Monday, 2 April 2012

chestnut sourdough with fig and fennel

i was inspired to make this bread today after i found some lovely dried figs and chestnut flour at an italian grocers on saturday and also because it feels like a nice autumnal thing to be making..

the crust is crunchy and the crumb moist and flavoursome with a nice balance of fig and fennel

tonight's dinner was proscuitto, holy goat mature veloute and chestnut sourdough with fig and fennel

chestnut sourdough with fig and fennel
recipe adapted from a zebbakes recipe


1 tbs sourdough starter
100 gms bread flour
125 gms filtered water

final dough
250 gms levain
200 gms warm filtered water
300 gms bread flour
100 gms chestnut flour
1 1/2 tbs crushed murray river salt
8 dried figs cut into medium dice 
1 tbs fennel seeds
olive oil

method levain

day 1
~mix the starter with the water and flour and cover and leave for 16 hours

method final dough

day 2
~put the levain in the bowl of a stand mixer, add the water and mix well
~add the flours and mix until well combined
~autolyse for 10 minutes
~add salt and mix for 2 minutes
~rest for 10 minutes and mix again for 2 minutes
~remove the bowl from the mixer, cover the dough loosely with greased cling film and place somewhere warm and draught free for 3 hours 
~remove the dough from the bowl onto an oiled bench, add figs and fennel seeds and knead to incorporate with the dough
~cover the dough on the bench with the greased cling film and leave for 10 minutes
~knead for a few seconds and cover with the cling film and leave for 10 minutes
~cut the dough in half, shape into rectangles about 15 cm x 10 cm and roll each piece along the longer side to make a sausage shape
~place each piece of dough between the floured folds of a tea towel, cover with cling film and leave for 2 hours or until a finger pressed into the dough leaves an indentation
~preheat a baking tray and place a dish of hot water in the oven
~dust each loaf with flour and score each loaf down the centre 
~dust the baking tray with a little rice flour and place each loaf on the heated tray
~bake the dough on the bread baking function at 220 deg c for 15 minutes spraying the oven sides with water several times during the first 10 minutes of baking
~lower the temperature to 180 deg c and bake for a further 20 minutes or until cooked

this post submitted to yeastspotting


  1. I would never have guessed or noticed that you had based this on that bread. Thanks for the link! I bought a bag of french chestnut flour last week and immediately forgot what I had wanted it for so I put it in the freezer and have only just remembered it. Yikes, my memory is bad.

    What a nice looking loaf you made there - I would love to sample it Jane :)

    1. thanks jo..i would love to share it with's the same recipe i've been using for most of my sourdough making jo because i find it to be a great basic formula that i can adapt readily..

      have you remembered what your were planning on doing with the chestnut flour?

    2. Hee hee, ! I was just checking to see that the logins go to your blog from mine and so here I am and once again i have completely and utterly forgotten that bag of chestnut flour. Madeleines I think I was going to try and make with it. I think I'd better write myself a note right now ... xx

  2. I love dried figs in sourdough Jane...this looks delicious. Tomorrow I am going to try your shortbread as per your previous post. If I have success I am going to give it away as little Easter gifts. I will keep you posted :)

    1. hi jane..thanks for your comment..the biscuits are quite fragile so they would probably need to be boxed for giving away..i hope you enjoy them as much as we do..

  3. Oh so lovely with the chestnut flour and figs. I just happen to have some of that self-same flour in the fridge so your recipe is calling to me!

    1. making this bread was a leap of faith for me intolerant chef..the pre cooked dough was quite different from most bread i've made but the final product was really delicious and so it's a bread i will be making often..

  4. Success with your biscuits Jane and you are right...they are fragile, but delicious! I might have left the almond a bit chunky, how fine do you chop them? I hope to get a photo of them into a blog before Easter :)

    1. i'm really glad jane that you're happy with them..i cut the almonds into about 1/6 ths to start with and then i chopped over the pile of them to get them a bit finer..i guess it could be done in a food processor but i like the way there are varying sized bits when they are cut by hand..i'm looking forward to seeing the photo of them..i just wish i could sample one..oh well..i'll just have to eat one of my own.. :)

  5. Lovely, Jane! I adore chestnut flour, both in bread and cakes, and the combination with figs is inspired!

    1. thanks's a great flour isn't it..i'm looking forward to cooking with it more..

  6. Chestnuts and figs, now that's a heartwarming combo. And fennel seeds too. My favorite kind! Your bread looks absolutely lovely. We are just starting our spring here but I am bookmarking the recipe for the fall. Thank you!

  7. hi mc..thanks for your comments..i agree that this bread speaks autumn and winter but i think it might also work throughout the year to have with cheeses and cold meats etc when entertaining..