Baking bread is one of those ironic acts that everyone wants to do, but very few actually go ahead with. Yet, despite the evident irony, the state of laziness in which we find ourselves is understandable; there is something magical about the smell and taste of freshly baked bread, hence the desire; yet the process itself can appear rather time consuming. Indeed, those of us who do occasionally succeed in baking a loaf of bread do so on days on which one has the luxury of being able to potter around the house. We all fall foul of such lethargy from time to time, myself included, so I shall try my utmost to instil within you an overwhelming compulsion to leaven on a regular basis. That is, assuming indolence isn’t the reason behind your lack of freshly baked bread.
Walnuts, more than any other nut I can think of, are best paired with flavours on the sweeter end of the spectrum. In this recipe, for instance, the sweetness is provided by the inclusion of raisins and honey; the former punctuating the loaf with bursts of sweetness; the latter simpering away quietly in the background, offering an all-round, natural sweetness. The effect of this layering of flavours is rather magnificent and creates a rich, complex taste in an incredibly simple manner. Of course, the walnuts themselves steal the show, giving the bread its impressive texture and nutty quality. There are a number of bread recipes available on frugalfeeding, though the recipe you see before you may be my favourite yet. That alone makes it well worth a try!
Makes 1 medium sized loaf
• 200g wholemeal bread flour
• 200g strong white flour
• 1 7g sachet of fast action yeast
• 1 tbsp honey
• 200-250ml tepid water
• 80g walnuts, crushed
• A generous handful of raisins
• Olive oil
1. Mix together the flours, yeast and a large pinch of salt in a large bowl. Stir the honey into the water, followed by the olive oil. Add most of the water to the flour and mix, it should be fairly sticky, but not entirely wet. Transfer it to a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes – this is vital. Press the kneaded dough into a square and fold the walnuts and raisins in. Knead for a further 2 minutes. Place on an oiled tray, underneath a damp cloth and leave to rise for an hour or so.
2. Preheat your oven to 220C. Slice a cross into the top of the risen dough and pop in the oven until the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. This could take anywhere between 30 and 50 minutes depending on your oven. Enjoy on its own, as a sandwich or as an accompaniment to soup.
Cost: The only ingredients which could possibly be described as being expensive are the walnuts, though their cost certainly isn’t inhibitive. Indeed, 80g of walnuts could set one back as little as 50-60p. As such, this loaf should set one back no more than about £1.90. Now, that’s a delicious price.