Castanheiro festa pão (Chestnut festival bread)
This Portuguese festival bread is like many from Portugal, very cake-like and rich. Milk, chestnut puree, sugar and a long fermentation nevertheless make it an artisanal bread to enjoy at any celebration.
In October and until November across Southern Europe wonderful outdoor festivals celebrate the bounty of chestnuts. The harvest in they are cooked in both sweet and savoury dishes so preserving traditions dating back to the Roman Empire. Chestnuts have long been used as an alternative to wheat in bread making.
As chestnuts can be difficult to source in the UK you can always use chopped pecans instead of chopped chestnuts. Equally use honey instead of maple syrup if you want to keep it very European.
50g white flour (Shipton Mill Canadian Organic Strong Bread flour #112)
5g granulated sugar
1g sea salt (Trapani Sale di Gucciardo Vincenzo)
0.2g instant yeast (Dove’s Farm Quick Yeast)
44g whole Milk at about 8 C.
150g Chestnut puree
350g whole milk at about 8 C
0.2g sea salt (Trapani Sale di Gucciardo Vincenzo)
100g Chopped Chestnuts
100g Dried Green raisins
500g white flour (Shipton Mill Untreated Organic White Flour – No. 4)
40g granulated white sugar
5g instant yeast
60g cold whole milk
45g real maple syrup
Both pre-ferments need to be made 12 hours before you intend to mix the dough. For the chestnut milk whisk and then warm all the ingredients to 73 C in a saucepan, remove from the heat and whisk before refrigerating until needed. The other starter is best if made and rested at room temperature for 6 hours and then chilled in a refrigerator for 6 hours at 5 C. Or, if you wish, leave at room temperature for 2 hours and then place in the fridge to chill for 10 hours.
Mix the starters and other ingredients together and then use a no-knead method you prefer.
This bread needs 3 stretch and folds.
At second stretch and fold stage add the chopped chestnuts and raisins. I like to stretch the dough into a rectangle, scatter the add-ins evenly over the top, and press them into the dough before rolling the dough up tightly, folding in thirds and reshaping into a ball.
The dough will need to proof for about 3 hours before it is divided into 4 equal portions and pre-shaped into loose tubes. Rest for 5 or 10 minutes and shape into very tight batons and place on a well-floured baker’s cloche set in a half sheet pan. Wrap in Clingfilm lightly and transfer the half sheet pan to the refrigerator to chill at 5 C for 18 hours.
Bake at 210 C for between 40 – 45 minutes with steam or moisture added in a method you prefer.
The chestnuts and raisins create pockets of contrasting taste and texture with the overall flavour of these breads keeping old traditions celebrated.