Sticky Date, Walnut, and Orange

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Artisan Sourdough Made Simple: A Beginner's Guide to Delicious Handcrafted Bread with Minimal KneadingSoft, sweet, sticky dates melt into the crumb, which is the most fantastic sensation in this sourdough. You’ll notice it after just one bite. Paired with fresh clementine zest and toasted walnuts, the combination creates beautiful, aromatic flavor. This loaf goes really well with an assorted cured meat and cheese platter.

About the Dough: This is a dense and hearty dough, due to the addition of whole wheat flour, dates, and walnuts. For best results, make sure to chop the walnuts and dates into small pieces, so the weight doesn’t drag down the dough as it rises. This dough was proofed in a well-floured proofing basket, which adds a whimsical decoration along the outside crust.

  • Yield: 1 Loaf

Ingredients

Dough
  • ¼ cup (50 g) bubbly, active starter
  • 10.33 cup plus 2 tbsp (350 g) warm water
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tbsp (100 g) whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tbsp (100 g) bread flour
  • 10.66 cups (200 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp (9 g) fine sea salt
Fillings
  • 1½ tsp (9 g) fine sea salt
  • 6 medjool dates, pitted and diced into small pieces
  • 4 clementines zest or 1 large orange
How to Make It
  1. A few days before baking, feed your starter until bubbly and active. Store at room temperature until ready to use
  2. Make the dough
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the starter and water together with a fork. Add the flours and salt. Combine to form a rough dough, mopping up any dry bits of flour as you go. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Replenish your starter with fresh flour and water, and store according to preference.
  4. Meanwhile, warm a nonstick pan over low heat. Toast the walnuts until fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 3 to 4 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, chop into small pieces.
  5. Add the fillings
  6. After the dough has rested, add the toasted walnuts and dates to the bowl. Zest the clementines into the dough. Gently knead the dough to incorporate, about 1 minute.
  7. Bulk rise
  8. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let rise at room temperature, 70°F (21°C), until double in size, about 8 to 10 hours or more.
  9. Shape
  10. Remove the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Shape the dough into an oval and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, generously dust a 10-inch (25-cm) oval proofing basket with flour. With floured hands, gently cup the dough and pull it toward you to tighten its shape. Place the dough into your basket, seam side up.
  11. Second rise
  12. Cover the dough and let rest until puffy but not fully risen, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  13. Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C). Cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit the size of your baking pot.
  14. Score
  15. Place the parchment over the dough and invert the basket to release. Make a long cut down the length of the dough, using the tip of a small knife or razor blade. Use the parchment to transfer the dough into the baking pot.
  16. Bake
  17. Bake the dough on the center rack for 20 minutes, covered. Remove the lid, and continue to bake for 30 minutes. Lift the bread out of the pot, and finish baking directly on the oven rack for the last 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 1 hour before slicing.
  18. This loaf will stay fresh up to 1 to 2 days, stored at room temperature in a plastic bag.
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