Sunday, January 11, 2009

Whole Wheat Walnut Bread

These 100% whole wheat loaves are moist, open-textured, and rich with nuts. This bread goes well with any meal or occasion but is especially good for breakfast or brunch.

The recipe for this walnut wheat bread is from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads. This cookbook is becoming one of my favorites. I love the way Mr. Clayton writes and the descriptions he provides for the breads and the people behind the recipes. The book is very easy to use and is filled with wonderful bread recipes.

I'm using freshly
milled whole wheat flour from hard red spring wheat to make these loaves. They should taste a little sweeter than store-bought whole wheat bread.

Walnut Wheat Bread Recipe
Makes: 2 loaves (8 1/2" x 4 1/2")
Source: Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads.



Ingredients:

  • 5 to 6 cups whole-wheat flour; approximately
  • (I used about 5 1/2 cups of freshly milled whole wheat flour from hard red spring wheat)
  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
  • 2 1/4 cups hot water (120° - 130°)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped English walnuts

 

Directions:

Grease 2 medium loaf pans. In a large mixing bowl measure 3 cups whole-wheat flour, the yeast, salt, and dry milk.  Stir to blend.  Pour in the hot water and add the honey and butter.



Stir the thick batter like dough vigorously 75 strokes with a wooden spoon or under a mixer flat beater.  Add 1 cup whole-wheat flour, working it into the batter with a spoon or the beater. Add the balance of the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the batter forms a moist and sticky mass. (More flour will be added momentarily.)

Let the dough rest for 4 or 5 minutes to allow the wheat particles to absorb their full quota of moisture. Replace the flat beater with a dough hook. Continue adding flour, a small portion at a time, until the dough is a shaggy mass that can be lifted out of the bowl onto the work surface -- or left in the mixer bowl to work with the dough hook.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead with a strong push-turn-fold motion for about 8 minutes, or until the dough is soft, elastic, and feels alive under your hands. Or knead for 8 minutes in the bowl with a dough hook.

Place the dough in a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature until it has doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. It will be puffy.




Turn back the plastic wrap, punch down the dough, and transfer it to the work surface. Flatten the dough into a large oval and place the walnuts in the center.




Fold in the sides to enclose the nuts.



Knead them into the dough. This will take about 5 minutes. Let the dough rest for a few minutes before shaping the loaves.



Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Press each piece into an oval.





Fold in half lengthwise, pinch seem closed, and drop into the pan, seam side down. Cover the pans with wax paper and let rise until approximately doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.





Preheat the oven to 375°F about 20 minutes before baking. Bake the loaves in the moderately hot oven for 45 minutes. The loaves will be a deep brown and will pull away from the sides of the pan when done. They can also be tested with a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf. If it comes out dry, the bread is down. Remove the bread from the oven and turn the loaves onto a wire rack to cool before serving.




The bread keeps well in a plastic bag for at least a fortnight. This bread tastes great warmed or toasted with butter.





Today is my mom's birthday so I'm bringing over one of the walnut wheat loaves for lunch. She's supposed to be eating heart healthy foods so this bread fits the bill. I'm also bringing some homemade vegetable soup. This should go well with it. I can't wait!


Happy Baking!
Cathy



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