The slightly bitter taste of chestnut flour — along with the nuttiness — makes for an interesting loaf, but some of the recipes I’ve seen, with 50% chestnut flour or more, are a bit too heavy for my taste. I tried a couple at lower levels, around 10%, and they weren’t chestnutty enough. So eventually I settled on 20% chestnut flour. I’ve also taken to adding a little wholemeal (10%) to almost all my bread recipes as it seems to add so much depth of flavour. This is enough for two large loaves.

Ingredients:

740 gm active starter at 100% hydration
250 gm, chestnut flour (20%)
125 gm wholemeal flour (10%)
495 gm strong white flour (70%, with the 370 gm flour in the starter)
18 gm salt
440 gm water (65%, with the 370 gm water in the starter)

In a large bowl, add the water to the starter and mix roughly. Mix in the white flour and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Now add the salt, the chestnut flour and the wholemeal flour and mix well. Tip out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead to incorporate all the ingredients. Return to the bowl, cover, and leave for an hour.

Tip out the dough, knead quickly about 20 times and return to the bowl for a further hour. Knead once again and allow to rise again for an hour. The total bulk ferment is thus about three hours.

Prepare two or three containers; I used two well-floured bannetons, but the dough is firm enough that you can also make three longer loaves and do the final rise on a well-floured couche. Shape the dough, place in the containers, and allow to rise. I put them in the fridge, inside plastic bags, overnight.

Pre-heat the oven to 220°C (430°F), slash the loaves and bake for 25 minutes (20 minutes if you make smaller loaves). Turn the oven down to 205°C (400°F), rotate the loaves, and bake for a further 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

The bread keeps well, and is very good with savoury things like salami.

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