14 January 2013

Walnut Loaf

‘Oh, where did the rest of this loaf go?’ you’re probably asking yourself.
Walnut Loaf | Pavlova's Dog
Well, I ate it.  Before I got round to taking a photo. And yes you’d do the same. You’ve no idea how good this was.

See, I made this loaf last week before some last-minute plans developed to have a homemade pizza & wine sleepover with my best friends. And, hello, is there a better way to spend an evening in? And I really, really love pizza. As in, it’s the main course of my ‘Death Row’ last-meal-ever-on-earth-scenario. Don’t ask me about what my dessert would be, that’s too difficult a hypothetical decision to make. Anyway, while the walnut bread dough was proofing before going in the oven I made a basic pizza dough to bring to the sleepover while the other girls were left in charge of sauce and toppings.
Walnut Loaf | Pavlova's Dog
So I knew once it was out the oven that I shouldn’t eat much of it and save my appetite for delicious melty spicy chickeny pizza. I shut myself out of the kitchen while it baked so I wouldn’t be tempted by the smell of baking bread. I ate some chocolate to stave off hungry-for-dinner pangs. I had a cup of tea… just because. And still, despite all my preventative preparation, this bread won. I’ll do anything for an end piece.

I cut into it, still warm, and tested it with butter. Then I died momentarily of happiness, but not before tweeting that it’s so tasty I might have to marry it. Do Death Row meals come with a bread basket?

So without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to my new boyfriend:
Walnut Loaf | Pavlova's Dog
Isn’t he dreamy? We’re deliriously happy together.

He’s a simple enough loaf, with mixed flours (wholemeal, white, and rye), with some oats added for texture, treacle for a subtle, lingering sweetness, and butter for silkiness. And a whole load of walnuts. Look at that nuttiness!
Walnut Loaf | Pavlova's Dog
This was made with cheeseboards in mind. Smeared with brie and dotted with cranberries, it might just blow you away.

Even served plain, it has Lola's Pavlovian approval:

Walnut Loaf | Pavlova's Dog

Walnut Loaf | Pavlova's Dog
Walnut Loaf | Pavlova's Dog
Walnut Loaf | Pavlova's Dog
Walnut Loaf | Pavlova's Dog

Walnut Loaf | Pavlova's Dog

Loosely based on Paul Hollywood’s Pecan Loaf in How To Bake

Time: 3-4 hours
Makes: 1 loaf

100g (1 cup) rye flour
300g (2 ½ cups) strong wholemeal bread flour
100g (4/5 cup) strong white bread flour, plus more for dusting
50g (1/2 cup) rolled oats
10g (2 teaspoons) salt
10g instant yeast
30g unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons (30ml) black treacle (can substitute for unsulphured molasses)
350ml (1 ½ cups) water
240g (2 cups) walnut pieces

1.     Put the flours and oats into a large bowl and add the salt, yeast, butter, treacle, and about half of the water. Mix with your hands until you have a shaggy dough that’s trying very hard to come together, and then add the remaining water and knead until the treacle is fully incorporated throughout the mix. Finally, add the two cups of walnuts and spread throughout the bread, smashing some pieces and keeping others delectably whole. There’s no need to empty the dough onto a floured surface, but do continue to knead in the bowl until the mix feels more elastic. It will feel slightly less sticky than it did at first but will still be a fairly wet dough.
2.     Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour or two.
3.     Now that the dough’s risen, tip it onto a floured surface and fold it in on itself until the air has been knocked out. Flatten the dough into a rough rectangle and, starting at a shorter end, roll it up into a sausage shape. Flatten it into a rectangle again and sausage-ify it again, wrapping a little tighter this time. The loaf should be around 30cm long. Tuck the spiraled ends in on themselves and roll them to give the loaf a nice tapered shape. Put the dough onto a prepared baking tray lined with parchment paper.
4.     Now the dough needs to prove – put the whole thing, baking sheet and loaf, into a plastic bag (or cover loosely with plastic wrap) and allow to sit in draught-free conditions for about an hour, until roughly doubled in size again and springy to the touch.
5.     Heat your oven to 210°C/ 410°F.
6.     Rub loaf over the loaf and make some deep hatched cuts along the surface. Bake for 30-35 minutes (mine took exactly 33) – you’ll know it’s ready because if you knock on the base it should sound hollow. Cool on a wire rack, or burn your hands trying to cut a slice and butter it while still warm. Mmm, melty.

Oh and by the way, I still managed to demolish my pizza.


  1. This is gorgeous! I want that as my new friend, too :) I love hearty wheat breads and that you used molasses, oh totally perfect!

    1. Ha, you do like molasses, don't you?!

  2. Your boyfriend looks DELICIOUS. :) Going to have to bookmark this recipe to make soon!

    1. ;). Let me know how it works out!