and anchor it in place with your fingers.  Then grab the dough nearest to you and wrap it and over, while rolling the whole package away from you so that the smooth underside of the load is not the top and all the seams are on the bottom.
Cup your hands around the dough and pull it toward you, rounding it against the work surface to tighten the tension and stretch the outer surface to close the seam.

Transfer the dough to a floured bow lined with towel.  Leave it to rise for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 250 deg with a cast iron casserole for about 30 mins.
Place the dough in the casserole and cover it.  Immediately reduce the temperature to 230deg.  Bake the loaf for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, open the oven and remove the casserole cover.  Continue to bake the bread in the casserole until the crust is the color of deeply caramelized, 20 - 25 minutes.


  1. I love coffee and like desserts in which coffee product is used. i really want to make Coffee Walnut Loaf with my self in home. I thank you for sharing this information.

    Finn Felton

  2. Dear chef enjoying following your bread recipe..Can I check ..if I put the dough into the fridge for overnight proofing may I ask if it means the first 2 hours of pull and stretch can be skipped..thank you


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