Discard Day? Make Sourdough Date and Walnut Bread
Never mind the Instagram posts that tell you to make sourdough bread that's got a crusty top (i.e., tooth shattering) and that's light, airy, and chewy (i.e., the bread has a lot of air pockets/holes in it, and it's kind of dry). Instead opt for a sourdough bread that's got a slightly crunchy top and that has a close, moist crumb--like Sourdough Date and Walnut Bread. The bread is sweet from the dates, but walnuts keep it from being cloying. The zest of two clementines (or an orange is fine, too) adds a nice citrus flavor and keeps the bread interesting. I use a starter that's whole-wheat based and add more whole-wheat flour for a more nutritious, dense loaf (and even more taste!). You can certainly use all-purpose flour, if you prefer a lighter loaf. The bread is great "as is" or slathered with butter, cream cheese, or marmalade. I like it plain and toasted just a bit for breakfast. The bread might not be as "pretty" as some in the Instagram posts, but it tastes great and keeps well.
Sourdough Date and Walnut Bread -- Makes 1 Loaf
1 cup of starter
1/4 cup of canola oil
1/4 cup of sugar
1 cup of chopped dates
1/2 cup of whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup of chopped or broken toasted walnuts
3/4 teaspoon of salt
Grated zest of 2 clementines or an orange
1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
In a large bowl, mix together well the starter, oil, egg, sugar, dates, and 1/2 cup of whole-wheat flour. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let the mixture sit for at least an hour (I sometimes let it go for 3-6 hours, depending on what I have going on that day. It's fine. You can leave it.). When you're ready, add the walnuts, salt, clementine zest, and 1/2 cup of flour. Stir/knead the mixture until everything is incorporated. Gradually knead in the additional 1/4 cup of flour or as much as you need to produce a slightly tacky but not sticky dough (knead for about 5 minutes or so). Shape the dough into a loaf and place it in a greased loaf pan. Spritz the top of the dough with a little non-stick cooking spray. Let the dough rise until it has increased by 1/3-1/2 in size (1-2 hours). Bake the bread at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until it has browned and reaches an internal temperature of 195-200 or so. Let the bread cool before cutting it.