With a freezer full of fudge, caramel corn, cookie dough, cheesecake and lime icebox cake, I couldn’t justify making another dessert and decided to tackle something more useful. This yeasted walnut bread hit the spot. It has a hint of sweetness and goes perfectly with peanut butter — unlike the Walnut Bread from Southern Burgundy which would be terrible with peanut butter, but which is also very good.
For this walnut bread, I started with King Arthur’s recipe. It had great reviews, but I wanted to change up the flour a bit so I incorporated whole wheat and rye and adjusted everything else to accommodate those two flours. I made the bread 3 times, and this was our favorite version. It’s not an artisan bread because it’s tight crumbed and dense (as opposed to airy and crusty) and doesn’t require making a sponge, but we enjoyed it. Now I have to figure out what to do with the rest of the rye flour.
- 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 3/4 cup bread flour (3.9 ounces) – King Arthur Organic Bread
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for bowl
- 2 scant tablespoons honey
- 1 scant teaspoon salt
- 1 cup whole wheat flour (4.5 oz) – Hodgson Mill
- ½ cup dark rye flour (2.3 oz), Bob’s Red Mill
- 3/4 cup toasted and chopped walnuts
- Egg white for brushing
- Combine the yeast and water in the bowl of a stand mixer and stir well. Add ¼ cup of the bread flour and let sit for 10 minutes. Bubbles should form and let you know the yeast is working.
- Stir the honey and olive oil into the yeast mixture; add salt, whole wheat flour and rye flour and stir well. Dough should be very sticky at this point. Add another ¼ cup of bread flour and stir – now dough should be a little bit dryer, but still a tad bit sticky. At this point you should still have ¼ cup of bread flour left to control stickiness. If dough is still really sticky, go ahead and add 2 tablespoons more.
- Put the bowl on the stand mixer, attach the dough hook and let the mixer knead until smooth and elastic. If dough clears the side of the bowl as it kneads, continue kneading without adding remaining flour. If it does not, go ahead and add remaining 2 tablespoons of flour.
- If you weighed your flour, you'll probably use ALL the bread flour.
- Put about ½ tablespoon of extra olive oil in another mixing bowl. Set the kneaded dough in the bowl and turn it to coat the dough ball with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place (like a closed microwave) for an hour or until doubled in bulk.
- Punch dough down and knead in the walnuts. Shape into a ball, set the ball on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover with up upside down mixing bowl and let rise for another 45 minutes.
- When dough has risen, use a razor blade to make an x through the top – do it carefully without deflating the dough too much. Brush lightly with egg white if desired and bake at 375 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes or until dough sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool completely and slice (or serve hot – it slices neatly when cool).