Walnuts in this whole wheat bread make it taste more indulgent, but it is still packed with nutrition.
We’re smitten this holiday season with Couronne Bordelaise, the beautiful crown-shaped bread of Bordeaux. Couronne is often made with white baguette dough or mostly-white country dough, but we’ve discovered it also works wonderfully for a variety of healthy whole wheat breads.
We first encountered this festive bread on Breadtopia.com. Breadtopia has a great website with quality content, including instructions and a video for shaping a Couronne. The video is especially helpful and makes forming the crown easy. Definitely a site worth visting and re-visiting.
Our Walnut-Wheat recipe makes a great Couronne, but the same shaping technique can be used with many bread recipes, as long as the dough is of medium consistency and not too wet. We’ve used sprouted whole wheat flour for this tasty bread, which is sweeter than classic whole wheat flour but just as nutritious. Read more about how to bake with sprouted wheat flour.
Yield: One circular Couronne.
Timing: Mix the leaven the night before baking. Make the main dough in the morning, and bake the Couronne in the afternoon.
|Mature Sourdough, 100% hydration||1 T||11||0.4|
|Unbleached flour, 11.5-12% protein||⅜ C||55||1.9|
|Water, 68-70F||2 T + ¾ tsp||33||1.2|
|Unbleached flour, 11.5-12% protein||1 C||140||4.9|
|Sprouted Whole Wheat flour*||1⅛ C||182||6.4|
|Water, about 90F||⅞ C + 1 T||222||7.8|
|Instant yeast||¼ tsp||0.8||0.03|
|Salt||1 ⅜ tsp||8.25||0.3|
|Levain||all from above||all||all|
|Walnut oil||2 T + 1 tsp||30||1.1|
|Walnuts, chopped||⅞ C||100||3.5|
*If substituting regular (non-sprouted) whole wheat flour, the main dough will ferment more slowly. Add an autolyse (rest) before kneading the dough, extend the bulk ferment/ first rise until the dough has reached double in size (6 cups), and extend the shaped proof until an indent made in the dough fills in slowly. No changes are necessary to the leaven.
Equipment: Brød & Taylor Folding Proofer, Couronne proofing form or a clean dish towel, 12″ / 30 cm plate or flat basket, 3-4″ / 8-10 cm diameter bowl and tape. Sheet pan or pizza pan and parchment.
Mix the Leaven. Set up the Proofer with water in the tray and the temperature set to 70 °F / 21 °C. Combine the leaven ingredients and knead until smooth, 3-4 minutes. Ferment in the Proofer 12 hours. The levain should be well risen but not yet beginning to deflate.
Mix and Knead the Main Dough. Refill the Proofer’s water tray if needed and set the Proofer to 85 °F / 29 °C. Place the two flours, yeast and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the warm water, honey and leaven and mix thoroughly. Knead for five minutes, then add the walnut oil and knead until incorporated. (The chopped walnuts will be added later, during shaping). Knead for an additional five minutes after the oil is incorporated.
Ferment the Main Dough. Place dough in the Proofer and allow to rise to about 1.5 x in volume (about 4 cups / 1 liter). At 85 °F / 29 °C, this will take about 2½ hours. During the first hour, perform two stretch and folds. For each fold, stretch all four sides of the dough and fold to the center.
Prepare the Nuts and Couronne Form. While the dough is rising, lightly toast the walnuts for 6-8 minutes at 350 °F / 177 °C and rub them with a kitchen towel to remove a good portion of the skins. To create a Couronne form, tape the small bowl to the center of the plate or basket and cover with a floured kitchen towel or couche.
Add Walnuts and Pre-Shape the Couronne. Cut off a piece of dough weighing 150 g / 5.3 oz and shape into a round. Cover and allow to rest. Add the walnuts to the remaining dough and gently stretch and fold a few times to incorporate. Divide into six equal pieces, about 110 g / 4 oz each, and shape into rounds. Cover.
Fill the Couronne Form. Roll out the larger ball of dough (without walnuts) on a floured surface to form an 8″ / 20 cm disc. To ensure good separation of the crown ridge, brush a little oil around the rim of the disk. Place the disc over the center of the form so that it drapes down the sides and extends an inch or so onto the flat surface of the plate or basket. Arrange the six walnut rounds evenly around center disc, ideally so that the edge of the disc hits the center of the round. Use a sharp knife to cut the center of the disc so that there is a triangular flap to wrap over the top of each round.
Proof the Couronne. Place in the Proofer, still at 81F, and allow to rise until a gentle indent springs back slowly, 45-60 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450 °F /232 °C with a stone or sheet pan.
Bake. Remove the Couronne from the Proofer. Lay a sheet of parchment on the sheet or pizza pan and place over the top of the couronne, then invert to transfer the Couronne to the sheet pan. Steam the oven and bake 25-30 minutes, or until the bread reaches and internal temp of about 205 °F / 96 °C.