Hazelnut and Fig Levain

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Dough Yield: About

    28

    loaves at 1.5 lb each

Appears in

Bread

By Jeffrey Hamelman

Published 2004

  • About

Such a Small Addition of Anise Seed, yet it suffuses this loaf in a most enlivening way, tying together the concentrated sweetness of the figs and the “bass note” provided by the roasted hazelnuts. It is written here as a naturally leavened loaf, and works quite well as such. It can, however, be made with the addition of a small percentage of yeast (up to 1 percent or so) if one wishes to remove some of the acidity from the bread’s personality.

Pre-Fermented Flour: 20%

Ingredients

Overall Formula

U.S. Metric Home Baker’s %
Bread Flour 15 lb 7.5 kg 1 lb, 8 oz 75 %
Whole-Wheat Flour 5 lb 2.5 kg 8 oz 25 %
Water 14.4 lb 7.2 kg 1 lb, 7 oz 72 %
Salt .4 lb .2 kg .6 oz 2 %
Dried Figs 3.6 lb 1.8 kg 5.8 oz 18 %
Hazelnuts, Roasted And Skinned 3.6 lb 1.8 kg 5.8 oz 18 %
Anise Seed .1 lb .05 kg .2 oz .5%
Total Yield 42.1 lb 21.05 kg 4 lb, 3.4 oz 210.5 %

Stiff-Levain Build

Bread Flour 4 lb 2 kg 6.4 oz ( cups) 100 %
Water 2.4 lb 1.2 kg 3.8 oz (½ cup) 60 %
Mature Culture (Stiff) .8 lb .4 kg 1.2 oz (2 T, 1 tsp) 20 %
Total 7.2 lb 3.6 kg 11.4 oz

Final Dough

Bread Flour 11 lb 5.5 kg 1 lb, 1.6 oz (4 cups)
Whole-Wheat Flour 5 lb 2.5 kg 8 oz ( cups)
Water 12 lb 6 kg 1 lb, 3.2 oz (2⅜ cups)
Salt .4 lb .2 kg .6 oz (1 T)
Levain 6.4 lb 3.2 kg 10.2 oz (all less 2 T, 1 tsp)
Dried Figs 3.6 lb 1.8 kg 5.8 oz (1⅛ cups)
Hazelnuts, Roasted and Skinned (for method) 3.6 lb 1.8 kg 5.8 oz ( cups)
Anise Seed .1 lb .05 kg .2 oz (1 T)
Total 42.1 lb 21.05 kg 4 lb, 3.4 oz

Method

  1. Stiff-Textured Levain: Make the levain build approximately 12 hours before the final mix, and let stand in a covered container at about 70°F. During hot weather, or if the levain will ripen for longer than 12 hours, the flour in the levain can be salted at 1.8 to 2.1 percent to slow its activity.
  2. Mixing: Add all the ingredients to the mixer except the figs and hazelnuts (the anise seed can go in at the outset of mixing). In a spiral mixer, mix on first speed for 3 minutes in order to incorporate the ingredients. If necessary, correct the hydration by adding water or flour in small amounts. Finish mixing on second speed for 3 minutes, to moderate gluten development. Add the figs and hazelnuts to the dough. Mix on first speed only until they are evenly incorporated. Desired dough temperature: 76°F.
  3. Bulk Fermentation: 2 to 2½ hours.
  4. Folding: Fold the dough halfway through the bulk fermentation.
  5. Dividing and Shaping: Divide the dough into 1.5-pound pieces (or larger, as desired); shape round or oval, or make into pan loaves.
  6. Final Fermentation: 1½ to 2 hours at 76°F.
  7. Baking: With normal steam, 460°F for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 420°F to avoid excess coloration from the figs. Loaves scaled at 1.5 pounds should bake for 36 to 38 minutes.