Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sesame Walnut Bread

I am huge fan of nuts and I am a chewing-monster. I have been planning this for a big while but never had a chance. Making bread is somehow time-consuming (3-hr prep time). I am agree .... but the result worths it.

Walnuts go so well with bread. No reason, they just good with bread texture. Imagine if I put almonds (?) !! My favorite walnut bread is store-bought which is very very and very buttery. Since I intend to make a loaf of hearty bread, I put just enough butter as you can see in the ingredients below
500 g of wheat flour
140 g of cold water
5 g of instant active yeast
3 g of bread improver ( you can skip this)
1 egg
80 g of brown sugar.
1/2 cup of ground black sesame
1/2 cup of lightly roasted walnut (broken into pieces by hand)
a pinch of salt
Filling - Mix everything together to form paste and set aside.
3 tablespoon of melted butter
1 cup of ground black sesame.
1/2 cup of lightly roasted walnut (broken into piece by hand)
1/2 - 1 cup brown sugar - depend on your preference
Put together dry ingredients in the bowl, except salt and ground black sesame and walnuts, stir briefly. Add salt, this is to ensure yeast and salt are not put next to each other. Stir in 135-140 g cold water and 1 egg. Knead roughly until the dough comes together in one lump, 2-3 minutes. Don’t worry if the dough seems dry and tough. It will be pliable once add butter. Add soften butter. Continue kneading until the dough is flexible enough to stretch into window pane. I used small hand mixer with dough hooks, it took me around 20 minutes. Once I kneaded with hands, it took pretty much the same time, but my shoulders were worn out. That was a great work out but I would prefer that off-the kitchen.

Sprinkle ground sesame on the dough and knead by hand until well blended. The dough now turns to grayish/ spotted dough. Be careful though, the more you add dry ingredients like ground sesame, the dryer the dough becomes. So, be sure to stop if the dough is not workable with your hands or it will become a brick. My experiment, next time, I will make it a pitch dark bun, I wonder how far I can go.

Form a ball and put the dough in a well-greased bowl, wrap with plastic. Let it rise in a warm place for 30 min. My kitchen was 12 C , way to cold for the yeast to leaven. So I warmed up the oven to 160 c for 3 min then turned off , splash some water to make fog. I doubt if one-day my mini-oven would go short-circuit as water leaks into the place where it is not supposed to be!. Anyway, I get used to stick my hand in the middle of oven, to feel it's not too hot. This is just to mimic a cozy home for my lovely dough. Kids...don't follow my instruction on this and you should not do this at home. This applies strictly on my oven , it is difficult to advise how long you should turn you oven on though. If you have thermometer, the ideal temperature for the unbaked bread to rise is around 80F or 27 C , preheat the oven accordingly.

I put the bowl in the middle rack. Be sure to put some cloth under the bowl as it tends to be overheated by direct contact to the hot iron grid that supports the bowl.

Before I go further, you can follow instruction from baking911 on how to let the dough rise in the warm oven. Be careful, I have made many disasters before. Okay, I see your curious eyes...what I did was turning on the oven a few minutes, splash water in. The oven was then foggy and temperature in the oven was rising...great! I put the dough inside. Then someone called, I thought it was a just 4 minutes, I came back, and dough surface was cooked. I was C-R-U-S-H-E-D. I wish I had an undo button, but too bad this was at no point of return. What did I do? First, screamed. Second, put myself together and third,.....everything went to the trash. And believe it or not, I did that twice ! Raise your hand if youhave made the same silly mistake. (dang it! no one?)

Once the dough has rest for 30 min, it should be 1.5 or 2 times of original size. Lightly sprinkle flour on table. Deflate the dough. Knead the dough briefly. Why? As we rest the dough, yeast is digesting sugar. Kneading the dough will re-distribute yeast's food evenly after the its big meal. Remember we have another rest , once we shape up the dough.

Break or chop 1/2 cup of walnuts, knead into the dough briefly. Roll out dough to a rectangle shape, 1/2 inch thick. Rotate the dough every other few strokes. This helps the dough rise evenly in the oven and also helps ensure it is not stick to table. Sprinkle some flour under the dough as you go.

Spread the filling , leave out 1/2 inch edges on all four sides so that you can seal. Roll up as tight as possible , push it forward with the lower part of you palm. Imagine now you are making strawberry roll. Seal up the edge to nicely.

If the rolled dough is kinked, you can straight it up. For final touch, cover it up with rolled oats or other grains of your choice such as sesame. Just lightly brush the dough with water, roll it over the oats.

Let the dough rise in warm place, cover with greased plastic wrap or damp cloth for 1 hour. The dough will double in size or maybe 2.5 times if your kitchen is hot and damp.

Put on the lower rack, 180 C for 20-25 minutes. If you have needle thermometer, you can check the doneness if the center of the bread reaches 88-99 C (or 190-210 F).

Let cool on the rack. Sesame smells so nice. It really is nice. I mean it. Ah ah! don't cut it while hot, it will ruin the textture and I call it disaster number two.

I myself like it a lot. My colleages love it....and no I didn't pay them to say no...never.!

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