If you’ve ever tried Central Market’s Burgundy Walnut Bread and though it might be nice to make it at home, you’re in luck. This recipe is very close. With flavor coming from the onions, walnuts and walnut oil, it’s a step up from typical nut or onion bread.
While I’ve been making this recipe for years, I never knew the source. Recently, Mary posted it and said it was from “Beard on Bread” where it’s credited to Jane Grigson. On her blog, One Perfect Bite, Mary makes the full batch. However, I usually halve the walnut bread and make two small loaves.
One thing I’ve learned over the years is the flavor will vary a bit depending on what brand of walnut oil you use. I love using the stronger walnut oils such as La Tourangelle, but for this batch I used what was available at the grocery store, the milder flavored Spectrum, which still worked well. If you don’t want to spend the money on walnut oil, no worries. You can use olive oil or butter.
Update: I now cook the onions in a little olive oil. In addition, the bread is fine with only 1 1/4 teaspoon of salt as opposed to 1 1/2 teaspoons, so I’ve changed the salt amount. Toasting the walnuts is not necessary because a lot of the nuts rise to the top and toast as the bread bakes. However, you can toast them anyway if you want. A large loaf should take closer to 40 minutes, but if you make two smaller size loaves they’ll probably be done in 35.
Walnut Bread from Southern Burgundy
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour (11.5 oz)
About 1 1/4 teaspoons salt (old recipe called for 1 1/2)
1 ablespoon sugar
1 package active dry yeast or 1 packet instant (fast rising) yeast
1 cup warm milk
1/4 cup walnut oil or olive oil or 4 tablespoons butter, melted but cool
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped — use more if you like
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a mixing bowl. If using instant yeast, add the yeast at this point.
Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of warm milk (skip if using instant), and pour it into middle of the flour, together with walnut oil (or butter) and remainder of milk. Knead well until dough is firm and blended into a smooth, springy ball, about 10 minutes. I recommend doing this with a stand mixer and dough hook.
Transfer to a bowl lined with walnut oil (or whatever oil you like), cover and let rise for 2 hours. If using instant yeast, 1 hour.
While the dough is rising, saute the onions in a small amount of olive oil. Set them aside until dough has risen.
Punch down dough, mix in walnuts and onions, shape into two rounds, and leave on a greased baking tray to rise for 45 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees F for 45 minutes (I recommend shielding tops loosely with foil after the first 30) or until loaves sound hollow when tapped underneath. Also, bread may be done in as early as 35 minutes so make sure to check it.
Yield: 2 small loaves