Making yeast bread still freaks me out. It’s smelly and so many tiny little things could or could not happen that result in not necessarily a failure, but not exactly a success either…
This time though, following a recipe by the delightfully cute Maggie Beer, I baked beautiful bread that rose perfectly and tasted pretty good.
In fact, it tasted so good, still warm and slathered in butter, that I knew I had a great base for my blue cheese-inspired crostini… But more on that soon…
Recipe by Maggie Beer, as found in her book, Maggie’s Christmas.
- 250g walnuts
- 180ml full-cream milk + 2 tablespoons extra
- 15g fresh yeast (or 1 x 7g sachet or 1½ teaspoon dried yeast)
- ½ teaspoon caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons warm water
- 200g plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
- 100g wholemeal plain flour
- 50g rye flour
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 egg white
- 2 tablespoons walnut oil (plus extra for greasing)
- Preheat the oven to 200C fan-forced (220C conventional). To make the walnut bread, roast the walnuts on a baking tray for 6 to 8 minutes or until light golden, checking them frequently to make sure that they don’t burn. Wrap the walnuts in a clean tea towel, then rub to remove the skins. Set aside to cool.
- Heat 180ml milk in a small heavy-based saucepan until lukewarm, then set aside.
- Mix the yeast, caster sugar and warm water in a small bowl, stirring to form a paste, then leave for 10 minutes or until foamy.
- Combine the flours with 2 teaspoons salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl, then stir in the walnut oil. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the centre of the flour mixture, and then add the yeast mixture.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the warm milk, mixing until it is incorporated and a soft dough forms. Add the walnuts.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured workbench and knead for 5 minutes. Brush the mixing bowl with a little more walnut oil and return the dough, rolling it around the bowl to coat with the oil. Place a piece of plastic film loosely over the surface of the dough, then set aside for 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured workbench and knead for a minute or two, then shape into two 23cm x 10cm logs. Leave to rise again on a baking tray dusted with flour for 10 – 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200C fan-forced (220C conventional).
- Whisk together the egg white and 2 tablespoons milk and then brush over the surface of the dough.
- Bake the bread for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature at 180C fan-forced (200C conventional) an bake for another 15 minutes or until the loaves are golden brown and the bases sound hollow when tapped.
- Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.