Making bread by yourself is pretty much like getting into Cape Westwind. The first time you face Rihtahtyn sas Arvina may seem daunting, but the entire instance is actually a piece of cake – I mean slice of bread. So if you are ever tired of eating the same kind of boring white toast, give this really wonderfully fragrant walnut bread a try!
You will need
400 grams of bread flour (approx. 3 ½ cups)
200 grams of whole-wheat flour (approx. 1 ½ cups)
400 milliliters of water (approx. 1 ½ cups)
8 grams of active dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
200 grams of coarsely crushed walnuts
It’s bread-making time! Mix both flours and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the center. Heat the water until it is handwarm (don’t overheat!). Pour into the well and carefully stir in the sugar without disturbing the floury edges too much. Add the yeast and dissolve in the water/sugar mix until it is a little bubbly. Mix in the flour until you get a dough.
Drop the dough onto a kneading board/kitchen counter/table/whatever sturdy surface space dusted with flour, and knead your dough until it is smooth and elastic. This can take a really long time! Expect to see results after kneading for about 7 minutes. Let the dough rest on your kitchen counter or bowl and cover it with a clean dish cloth. Give it at least 30 minutes, or until doubled in size. During this time, heat the oven to 200 °C/400°F and toast the walnuts on an ungreased baking sheet for about 5 minutes. Let cool completely.
Once expanded, literally punch the living hell out of your dough and knead again. Knead in the toasted walnuts. Shape into a loaf and put into a greased loaf pan. If you don’t have one, you can also just shape it like a loaf and put it on a greased baking sheet instead. Note that you will not get the typical toast form since the loaf will spread in all directions while baking.However you shaped your bread loaf, cover the bread again and let rest for another 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F again. Ideally, you possess a super high-tech oven that has a steaming function built in. If you are not that lucky (like me), you need to put a small heat-proof bowl with water at the very bottom of the oven. As soon as your oven becomes a steamy sauna (I do not recommend ERP sessions in here since you are most likely to get severely burned), quickly put your bread onto the rack (or push the baking sheet inside) and close the oven door immediately.
If you are too concerned with steam (particularly if you are baking with kids), you can completely omit the hot water treatment. The steam is only there to create a nice crust on your bread and won’t change the taste!
Anyway, bake the bread for about 40 to 50 minutes, until the bread crust appears dark brown. You can test doneness as well by removing the bread out of the loaf pan (careful it’s hot, so use gloves!) and gently knocking the bottom. The bread will be done if it sounds hollow. Let it cool for a few minutes before transferring the bread onto a cooling rack. While it is super tempting to slice your bread while it is still warm, I highly recommend letting it cool down to make slicing easier. Enjoy!