Now this is the bread that makes the best toast ever…
I had some walnuts left over from some of the last recipes I’ve baked recently and not being a huge fan of walnuts I knew they would sit in the cupboard and eventually get thrown away once they were out of date, so I was pleased to discover another recipe that needed them, so there should be no wastage.
This is another last from the Bread Section of the book. Mary states that this recipe makes very good bread, very quickly. It needs mixing, shaping and rising only once before baking. You can either make two 20cm (8″) round loaves from this or 16 buns. I opted for the two loaves, although in hindsight I could have made one loaf and 8 buns!
Two baking trays were lightly greased and 100g walnuts were coarsely chopped (mine were already small enough). These were put to one side.
Into a large bowl I weighed out 350g granary flour and added 350g strong white flour to this. These were given a quick mix together. On one side of the bowl I added 7g fast action yeast and on the other side 2 level teaspoons salt. In the middle of the flour I added a tablespoon black treacle, 500ml warm milk and 2 tablespoons of olive oil (the best you can get). Normally I’d mix the dough together using my hands, but today I was somewhat put off by the treacle and started to mix this with a round bladed knife. Once it had nearly come together and you could no longer see the treacle I dived in with my hands until the mixture came completely together – it was rather sticky.
The dough was turned out onto a lightly floured board (I must admit I usually put olive oil on my board to knead my dough, but this mixture was incredibly sticky and Mary said to use flour) and kneaded for a good 10 minutes. After this time it was lovely and smooth. If you have one of the wonderful mixers that are on the market at the moment, then you can use this with the dough hook and leave it running for approximately 5 minutes.
100g sunflower seeds were weighed out and 2 tablespoons removed. The rest was worked into the dough, together with the walnuts I chopped earlier. It took some kneading to get all of the seeds and nuts into the dough, they ketp escaping. However, once they were all evenly worked through the dough, it was divided into two and each piece was shaped into a smooth round and placed in the centre of the prepared baking trays. Mary says to cover them with large plastic bags, but I didn’t have any bags big enough, so I placed two large mixing bowls over the top of them. The bread was left to rise in a warm place for 30-45 minutes. Mary does state that if the kitchen isn’t too warm, then it may take as long as 1-1.5 hours. Mine took about an hour to double in size.
The oven was put on to preheat at Fan 180°C.
Before they went into the oven they were brushed with a tablespoon of egg which had been mixed with a tablespoon of honey. I’m not a lover of honey, but I recently went along to a new farm shop near us known as Saddleback Farm Shop - what a wonderful farm shop it is. It is a ‘real’ farm shop with produce all local which is something that annoys me when you go along to farm shops and find all these fancy goods that come from miles away. This farm shop stocked all local goods from bread, vegetables, eggs, flour, chutneys, jam, the most fabulous range of cheese and their own butchery – I’m definitely going back to buy some of the forerib of beef. We came away with far too much cheese, freshly baked bread, some wonderful wild boar sausages amongst other things. The cafe looked very good too and was very busy indeed. Anyway back to what I was saying, the honey I bought was local honey ‘Valentine’s Honey’, it was so light in colour and tasted lovely, not too sweet and sickly. This was brushed over the top of the loaves and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds were sprinkled over the top.
The loaves were baked for 25 minutes, after which time they were a lovely colour – as Mary puts it a ‘good conker brown’ and they sounded hollow when tapped on the base. If you do make rolls, cook them for slightly less time. The loaves were removed and left to cool on a wire rack.
They were absolutely delicious – a lovely loaf indeed to have with a good chunk of cheese. I’ll definitely be making these again.