Sunday, March 14, 2010

I KNEAD BREAD

Today, my Sunday morning kicked off punctually at 8 o’clock, setting out of the house with baking buddy, Miss Mackenzie, on the hunt for yeast and bread flour, in preparation for a morn of energetic bread making. I wanted my house to smell like a bakery. I wanted to breathe in those heavenly fumes, waft the warmth into my nostrils and watch the perfectly formed dough rise in the oven...


My mum – Happy Mother’s Day to her – is, and always has been a queen for whipping up a freshly baked loaf, mixing flavours and always succeeding in getting a warm approval. And as I am away from the comfort of her kneading expertise, I felt the ‘knead’ (ahem) to brighten up my weekend with a loaf of the highest ‘a la mère’ quality.


Asking around for thoughts on flavours just put me right back to where I started. Any amount of fresh inspiration couldn’t erase the thought of one particular combination. I was advised to add Marmite to my bread. Or Parmesan cheese and sun-dried tomatoes, or blue cheese and rosemary. Even the sound of banana and apricot couldn't shake me. But stubborn as I am, the thought of walnut and honey baked in a warm loaf makes me want to collapse into a heap of joy. Its sweet crunch, humid from the oven, and spread with a little melted butter, tops them all. It has no place in the bread bin and MUST be eaten immediately; no time wasted, just instant pleasure.

So, we kneaded the dough. And let it rise. And baked it. And ate it. And what a perfect complement to a, not so lazy, Sunday morning.

WALNUT AND HONEY BREAD
INGREDIENTS
500g strong white/wholemeal bread flour (either works)
7g dried yeast
300ml warm water
25g butter
Extra flour for dusting
1tbsp honey (or molasses if you’ve got it –even better)
50g crushed walnuts

Preheat the oven to 230 degrees C/ 450 degrees F/ gas mark 8. Mix all the dry ingredients together, and then rub in the butter. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the warm water. Use your hands to combine the ingredients until you have a non-sticky ball. Knead the dough well on a floured table, for approximately ten minutes until it bounces back when pressed.
Place into a bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Find your warmest place in the house, apart from inside the oven. Leave it to rest until the dough has risen to double its original size (usually 1 ½ hours), knock the air out again, and leave it to prove once more for about 30 minutes. Add the walnuts and honey, and shape into desired form. Place into a large, deep, floured bread tin, or a floured baking tray for about 8 rolls. Bake in the heated oven for 30-35 minutes, until the dough is cooked and the top, brown.

Now, slice, and serve with a knob of butter, your favourite jam and a mug of fresh coffee. Mmmmmm...

6 comments:

  1. Sounds really yummy - and much better than anything your mum makes....though she is extremely flattered! xxxx

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  2. I wonder who you are mysterious anonymous person???? And I beg to differ...xx

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  3. And another thing - yours sounds wonderful, but try and get some recipes for le pain de ton oncle! UJ is a bread supremo. xx

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  4. My sister has just pointed out, kindly, the burnt bit on the top of the loaf. It's rustic, I'll have you know. And those are caramelised walnuts...x

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  5. your sister thinks it looks delicious anyway,burnt walnuts or not - reminiscent of all burnt food growing up - 'mmmmm got a nutty taste this!'(dad)x;)

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  6. These looks yum! I have yet to try making bread but this is definitely inspiring me!

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