Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Whole Wheat Walnut Bread

The adorable Sarah from Simply Cooked hosted July's Fresh from the Oven Challenge. She chose a whole wheat walnut bread from The Neighborhood Bakeshop by Jill Van Cleave.

Instead of two loaves we made an extremely big one and baked it in an extremely big cake baking pan. We put less walnuts than needed and a certain amount of them was finely ground. The ground walnuts give a nice reddish colour. We added some raisins too. The original recipe doesn't call for them but it's much more delicious with them. Besides the raisins give sweetness and acidity at the same time and they combine super tasty with the walnuts.

Whole Wheat Walnut Bread Recipe:
adapted from The Neighborhood Bakeshop by Jill Van Cleave
makes 2 loaves or an extremely big one
  • 1 t active dry yeast, divided;
  • 2 c (500 ml) lukewarm water (95 - 110F, 35 - 45C), divided;
  • 3 c (380 g) plain bread flour, divided;
  • 1 T honey;
  • 1 T olive or walnut oil;
  • 1 1/2 c (180 g) whole wheat flour;
  • 1/4 c (40 g) semolina flour, or more whole wheat flour;
  • 1 t sea salt (12 gr);
  • 1 1/2 c (175 g) coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted (we've put 110 gr walnuts - 40 gr finely ground and 70 gr coarsely chopped);
  • 40 gr raisins.
First prepare the sponge starter. Dissolve 1/2 t yeast in 1 c (250 ml) lukewarm water in a medium bowl. Add 1 1/2 c (190 g) bread flour and stir until a thick batter forms. Cover the bowl and leave at room temperature to rise and bubble for 6 to 8 hours.(It is so hot here that an hour was ok.)
The starter is ready to use now or can be put in the fridge overnight just bring it back to room temperature before using.

Dissolve the remaining 1/2 t yeast with the 1 c (250 ml) lukewarm water in a large bowl.
Add the sponge starter and mix well. Stir in the honey, oil, whole wheat flour, semolina flour (if using), and salt. The recipe description says that the semolina flour adds a chewy texture. This flour is not available to us, so we used more whole wheat flour.

Add 1 1/4 c (160 g) of the remaining bread flour gradually to form a stiff dough. Reserve the last 30 gr for kneading.
Add the walnuts and the raisins.
Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for ten minutes, adding as much of the reserved flour (30 gr) as needed to keep it from being too sticky. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Grease the bowl and return the dough, turning it to coat it in oil. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise until it is doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Divide the dough into two pieces and form into loaves. Place on a baking pan and leave them to rise again, about 30 minutes.
Bake at 400 F/205 C for 30 to 40 minutes, until the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Cool on a wire rack.


  1. I'm glad I didn't see your beautiful photos before I posted my version or I would have chickened out! How inspiring. I like the idea of varying the walnuts by using ground and chunky.

  2. Sally, I wish the photos were brighter but it was getting dark and nothing more could have been done. And this loaf was so big that it was very hard to take a photo of it.

  3. It looks lovely. I think the addition of raisins is a great idea. Wouldn't it make nice toast? Thanks for participating.

  4. Loving your super long loaf. Lots of good slices from that one! Cool pics.



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