Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wattleseed and Chocolate Peasant Boule


My house is still filled with the warm scent of freshly baked bread from this morning. One of my kitchen goals has been to bake more bread at home. I already bake challah each Friday for Shabbat but I’ve wanted to branch out and try a variety of breads. Bread making is meditative and adds a distinct rhythm to the day. I like that.


I’ve also been itching to make something using the wattleseeds I brought home from our visit in Australia. I appreciated finding something uniquely native to Australia and when I first opened my little bag they gave off a heady aroma I immediately loved. The seeds are roasted and have a coffee – nutty – toasty flavor. Enticing thoughts of chocolate floated by, too.


The bread baking plan: pair wattleseeds and chocolate. Out came the yeast and flour and Abby Dodge’s recipe for Peasant Boule (this month’s #baketogether recipe). This bread is a lovely one to get creative with. It yields a crispy, chewy crust and tender crumb - I intend to make it again and again.


While the bread dough was rising, I lightly crushed two teaspoons of wattleseeds (which pop and crackle delightfully) with a mortar and pestle. Let me tell you, the scent of warm, yeasted dough and wattleseeds together is divine. I also finely chopped two teaspoons of dark chocolate and quickly mixed it in so as not to melt the chocolate slivers.


I chose to bake the loaf in a cast iron skillet. My cake pans are nine inches in size and the recipe calls for an eight inch pan, plus I am enjoying cooking with cast iron these days. Before baking, I brushed (lots of) melted butter on top for a deep golden brown color.


When the bread emerged from the oven I had to show enormous restraint while waiting for it to cool enough to slice. The craggy top was appealing in a homey, rustic way (I think boules are supposed to be smooth, though!) and pretty flecks of wattleseed and chocolate dotted it. I quickly gave in to temptation and sampled the warm crusty heel spread with (again lots of) butter. Little tastes of wattleseeds popped in each bite and the chocolate complimented it well. I can see my boys devouring thick slices topped with Nutella.


It’s always fun and inspiring to cook with a new ingredient. If you do not have access to wattleseeds, I think a nice substitute would be ground espresso beans and a dash of cinnamon. When the wattleseeds are gone I’ll definitely be pining for another visit to Australia.

16 comments:

  1. Your bread looks absolutely mouthwatering. I wonder if wattleseeds are available around Seattle? I've never seen them before.

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    1. Thank you, rowdychowgirl! I haven't seen wattleseeds in Seattle yet but it's fun to have a quest. There is an Aussie online source I discovered, so I can always go that route, too.

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  2. Well, now another reason to want to get to Australia. I read the name and it does not adequately elicit what I would expect from your description. Espresso and cinnamon. Wow..now want to try it again.

    So glad to have you baking with us Hannah!

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    1. Thank you so much, Barbara! I'm happy to join the #baketogether community.

      You're right, the name wattleseed doesn't conjure up these flavors, does it - hopefully you can try them sometime.

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  3. What a creative twist on a simple bread. Your additions really amp it up. This sounds delightful!

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    1. Thank you, Brianne! This bread alone is delicious and also such a great base for new ideas (I have olive feta rolls in mind for the next time I make it).

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  4. This looks so good! I am looking around right now to see if there are any US distributors, but so far it looks like you can only buy it from Australia... I love the idea of cooking your bread in your cast iron. I have a cast iron pan I uses exclusively for cornbread, but yeast bread is a great idea!

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    1. Thank you, Brooke, for checking on wattleseeds. I'm already thinking of what I want our Aussie friends to bring the next time they visit and wattleseeds are on the list.

      Aren't cast iron pans wonderful? I feel I've underutilized mine and am happy pulling them out.

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  5. I just LOVE your bread, Hannah! I've never heard of wattleseeds, so had to look them up. Their addition to Abby's bread along with the chocolate is brilliant. And I love the rustic top of yours. Was that from the way you shaped it in the skillet? (Love the use of the skillet too!)

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    1. Thank you, Susan! I'd never heard of wattleseeds either - so much fun to discover something new (especially that you can eat). Abby's bread is a lovely one - can't wait to try other variations. Yes, my rustic top was shaped that way in the skillet before I baked it...not entirely intentional (I did try to smooth it), but I like the look once it was baked.

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  6. This bread looks gorgeous! I'll have to see if I can locate any wattleseeds--I'd never even heard of them. Baking more bread at home is such a great goal. Is there anything better than homemade bread?

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    1. Thank you, Lauren! I agree - nothing better than home baked bread.

      Let me know if you discover wattleseeds - from what I've learned they have to be ordered directly from Australia. I'm going to check with a local spice shop here to see if they've had requests for them. Always fun to have a food inspired mission!

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  7. This looks great--and how interesting to read about wattleseeds (what a funny name by the way). I bake bread every weekend, it's such a nice tradition isn't it?

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    1. Thank you, Sara! Wattleseed is definitely a funny name - I wonder where it originated? I do love baking bread more often now and trying new flours. I've become a bit of a flour junkie - I counted 14 different types in my kitchen last night. I think Kim Boyce has me a bit obsessed!

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  8. I like the rustic top :) I have never come across wattle seeds, I must see if they make their way to NZ as I am most definitely intrigued.

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    1. Thank you, Mairi - let me know if you discover wattleseeds in NZ. So far I can only order them directly from Australia, so I'm curious if there are any other places they grow.

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