For a long time, this loaf was called simply “Juan’s Bread.” The name that my friends gave to my creation. I didn’t come up with anything new. Bread is as old as human memory, but this particular combination of the amount of each of the ingredients for it is mine, so I get to name it.
I had a barbecue at a joint in San Jose, California, reading the descriptions of their products when their “7-month-old brisket” caught my attention: They claim to have made brisket every day for seven months until it came out the way they wanted. I found this poetic and immediately threw me to think about bread. Bread has three simple ingredients, four if you add commercial yeast, but the most notorious bakers talk about a fifth ingredient: Time.
I didn’t bake bread every day, but it took me two years to get something consistent and unique, in a good way. I have to admit, I’ve rarely paid so much attention to something in my life: The fermentation times, the baking temperatures, the development of the gluten, the mix of flours, and it goes on and on. Whenever I wanted to get empty of myself, to forget the loneliness, the frustration, the resentment, the distance, the emptiness; I thought about bread. Time changes us. Bread gains its character over time. Bread will teach you patience and trust in the process.
There are several ways that you can twist this recipe and call it your own. In my case, one secret ingredient I have is Olive Oil from my home town: Mendoza, Argentina, that I buy from a small manufacturer when I visit my family, and it can’t be bought anywhere else. The time I give to the bulk fermentation process is unique as well, and I can’t document it, the dough smells and tastes just how I wanted it to smell and taste. My advice to you is: play with it, pay attention to it, and have fun!
Note: I created a tutorial going more in-depth on the techniques required to bake this bread. Please see it here. Also, if you wonder what tools you should be buying to bake bread, I made a walkthrough of the ones I recommend here.
- 400 g All Purpose Flour 80%
- 100 g Whole Wheat Flour 20%
- 350 g Water 70%
- 30 g Olive Oil Extra Virgin (6%)
- 15 g Fresh Baker's Yeast 3%
- 12 g Sea Salt 2.2%
- 25 g Walnuts
- 25 g Pumpkin Seeds
- 25 g Sunflower Seeds
- 25 g Chia Seeds
- In a big bowl, incorporate the flour, water, and olive oil, mix to have a uniform dough. Cover with plastic and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Incorporate the salt using the pincer method: add the salt, fold the dough cut with your fingers and join. Repeat until the salt is uniformly incorporated into the dough. (You can safely use an automated mixer if you have it, or any other method you know).
- Incorporate the yeast using the pincer method. (Or any other method)
- Incorporate the walnuts and seeds.
- Cover with plastic and let sit for 40 minutes and apply 2 or 3 folds to the dough.
- Repeat step 5.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let sit overnight in the fridge, or around 8 to 12 hours.
- Flour a surface and the sides of the dough in the bowl and gently remove it from the bowl taking care of not degassing it too much.
- Shape the loaf into a ball using the floured side as "the soft side".
- Place on a tray (covered with plastic wrap) or into a proofing basket for around 2 hours, or until you poke the dough with your fingers and it returns to shape very slowly.
- Place the dough into a cast-iron dutch oven (or your baking sheet), score it, and bake for 50 min to 1 hour at 380F.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool.