Monday, May 1, 2017

Whole Wheat Ramp Walnut Bread


Happy May Day!  To celebrate I'm continuing my parade of ramp recipes using these fresh onion/garlic flavored lovelies. These recipes are marching from April right into the early days of May. 



Bread making was always a bit challenging for me. I don't always have the patience and skill to turn our gorgeous golden bread. Admittedly, it still is. I still hold my breath when I take a loaf out of the oven until I see if it's hard as a rock or the way more preferable fluffy and/or chewy.
 



This huge whole wheat bread is not only big on size but also on flavor. It is dense and chewy. I love nuts in bread and the combination of the toasted walnuts, buttermilk and ramps make this loaf extra delicious.



The recipe uses a chilling technique in the rise phase of making the bread. I've never done this before and was hugely skeptical. As I stored the loaf in the fridge for 30 minutes, I had 75% given up on the recipe working and was already lamenting the waste of such beautiful ingredients. 


It was a happy surprise the bread turned out so beautiful and tasty. I definitely will make this bread again outside of ramp season. Good substitution suggestions for the ramps are roasted garlic or charred scallions. 

Whole Wheat Ramp Walnut Bread
Prep Time:  30 minutes
Rise Time: 40 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield: 1 extra large loaf of bread

Ingredients:

  • 8 ramps, cleaned, trimmed and chopped into small pieces.
  • 1 tablespoon walnut or olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped walnut pieces
  • 8 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 level tablespoons salt (use a herbed salt if you have)
  • 2 packages (7grams each) of active dry yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 egg yolk

Directions:
  • In a separate small bowl, toss the chopped ramps with the walnut or olive oil and set aside.
  • Lightly toast the chopped walnuts in a naked frying pan over a low flame and set aside.
  • Place the flour in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour and sprinkle in the salt.
  • Sprinkle the yeast in the well and pour in the lukewarm water. Let the yeast dissolve for a few minutes
  • Add the buttermilk to the mixture and use your hands or the dough hook of your mixer to knead everything into a dough.
  • Add the ramps in oil to the dough and knead once more to thoroughly incorporate. 
  • Add the walnuts and knead until just combined.
  • Cover the bowl with a clean dishcloth and let it stand in a warm place for 20 minutes.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured workspace. Knead the bread hard until the dough loosens up and the ingredients are well combined.  Alternatively, use the dough hook of your mixer.
  • Shape the dough into a loaf on the parchment paper. Brush the loaf with the egg yolk. Use a sharp knife to created diagonal cuts 1/8 inch deep across the top.
  • Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
  • Place the bread in the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Raise the oven temperature to 375 F and bake for another hour.
  • Remove from the oven, and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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