My solid wood counter top recently started to warp and I texted to ask my contractor, how can stone warp. You see, I always thought I have a stone surface given its natural stone-like finishing, at least to my absolutely untrained eyes. It’s not my contractor’s fault, as the kitchen wasn’t really a big a part of my life then when we first moved in. I left the choice of layout and materials to them as it wasn’t exactly a favorite part of my house. That’s how I ended up thinking I had a stone counter.
And more than 10 years later, I had the cheek to ask for a possible material defect check. This mistake was so ridiculous, I started laughing at myself after ending the conversation. Goes to show how little I know about renovations. I am more of a touch-up fan than an overhaul person. But this time, the damage is far too serious to be touched up, and a replacement looks inevitable.
Then I started imagining myself, excitedly, kneading bread on a marble top, or a beautiful butcher block counter. Basically, materials that are drop dead gorgeous but will require relatively higher maintenance and care, something I am not willing to spend too much time on. I don’t even hand knead my bread to begin with! So going back to reality, I will talk to my contractor about the more practical choices, and this time, you bet I will be much more informed and more involved. This habit has finally come in handy.
Speaking of hand-knead loaves, boule is a favorite style that I like to associate 100% handmade bread with. And this walnut chia seed potato bread is one that I would bake into a boule when I am not baking with a bread tin, even though I knead all the time with an electric mixer.
Walnut Chia Seeds Potato Bread
200g bread flour 1/2 tablespoon instant dry yeast 1/4 teaspoon sea salt 2 tablespoons raw sugar 100g purple sweet potato, steamed+mashed 1 large egg ** 30g water 35g cold unsalted butter, cubed 50g walnuts *** 3/4 tablespoon chia seeds
** I use large egg that weighs around 70g
*** Pulse walnuts in a food processor 3 or 4 times to break them up into medium size pieces. Do not mill them into grounds or paste.
In a mixer bowl, add bread flour, instant yeast, sea salt, sugar, stir with a hand whisk to mix the dry ingredients together uniformly.
Add mashed sweet potatoes, beaten egg, and water, and knead them into a ball using a dough hook attachment with the mixer turned on to its lowest speed (KA 1).
Turn off the mixer and leave the ball dough to sit for 15 minutes. Then restart the mixer and knead for 1 minute before adding the cubed butter one by one with the mixer running.
Keep kneading until there are no traces of butter left, and the dough reaches window pane stage and becomes very elastic. Add walnuts and chia seeds, and mix them uniformly into the dough. Leave this aside to bulk rise for 60 minutes.
The dough will double its volume and is ready for shaping if you can do this “belly button test”, the dent made with a floured finger doesn’t bounce back.
Punch to deflate the dough, and transfer it to a clean work top. Flatten the dough with hands to push out trapped gas. Usually, I use a rolling pin for this purpose, but this would be difficult with pieces of walnuts in the dough. I place it in the photos to show the difference in the size of the dough before and after the final proof.
Shape the dough into a ball, and place it on a greased/lined baking tray, mine measures 30cm x 30cm. Leave this covered, in a draft-free place. I put mine in the oven, without the power turned on.
This is the dough after 60 minutes of final proof.
Bake it in a preheat oven 170C for 22-25 minutes, until it turns golden brown. Then leave it to cool completely on a rack before slicing.