Some old recipes are sometimes altered and twisted into my new favourites, one or two changes in the ingredients and you might end up with a completely new taste and texture. Those who love the art of cooking know exactly what I am talking about…after years in the kitchen, there are so many recipes left behind, in the box of your memories…
There are, however, some old time favourites in my personal collection. Some recipes that I discovered many years ago but I still religiously follow _one thing I have to confess, here, is that no matter how well I know a recipe, I always like to show respect to it and read through the list of ingredients and steps of preparation, when I make it. It is a ritual I am never going to stop!
So, back to the classics, the one that probably sits front row on my list of old favourites, is this walnut raisin bread I am sharing with you, today. This is a fail-safe recipe, you will get it right the very first time! I love the play that is being set up in its core, between crunchy walnuts and tender raisins and I can never get enough of its barely sweet taste.
Cheese and chutneys become great companions to its sweet nuttiness and, lately, I have found it can become a great substitute for a hearty breakfast. Just warm up a couple of slices and let the nuts give you the boost your body needs, while enjoying a great feeling of completeness that lasts up until lunch time!
Walnut Raisin Bread
150 g strong wholewheat flour
150 g plain flour, plus a little
extra for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried yeast
200 ml warm water
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon walnut oil
50 g raisins
50 g sultanas
110 g chopped walnuts
1. Flour mixture: Combine whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl. In a jug, dissolve the water, brown sugar and the walnut oil. Mix well. Pour into the flour mixture. Knead together to form a dough, adding a further tablespoon or two of water if the dough appears too dry. Note: It should have the sort of consistency that leaves the sides of the bowl clean, and yet, not be too soft so that it clings to your hands and sticks to the work surface.
2. Using a plastic, pastry scraper, scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes — try to avoid using any additional flour because as you knead the dough, it will become less sticky and more bouncy. Press the dough out into a rough 30 cm square. Sprinkle the raisins, sultanas and walnuts over the surface. Roll the dough and knead briefly again to distribute the fruit and nuts evenly. Knead and make a round loaf, brush with oil. Transfer the dough to a bowl. Cover the bowl with cling film. Leave to rest in a warm place, for about 11/4 hours, or until the dough has almost doubled in size.
3. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Remove the cling film and transfer to a baking tin. Place in the centre of the oven. Bake for 35 minutes. Turn the loaf and tap the base. The loaf should sound hollow — if it doesn’t, put it back in the oven for 5 more minutes, upside down. Let the bread cool before slicing.