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Pain au levain with walnuts and hemp seeds

with 8 comments

Walnut-Hemp Sourdough

The warning message on the bag was clear enough: It is illegal to plant hemp seeds. But is it okay to eat them? Yes. Although hemp is another name for cannabis, its seeds have no intoxicating effects. They are available in most “Bio-Supermarkets” and sometimes find their way into breads and cereals.

They are rich in unsaturated fats, which are considered healthy, and crack sharply when bitten into. The taste of hemp seeds (or hemp nuts) reminds me of sunflower and sesame seeds, but without the oily, almost rancid aftertaste of the latter that keeps me from eating sesame often. I added the hemp nuts with some chopped walnuts to a pain au levain dough. I used a recipe from the newly acquired “Local Breads” by Daniel Leader.

Pain au levain with walnuts and hemp seeds

  • 265 flour, Type 55 (~70%)
  • 280g water (74%)
  • 90g whole-wheat flour (~24%)
  • 25g rye flour (~6%)
  • 8g salt (2%)
  • 100g stiff levain, hydration 50% made with additional 5g of whole-wheat flour (~26%)
  • 50g walnuts, chopped (~13%)
  • 25g hemp seeds (~7%)
  1. Mix together the flours with the water and let stand for 20 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle the salt onto the dough and knead for 10 seconds, then let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the walnuts and the hemp seeds and knead for 10 seconds, the let stand for another 10 minutes.
  4. Knead for 10 seconds one more time and let the dough rest for 1 hour.
  5. Fold the dough and let rise for 2-3 hours at room temperature.
  6. Shape into oblong loaf and proof for about 3 hours at room temperature.
  7. Bake at 240°C for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 220°C and bake for further 30 minutes.

Source: Variation on the recipe for pain au levain in Local Breads by Daniel Leader

This mildly flavored sourdough bread sports a good aeration and the lift in the oven was confident. It passed the runny honey test easily, i.e. I could put very liquid honey on a slice without slobbering all over me and leaving a trail of honey smudges on the floor. Daniel Leader likes to use 25% of stiff levain in his doughs. My bread took a littler longer to rise than suggested in the book and was still a bit underproved. Maybe I haven’t noticed yet that it’s fall and not summer anymore.

The crumb looked unexpectedly dark with a hint of purple. Google says that you can make a brown dye from walnut shells, but I have never had stained fingers after handling walnuts. Maybe heat is needed to activate the coloring substance.

Or I put a critical amount of cannabis seeds into my bread, a good third of it I devoured on the spot.

Walnut-Hemp Sourdough

Written by theinversecook

26 September 2007 at 00:10

8 Responses

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  1. Fein, da kann ich ja gleich meine geschälten “Hanfnüsse” (so steht’s auf der Packung) für ein erprobtes Rezept einsetzen.
    Mein Pane di Como hätte den runny honey test übrigens nicht bestanden ;-)

    Petra aka Cascabel

    26 September 2007 at 11:35

  2. @ Petra: Diese Hanfsamen haben irgendwie etwas Keksartiges und scheinen nicht viel Wasser aufzunehmen. Beim Kauen des Brotes “blitzt” ab und zu im Mund ein scharfes Knacken auf. Lecker.



    26 September 2007 at 12:52

  3. Umpf, ich wollte das Dreikornbrot verhanfen, nun nehme ich das Rezept.


    26 September 2007 at 16:24

  4. “verhanfen” :-)

    Nur gut, daß meine Chilipflanzen nicht mehr vor dem Fenster prangen. Wenn man nicht so genau hinsieht, könnten sie als Mini-Hanfplantage durchgehen.



    26 September 2007 at 19:48

  5. Nils,
    If your worried about the habanero plant, maybe you were lucky and the hemp seeds fell into the pot and will grow?
    Nice looking loaf! Sort of looks like the spelt loaf I had in Switzerland minus the hemp!



    27 September 2007 at 15:51

  6. @ Jeremy: Yeah, I can see myself testifying before the police… “I have no recollection of hemp seeds being in my possession at the given time, Sir and if I had, I would not be authorized by my lawyer to speak about these hemp seeds you speak of…blahblahblah”

    I want to bake with spelt. But I wonder why it is expensive here (3-4 Euros for a kilo of whole-spelt), compared to wheat or rye(around 1 Euro per kilo).



    27 September 2007 at 16:49

  7. It’s the walnut’s husk that’s used in dyes. After they fall from the tree, the green husk turns black/brown and can be used to make a brown dye. I’ve dyed some cotton clothes like this before, heat and vinegar will help the dye set. The husks will stain your fingers very quickly, however, I don’t think the shells and nuts themselves work for making dyes.
    Your bread looks delicious.


    5 August 2009 at 04:12

    • Thanks, KT. Quite fascinating. I’ve seen breads made with red wine and wine-soaked walnuts that had the most interesting color of the crumb. Makes sense, both, the wine and walnuts considerably change the color of the bread.


      7 August 2009 at 16:59

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