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).
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.
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.
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!
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!