Walnut Bread

1 lb. 4 oz high-gluten flour
6 ½ oz white rye
1 tsp instant yeast
Sponge (recipe follows)
2 ¼ cups water
4 tsp salt
1 lb 1 oz walnut halves, toasted
½ oz walnut oil

Sponge
10 oz high-gluten flour
4 oz whole wheat flour
1 ½ tsp sugar
1/8 tsp instant yeast
3 ½ oz milk
5 ½ oz water

The day before you plan to bake your bread, make the sponge. Have dry ingredients at room temperature before beginning. Mix the instant yeast with the flour and sugar. Add 95-degree water and milk and stir with a wooden paddle to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in a warm area until approximately doubled in volume, then refrigerate overnight.

The day you plan to bake, spread walnuts out onto a pan and bake at 350 until lightly browned and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Place flours in a mixer bowl and add yeast, refrigerated sponge, and lukewarm water. Mix with a dough hook just until well combined. Let rest for about 15 minutes. Add salt and walnut oil. Mix on medium/slow speed until dough develops elasticity. Add the walnut halves and slowly mix until distributed.

Place in a lightly oiled bowl and set in a draught-free area to rise for a couple of hours or until dough grows by half. Gently fold the dough in thirds once or twice. Let rest and rise for about another 45 minutes.

On a floured surface, cut dough into several 1 ½-lb pieces and round into loaves for baking on baking stones or in pans. Cover with plastic to prevent a skin from forming and allow loaves to rise a short while longer until risen less than half again. Dust generously with flour before baking at 450 degrees. Try to add steam by placing a pan of water on the bottom of the oven as it is heating, replacing the evaporated water periodically—and quickly to trap the steam. Bake until the loaves have a dark (almost burned) crust on the areas with no flour. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
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