Tuesday, 18 December 2012

# 307 Walnut bread

This is a lovely bread and it's one of our favourites. And because it's a sort of a special bread I thought it's perfect for the Christmas table.

You can make this all by hand, use a breadmaker (if you have one) to knead the dough or combine the ingredients with the help of a stand mixer with a dough hook and then do the rest by hand.

This is how I make mine.

Walnut bread

1 teaspoon fast action yeast
200g strong brown bread flour
200g strong white bread flour
Pinch of salt
Handful of walnuts, coarsely chopped
27ml water (lukewarm if kneading the dough by hand or just combining the ingredients in the mixer)

In the breadmaker

Add the ingredients to the bread pan in the order specified in your breadmaker manual and select the Basic Dough cycle (2h 20m in mine).

When the cycle finishes, remove the dough from the bread pan and shape it so it fits in a rectangular loaf tin.

I usually shape the dough in one of 2 ways:

1 - I roll out the dough into a rectangle and then roll it up from the short end like a swiss roll tucking in the ends if necessary.

2 - I roll the dough with my hands to form a long "sausage". I then fold it in half and place it in the tin sideways tucking in the ends if needed.

Using a stand mixer

Place all ingredients in the mixing bowl in the order given and mix using the dough hook just until all ingredients are well combined.

Grease your hands with a little olive oil and rub them over the surface where you're going to knead the dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes or so until it's smooth and elastic. Don't add any more flour to the dough!

Shape the dough into a ball, grease the mixing bowl with a little olive oil and put the dough in the bowl. Cover with clingfilm and prove in a warm place for about 1 hour.

I usually boil some water in a kettle and pour it into a pan. Then I place the bowl with the dough on the pan and cover with a clean tea towel. The bowl should not touch the water.

After an hour or so the dough should be at least double its original volume. Knock it down, remove from the bowl and knead for 1 or 2 minutes. Shape the dough, put it in a loaf tin and prove again for 30-40 minutes in a warm place.

Bake in a preheated oven to 180 ÂșC for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.

I usually line the tin with baking parchment because I like to remove the bread from the tin halfway through the baking process. I find that this way I get a more even bake. To do this I set my timer to 15 or 20 minutes, remove the bread from the tin, remove the baking parchment and place the bread on the oven rack to finish baking.