Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Mixed-Starter Bread & Walnut Bread

December 2, 2014 at 5:32 pm | Posted in BWJ, groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 13 Comments
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mixed-starter and walnut breads

Two things you need to have before making Steve Sullivan’s Mixed-Starter Bread are a piece of leftover bread dough and plenty of time.  The “old dough” can be just a little hunk of raw dough saved from last night’s pizza party.  As for time, we’re talking about a whole weekend.  That’s the time needed to feed that old dough and turn it into a big batch of airy new dough.

Once you’ve successfully done your time feeding the starter and kneading and rising your dough, you can make a variety of shapes out of it…like a nice baguette, an amazing couronne, or cute wheat stalk.  You can even knead in a heap of walnuts and make a big Walnut Bread.  Not wanting to fully stock my freezer with bread loaves, I made a half-recipe of the dough and divided into a somewhat imperfectly snipped wheat stalk (pain d’epi) and a walnut boule.

In the book, the walnut boule is made with an entire batch of the finished mixed-starter dough, so mine is just a baby boule and it baked through much faster than a big guy would have.  As a result of reduced oven time, it didn’t brown as much as I would have liked, so I cheated by painting on a little olive oil before its last five minutes of baking.  I still wish I’d gotten a both breads a bit darker.

Due to the lack of afternoon light in my house this time of year, I didn’t get a good shot of the cut breads.  Even though you feel like you’ve done a lot of waiting while making this dough, it actually doesn’t hang around long enough to develop a sourdough flavor.  You get soft white bread with air holes inside and a real crust outside.  The walnut version is excellent with cheese, and I’ll take salty butter on the epi, please.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan (the mixed-starter bread is also here and the walnut bread is here). There’s also a video of the BWJ episode showing how to make and shape the mixed-starter bread. Finally, don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!


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  1. Still looks good. With cheese? Even better!

  2. Looks beautiful!!

  3. Your breads look wonderful! I have never attempted an epi before, and am a little nervous. Thanks so much for the mention too =)

  4. They both look great. Love the picture. I have saved a bit of old dough to make this one, but taking out the time to do this is a bit problematic. Maybe the rewind week 😊

  5. Beautiful! I really liked this one – it may have taken a while, but since it was mostly hands off, I didn’t feel too much like a slave to it.

  6. Lovely breads!

  7. Beautiful bread! I wish I could have it for the tomorrow breakfast! 😉

  8. Your breads came out looking better than my second batch. I followed the directions as closely as I could-including the multiple rolling in the photo tutorial. Having saved a portion of the trainwreck batch, I had high hopes for the second batch. It came out dense and moist-think it was underproofed. Not giving up yet, next batch of yeast bread I will save a piece to make another attempt. The fact that you caught a difference between the recipe and the photo of the walnut bread does not surprise me-again, it is all about the editing!

  9. I´d take the épi even without butter! I love épi so much, and sadly there´s hardly one to be found at local bakeries. How did you shape it? Every time I tried it didn´t really look like the real thing, but rather poor little thorns …:-)

    • I snipped it with kitchen scissors, but mine was thorny, too…need more practice!

      • Thanks! That was my method, too – as you say, practice is the key, probably. I´ll snip again….Thank you !

  10. I am saving this for the next time I have a little bit of leftover dough.

  11. Beautiful! Good work on this one- so time intensive!

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