This bread is the result of fooling around in the kitchen on a day I wanted a really interesting sourdough bread. I let my imagination go toward an herby, onion flavor. Then I decided that meaty walnuts scattered throughout would make it perfect. And while nothing’s perfect, the bread had the flavor I was looking for, a tender crumb, and good, salty crust. It’s all very delicious. The flavors develop as the bread cools, and it’s better to eat it cold … but who can wait?
Sourdough walnut herb breadPrint
For the sponge (8 hours rising time)
- 1 cup refreshed starter
- 2 cups water
- 3 cups flour
For the dough: (3 hours rising time)
- All of the sponge
- ½ – 1 cup additional flour
- ¾ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp salt
- ½ tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp crumbled oregano
- 1 large, finely chopped scallion (about 3 tablespoons. You can substitute 3 tablespoons finely chopped onion or 1 large clove minced garlic)
- A few grinds of black pepper (if shaking pepper out of a jar, use 1/4 teaspoon)
To glaze the loaves
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of cold water
- 1 tbsp coarse salt
- Place 1 full cup refreshed, lively starter in a large mixing bowl (and refresh the original starter so you have some for next time).
- Make a sponge of the cupful of starter, 2 cups of water and 3 cups of flour. Nothing else. Cover it with plastic and let it rise until it's very light and bubbly: around 8 hours. Basically what you’re doing is creating a big batch of new starter. It isn’t dough yet.
- Stir the sponge down and beat in 1/2 cup additional flour. Add the oil, salt, sugar, thyme, oregano, scallion and pepper. You might need another 1/2 cup of flour, sprinkling along until the dough is just firm enough to manipulate. Knead until the dough springs back, 5-10 minutes. Shape the dough into 2 loaves and place in a parchment-lined baking pan.
- Cover the loaves with a kitchen towel and put them to rise in a warm place. Rising time varies with the season and the temperature of the room, but it will take 2-3 hours until the dough is light. When you see blisters under the surface skin of the dough, it's time to preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C).
- Brush the loaves with the egg and water mixture. Sprinkle coarse salt all over them. Bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick poked into one comes out dry.