Raisin Walnut Bread

I’m addicted to carbs in the worst way. Seriously, I don’t think I could get through the day without having at least one piece of bread. Despite being completely aware of the consequences related to having “too much of a good thing”, however, I just can’t help myself. Why do carbs have to taste. so. gooooood???

It’s really all Switzerland’s fault. I spent too many years there and ate too much good, fresh bread—sometimes slathered with jam and butter, ripe gruyere and butter, or just butter. I even learned to enjoy it just on its own. With maybe a cup of good coffee that I can use for dunking (I even dunk bagels—strange? Perhaps…)

So what’s my point? What I’m trying to say is…why fight it? I chose indulgence, but in moderation, like by integrating more healthy starches and fibers and organic and unbleached carbs into my diet? I think I can do that 😛

This recipe is the first of my new commitment to baking my own bread every week. It’s a raisin walnut bread adapted from a cranberry walnut bread recipe I found on Passionate about Baking. And I’ve been snacking on it all week long. Its sweet, has a hardy, whole wheat texture and flavor, which is lightened up by the dried fruit and orange juice, and it keeps really well. (Made it Sunday and it is now Thursday—last day, though). I switched out the cranberries for raisins and buckwheat flour for barley to no ill-effect. I think a variety of fruit-nut mixtures would work; besides, it’s always nice to be able to make something with just what you have at home.

Now that I’ll be doing a lot of bread-baking—like every week—I’m sure I’ll be making this one again. I want to try fresh fruit…will that work? Only one way to find out 🙂

Btw, if you’re interested in something lighter and sweeter, I’ve also made a Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Loaf. Read about it here.

Enjoy!

Raisin Walnut Bread (original recipe adapted from Passionate about Baking)

INGREDIENTS

160 ml lukewarm water

1 1/2 tsp active dried yeast

1 tbsp olive oil

40 ml fresh orange juice (about 1 orange)

200 g all purpose flour

50 g whole wheat flour

65 g barley flour

1 tsp salt

50 g raisins or dried cranberries

50 g walnuts, roughly broken up into pieces

oil, for greasing

METHOD

  1. In a small mixing bowl, put the yeast into the warm water and let stand for 10 minutes, then add the orange juice, olive oil and salt. Stir to combine.
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine the flours. Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the prepared liquids. With a fork, gradually bring the flour into the liquid to combine. When a dough starts to form, start kneading. Knead for 8-10 minutes until you’re left with a smooth and silky dough, adding a little more water if required. Knead in the cranberries and walnuts. Put into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to double.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface (Tip: Use your Silpat—it helps against sticking and makes shaping easier). Trying not to beat too much risen air out, pull the edges so that they all met in the center to form a puffed round cushion shape. Using a long object, divide the dough into 2 equal halves (don’t cut; just make an indentation).Press down a little and fold one half over the other. Crimp the edges with your fingers as you would an empanada or Cornish pastry. Roll the dough-log onto a floured surface to create a torpedo like baguette shape. Lay it gently on a flour-dusted Silpat (I know you don’t have to do this, but I did anyway…just in case), cover loosely with plastic wrap, and leave to rise in a warm place for another 45 minutes.
  4. Heat the oven to 220 C (425 F), placing a pan of boiling water on the bottom rack. Roll the bread off the Silpat onto a baking sheet—gently so as not to lose air. Use a sharp serated knife to give it 3 diagonal slashes, 1 cm deep.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, till the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. (My loaf needed 35). Leave to cool on a wire rack before slicing.

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