6/16/08

I've Tested Positive for Carbs...

... specifically, breads. They're a weakness I often look forward to regretting. Quelle triste.

But, sometimes, a bread recipe comes along that's not only delicious, but good for you too. Walnut Bread meets both criteria. Walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, while Walnut Oil is a good source of alpha-lino ... alpha-linolen ... whatever. It's an oil said to boost the immune system. And since most of us know whole wheat flour is an excellent source of insoluble fiber, and this is a food blog, you will forgive me if I avoid this subject altogether.

Have you noticed how most bread recipes suggest you pile on the butter in order to enjoy freshly-baked bread? Doesn't that make you giggle just a little? I mean, even pine bark slathered in butter would get a nod of approval from the masses, no?

Well, I will not suggest you butter this bread, because it's damn good au naturel. BUT, if like me, you choose to ignore your inner voice, then go ahead and top it with an eyebrow-raising blob of butter, or goat cheese, or labneh (yogurt cheese) and honey, or transform it into a grilled cheese sandwich.

Regardless of how you serve it, I hereby predict you will be beaming with the Caps Lock On all the livelong day. Uh-huh.




Walnut Bread

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
pinch sugar
½ cup hot water (110°F)
2 tablespoons sugar
1½ cups lukewarm water (85°F)
½ cup walnut oil
3 cups unbleached AP flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup walnut pieces, toasted
Cornmeal*
Kosher salt

Sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the hot water in a bowl. Set aside for 15 minutes to proof.
Add the lukewarm water, sugar, oil and AP flour to the yeast mixture; mix until blended. Add the whole wheat flour and stir, then knead it in until smooth and elastic, 10-15 minutes. Add the salt during the last 5 minutes of kneading.
Place the dough into an oiled bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover and let rise overnight at room temperature. Or, allow it to rise 2 to 4 hours, or until doubled in bulk. I prefer the former.

Punch down the dough. Working briefly, knead in the toasted walnuts until evenly distributed. Grease a large baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal*
Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a round loaf. Sprinkle the tops with kosher salt. Cover loosely and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake the loaves for 45 minutes, or until they're a deep brown. Adapted from a recipe by Flo Braker.



*I placed the loaves on parchment paper and using a peel, I slid the loaves onto a preheated baking stone, omitting the cornmeal.