Tag Archives: rosemary

Rosemary and Walnut Bread

We’ve been making bread for a little over a year now, and we’re getting more and more confident at trying new things… Sometimes though, all you want is a great loaf with some cracking flavour in it. That’s what we’ve got here – this is a variation on our standard bread recipe, with the added lovely, woody, comforting flavours of rosemary and walnut pimping it up – not to mention some delicious sea salt to take the crust to the next level… On top of that, Fats picked up a couple of little loaf tins over Christmas, so we’ve provided the quantities and timings for a 400g loaf, which is perfect if there’s just a couple of you. To make a whole 800g loaf, simply double the quantities provided and bake for 20-25 minutes.

We managed to make this bread in an evening, after work and before dinner, so no excuses! Couple of tips though – warm water really helps it rise fast, especially in the winter, and it has to be put somewhere pretty warm – ours was above a radiator. We know that bread tastes better the longer it has to rise, but if you’re desperate then it is possible to make this in under 2 hours!

So, for a 400g loaf, you’ll need:

  • 150g strong white flour (plus extra for flouring the surface)
  • 100g non-white flour (we used 3 malt & sunflower – oooh, posh! – but wholemeal, rye or similar would be tasty too!)
  • 1/2 tbsp butter plus extra for greasing the tin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 150ml cold water
  • 30g walnut pieces
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 tsp good quality sea salt
  • 1/2 beaten egg (not sure where you’ll find half an egg…)

Add the two types of flour, the salt and the yeast to a bowl (keep the salt and the yeast at other sides of the bowl initially) and rub in the butter, so that there are no lumps of it remaining – you may find it easiest to cut the butter into small bits before this step. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the water, then mix it together with the flour.

Once this has all combined, tip out onto a floured surface and knead vigorously for about 10 minutes – when it’s done, it should be nice and springy. Put this into a bowl and cover with a tea towel. Put it somewhere to rise – depending on how warm it is, it should take between about 1 and 2 hours to double in size.

To prepare the awesome flavour, chop up the walnut pieces so they’re about 1/8-1/4 the size of a walnut – no need to be exact – and finely chop about 3/4 of the rosemary leaves (the rest should be less finely chopped, and will be used for the topping).

Rosemary and Walnut Ingredients

Once the dough has doubled, empty it out onto a floured surface and flatten with the palms of your hands. Once it’s a reasonable size, cover in the pieces of chopped walnuts and the finely chopped rosemary. Fold the dough over on itself, and repeat the flattening-folding a couple of times to work the rosemary and walnut in. Now flatten it out one last time, so that one side is about the length of your loaf tin, and the other is about 1.5 times this. Line the tin with baking paper and butter. Roll the dough up, and place in the tin. Leave this somewhere to prove – this should take about 1 hour.

Rosemary and Walnuts Before Working In

Rosemary and Walnut in Tin

Prepare the oven by pre-heating to 230ºC. Mix together an egg wash with your half an egg and the remainder of the rosemary – you can throw in a few walnut pieces if you have any lying around. Once the dough has proved, cover with the egg, making sure there are no big lumps of egg anywhere – you’re making a loaf of bread not an omelette! Place the sea salt on the top of the egg wash, taking care not to crush any of the flakes. Put in the oven and immediately turn down to 220ºC. It should take about 18-20 minutes to cook, but keep an eye on it so that the top doesn’t burn.

Rosemary and Walnut With Topping

Once it’s baked, take it out and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before cooling the rest of the way on a cooling rack. This bread is definitely better once it has cooled down, so don’t be tempted to crack into it too soon!

Rosemary and Walnut Done

We had this with a winter salad from our new Rachel Khoo recipe book – the rosemary and walnut perfectly complemented the roast carrots and parsnips! It’s also particularly good with cheese – we can recommend Taleggio, a nicely pungent washed-rind cheese that we managed to pick up in the supermarket, but Brie or Camembert, or any blue cheese would be good too – this loaf has the flavour to stand up to strong cheese!

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Sweet Potato, Rosemary and Chilli Bread

Bread time again! We thought we’d try something a bit different to warm us up during the recent cold snap. This sweet potato-based bread is our first foray into vegetable breads, and although it didn’t turn out quite perfect it still tasted totally delicious and we had to share it with you.

Here’s what you’ll need for a standard (about 800 g) loaf/boule:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • A few sprigs rosemary
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • About 350 g strong white flour (enough to make it up to 500 g with the sweet potato) plus a bit more for kneading and making a crust
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 2 heaped tsp fast-acting yeast
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 300 ml tepid water
  • 1- 2 tsp dried chilli flakes

Start by taking the skin of the sweet potato, chopping it up into fairly small chunks and roasting it, along with the rosemary, seasoning (good pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper) and olive oil for about 45 minutes at around 180 °C. You want the sweet potato to be soft, not crispy – otherwise the next bit will be pretty much impossible!

Sweet potato for bread

Once the sweet potato has cooled down, roll your sleeves up, take a deep breath and force the roasted sweet potato through a metal sieve. Pushing it through with the back of a spoon seems to work pretty well, but it’s hard work! Take out any rosemary leaves and add them to the sieved potato, but discard the stalks. If anyone has any better ideas for how to smooth out the sweet potato, leave us a message in the comments.

That ordeal over and done with, add the sieved sweet potato to a measuring scales and add enough strong white flour to make up the total weight of the potato and the flour up to 500 g. Add to a mixing bowl with 1 heaped tsp yeast, the table salt, the honey and the extra virgin olive oil. You may want to use a food mixer with a dough hook to bring the mixture together, as it gets pretty sticky – we did, but it’ll work just fine with your hands. While you’re bringing it together, slowly add the tepid water, about 50 ml at a time.

Flour it up!
Flour it up!

Once the dough has all come together, by machine or hand, tip it onto a well floured surface and knead for about 15 minutes. You’ll have to flour the surface again and again as it will stay pretty sticky! Once it springs back place in a well-oiled bowl, cover with cling-film and leave to rise in a warm place. Once it has doubled in size (about 2 hours), knock back, shape (whatever you like – we did a boule but would like to try a loaf next time!) and leave to prove for another hour or so.

About 20 minutes before the bread is ready to go in the oven, preheat it to about 200 °C. Now for the chilli crust – this step is kind of optional, but we urge you to give it a go as the results are delicious! Mix together a couple of tablespoons of strong white flour, 1 tsp yeast, the dried chilli flakes, and just enough water to turn it into a spreadable paste.

SP bread with chilli

Just before the bread goes into the oven, put a few slashes in the top with a sharp knife and smear over the chilli and flour paste so that it forms a thin layer. Now put it in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, until the top is dark and golden.

We ate our bread with some roasted red pepper and butter bean soup with some flaked pecorino, but it’s delicious all on its own!

Sweet potato bread done