Geez Louis, I'm behind with my posts! My tardiness has nothing to do with this absolutely delicious bread! Right on the tail end of finishing this bread, our kitchen renovation started, so things have been "slightly" hectic. Actually, that's putting it mildly. My kitchen changed drastically in just 5 short hours...
Nonetheless, we had some great comfort bread to help us through the stress. ;) I have only one regret about this bread... I wish it were twice as big!! Mental note for next time, double the recipe.
A little extra planning is required because a Biga is used to enhance the flavor. Rose recommends making it 1-3 days ahead. Instead of using Gold Medal bread flour, I chose to use the recommendation for alternate flour brands and combined equal parts bread and all-purpose flour in addition to the pumpernickel. I couldn't find any flour specifically labeled as pumpernickel, but I used rye flour, which I believe is the same, or at least very close...
My first go around with this method seemed to be very dry, but I put it in the fridge anyway, crossed my fingers, rubbed a four leaf clover, and waited, and waited...two days,,,, it didn't do anything, but look like a dry lump of dough... What could have gone wrong? Is it my dry climate, the flour I chose, or the guestimate I made for 1/16th teaspoon of yeast? Of all the tools I have, a 1/16th teaspoon isn't one of them!!
So, back to the drawing board. With only enough time to allow the Biga to sit for 1 day, I started over again with the same alternate flours and yeast. The only difference this time, I added extra water, about 1/8 cup more. It still wasn't all bubbly and pretty like some of the other baker's, but it also wasn't a dry lump so, with a deadline over my head and remodel waiting, I trudged ahead, hoping for the best.
Mixing the dough is pretty straightforward. Using our local walnuts, I toasted and removed the skins using the same towel method I use when toasting hazelnuts for my homemade Nutella.
I'm trying very hard to follow the rules and not change the recipes, but my raisin hating family would not stand for the golden raisins called for. So....it was a tough decision, but I added chocolate!! Guittard white chocolate chips to be exact. Tough decision right?! In our house, chocolate goes with anything, especially Guittard chips. Have you ever tried them mixed with hot popcorn??
After shaping and allowing to rise 3 times, baking the bread was quite simple.
Unfortunately, when I scored the top, deflation occurred. :( It didn't recover with oven spring, so the loaf was a little flat and not pretty, but I didn't notice because it tasted soooooo good. No kidding. The chips on top caramelized and created a wonderful and unexpected crunch.
This recipe is definitely a keeper! While we can't share the recipes, you can certainly run out and by the Baking Bible, or find it on Amazon.